Tag Archive: Asia


Producers work on projects that vary in size and scope. Great Films are made with great crews, equipment and tools to make great films, and one of my all time favourites is Goodfellas, a classic Hollywood film directed by and using a screenplay written by Martin Scorsese.

For many years I’ve been using Final Draft and Entertainment Partners software, which I rely on constantly and emphatically. Only recently, when discussing a project with an Indian producer was my attention drawn to Celtx, which comes with a whole lot of interesting stuff these days, including their celtxblog. It’s an interesting read with valuable insights, such as the article INTRODUCING INSIGHTS: 7 FAMOUS SCREENPLAYS BY THE NUMBERS written by Stephen Stanford.

Presently, I’m working on a number of feature film projects of varying size and scope, and the team members are spread across the globe. Assessment and due diligence takes time; there’s an old saying that goes something like “what you don’t do properly in development, you have to pay for during pre-production, and what you don’t do properly in pre-production, you have to pay for in production, and what you don’t do properly in production, you have to pay for in post-production.” and everything costs time + money.
Project Assessment Process
Planning is vitally important, and it is with respect that this wonderfully written blog article by Stephen Stanford is reproduced in this blog.
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PRODUCTION PRIMER: THE TRACKING SHOT

written by Stephen Stanford May 19, 2016
The tracking shot with Steadicam
No matter what kind of content you’re producing, there are cinematic hallmarks that everybody wants to see. Our new Production Primer series will cover the fundamentals of these techniques and show you what your team needs to consider when writing, planning, and shooting them.

The tracking shot or “oner” is perhaps the most iconic and captivating of all cinematic techniques. Generally speaking, it refers graceful, uninterrupted single-take shots where the camera follows the subject throughout either an extended portion or the entirety of a scene. Tracking shots are a showcase opportunity for the entire production team to demonstrate their technical expertise, but come with a price: they require extensive planning and rehearsal to execute properly. If all goes according to plan, however, the effect is mesmerizing (and you’ve successfully added a cinematic flourish to your project that captures the imagination and sticks to the memory). If you’re thinking about attempting a tracking shot in your next project, here are a few things to consider for each phase of production.

WRITING

One of the most celebrated tracking shots of all time is the famous Copacabana Sequence from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. The dazzling, impeccably staged journey of Henry Hill and his date from across the street, down the stairs, winding through the service corridors and kitchen, and finally out onto the floor of the iconic nightclub became an instant classic of American cinema. Every cue is fits together so flawlessly that it’s easy for one to assume that the some serious technical rigor was applied during the writing process. Surprisingly, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Here’s how the Copacabana Sequence appeared on the page in a revised draft of Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese’s 1989 script. Compare it to the end result.

Click to Enlarge

As you can see, on paper this sequence is written like an unformatted montage. Virtually all of the asides and interactions that Henry has during his entrance are conspicuously absent, as are any specific shots or camera directions. According to Director of Photography Michael Ballhaus, Scorsese had fleshed out the entire sequence in his head, and the entire thing was blocked, rehearsed, and shot in less than a day. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t Martin Scorsese.

The more preparation and thought you put into the writing of the big scene, the greater footing your director and camera department will have when your team arrives at the planning phase. The Copacabana excerpt is a great example of how you should start: the telegraphic action suggests uninterrupted movement and the physical geography of the scene is explicated without being too specific. Moreover, the truncated and condensed formatting prevents the sequence from disrupting the flow of the script. If it were written exactly as it was shot, the sequence would have taken up multiple pages as opposed to roughly one half. In Celtx, however, there’s a novel solution that allows you to have it both ways.

If there’s a scene in your script that you think would make for the perfect tracking shot, Celtx allows you to develop it in detail outside of the script but within the same project. By adding an additional A/V Script to your project specifically for your tracking shot, you can create an in-depth, tailored shooting script describing every action point in your sequence. It also has multiple output formats, one for your actors to work on their cues, and another for your camera department to start mapping out the shot plan. Here’s what the Copacabana sequence looks like when written in A/V format:

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PLANNING

A stabilization system is essential to executing a tracking shot. There are two standard options: a dolly, or a steadicam. A dolly is a heavy, wheeled multi-operator camera platform designed to move along the horizontal axis, either on tracks  or on an appropriately smooth surface. A steadicam utilizes a mechanical system of gimbals and counterweights to allow a single operator to smoothly move and manipulate a camera with considerable deftness and speed. Where a dolly offers extremely stable and precise shots, steadicams allow for much greater mobility and a dreamy ‘floating’ effect. Both systems are fairly expensive and require skilled operators, although various ‘lighter’ or DIY solutions do exist. When choosing your stabilization system, two factors are key: the location in which you’ll be shooting, and the kind of action you need the camera to capture.  For example, in the Copacabana sequence, the camera was required to closely follow the subjects up and down stairs, down narrow hallways, around sharp corners, and through crowds of background actors with several sidesteps and sudden stops. In this case, the steadicam was the ideal solution.

When you have a suitable location secured, take a walkthrough with your team and make note of obstacles, staging areas, and wiggle room for maneuvering crew and setting up equipment. Determine which stabilization system would best fit your needs, and then perform the initial blocking of your sequence and determine the best positions for each action point to take place. Celtx provides a useful tool for this stage in the form of the Shot Blocker.  You can use the Shot Blocker to sketch out your location and specify where you want your action points to happen while plotting the path of the camera. You can also use it to set positions for equipment, props, set dressing, and extras using a built-in clipart library. Here’s what a shot plan for the Copacabana sequence might look like:

celtx shot blocker

SHOOTING

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Have your director move through your existing shot plan with your actors and let them get a feel for the space. Talk to them, and be open to improvisation. Long tracking sequences are akin to live theater, and its very easy for them to be overcome by a sense of staginess. Giving your actors a chance to explore, ad lib, and make mistakes can provide additional material that will imbue your sequence with a greater sense of reality.

You might also consider doing this initial blocking pass in reverse, starting at your last action point and working backwards. Ensuring that your actors know exactly where they need to end up is crucial to getting the perfect take, and starting your rehearsal from the final blocking position makes it easier for your actors to judge both distance and timings throughout the rest of the sequence: the finishing point is far more important than the starting point.

Your next rehearsal run should include any background actors, as well as dry runs for any background action that may be scripted to occur. It’d be best to include your camera team on this run as well – safety is paramount, and any background action with the potential to affect the camera needs to be heavily drilled.

Depending on the length of your shot (and if your schedule can accommodate it), you might want to consider blocking an entire day for setup and rehearsals. Either way, something is bound to deviate from your plan. Multiple takes are a given (it almost never goes right on the first try), but remember to be conscientious of the physical limitations of your cast and crew. If you push them too hard, you might start to undo the progress you’ve made in rehearsal.

In conclusion, be deliberate in your writing, thoughtful and thorough in your planning, and ready to drill when the shoot day arrives. To take advantage of the tools described in this primer, head over to Celtx and set up your team with a free trial. You’ll find that it makes keeping everyone informed and engaged during both the pre-production process and on set that much easier.

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#SaaS “We are excited to see the great progress that the Varenya Softech team has made in India and the CLMVT region is really emerging as a powerful and largely untapped marketplace where ‘Software-as-a-Service’ is poised to boom. SaaS is not just an add-on for any business in every industry sector, it is essential for business growth, success and survival.” James With, CEO of On Your Services Co., Ltd.

Varenya Softech Powerful and Clean

To Inform is to Influence

AT THE BLACK HAT cybersecurity conference in 2014, industry luminary Dan Geer, fed up with the prevalence of vulnerabilities in digital code, made a modest proposal: Software companies should either make their products open source so buyers can see what they’re getting and tweak what they don’t like, or suffer the consequences if their software failed. He likened it to the ancient Code of Hammurabi, which says that if a builder poorly constructs a house and the house collapses and kills its owner, the builder should be put to death.

No one is suggesting putting sloppy programmers to death, but holding software companies liable for defective programs, and nullifying licensing clauses that have effectively disclaimed such liability, may make sense, given the increasing prevalence of online breaches.

The only problem with Geer’s scheme is that no formal metrics existed in 2014 for assessing the security of software or distinguishing between code…

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Varenya Softech PRESS RELEASE HeaderVARENYA SOFTECH FOCUSES ON CLMVT REGIONAL EXPANSION

JOINT VENTURE OPENS UP ASEAN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

BANGKOK, THAILAND, July 18, 2016 – India’s Varenya Softech Private Limited is excited to announce the merging of operations with On Your Services Co., Ltd. The Thailand registered company established in 2014 has been providing consultancy services to Varenya Softech across the CLMVT region.

Varenya Softech Twitter  - 2“We are excited to see the great progress that the Varenya Softech team has made in India and the CLMVT region is really emerging as a powerful and largely untapped marketplace where ‘Software-as-a-Service’ is poised to boom. SaaS is not just an add-on for any business in every industry sector, it is essential for business growth, success and survival.” James With, CEO of On Your Services Co., Ltd.

The private joint venture partnership arrangement involves an undisclosed exchange of shares and combines the staff and resources of the two companies to further expansion. Varenya Softech’s proprietary software products are suitable for companies of all sizes, being used by leading companies including Siemens, HSBC, Nestlē, Hallmark and other clients. Multiple award-winning Varenya Softech Pvt. Ltd. has been recognized for successes, receiving praise from clients and industry specialists.

Varenya Softech Effective CRM“On Your Services gives Varenya Softech a fast track process opportunity to apply to Thailand’s Board of Investment. The BOI in Thailand views software development as a highly attractive industry sector and expanding the development of our products in Thailand will give us much greater scope to deliver more customized solutions for our clients worldwide.” Mayank Maitreya, Founding Partner, Varenya Softech Pvt. Ltd.

Varenya Softech 3Varenya Softech provides business technology solutions and managed services; more than simply delivering technology or providing outsourcing based on Varenya Softech’s winning combination of insight, innovation, and deep knowledge of cutting edge technologies. Varenya Softech offers an optimum blend of personal and technical skills backed by tools, methodologies, and best practices that reduce the cost and risk of deployments.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact James With in India by phone at +91-80-66186074 or email at sales@varenyasoftech.com or James With in Thailand at james@varenyasoftech.com

 

 

 

#Brexit – How does it affect the UK Film Industry ?- Conjecture and Opinions

Well, after reading the article by Stephen Follows copied in its entirety below, I’m certainly not in agreement and have been prompted to provide my own views on this historic and groundbreaking referendum held on 23rd June 2016 in the UK now commonly called the “Brexit” vote.

