Author: Kurt Lancaster

Kurt Lancaster

Kurt Lancaster is the author of DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video. His digital film projects have been screened nationally and internationally, many of which can be found at He teaches filmmaking at the School of Communication at Northern Arizona University. He earned his PhD from NYU.


Posts by Kurt Lancaster:


Film Grain in Postproduction – Bringing Texture Back


A form of postproduction that can be applied to CinemaDNG files is film grain. For some, the idea of shooting in raw reflects in some ways an approach to filmmaking that harkens back to the days of working on film. What is lost in digital filmmaking involves the loss of texture. Film grain is one…


Composition – The Golden Mean


Your three-dimensional subjects and the scene they’re in are composed through your lens. This composition relies on many factors, including lenses and shot sizes, as well as camera angles. But one underlying principle can’t be understated: the golden mean appearing in nature, a ratio studied by mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras (whom you might recall from…

Photo by mrgiles

Final Cut Pro X Tutorial: Syncing Audio


Most DSLR shooters are already aware of PluralEyes and DualEyes. But the new version of Final Cut X will also sync external audio recorders with DSLR audio files. This lesson shows you how. Preparing files Without any pre-rendering, I imported the files. (I’ve heard that you can edit H.264 files from DSLR live, and I’m…

Canon DSLRs

White balance with Canon DSLRs — Not as Easy as Video


A couple of my colleagues at Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication noted how difficult it is to do manual white balance with the Canon DSLRs some of our students are using. All I can say: Not as easy as video cameras. The Canon presets have worked pretty well for all the projects I’ve shot,…


Cinema Raw – What’s Lost in Compressed and What’s Gained in Raw


Canon 5D Mark III Compressed vs. Raw Magic Lantern, a software devised by hackers, created a code that gets placed on the memory card of the camera (and engages when you activate the firmware update of the camera—although it doesn’t actually alter or update Canon’s firmware). In essence it embeds a software interface that allows…


BlackMagic Cinema Camera and the Canon C100


I had the opportunity to shoot a segment of the Carpetbag Brigade’s “Callings,” a performance art piece performed on stilts. I enlisted one of my students, Kent Wagner, to shoot their rehearsal and performance on the Canon C100, while I shot with a Blackmagic Cinema Camera. What follows is a discussion of the comparison between…

Photo by Digital Bolex

Shooting Raw with the Digital Bolex at Venice Beach


When I first saw DSLR footage on Vimeo just about four years ago, I got really, really excited about the possibilities. Looking at Philip Bloom’s Skywalker Ranch and Vincent Laforet’s Reverie—I wasn’t getting shots like those on my Panasonic DVX100 nor on prosumer HD video cameras. I remember being on set of Po Chan’s The…

DSLR Cinema

Interview with Ikonoskop — shooting 16mm RAW with the A-Cam dII in Stockholm


Cinema RAW is the holy grail of low-budget filmmakers. With the popular release of Black Magic Design’s Cinema Camera, along with Philip Bloom’s review of it rising to the all-time number one post of his blogging career, it is easy to forget that the Swedish company, Ikonoskop got there first. Indeed, Joe Rosenstein of Digital…


Lara Logan’s 60 Minutes news style vs Tyler Stableford’s documentary style: A mountain climbing case-study in editing


There’s no denying the success of CBS’s 60 Minutes. It’s the quintessential news magazine show that many of us aspire to attain in our own video journalism work. And when I first saw Lara Logan’s “The ascent of Alex Honnold” (13:19), a story about Alex’s insane free solo climbs, I was captivated. In Logan’s words: “He…


Shooting video with DSLRs—some tips for photographers


Use the basic tools of photography When I tell my students that they should master photography before shooting video, they think I’m kidding.  But the tools of photography offers all the basic tools required to shoot good video: Composition Lighting Color balance ISO settings F-stops Focus Lenses Depth of field Not to mention the more…

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