Canon 5D Mark II Video Footage

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Image from Steve KeysCanon lent a prototype of the new 5D Mark II to New-York-based commercial and editorial photographer Vincent Laforet for 72 hours, and this short film is what he put together: beautifully shot, put to music (no sync sound), using only footage from the 5D Mark II. The footage is 1/4 size (from the original 1080P) and shot with mostly L-series glass. The 5D Mark II retails for about $2700 (body only) from B&H. The combination of excellent lenses with the full frame sensor yields some gorgeous low-light shots.

I’m certainly interested to see some of this tech make it over to the prosumer video side of Canon. After seeing this kind of result, would you consider shooting your next project on a DSLR?

Spore is the worst game ever…

Field of Spores Image from elvissa…if you believe the Amazon reviews. Out of approximately 1400 reviews, over 1,300 rate the game with 1 star, most complaining of draconian DRM. Electronic Arts’ DRM for Spore prevents users from installing the game more than 3 times (even on the same computer, after upgrades or HD crashes, for instance) without a call to EA support, and possibly purchasing another license.

At this point in the digital age, how can EA not understand that DRM is a bad idea? If you don’t give fans content in the way that they want it, they will go elsewhere for it. EA is shooting itself in the foot and turning one the most anticipated games of the year into a potential PR debacle.

Following last month’s development about the computer gaming industry suing families who downloaded games without paying in the UK, it seems the computer game industry has learned nothing from the mistakes of the RIAA.

Game pirates in the UK face penalties of nearly 10 times the cost of the games (£300, about US$525) to settle out of court or risk a repeat of the £16,000 (about US$28,000) decision handed down to one unemployed mother of two.

While I don’t advocate piracy, there must be a better way for the industry to deal with this problem than extorting court settlements from their fans or imposing unreasonably limited DRM.

Sex and the City: Women v. Girls

Sex and the City
Image by Lots Of Sprinkles
I usually enjoy picking up the New York Times arts section, but this article struck me as odd, right from the title. Michael Cieply, who writes about the entertainment industry, tries to make a twisted little connection between the new Kit Kittredge film, a G-rated American Girl Doll spin-off, and the blockbuster Sex and the City movie. Cieply crows:

But this G-rated movie adventure is shaping up as Hollywood’s next serious bid for female viewers, some of whom showed their power by pushing the R-rated comedy “Sex and the City” to surprisingly strong first-weekend ticket sales of more than $57 million two weeks ago.

Unless the depression-era Kit Kittredge starts making bathtub cosmopolitans, I sincerely doubt this film has anything to do with the highly commercialized, Prada-encrusted Manhattanites that populate the SATC universe. Except of course, gender.

Why would anyone be surprised that women want to watch movies about women? Courting a female audience is hardly newsworthy, and reducing a kids’ picture to Sex and the City minus the sex seems tawdry and arbitrary. “Women’s pictures” have been around since Kit Kittredge was in diapers. In fact, Ann Hornaday wrote a great article for the Washington Post that looks at the girls-in-the-city formula at the heart of the Sex and the City brand.

Sex in the City, however fabulous it may be, still relies on materialism, stereotypes about women’s bodies and relationships, and an often celebrated ignorance of life outside of wealthy Manhattan neighborhoods. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, but if I had a daughter old enough to understand the phrase “bikini wax” I wouldn’t let her anywhere near it.

Of course, most of the offerings for young girls aren’t much better. There are the films marketed to girls under the guise of the “Princess” and “Bratz” brands. Then there’s Gossip Girl, which is akin to Sex and the City with more sporadic female camaraderie. What would be newsworthy is a film that wasn’t based on a doll, or an established brand, but on actual girls doing actual girl-like things.