Britain is well-prepared and will triumph gloriously as the panic subsides. I am most probably going to be critiqued on my statements here and wildly criticised for being contrarian or called worse? Let me start by stating that the film industry generally and globally is going through a dynamic disruptive metamorphosis; changes are inevitable as strong growth in media continues, and as new business relationships are consummated in a rapidly changing economic landscape. The models have changed. Funding productions and distributing content is no longer utilising film funding mechanics that were developed and put in place decades ago, and before the Internet changed everything.

L2L Brexit Opportunity

Countries and their governments throughout the world are adopting film incentives processes building on local strengths as they have researched and found how important attracting filmmaking in their jurisdictions is to other industry sectors within their borders. Film incentives emanated from Hollywood and were initiated by “Runaway Production“. In the late 1990’s Hollywood film industry guilds, backed by US studios and media companies retained a company that produced the Monitor Report to conduct an investigation into phenomenon. The global success of production incentives and the migration of feature film production from the U.S.A. to the world spurred further in-depth research and data collection.

 

The outcome of the Brexit vote in the UK has rippled rapidly through the financial services industry, banks and global markets and will continue for some time yet; all are experiencing very high levels of volatility and this has sent shock waves around the world.

Brexit Pound Drops

Record drops in Pound Sterling currency trading

 

The British Pound has plummeted to record lows with the media networks harping on in sound bites, excited sensationalism about trading drops not seen in 45 years of market analytics et al. Well, what most people seemingly don’t realise or understand about
film industry dynamics is that the film necessarily thrives during times of uncertainty. This can be seen throughout history, across countries and around the world. Do some deep research into what I am writing here and you will likely be surprised to find correlations that support my words! The British film industry has evolved and will continue to capture global market shares in the media industry, and I see this time as stimulating greater growth, as opposed to what the pundits and commentators are bleating along with those who see things differently.

Brexit Britain On Film BFI

Britain On Film Our Lives Our Stories www.bfi.org.uk

Here’s some background worth reciting to put current views in context. “The UK was not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome which created the EEC in 1957. The country subsequently applied to join the organization in 1963 and again in 1967, but both applications were vetoed by the then President of FranceCharles de Gaulle, ostensibly because “a number of aspects of Britain’s economy, from working practices to agriculture had made Britain incompatible with Europe and that Britain harbored a “deep-seated hostility” to any pan-European project. Once de Gaulle had relinquished the French presidency, the UK made a third application for membership, which was successful. On 1 January 1973 the United Kingdom joined the EEC, then often referred to in the UK as the “Common Market”. This was done under the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. The opposition Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, contested the October 1974 general election with a commitment to renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership of the EEC and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EEC on the new terms.”

Brexit British Film Soldiers On - Barry Lyndon 1975 Stanley Kubrick

A scene from “Barry Lyndon” 1975, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Now more than four decades on in 2016 the people of the UK have voted and the majority have chosen to leave the fold.

The EU and EEA (formerly known as EEC) have been weighed, measured and left wanting.

Brexit Wins Overall

British “Brexit” Referendum Final Results

The globalists,  corporate interests, banks and politicians that are are all screaming and moaning at the top of their lungs that the UK has absconded are behaving like chicks hatching out of cracked and spoiled boiled eggs. Many of those who have been gambling on this huge European casino economy are locked into the Euro currency; Britain is not.

In retrospect keeping the British Pound was a very smart move and whilst obviously it will be spinning fast and furiously on the roulette wheel of global currency markets for a while, the wheel will begin to slow and when it settles, the strength and growth prospects inherent in the British economy will begin to shine. Now that the UK has left the table, after having been previously drawn to the allure of bright lights and European delights at a time in British history when things looked a damn sight more appealing across the channel than the dire conditions in England that occurred in the aftermath of World War II.Brexit BFI Facebook on Billy Wilder

Britain was enticed down the old golden gilt garden path and as things became boggy and more recently progressively stagnant a modern economic quagmire of dissent and distrust emerged and flowed in the under currents of populations and opinions. The British people have decided to take their remaining chips, cash in at the borders and leave the building. If you’ve ever been into a casino, you will have noticed that they like to keep the light constant, day and night, to trick people and punters into staying on and gambling for longer; the EU bureaucratic empire operates as aqueously within its vast corridors of power, ever flowing, ever changing and most haven’t even noticed where the leakages are occurring.

Brexit The Movie is a full length British documentary film that provides some very interesting factual details, and well worth watching more than once.

The United Kingdom now stands to benefit immensely.

 

Building on new trends and timing with markets

Evidence suggests that the trends of US and EU companies pursuing strategic partnerships in Asia is increasing in 2016.

Brexit Pole - Interest Rates

Fiscal imbalances and floundering interest rates

Such trends are not exclusive to strategic decisions being made by corporations in the entertainment, media, and Hollywood talent agencies. The British Film Institute research provides great insights into how UK Film industry has been positioning for a more dynamic growth into new markets. A renewed focus on private equity and Family Office funding coupled with recent increased volatility in financial markets has spurred a swathe of mergers and acquisitions activity across the divide between East and West. Britain stands to benefit in this changing dynamic global shift we are in the midst of witnessing.

OTT and Streaming revenues growth accelerators

Activity and accelerated knowledge growth amongst Asian countries in the OTT and Premium OTT services sectors is driving increased competition for market share in four principle market angles:

  • Market enablers: the underlying market conditions for premium OTT offerings (e.g. population, broadband, devices, penetration, payment gateways)
  • OTT building blocks: the assets, capabilities, technologies and services required to develop and launch subscription OTT offerings (e.g. government regulation, censorship, languages, cultural specialties)
  • Consumer demand: awareness, interest, willingness to pay, serviceability to pay, payment options
  • The competitive environment between OTT services, pay-tv offerings (Netflix, iflix, et al)

Britain is poised strategically and the smart money and smart ideas are disruptive. I see Brexit as a smart move, contrary to the inference by general mass media reports that most of the voters were low income classes lacking in understanding. Smart companies are banking on future technologies that will change the way we do business around the world. Furthermore, Britain can now create new relationships more efficiently and operate without needing EU approvals, that are more complex and time consuming to get approved across the channel. Providing scalability as well as flexibility to explore expansion opportunities and build business relationships in ASEAN and India at an exciting time when these Asian regions are experiencing extraordinary changes is an opportunity for the taking.

Brexit BFI Into Film

BFI Into Film education programme

The British Film Industry stands to benefit immensely as it is well supported within the country by the BFI coupled with educational programmes such as Into Film and these can quickly and easily become interesting areas of growth for British film professionals showing their wares to countries with less established film industry mechanisms. Growth in the global media industry is vibrant and expanding. As Asia creates new forums, established British technology and experience in teaching and learning programs can be exported and provide assistance and services for Startups in countries experiencing strong growth. Focusing on new business avenues and matching these efficiently with cost effectively implementation of entertainment and media growth strategies is the key to sustainability; remaining adaptable to future changes is vital for survival.

Innovations and Cultural Specifics

Innovations in technology and rapid growth utilising enterprise software to enhance business efficiency coupled to growing mobile penetration is prevalent across ASEAN.

Brexit Mobile penetration demographics SE Asia

Mobile Communications Demographics in South East Asia

With large populations utilizing high-speed data services and ever-increasing access to mobile communications coupled with the proliferation of marketing and advertising censorship controls are the subject of Governments and populations wishing to monitor and filter content delivered over the Internet.

India’s super angel investors are predominantly focused on the media technology and innovation spaces and are keenly interested in developing strategic partnerships with growth stories that focus on expansion in Asia.

The UK film industry is not only going to benefit from what I see as being relatively short-term weakness in the British Pound currency, Britain will thrive as the English people build upon their long history and experiences of seeking out and discovering new lands, building and expanding. With Brexit Britain has begun a new era of British conquest but not of conquer; this time the prospects are for the country to prosper on new relationships with new partners, rather than empire building as it was during the days of the East India Company “formed to pursue trade with the East Indies but ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and Qing China.” The company rose to account for half of the world’s trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. This time Britain will be bringing AI, nano-technology and British Startups Technology to the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read my conjecture and opinions here. I look forward with positivism and optimism as the world begins to dance rather than march to a new tune.

This article is created and written by James With, spurred after reading the article by Stephen Follows dated June 26, 2016 copied here below.

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The full article by Stephen Follows is reprinted here for ease and efficiency with respect to views expressed by many film industry heavyweights and further juxtaposition.

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?Last Thursday, 52% of the UK population voted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).  I am going to avoid the political side of this conversation as it’s been covered well elsewhere.  I will also avoid sharing my own opinion on the matter as there are no shortage of people shouting off on one side or another.However, I thought I can add to the conversation by looking at the numbers for how the British and European film industries interact and how Brexit will affect the UK film industry.

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

It’s worth noting that a large part of the whole Brexit debate was taken up with discussing unknowns.  Neither side has a magic crystal ball and so it’s impossible to say for certain exactly what will happen in a post-EU UK.  However, some outcomes are almost automatic, in that if the UK stops paying into the EU then it can expect to stop receiving money out of the EU.  So, here is a rundown of the negative effects of Brexit to the UK film industry…

  1. MEDIA logoAn end to MEDIA / Creative Europe funding (certain).  Between 2007-13, the MEDIA scheme provided over €100 million towards various aspects of the UK film industry. The loss of this money is the biggest, clearest effect of Brexit and so I’ve addressed it in the section below.
  2. In the short-term, British / European co-productions will be harder (very likely). Official co-productions allow international film producers to work together to create a film which can gain state protections and tax benefits from multiple countries at the same time. In the immediate future, co-productions between British and European countries will become harder, due to the fall in the value of the Pound and the growing uncertainty.
  3. In the long-term, British / European co-productions may need new legislation (unclear).  Official co-productions are only possible between countries which have signed a treaty defining co-production rules. The UK currently has active treaties with Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, Jamaica, Morocco, New Zealand, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, South Africa and the EU.  The EU treaty is called the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production and was signed in October 1992 in Strasbourg.  This European treaty is not exclusively for just EU members as it refers to its signatories as “member States and the other States Parties to the European Cultural Convention”.  The UK signed the original treaty as a member of the EU so conceivably it would need to sign up again as a “European non-member State”.  Interestingly, the UK already has a separate co-production agreement with France, signed in 1994, so British / French co-productions may not be affected by Brexit in the same way co-productions with other EU member states are.
  4. British content will be much less attractive to European broadcasters (almost certain). Some European countries have quotas on the amount of European content their exhibitors and broadcasters must show.  For example, the majority (i.e. minimum of 51%) of French entertainment broadcast transmission time must be taken up with programs of European origin.  Not only did this increase demand for native UK films and television shows but it also made UK / US co-productions more attractive.  For example, ‘The Night Manager’ was a £30 million co-production between the BBC and AMC, which also qualified as an EU production.  In a post-Brexit world, it is very unlikely that such products will be classed as ‘European’ and will therefore lose a large part of their value to European countries with such quotas.
  5. Increased complexities for international cast and crew (possible but unclear).  One of the features of a unified Europe is the free movement of people, goods and services.  New visa requirements and work permits could affect both British people filming in Europe and European people filming in the UK.  That said, the issue is a little more complicated than just ‘in or out’ of the EU. This passport and border controls are covered not by the EU but instead by the Schengen Agreement, and only 22 of the EU’s 28 member states are currently signed up (also, the UK and Ireland have certain opt-outs),  In addition, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are members of the Schengen Area but not of the EU.  The basics of the free movement of people and services is also not simply an EU issue, but was instead established in the Treaty of Rome. So it’s not clear what would happen post-Brexit as new agreements will need to be reached in order to keep the free movement protections the film industry has enjoyed until now.
  6. Fewer UK films will be distributed in Europe (certain). EU funding has supported the export of UK film to Europe to a massive degree. In fact, between 2007-13, almost €45 million was spent to bring UK films to European cinema audiences.  Details of which films were supported follow in the next section.
  7. Blue is the warmest colourFewer international films will be distributed in the UK (certain, although the extent is unknown).  Between 2007-13, UK-based businesses received over €20 million in EU funding to support the release of European films in the UK.  In addition, if Brexit continues to cause a weak Pound then it becomes more expensive for UK distributors to acquire new content.  However, this will affect all UK distributors equally, so may only reduce the amount UK distributors can pay upfront (known as the Minumum Guarantee, or MG) rather than prevent distribution entirely.
  8. UK independent cinemas will lose income.  (certain, although the extent is unknown).  56 UK independent cinemas receive funding from the EU as part of the Europa Cinema scheme, which supports cinemas which commit an average of 67% of their programming to European films.  Between 2007-13, this averaged out to over €103,000 per cinema.
  9. The negative effect of uncertainty (very likely). The film industry is highly fickle and responds negatively towards uncertainty.  This is partly due to the large amounts of money at stake and the desire to reduce risks wherever possible.  Right now no-one is sure what effect Brexit will have on the UK film industry, and so it may seem a safer bet to wait this period of change out before investing in UK film productions.
  10. Loss of influence on European rules affecting UK content (certain but effects unknown). By leaving the EU, the UK will forfeit its right to influence EU policy towards film and television content.  This will most acutely be felt in the discussions around the proposed Single Digital Market, which aims to force distributors to treat the EU as one territory, rather than distributing films country-by-country as happens today.

Despite these negative effects, Brexit could be positive for the UK film industry in the following ways…

  1. several-pound-bills-new-british-20-pounds-moneyIt becomes cheaper to shoot in the UK (uncertain).  If the Pound continues to lose value (as it has since the Brexit voted was announced) then the UK becomes ever-cheaper for foreign productions to set up shop in the UK. This will have the biggest effect on Hollywood studios, who spend vast sums of money and whose green-screen epics can be shot almost anywhere in the world.   Between 2006-15, UK / USA studios films spent £7.7 billion in the UK, accounting for 68% of the money spent on UK films.
  2. The UK is free to change its tax rules (certain).  The current Film Tax Relief (FTR) scheme is very generous and offers producers a refund worth around a fifth of the money they spend on UK films in the UK.  As a member of the EU, the UK is bound by rules on State Aid and does not have a free hand to change government incentives and subsidies without EU approval. When the FTR first came in, it gave points for various elements being British, such as the cast, crew, languages used, etc.  However, EU rules have forced the UK to widen the criteria to favour all Europeans equally.  This means that it is now possible to have a film that qualifies as fully “Brtish” with an all-Italian crew, based on a Spanish story, told in German. Leaving the EU will remove these restrictions on UK film tax policy. This freedom will mostly benefit the unseen civil servants who draw up the actual tax laws, but this increased flexibility means that in theory our film incentives can be changed more often and be better tailored to the needs of the UK film industry.
  3. Avoid proposed new European rules on release patterns (certain freedom from a possible event). As discussed above, the Single Digital Market could mean that films need to be released in Europe as one territory all at once.  It’s not certain how the new rules will eventually be written, but if we’re out of the EU then we’re certainly not going to be part of it.  This will still affect British films exported to Europe but not films released in the UK.
  4. The UK can spend that saved money directly on UK film (extremely unclear).  In theory, the UK can use the money saved by not paying into the EU to directly replace the money and support that was lost by the lack of MEDIA funding.  It remains unclear if the government wishes to do this.

How much has the MEDIA budget benefitted the UK film industry?

MEDIA currently provides money to the UK film sector for training, development, co-productions, festivals and theatrical distribution.  Over a seven year period (2007-13), the EU provided over €100,000,000 towards various aspects of UK film industry.  This breaks down as follows…

  • MEDIA - Brexit affect the UK film industry€44,561,008 – Awards to European distributors to release UK films
  • €10,478,771 – Investment in UK TV broadcasting
  • €8,898,821 – Distribution of European films in the UK
  • €7,830,252 – Development – UK Slate funding
  • €6,939,604 – Development – UK Single projects
  • €5,810,965 – UK cinemas part of the Europa network
  • €4,910,314 – UK-based training
  • €2,975,703 – UK VoD platforms
  • €2,775,444 – UK-based film courses and schools
  • €2,013,688 – Development – UK Interactive works
  • €890,530 – Grants to UK sales agents who represent non-UK European films
  • €85,0718 – UK pilot release programs
  • €695,500 – European Day-and-Date pilots
  • €539,766 – i2i Audiovisual (plugging finance gaps in UK / European co-productions)
  • €100,171,084 – Total

As mentioned above, UK films have received a huge amount of EU funding for their releases around Europe.  These include…

  • Kings Speech in FrenchThe Iron Lady – €1,531,922 – 31 European territories
  • Slumdog Millionaire – €1,339,104 – 24 European territories
  • Quartet – €1,339,009 – 23 European territories
  • Looking For Eric – €1,297,031 – 26 European territories
  • Tamara Drewe – €1,239,843 – 22 European territories
  • The King’s Speech – €1,025,717 – 26 European territories
  • The Last Legion – €1,025,551 – 3 European territories
  • The Duchess – €954,012 – 19 European territories
  • Shame – €951,814 – 27 European territories
  • Another Year – €914,330 – 21 European territories
  • I Give It a Year – €892,867 – 29 European territories
  • Streetdance 3D – €891,644 – 17 European territories
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – €882,124 – 27 European territories
  • The Secret of Moonacre – €814,964 – 5 European territories
  • Song for Marion – €787,987 – 15 European territories
  • Happy-Go-Lucky – €750,173 – 24 European territories
  • Hysteria – €748,066 – 25 European territories
  • Fish Tank – €737,813 – 29 European territories
  • Nowhere Boy – €708,871 – 8 European territories
  • The Angels’ Share – €699,286 – 27 European territories
  • A further €25,028,880 awarded to other UK films

Finally, it’s worth mentioning some of the European films that have reached UK cinema audiences in part because of EU funding. These include A Prophet, The Great Beauty, Gomorrah, I Am Love, Persepolis, Love is All You Need, The Class, Amour, Potiche, Waltz with Bashir, Heartbreaker, Of Gods and Men, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Pina, Two Days In Paris, The Counterfeiters, The White Ribbon, Melancholia, Antichrist and Molière.

What is the UK film industry’s opinion on Brexit?

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of people working in the UK film industry are firmly against the UK leaving the EU.  UK arts pressure group the Creative Industries Federation say that 96% of its members supported the Remain campaign and 84% said that EU membership was important to the future of their organisation.   A poll by Media Business Insight found that 66% of people working in the UK film industry felt that Brexit would have a negative impact on the sector.  A further 18.5% were uncertain on the outcome of Brexit, with only 11.5% believing that Brexit would be positive for the UK’s film industry.

So why are so many UK film professionals against Brexit?  This could be for a number of reasons…

  • Political values. The film industry is traditional a fairly liberal-minded industry and the liberal cause is largely pro-EU.
  • Geographical location.  The majority of UK film jobs are located in London and London was a hotbed of anti-Brexit sentiment (60% of London voters opted to Remain).
  • Age. The film industry has much lower age profile than the UK population, and polls have shown how the majority of those under 50 supported Remain while a majority of those over 50 supported Leave.
  • Fear of uncertainty.  The UK film industry is in a period of stable growth, thanks in large part to a stable government approach to film incentives.  Uncertainties in the future could scare off investors and studios from making investments in UK films.
  • The majority of predictable outcomes to the UK film industry are negative.  The list at the top of this article shows how the vast majority of expected Brexit outcomes are negative for UK film.

Here is a summary of press coverage on the issue…

  • Brexit game of ThronesScreen Daily says that the UK film and TV sectors are in “limbo” and that “the two sectors had recently expressed strong sentiment in favour of remaining in the European Union, which is the major trade partner of the UK and which provides millions of pounds in subsidies to the UK market as well as a number of frameworks for coproduction. That structure is now in serious doubt“.
  • Variety collected views from a number of major voices in UK film, summing them up by saying “British voters’ stunning decision to turn their backs on the European Union has left many of the country’s leading TV and film players reeling“.
  • The Guardian summed up the situation by saying that there would be “less cash, fewer movies” and also that “we could witness a 70s-style British film meltdown”.
  • The Hollywood Reporter led with “U.K. Producers Oppose Brexit”, pointing out that “James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, veteran David Puttnam, Matthew Vaughn, The King’s Speech producer Iain Canning, Slumdog Millionaire’s Christian Colson and Aardman Animations are among those who outlined their reasons for why staying in the EU is the right call for those who want “to support our current, thriving creative industries.”“.
  • Broadcast magazine noted that shares in ITV dropped 19% within a day of the vote being announced, and the Sky share price also fell 8%.  Further drops were felt by eOne and Vivendi.
  • The Verge discussed the possible effect of Brexit on ‘Game of Thrones’, saying “US productions might feel the effect, too. Much of HBO’s Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, for instance, partly supported by the European Regional Development Fund. HBO, however, says it doesn’t anticipate any financial impact on GoT, since the network took no money from the ERDF for the last few seasons, according to Entertainment Weekly“.
  • And the Radio Times pointed out one aspect of Brexit too many experts have overlooked by noting “The shock Brexit result will have massive ramifications – not least the fact that we may see less of beautiful French actress Clémence Poésy on TV“.

A number of top UK film voices have shared their views and I could fill an entire article with them.  However, for the sake of brevity, here are five which seem to sum up the mood…

  • Harvey WeisteinHarvey Weinstein said “I’m shocked… These guys who voted, voted out of fear. It’s a huge mistake… It could be very costly in the movie and TV industry in terms of content branding. European branding is very important. It’s a big deal for these young British filmmakers”.
  • Michael Ryan, Chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliancesaid The decision to exit the European Union is a major blow to the UK film and TV industry. Producing films and television programs is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must. This decision has just blown up our foundation — as of today, we no longer know how our relationships with co-producers, financiers and distributors will work, whether new taxes will be dropped on our activities in the rest of Europe or how production financing is going to be raised without any input from European funding agencies. The UK creative sector has been a strong and vibrant contributor to the economy — this is likely to be devastating for us”.
  • Danny Perkinshead of Studiocanal UK said “Short term it’s bad news for the currency and terrible news for film acquisitions, which are normally done in dollars or euros. UK companies will suffer in the short term“.
  • Rebecca O’Brien of Sixteen Films said “It has blown us out of the water. We are very dependent on our relations with Europe. All of our films for the last 20 or 25 years have been co-productions with Europe. It (Brexit) doesn’t mean they will stop immediately but it means that trade, and access and all those things are much more difficult. It just means we have to re-invent the wheel again“.
  • Jeremy Thomas of the Recorded Picture Company quoted Charles Bukowski by saying that “the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence“.  Mr Thomas added “For the film industry, it is a disaster“.

So what now?

BrexitSo many of the effects of Brexit are unknown.  Right now, the only thing that has happened is that a non-binding referendum was marginally won by the pro-Brexit movement.  There’s no doubt that the majority of the UK film industry hopes that Brexit doesn’t happen.  Failing that, the film industry is likely to seek the following outcomes from the government…

  • A deal to retain co-production advantages with EU countries.  Most likely this means ensuring that the UK remains signed up to European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production.
  • An agreement to classify UK content as “European” in relation to production and distribution quotas.  This is a harder task than the co-production deal, although it should be noted that Switzerland has already achieved this for their content.
  • Replacement funding be provided for current MEDIA-funded activities.  A major claim of the Leave campaign was that the UK would save £350 million a week by leaving the EU.  It turns out that once you take into account the UK’s rebate the real saving is far lower, but even taking that into account, the money saved by leaving the EU could be used to replace the funding currently provided by MEDIA.
  • Action to be taken swiftly and confidently.  A protracted and messy exit will create a large amount of uncertainty and stifle investment in UK film.

Epilogue

Sorry if you were expecting to be able to read my final article in my series on film locations today.  I have had a number of people ask me about how Brexit will affect the film industry so I bumped the film locations article to next week.  Stay tuned…

 

JW Blog Thailand Production Incentives

#‎Thailand‬’s government has approved a ‪#‎Film‬ ‪#‎Production‬ ‪#‎rebate‬ for international ‪#‎productions‬ that spend at least $1.5m in the Kingdom. Thailand has finally secured government approval for production incentives in the form of a 15-20% cash rebate on qualifying local spend.

Expected to kick in from January 2017, the incentive offers a 15% rebate on international productions that spend at least $1.5m in the country, with a yet-to-be determined upper limit to prevent a single big-budget production from emptying the pot. An additional 3% is available for films that use key Thai cast or crew when shooting in the country and a further 2% for films that have particular value in promoting Thailand.

Reference: http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/cannes/thailand-launches-20-production-incentive/5103910.article

20160514 Thailand Launches 20 percent production rebate - ScreenDaily

Discussions for Thailand to introduce a film production incentive have been heard for over two decades and local film industry professionals see this as a great positive for the film industry in Thailand and ASEAN as a whole. With the more business opportunities and activities focused on trading partnership across the AEC, Thailand’s production hub status will be further strengthened by the implementation of this vital entertainment industry support at a time when Asian appetites for entrepreneurship, fintech, startup technology and OTT are heating up.

When one compares jurisdictions the Thailand film production industry incentives set to take effect in 2017 will weigh in heavily on other countries offering similar production incentives to attract filmmakers, not only in ASEAN, but also throughout the world. This is largely because the costs of production are significantly lower in Thailand than other countries and with rebates being offered in the range of 15%-20% being available, Thailand will rank high on the list of destinations for producers.

EP Financial Solutions

EP Financial Solutions

The development of movie production incentives stems from the perceived economic benefits of filmmaking and television production in the US. In 2010 revenues from television production in the US were estimated at $30.8 billion[1] while revenues from movie and video production in the US were estimated at $29.7 billion in the same year.[2]

As the TV and film industries around the world grew through the 1990s, so did concern over runaway productionsTV shows and films that are intended for a US audience but are filmed in other countries in order to reduce production costs. The issue of runaway productions gained further traction after Canada adopted a movie production incentive program in 1997.

In the 21st century Asia has emerged as a leading growth area for film financing with Asia, China and India increasingly being used by Hollywood producers and major studios as a necessary part of their global strategies.

Building on new trends and timing with markets

Evidence suggests that the trends of US and EU companies pursuing strategic partnerships in Asia is increasing in 2016. Such trends are not exclusive to strategic decisions being made by corporations in the entertainment, media, and Hollywood talent agencies. A renewed focus on private equity and Family Office funding coupled with recent increased volatility in financial markets has spurred a swathe of mergers and acquisitions activity across the divide between East and West.

Innovations and Cultural Specifics

Innovations in technology and rapid growth in the utilisation of enterprise software to enhance business efficiency are coupled to growing mobile penetration prevalent across ASEAN. With large populations utilising high-speed data services and ever-increasing access to mobile communications, the proliferation of marketing and advertising censorship controls under scrutiny, Governments and populations wishing to monitor and filter content delivered over the Internet are all key indicators to watch.

Mobile penetration demographics SE Asia - South Korea

India’s super angel investors are predominantly focused on the media technology and innovation spaces and are keenly interested in developing strategic partnerships with growth stories that focus on expansion in Asia.

For more information on filming in Thailand information is available from the Thailand Film Office. 
Telephone: + 66 2612 4149 +66 2219 4010 Ext. 634 or 463
Email: film@thailandfilmoffice.org URL: Thailandfilmoffice.org

About the author: James With
First published on Monday, 16th May 2016

This article first published on 21st September 2015 on AlCaudullo.com … and the Samsung NX1 is only one of the cameras that the S.A.D Movie Team is using to capture footage for the film we thought Al Caudullo’s article would provide some interesting insights for all who are technically motivated and excited by new technology. We will bring you more insights about the equipment and structure of our project soon… and we hope you enjoy …

The Samsung NX1 Bible

When I think of my first SLR, the Pentax Spotmatic F and my second, the Nikon F, these were iconic cameras. They broke new ground set a new standard for their time. As I progressed through this review, holding Samsung’s flagship NX1 mirrorless camera, my gut says it will be joining the list soon. While Samsung sells tons of cameras all around the world, they have never offered a professional camera. The NX1 has been greeted with a great deal of skepticism from many quarters. But all the elements are right there. Breakthrough tech combined with a solid build and a vision for the future. Mirrorless cameras have been declared the future and DSLR’s, the past. This camera reinforces that. And the potential is there for even more. When this camera was in development Samsung actually tested the sensor at 6K RAW @ 240fps. Maybe we’ll see that resolution in the next generation.

Samsung NX1 with 50-150mm f/2.8 OIS ED Lens

Key Features

A list of key features is quite impressive.

  • 28 megapixel APS-C BSI CMOS sensor 23.5 x 15.7 mm
  • Internal 4K @ 24fps, 4K UHD @ 30fps & 1080p @ up to 60fps (120 fps in 1080)
  • 30.7 MP Actual,  28.2 MP Effective
  • Advanced Hybrid Autofocus system utilizing 205 phase and 209 contrast-detection autofocus points
  • ISO range of100-25,600 native with the ability to increase to 51,200
  • 76.6mm (3.0″) Super AMOLED w/Touch Screen with a resolution of 1036k dots
  • Dynamic Range of 10-12 stops
  • Video Format – H.265 recording system (first of it’s kind)
  • Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 – 4K output via HDMI
  • Still formats-SRW RAW, JPEG, MPO (yes, it can shoot 3D)
  • Fast continuous still shooting up to 15fps @ 28MP
  • Built In Intervalometer to create 6.5K time-lapse videos
  • Android OS with both Android and iOS app controllability
  • WiFi and Bluetooth sharing
  • Incredibly fast DRIMe V image processing engine
  • Ultra high 1/8000-second shutter speed
  • Professional Bit-rate of 80Mbit/s in 4K and 40Mbit/s in Full HD
  • Intelligent Auto Shooting Modes, Baseball, Jump Shot, Trap Shot
  • USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection or charging
  • Measures 139x102x66mm (5.47×4.02×2.6″)

Alain Moussi http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3857692/ https://www.facebook.com/AlainMoussiOnline

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • H.265 codec
  • USB Battery charge
  • Good solid grip and excellent balance
  • NFC, WiFi & Bluetooth
  • WiFi can send pictures but only one at a time
  • Good app integration, especially like remote viewfinder and Android Bluetooth shutter
  • Price
  • Nice button layout
  • Separate Video and stills buttons next to each other
  • Super AMOLED screen with essentially no lag
  • excellent ISO range
  • At fast shutter speeds, high speed action@30fps can be cleaner than some cameras at 60fps
  • Scene modes work very well
  • Gamma DR
  • The NX1 can output 4K 4:2:2 8-bit video over HDMI for capture on an external recorder.
  • Can do rack focus shots using touch screen
  • 28.2 MP backside illuminated sensor
  • Hybrid AF system with phase-detect points covering 90% of frame
  • 153 cross-type AF points with industry-leading frame coverage
  • Mostly effective subject tracking
  • High quality 4K video performance
  • 4K 4:2:2 8-bit video out
  • Outstanding dynamic range and low light image quality
  • 15 fps burst shooting

Cons:

  • H.265 Codec
  • Screen size
  • Few problems with autofocus with any kind of bright lights behind subject
  • Needs custom settings that hold frame rate as well as other settings
  • Needs 60fps recording in 4K UHD
  • Desperately needs 10-bit or even 12-bit color sampling
  • HDMI output limit too many features. You have to unplug to get to them
  • Flash “shadows” 16-50mm lens, must zoom to eliminate it.
  • no cover for the EVF screen
  • Mini HDMI is still glitchy when connected to external Atomos Shogun
  • Movie Converter software is poorly built with no advanced features and many basic features missing. Definitely a stop-gap software. no batch settings If you have 50 files to convert, you must go through them one at a time to select the conversion settings (unless you want the default settings). Finally, the conversion process is slow enough to have a significant impact on workflow unless you have a really fast computer.

Let’s discuss the build of the camera.

Actor/Producer/Stunts

Samsung chose to make The NX1 using die-cast magnesium alloy for the body. The result is a light but an extremely sturdy frame. The overall size of the camera body equates to a medium-sized DSLR.

The hand grip gets away from the trend of smaller and instead delivers a true grip that feels extremely comfortable in my hand. It’s snug to the base of my thumb and doesn’t tire out my hand like many other smaller grip cameras. This is important when you shoot all day long.

The ergonomics get an A+.

The body is splash resistant and combined with the  “S” Series lenses you a fully sealed water resistant system in case you are exposing the camera to the harsher elements.

At 610grams, the weight is less than a Canon 5D Mark III(950grams) or the Sony A7RII (625grams) but slightly more than the Panasonic GH4 (569grams).

Physical Layout of Controls

The layout of the controls is both familiar and unique. As I hold it my fingers deftly fall and find controls right where I expect them to be. A beautiful, natural, intuitive design.  The top dials are right where you expect them to be. The mode control dial features a useful locking button to avoid mistakenly changing settings. The left-hand dial offers ISO, AutoFocus, metering and white balance. The lower part of the dial handles drive operation, single shot, normal continuous, self-timer and bracketing.  Harkening back to classic cameras, the top-mounted LCD supplies you with almost every setting in one view. One feature that I love is the placement of a separate stills and video record buttons. They are situated right next to each other, allowing you to just slide your thumb over to activate either function. One caveat is that The video record button is recessed a little too much for me. I’d prefer a slight bump to make it easier to feel as I slide my thumb over. The main reason behind this request is the closeness of the exposure compensation button which I have on more than one occasion pressed thinking I was activating record. No harm done as the exposure compensation control is a combination of pressing that button and turning one of the thumbwheel controls. However, several video recording opportunities were delayed due to the inadvertent push of the wrong control.

Stills and Video Formats

Since the NX1 captures 6480×4320 stills at a 3:2 aspect ratio and 3840×2160 for 4K UHD which is a 16:9 ratio. For framing video, the customizable  backside menu dial has a default set to change the image to display the proper aspect ratio when you press the right arrow on the dial.

However when you utilize the autofocus by executing a half press of the still shutter, the display snaps back to the 6480×4320 – 3:2 aspect ratio.

When you press the video record, the screen snaps to the 16:9 ratio video format from the 3:2 stills formatting. It doesn’t hurt anything but for framing purposes it can drive you a little buggy.

On the positive side switching back and forth between stills and video is super simple.

Super AMOLED w/Touch Screen

The Super AMOLED w/Touch Screen is really just that, super. I have never seen a better looking, brighter or cleaner image on a screen. I am not  a fan of the sliding tilt, however. I’d like to see swing out and twist.

This is one of the few things that I don’t love about the camera. It is something that you can get used to. That said, the touch screen is marvelous and even the play feature with the ability to pinch to zoom, swipe, and tap. Something that we are all used from our smartphones and tablets.

Even without the limited movement of the screen, you can, however, still do selfies by using the Smartphone App connection.

One immensely useful tool is the tap to focus in live view mode. I have been able to do a smooth rack focus just by tapping the screen.

The companion 1024×768 OLED viewfinder is outstanding and can be set in the menu for color or black and white for more critical focus situations.

I found the focus system to fast and accurate about 85-90% of the times. But I have only tested it with the two best high-end lenses that Samsung makes.

A general observation about the interconnectivity of the device between iOs and Android is that, not surprisingly, Android is a much smoother, easier setup and operation.

Sensor and Processor

The Samsung NX1 comes with a 28 megapixel APS-C BSI CMOS sensor 23.5 x 15.7 mm with image processing by the DRIMe V image processing engine.

Wow, that sounds impressive, and it is. Memorize it and use it at the next party you go to and you will be the “Grand Nerd of the Night”.

But what does it really mean to your shooting experience? Why is it such a big deal?

Let’s pull it apart and see how it relates.

The  BSI or BackSide Illuminated CMOS image sensor uses a novel approach to the layout of the electronics for the sensor. Traditional CMOS sensors have the electronics on the front of the chip with microlenses, then the real workhorses, the photosites that actually record the light behind them. By placing the electronics behind the sensor, Samsung has been able to add more photosites to the same size sensor area, thus enabling more precious light to reach the photosites. More light means less amplification is needed which in turn means less noise in your picture and cleaner, crisper images.

This same tech is the reason that smartphones today are producing better images. It was, in fact, originally used in astronomy sensors for complex telescopes. Till then, no one had made a BSI CMOS this big. Sony has since upped the game by introducing a 42.4MP image sensor on the a7RII.

To give you a comparison, Samsung’s NX30 has a traditional CMOS configuration. The same sensor size yields a 20.8 MP image. So you can see by adding the BSI CMOS Samsung was able to increase the amount of pixels on the sensor to 28.2MP. That’s 8 million more pixels spread across the same size sensor.

Another result of the additional light is the additional sensitivity for better low light performance giving the camera a native resolution range of ISO 100-25,600. Which can be electronically stretched to a whopping 51,200.

The DRIMe V (pronounced DREAM) image processing engine (a quad-core chip) is really the brains of the operation.  that Samsung describes as It takes all the information gathered by the sensor electronics and creates the image. Sounds simple, but it’s not, especially when you realize that the NX1 can shoot at a blistering 15fps for 90 images (with the 1.40 firmware upgrade) in Superfine JPEG or 25 images in SRW RAW. That’s a mind-blowing 700 million pixels of information being spewed out at 15fps. Add to the mix the 14-bit sampling of raw images and 12-bit in continuous shooting application. To look at it in another way, shooting 4K UHD video at 30fps means that you are capturing thirty – 8MP images every second. With continuous shooting the engine is handling fifteen – 28MP images every second. Quite a processing feat indeed.

One more item that will bring home the inherent value of this camera. The NikonD4S shoots 16MP at 11fps and costs almost 3 1/2 times the Samsung NX1.

The processing engine also handles the autofocus duties. With 205 phase and 209 contrast-detection autofocus points the camera is lightning fast focus. These points are built into the surface of the sensor.

If you aren’t familiar with how these two focus systems work, allow me to give you a quick primer.

Advanced Hybrid Autofocus System

Phase Detection Autofocus compares two complimentary images of the selected subject. Simply put if they don’t line up, then they are not in focus. The difference in the distance between the two images tell the camera how much to refocus, either nearer or further.

Contrast-detection autofocus measures the subject contrast ratio. If the ratio increases, then the camera knows it’s going the right way. If it decreases, it reverses course and goes back. While all of this trial and error measuring happens very quickly, nevertheless, you will see a slight blurring, sometimes referred to as breathing, before the focus snaps into place.

Why then, do cameras have both? Because Contract Autofocus works better on faces and Phase Detection Autofocus tunes in moving objects faster. Hence the hybrid combination.

By spreading the autofocus detection points across the entire surface of the sensor with a denser package towards the center versus the edges produces the most efficient results.

That once again takes us back to that wonderfully lightning fast  DRIMe V image processing engine which creates the fastest and most accurate autofocusing system that I have seen on any camera.

That is not to say that you don’t run into issues. This is where understanding the limitations of any machine versus the human brain comes into play. In certain conditions, the autofocus does lose the plot, but these are mostly extreme circumstances where, for instance, an extremely bright back light directly next to your subject. That’s where you use your processing engine, your brain, and either move the subject or switch to manual focus.

You have three autofocus settings to choose from, Single AF (SAF), Continuous AF (CAF) and Active AF (AAF).

SAF is designed for shooting still subjects. A half-press of the shutter adjusts the focus in the boxed focus area. When in focus the box has a green outline.

CAF is the workhorse position. This is designed to continually adjust the focus. You can resize or move the focus box using the touchscreen or the command dial.

AAF will flip between SAF and CAF as needed. So if the subject is far away but moving towards the camera, it would start with SAF and as the image gets closer and bigger it would switch automatically to CAF. Manual assisted focusing either enlarges the picture by 5x or 8x.

My personal choice is to use CAF for video and SAF for stills.

Bangkok at Night shot with Samsung NX1 16-50mm f/2 OIS Lens

In video, the speed of the processor is the reason that you can record 4K to the internal SDHC cards. Because it is processing the image information so fast, then utilizing the H.265 codec to capture the video files in a compressed format that still retains the original image quality. In fact, H.265 can be as much as 1/2 the file size of H.264. Plus it aids the SDHC cards by not requiring them to capture so much data. Meaning that you don’t need the incredible speed need in the cards as you do for cameras like the RED that have to capture to extremely high-speed SSD drives.

Autofocus modes consist of Selection AF, whereby touching the screen you decide on a focus point. Whereas Zone AF will set the autofocus to adjust within a zone area that you preset. This works well with camera movement.

Multi  AF displays a green rectangle in places where focus is set correctly. The photo is divided into two or more areas, and the camera obtains focus points of each area. This mode is recommended for taking landscape photos.

Face Detection AF is designed for group photo settings.

Self-Portrait AF It can be difficult to check whether your face is in focus when you are taking a self-portrait. When this function is on, the camera beeps faster when your face is in focus and located at the center of the composition.

I must say that the last two Face Detection and Self-Portrait are definitely solely consumer based. And with the heft of this camera it is certainly not designed for selfies.

That said, the Selection AF, Zone AF and less so the Multi AF are definitely helpful for pros as well as consumers.

These modes combine with the Focus Assist Modes for the greatest efficiency outside of good old fashion manual focus.

Touch AF

AF Point

Tracking AF

One Touch Shot

I have found that Selection AF combined with Touch AF is my most used AF mode combo.

The NX1 captures both 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) @24p and UHD (3840 x 2160)@23.98p, 24p, 25p/30p plus Full HD (1920×1080) @ variable to 120fps,  60p/50p, 25p/30p, 23.98p, 1280×720 , 640×480 Resolution (though I’m not sure why anyone would use the last few).

H.265 Codec

H.265, the heir apparent to H.264 was developed as the “HEVC” (High Efficiency Video Coding) format by both the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the Video Coding Experts Group(VCEG).

How H.265 works is similar to H.264 in that it uses “image blocks”. It “sees” the image frames and scans for the areas that change and those that don’t. What H.265 does differently is it adjusts the size of the “blocks” to match what is happening on the screen. So the static area gets bigger “blocks” while the changing areas get smaller “blocks” which are easier to rapidly change as the image does.

I’ve kept the explanation somewhat simplified and there are other factors that contribute to the quality improvements. If I went into everything that goes into H.265, this article would be more like a very thick book.

The result is that the image quality is substantially improved while the file size is drastically reduced. The process does require substantially more processing power. Again where the DRIMe V image processing engine comes into play.

You’ll notice later that I list the H.265 codec as both a “Pro” and a “Con”. There is good reason for both.

As a “Pro”, it is a pretty sure bet that H.265 will be the next de facto codec for camera recording, just as H.264 was before it. It will certainly not disappear in the face of Google’s VP-9 codec. Even Google doesn’t believe that it will as they also support H.265 playback on Chrome.

Samsung has taken a bold step in being the first to feature this codec. Although in all honesty, the NX1 forums have more than their share of moaners and groaners cajoling Samsung to offer both H.264 and H.265 codecs in the camera. These neophytes don’t realize the added complexity nor the pointlessness of offering both. You either lead the charge or sit on the fence. Samsung has decided to take a picture of the fence as it surges forward.

As a “Con” it is a short term one. At this point, there is no NLE on the market that can edit the codec. In fact, until recently it was hard to find a player that worked properly. Samsung supplies both a player and a converter for the H.265 codec. The NLE situation will be resolving itself as well as software companies are already working on ways to edit this tightly compressed codec.

If you don’t care for Samsung’s Conversion solution there are several others out there and some are free.

here is a list and brief description.

Footage Studio 4K – Acrovid.com

This is not a free one, but it packs a ton of features into an introductory price of $129.

You can convert into multiple formats including ProRes, DNxHD, MJPEG, MP4 (H.264), plus more and even resample and upscale to 10-bit in the process. Noise reduction, Frame rate change, overcranking and undercranking plus a whole lot more.

CineMartin Cinec -http://www.cinemartin.com/cinec/hevc-h265/

Convert to Multiple formats including ProRes 4444, HQ, LT, 422, DNxHD, H.264 MPEG4, VP9 and a whole lot more. Add LUTs, Cut/Trim videos, Control Adjustments, Crop, Split videos, Overlays, Batch Outputs and the list goes on. Upscale/downscale to HD, 4K, 6K, 8K at 8-bit or 10-bit. It even has a RAW editor to create video files from an image sequence, supporting stills in TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, Cinema DNG and DPX. Available in three versions $226 / $340 / $910

Rocky Mountain Movie Converter – http://sourceforge.net/p/rockymountainsmovieconverter/wiki/Home/ 

This Free converter is quite a deal and was born out the frustration with the Samsung Converter. It basically utilizes FFmpeg source code in a GUI application. It is basic but very quick at converting to H.264, H.265. ProRes Proxy, LT, SQ and HQ codecs. Your choice of downscaling to 1080p or converting to 4K. No bells and whistles here, just simple and efficient.

Behind the scenes with Jean -Claude Van Damme and Alain Moussi

True 6.5K Video in TimeLapse

This is a marvelous little extra treat. The Samsung NX1 has a built in intervalometer for doing time lapse and it will even process the image files into a 4K video file. My advice, don’t do it.

Leave the image sequence as is. When you import it into your NLE (Pro Tip: adjust in Lightroom first) you will then have a glorious 3:2 ratio 6.5K video to play with. Zoom in to 60% and it will fill the screen with a decision to crop at the top or bottom. The 6.5K resolution means you can zoom as much as you like with little or no effect on the image quality.

Or leave it at 100% and create a Hyper-Lapse by keyframing your pan and scan moves. Either way enjoy and take advantage of the extra resolution.

(links to samples on our site)

HDMI Output

Why only 8-bit 4:2:2 Samsung? With all the 10-bit proffered by other manufacturers and the need for 10-bit color sampling for 4K I can only hope that we will see it in a firmware upgrade.

The weakest point on all the modern breed of mirrorless cameras is the mini HDMI port. The port may be mini but the physical weight of the cables certainly is not. I have seen far too may issues when using these tiny ports when connecting to external HDMI devices like the Atomos Shogun. The best solution is an HDMI saver. Most that I saw on the market were heavy and cumbersome. The answer for me was in designing and 3D printing my own. It is practically weightless and works perfectly to reduce the strain from the HDMI cable and save you from needless repairs and the loss of time with your camera. (http://bit.ly/1EyfnYg)

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range describes the ratio between the minimum and maximum useable light captured by the camera.

This is one of the most misunderstood and misused buzzword out there.  It is akin to the wildly extravagant claims of contrast ratio for TV’s. There are a million different ways to measure it, all of which can be slanted in one direction or the next. Add to that the fact that the new BT2020 standard, which will show how that immense dynamic range will perform, has not made it to market yet.

Test conditions make a huge difference as well. What type of lighting? Studio? Outdoor Daytime? Outdoor Nighttime? ISO Setting? How much digital noise is there in the image? How much is acceptable?

There are no real established standards at this time.

While Samsung NX1 does not have a raw or LOG setting for video, it does have GammaDR and Smart Range+. While both of these work together to increase the range available, it won’t be complete until Samsung offers a true flat profile.

For our purposes, let’s discuss this with more practical applications.

As an example, you are shooting at sunset. You have the sun visible in the shot and you have a darkened area that goes all the way to a deep black. The True Dynamic Range would be measured between the highest degree of white that isn’t blowing out and the most visible detail in the blackest area.

In my subjective testing, I have found that the NX1 is almost as good as a full frame sensor. Depending upon the lighting and the exposure, aim for proper exposure of the highlights as the Samsung really holds the details in the shadows much better. So the trick is to slightly underexpose on the highlights and correct and expand in post.

There are several parameters to bear in mind during testing.

It is a given that the higher the ISO, the more digital noise is introduced into the image. Settings of 100 to 800 ISO were used for testing. I pushed beyond all the way up to 51,200, but it just got silly testing for any kind of true pro quality at those settings. For me, they are there for those images you just HAVE to get and don’t care how fuzzy it looks.

Shutter speed plays a factor in the testing. Lower shutter speeds are great for gathering more light for shadow areas whereas higher shutter speeds, in general, they can save you in the highlights.

And not to get you more confused but, Exposure compensation is another one of those, “tricks of the trade”. I found that depending upon lighting conditions, that adjusting the EV by +4EV can  result in a much better image than increasing or decreasing shutter and ISO.

The final factor is the lens. Each lens is designed to have a “sweet spot”. This is the optimum f-stop setting for any particular lens. Manufacturers don’t want to talk about this because the misconception would be that the lens is somehow “less” at any other setting. That is NOT true. It is widely accepted that there is a “native” ISO for every camera. Well, the same goes for lenses.

Without testing, there is no definitive way to know, but in most cases a “middle-of-the-road” approach is safe.

SAMSUNG CSC

Keeping those parameters in mind I have found that, at it’s best the Samsung affords a solid 12 1/2 stops of Dynamic Range. At it’s worst, you will bottom out at 10 – 11 stops. These were all shot with a 100 ISO setting. The results will drop steadily with any ISO over 800.

SAMSUNG CSC

One final thought about dynamic range. Many talk about it like it’s the Holy Grail. And it is wonderful when you are shooting on a camera that has it built in. But if not, the truth is that proper exposure can result in just as good or better results. True profiles to increase dynamic range are wonderful, but unfortunately, the trend lately has been to create these pseudo LUTs or profiles or even de-LUT’s (whatever that snake oil is) in post.

But reader, let me tell you, if you are not applying this to the camera as it records then all you are doing is adjusting the color correction to create a flatter video image and then color correcting it again. It’s pseudo-science, snake oil, my friends, now you see it, now you don’t. If you buy it, then I’ve got some dry swamp land to sell you!

Menu

This is the one place where I think there is a need for improvement, page numbers on the menu. There are none. You go to any book, there are page numbers. When you look something up in the index, there are page numbers. It is a simple but extremely effective way to find the item that you are looking for. It slows you down to look for the exact item you want to change. It’s unbelievable to me that with the technological advances of this machine that the menu doesn’t have page numbers. Ok, enough of my rant. Samsung please give us page numbers. that’s all I’ll say on that.

The menu operation is smooth and easy with either touchscreen or dial control.

Shooting Modes

Samsung Smart Shot, Picture Wizard, and Smart Filters are both a bow to the consumer side of the prosumer users.

Picture Wizard gives you the option to pre-adjust your image with built in looks. You can also create and save your own look with Custom Settings.

Built in choices include:

  • Standard
  • Classic which applies a black and white effect
  • Vivid with highly saturated colors
  • Portrait creates natural skin tones.
  • Landscape emphasizes the forest greenery
  • Retro gives you a brown sepia tone
  • Cool adds accent to the cool blues
  • Calm is described by Samsung as creating a calm scene effect.
  • Clicking the up arrow on the control dial will allow you to customize each one of these if you like.
  • Scrolling over to Custom 1, 2 or 3 allows for complete customization of the look.

Smart Filters

The Smart Filter options are

  • Vignetting Applies the retro-looking colors, high contrast, and strong vignette effect of Lomo cameras.
  • Miniature (H) Applies a tilt-shift effect to make the subject appear in miniature. The top and bottom of the photo will be blurred.
  • Miniature (V) Applies a tilt-shift effect to make the subject appear in miniature. The left and right of the photo will be blurred.
  • Watercolor Applies a watercolor painting effect.
  • Red Desaturate all colors but red.
  • Green Desaturate all colors but green.

Samsung Auto Shot

  • Beauty Face Capture a portrait with options to hide facial imperfections.
  • Landscape Capture still-life scenes and landscapes.
  • Action Freeze Capture subjects moving at high speed.
  • Rich Tones Capture a photo with vibrant colors HDR.
  • Panorama Capture a wide panoramic scene in a single photo.
  • Waterfall Capture scenes with waterfalls.
  • Multi Exposure Capture multiple photos and overlap them to create one photo.
  • Samsung Auto Shot Capture action photos, such as someone hitting a baseball, a jumpshot, or when the subject passes a preset point.
  • Silhouette Capture subjects as dark shapes against a light background.
  • Sunset Capture scenes at sunset, with natural-looking reds and yellows.

Actress

Personally, while I did test these and they all worked fine. I keep the setting in the “off” position, preferring to shoot in SRW RAW mode and adjust in Lightroom and Photoshop. Please keep in mind that if you are shooting in RAW only, the Smart Filters setting will be grayed out in the menu along with the choice of Photo Size.

i-Function

With one button on the lens and two dials on the body you can set the aperture, shutter sped, ISO, Exposure Value, and White Balance and Intelli-Zoom (if the lens is so equipped). This is a fantastic feature for “run and gun” shooters eliminating having to go to the menu to make these adjustments.

I like it because you can make all of these adjustments after enabling the i-Function with just using the two command dials at the top and back of the camera. Customization of the features are available through the menu under “iFn Customizing”.

Interconnectivity

The trio of NFC, WiFi and Bluetooth make the NX1 the top of its class in wireless camera connectivity. Dual Band communication features a choice of 2.4GHz or 5GHz transmission. This is especially helpful if there is an overload of 2.4GHz devices in the area.

Utilizing the Bluetooth you can have the time set automatically and add GPS coordinates to your image file. One caveat is that the Bluetooth only works on Android and not the iOS version. Overall I would say that the Android experience is smoother than the iOS app, which is to be expected considering you are linking to Samsung smartphones. Which is too bad because I really like the Bluetooth shutter feature on the Android version.

Both do offer smartphone camera control and remote viewfinder control. With Remote Viewfinder, you can set the file size for stills or video, change picture modes, drive settings, AF settings, white balance and decide on either VGA or QVGA streaming. There is very little lag in operation, but if the camera goes dark then you can lose the connection and have to re-establish.

While you can directly post to your Facebook or Instagram accounts, you can transfer between the camera and smart device easily with the application.

The i-Launcher software system is built into the Samsung NX1 Camera. Once you plug your camera into your Mac or PC the i-Launcher or i-Launcher Web allows you to update the firmware of the camera or the lens, or download the User Manual. It also allows you to

download and install Samsung Movie Converter, Samsung DNG Converter, PC Auto Backup, Power Media Player, and the SDK reference program.

No more CD with software that gets lost when you need to install again. Everything your need to work with your camera including the H.265 converter software is there.

In addition, there is a licensed copy of Adobe Lightroom for you. Be sure to update the software as soon as you install it as the version supplied does not support Samsung’s SRW RAW file format.

Lenses

Adding any of the Premium “S” Series lenses, like the 50-150mm F2.8 S ED OIS Lens at 915grams or the 16-50mm F2-2.8 S ED OIS Zoom Lens at 621 grams add some beef to your hand. But it feels good. Traditionally, as long as the camera is well balanced a little more weight lends itself to better stability in your shots. Plus these lenses have optical stabilization built in.

For my testing, I have been provided with these two lenses and I can truthfully say they have served me for 95% of my shooting. I would have liked a true wide angle to test like the 10mm F3.5 Fisheye lens for testing, but perhaps at a later date I can get my hands on one.

The 16-50mm F2-2.8 S ED OIS Zoom Lens offers an 82.6 degree angle of view at 16mm, equal to a 24mm lens to a 31.4 degree angle of view, the same as a 75mm lens in a 35mm system.

The 50-150mm F2.8 S ED OIS Zoom Lens picks up from there nicely offering an 31.4 degree angle of view at 50mm, equal to a 75mm lens and tapers off to a 10.7 degree angle of view at 150mm, the same as a 231mm lens in a 35mm system.

The availability of a range of lenses which was an early criticism of the system is rapidly expanding. Samsung now offers  28 lens choices, including primes, with more on the way.

Rokinon, Samyang, Bower, Lensbaby & Rising are all offering a steadily increasing selection of Samsung NX mount lenses.

In addition Fotasy and FotodioX both have economically priced adapters to use either Canon EF or Nikon lenses. Although using these adapters send you to manual only adjustments. No word yet from Metabones about a powered adapter, although I am sure as the camera grows in popularity, we will see an offering from them.

These two lenses represent the high end of the lenses offered by Samsung. What sets them apart is the overall combination of features.

The 16-50mm F2-2.8 S ED OIS Zoom Lens has 18 elements in 12 groups. The lens includes three aspherical, two ED, and two XHR lenses. The aspherical elements control the softness often seen at the edges of other lenses. These elements balance the distribution of light more effectively creating a much smoother distribution of light across the image.

The ED or Extra-low Dispersion performs a similar equalling out of the color, preventing fringing on the edges and keeping a smooth dispersion of the color wavelengths across the surface of the lens. this gives you superior sharpness and color correction by diminishing chromatic aberration.

The Xtreme High Refractive (XHR) lenses makes for more efficient and uniform distribution of light and keeps the lens more compact and lightweight than other lenses.

These features combine with the lens-shift OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and the Ultra-Precise Stepping Motor (UPSM) to produce true professional quality image results even in the most adverse conditions. The additional bonus is that these lenses are truly dust and splash proof.

An interesting difference in the 50-150mm F2.8 S ED OIS Lens is the SHS or Samsung Hyper Shield Coating on the lens. It incorporates Anti-Fingerprint, Anti-Fog and Anti-Splash characteristics to the lens versus convention coating.

In addition, the lens has a custom focus range limiter that can be adjusted to a specific distance area of focus. This in turn allows for extremely fast autofocus. In testing this feature, I found it especially useful in distance shots in outdoor nature situations. The 6-axis Optical Image Stabilization performs excellently to keep the image in the viewfinder stable for framing.

SAMSUNG NX1 50-150mm

My testing with both lenses revealed a well designed and executed lens system. There was a great deal of thought that went into this pair of optic tools. Clean, clear crisp images with fast accurate focusing, weather proofing with a strong feel and responsive action in your hands. I especially appreciated the little things like both lenses having a filter ring size of 72mm, making it easy to switch any filters or even interchange lens caps as you alternate between cameras.

Green eyed cat shot with Samsung NX1 16-50mm f/2 OIS Lens

The Bokeh is the term for the ascetics of the out of focus areas of the image. The origin of the word comes from the Japanese word ボケ味, the “blur quality”. The best cinematic lens offers Bokeh described with terms like smooth or creamy or harsh. They enhance your images by enhancing your subject against a pleasing intentionally blurred background. In my opinion, I would describe the Bokeh as creamy and rates highly in comparison to almost any professional lens on the market. Both the 50-150mm F2.8 S ED OIS Lens and the 16-50mm F2-2.8 S ED OIS Zoom Lens use nine rounded aperture blades, so the Bokeh for both areas matched set.

Another example of team minded design.

Newest Firmware Upgrade

While working on the completion of this review, the eighth (8th) Firmware Upgrade and sixth (6th) Lens Firmware Upgrade was released by Samsung, Version 1.40.

Samsung has continued to follow an aggressive stream of upgrades with a combination of fixing issues and adding or improving additional features. Honestly, I can’t remember another camera manufacturer who has been this committed to improving it’s product.

Some of the listed changes are obvious, some not so much. In testing these add-ons four stand out as being major.

First, the increased continuous maximum shot counts. Adding 20 is a testament to the power of the DRIMe V image processing engine. And while adding another 5 shots in the continuous burst of 15fps may not sound like a lot, it most certainly is when you realize that each SRW RAW is 47.6MP.

Adding DIS (Digital Image Stabilization) is, in my opinion, the most important of the group. It is  a boon to handheld shooters. There is a slight crop applied to the image which is a necessary and acceptable trade off for the visibly improved image quality.

Critically focused shots are an absolute must for 4K shooting and Focus peaking is your best friend. One of the major bugs before this update was that the focus peaking would have to be reinitialized. Now it can be Key-mapped to a custom button in the menu. I choose the down arrow of the command dial.

Lastly, the improved  autofocus during zooming is a very noticeable improvement. While it is restricted for only 6 lenses, these do constitute the real workhorse lenses in the Samsung arsenal. In video, I usually don’t zoom unless it’s a sports event that I am shooting with one camera. In the past in those cases I was stuck with a sometimes nasty “breathing” of the focus until it settled. It didn’t take very long, but it was, nonetheless, unacceptable for professional video. That issue has been eradicated totally with this upgrade.

One major thing to remember with installing a firmware upgrade is that it does a reset of the choices in your settings. If you change a lot it would be worthwhile to make a text file or take pics of each menu page for easy resetting after.

[v.1.40]

  1. Increased continuous maximum shot counts

– 15fps JPEG : 70ea → 90ea

– 15fps RAW  : 20ea → 25ea

  1. Added Video DIS (except 120p, VGA size video)
  2. Added AEL at M mode, ISO Auto setting
  3. Added Focus Peaking menu in button setting menu
  4. Improved AF to work during zooming

(6 Supporting Lens : 16-50mm S, 50-150mm S, 16-50mm PZ, 18-55mm Ⅲ, 12-24mm, 50-200mm Ⅲ)

※ Please updated Lens together with Latest version

Lens Firmware can be updated by iLauncher

  1. Add Flash Exposure info. display on Live view Live view (when Flash is ON)
  2. Improved battery display to show both internal & external remains together when vertical grip is mounted
  3. Improved Playback speed of photo
  4. Improved sound quality of external Mic. (only for Auto MIC Control OFF)
  5. Overall fixed minor bugs

In the Field – Real World Testing

Jean Claude Van Damme with CoStar Alain Moussi and UFC stars Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez

A unique opportunity recently arose when I was hired as the behind the scenes videographer and still photographer for the new Jean-Claude Van Damme/Dave Bautista movie, Kickboxer Vengeance.

The movie, penned and co-directed by Dimitris Logothetis and John Stockwell is more than an action packed martial arts fest. It is a UFC, MMA fan dream with such notables as George St.Pierre, Gina Carano, Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum and more. The reboot costars Alain Moussi, a rising Canadian actor/stuntman with kicking and splits abilities that surpass Van Damme himself. The female lead is Sara Malakul Lane, an up and coming successful Thai model and actress who elevates the original female lead to Lui a tough Thai Policewoman and love interest to Kurt Sloan. Ted Field, of Riddick, Last Samurai and Three Men and a Baby produces.

Having just received the Samsung NX1, at the time, to review this seemed like the ideal real-world testing ground. What better way to find the capabilities of the camera than to use it on a Hollywood movie set.

My video weapons of choice included the Samsung NX1 with the 16-50mm F 2-2.8 S ED OIS and the 50-150mm F 2.8 S OIS lens. This pair offered the flexibility for both wide angle masters as well as tight portrait shots. In addition, I used the Atomos Shogun, but I will talk about that in a separate review.

The concept was to shoot both 6.5k stills and 4K video, from which high quality stills could be easily pulled from the NLE timeline.

Both Director of Photography, Mateo Londono and the Director, Dimitris Logothetis took notice of the quality of the shots and the camera. They both commented that the Samsung NX1 produced cinema quality shots that could be paired with the Red Epic being used by the production.

Having lived and breathed with this camera for 14 days of shooting everything from night scenes to high action martial arts fights to press conferences it is safe to say that I am fully indoctrinated to the nuances of the camera.

Clouds over Bangkok

Conclusion

The NX1 manages to achieve something no one else has been able to do at this level, create a camera that delivers both professional quality stills alongside spectacular Pro video.

As a still camera, the amazing 90 JPEG @ 1/8000th-second continuous image burst at 15fps surpasses cameras three times the price. With that kind of latitude the need for neutral density filters disappears.

The SRW RAW files contain a spectacular amount of image data that can easily and creatively adjusted in Lightroom and Photoshop. But never fear, if you straight from the camera stills, the NX1 delivers them quite well. This is where the built-in creativity of the Smart Shot, Picture Wizard and Smart Filters comes into play nicely. And the built-in wiFi means that you are a connection away from emailing anyone a picture straight out of the camera.

The video performance of this camera is flat out stunning. Having tested it in low light on a night shoot of a Hollywood movie to the overpowering brightness of shooting a sunset, the camera has constantly outperformed expectations.

There is a huge fixation lately about RAW and flat S-LOG which is overinflated and misleading. While it is true that the NX1 does not offer a super flat image, a properly exposed shot can be adjusted in post to do everything that a flat profile can offer. Indeed one that same Hollywood movie set of Kickboxer Vengeance the consensus was that the Samsung NX1 could be used side by side with the Red Epic footage in post production. You simply can’t expect better than that for a sub $2000 camera.

I highly advise avoiding this strange concept that seems to be brewing for those who sell these NLE based LUTS and De-LUTS. In my opinion, if you don’t apply it in the camera, then you are doing nothing to add the dynamic range or quality of the image. In fact, you are basically color correcting to achieve a flat image only to color correct a second time to reach the “look” that you want. It’s like flying from New York to New Jersey by first flying to LA. Sure you can do it. But the question is, WHY?

While the NX1 allows for custom controlling of the Luminance Levels and Master Black Levels these as not designed to expand the dynamic range but rather as a way to match to other cameras in given shooting environments. The base settings in combination with the Gamma DR setting grants you the widest latitude in true dynamic range.

I found it very easy to use the Touch AF for set up of focus during those hectic points in shooting behind the scenes on a stunt-filled action movie like Kickboxer Vengeance. In fact, I was even able to pull off rack focus using the Touch AF and the AF Responsiveness adjustment in the menu. The results were as smooth as using the lens control but without needing a second person focus puller.

When I had the time the 1280×70 viewfinder was sharp and spectacular with the manual focus switch on the lens barrel easy to access.

There are however a few hurdles for Samsung’s wizards in engineering to overcome to achieve full professional parity. 10-bit 4:2:2 color sampling and 4k 60p frame rates among them. Enabling 10-bit 4:2:2 instead of 8-bit4:2:2 from the HDMI port would be a welcome first step. That would grant us the ability to use the Atomos Shogun to its fullest potential in external video recording.

Audio has always been a weak link in all mirrorless cameras, but the newest firmware upgrade has taken the first step by improving the external audio capture. But still more needs to be done.

H.265 is a definite long term advantage allowing you to record twice as much as H.264 while still maintain the same professional quality standards. An added bonus is that you don’t need the excessive fast SDHC cards that can cause long term overheating issues and failure.

If you are serious about capturing stills or video, my advice is that this is THE camera to get. There is no other camera in this price range that delivers the bang for the buck that the Samsung NX1 Camera does.

Thank you for your interest and remember to use these hashtags in your social media.
#BeingSADneverFeltSoGOOD!
#SADtheMOVIE
#SADMOVIE2015
#SADsupporter
#SADandPROUD

The S.A.D Movie Team will be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon and by using the hashtags listed here in your own social media posts your chances of being selected for SADsurprises increases radically… Want to be a SADwinner? Because you’ll then be experiencing that special feeling … #BeingSADneverFeltSoGOOD!

STEVIE EAGLE E AND SHLEPP ENTERTAINMENT JOIN WITH TRI-US GLOBAL MEDIA TO PRODUCE 4 MAJOR FILMS

Shlepp Entertainment and Tri-US Global media team up to create 4 feature movies including FearChaser Trilogy

Shlepp Entertainment Supremo Stevie Eagle E AKA Stephen Ellis has announced that Shlepp Entertainment Ltd (his company) will be collaborating with  James With of Tri-Us Global Media on at least 4 full length feature films over the next several years.

Stevie Eagle E has been working with James With on his Fearchaser™ film since 2008.  The Fearchaser™ film originally meant to cast Chinese Star Ayi Jihu in the leading role as Fearchaser™and the original concept  caught fire when it was turned into an on-line video game by Adventure Quest worlds drawing 25 million gamers around the world and reaching an estimated 110 Million audience globally.

It was Fearchaser™ that brought James With of Tri-Us Global Media and Stevie Eagle E together.  James With, a veteran actor and producer of many blockbuster films including independence day and Rambo and Stevie Eagle E have been working together ever since on various projects not only related to film.

James With and Steve Rice at Babelsberg studios in Berlin

Stevie Eagle E has been a consistent figure in the entertainment industry for decades as an artist, writer, musician and producer and only started to develop his passion for film making with the creation of Fearchaser™  This lead to winning best film on his first short film collaboration  InsideOutdirected by Flamina Graziadei in 2013.

In his own words:

I have always been a closet movie maker.  It has always been my passion to be involved in the movies but it seemed a bridge too far for me as a kid and my passion for music being just as strong was easier to pursue.  However story telling and film making has always been in my blood.  I absolutely love and adore film.  I have made dozens of music videos and I feel it was here that I ‘cut my teeth’ in the film making business.  I am blessed that I seem to have a natural talent for many things I put my mind on and music videos seemed to be no different.  Stepping up to real film making was something I always wanted to do when the opportunity and time was right.  Right now I feel I am ready.  I have made several short films playing different roles in each one from PR and Marketing, Music scoring to Co Producer and Producer. I have even directed a few. Through this process I have learnt the basics needed for me to step up to the big league and make feature length films with big budgets. It has taken me almost ten years of hard work to get to this point where I am in the position to make the movies I want to make.  

It is at this point that I would tell anyone wishing to do anything that if they are truly passionate and hard working, If they have the talent and ambition and are willing to sacrifice but most of all never to quit they will achieve their dreams in life.  This has been the case for me.

The collaboration between Shlepp Entertainment Ltd and Tri-Us Global Media has four films on it’s Initial schedule in various stages of development:  Fearchaser™ I belong to the shadows, She (The movie) and another production that cannot be mentioned at this point.  Award winning director Flaminia Graziadei who Stevie Eagle E worked with on two short films already including the award winning ‘InsideOut’ is also scheduled to work on ‘She’ – The movie.

Award winning director Flaminia Graziadei is set to work with Stevie Eagle E on SHE the movie

We asked Stevie Eagle E how he chooses who he works with and why?

People bang on about ‘Talent’ all the time, but for me trust is the major issue.  Trusting that you can do your job, will do your job, will work for the team and protect the team.  There are loads of people with talent, but very few people out there you can really trust.  My team is not new.  All of the important players I have known for many years and I trust them.  They are all amazingly good at what they do.  They are all passionate and real and they are all people who I can depend on.  They won’t flake out on me.  I do believe my true value and worth can be jugged not by the amount of assets I have, but by the people I work with and who will stand beside me through thick and thin.  Because of this I am extremely rich and I can accomplish almost anything.  To build this type of team and develop these types of contacts took decades.  In that time you have to weed out the bad seeds.  This is never easy as people have become quite adept at pretending and camouflage.  So there is a learning curve for oneself, a curve which gives you the eyes and the wisdom to discern who is really with you and who is not and it is not always the ones that smile in your face.  Now I am blessed to have an amazing network.  A trustworthy and talented team all ready to do what needs to be done to make things happen. This is why all the years of hard work is falling into place now.

Shlepp Entertainment CEO and founder Stevie Eagle E

Stevie will you be directing any of the projects you mentioned?

Straight answer: No!  I have confidently directed dozens of music videos and trailers but that is the limit of my expertise at this point.  I am a 10 minute man, over that and I’m a complete novice.  When you are working as a director on large movie projects you are not dealing with  30 or 40 people and a few cameras.  You are dealing with thousands of people sometimes in front of and behind the camera, millions of dollars etc, etc, etc.  I hope that in a few years once I have a bit more experience and knowledge I can think about directing my own full length feature.  I learn fast and I am working with the best so I am confident it wont be too long before you see a film directed by Stevie Eagle E, but right now, no way.  I am concentrating on production and all that entails which is huge in itself.  I also play a big part in the marketing of the films and of course the musical aspects of each film.  I am very much a conceptual thinker.  Or I call myself a ‘light bulb man’  I come up with ideas and concepts that everything can be built around.  For example Fearchaser™ and She the movie all just came from my mind as concepts.  With Fearchaser™  I took it further and wrote a short story, developed some visual aspects, but once it caught fire I then go to the real pro’s to put it all together.  Every project is different as a producer you are involved in all aspects of making that film happen.  You hire the director.

What are your expectations for your films?

Right about now I guess you expect me to be talking about Oscars etc.  The truth is however I just want to get my movies made.  That was my first priority. Raising the capital and getting things all together was a struggle.  I just wanted to get these movies off the ground and see them on the big screen.  I want to make great movies, not just good films, or cool films but great films that people will be watching and talking about long after I am gone.  I don’t care if they win any awards I care that they are good and get the messages across you wanted them to in the beginning.  Movie making is also a business a huge business and my movies have to make money I am not in the business of making clangers.  I know if this amazing team we have does what it can do we shall be successful and yes awards will follow also.  I know all of the movies we have scheduled have the ability to capture the imagination of people all over the world and do very well.  My aim is to make sure these films realise their full potential on all levels.

Shall we be seeing Ayi Jihu, Stephan Dante or Joanna Shegera in any of your films?

I think you could say there is a very good chance you will see all or most of the above in some or all of our films.  Our artists are part of our team and where we can we protectively include them in everything we do.  Obviously they have to be able to do the job.

Stevie Eagle E directs one of his music videos in London

Who would you say is the most naturally talented actor out of Ayi Jihu, Joanna Shegera and Stephan Dante?  

That is a really tough question because they all have natural acting talent.  I am not just saying that because they are my artists either.  If my life depended on it and I had to make a choice in a moment I would go with Stephan Dante.  However I am confident and blessed that we are not carrying anyone here.  Ayi Jihu has already cut her teeth on FearChaser™ trailers and our short film ‘I believe in Monsters’  Joanna has surprised me with the range of emotions she can access during filming and Stephan Dante seems to be able to do just about anything she puts her mind to very, very well.

When can we expect to see your first major film hit the big screen?

I wish I could give you an exact date but it does not work that way until you have it all done, Unless you are one of the big players in this game, which we are not.  What I can tell you is we have already started pre-production on 3 of the films and we hope to go into full production late this year if not early next year on at least two of the films.  We are talking about a hundred million dollar worth of movie projects here so we have a lot of ‘i’s to dot and ‘t’s to cross.  Movie making on this level is not fast.  Another major aim is to fuse cultures and perceptions from around the world bring East and West closer without them even knowing it.  We work closely not only with China but with India on all levels as well as with everyone else.

The partnership of Shlepp Entertainment and Tri-Us global media looks like it will be a fruitful one bringing us some interesting and entertaining films in the future.  At globalnewsink we have been following the progress of Fearchaser™ for some time now and we like millions of others cannot wait to see that movie made.  Independent films are on the rise as independent film makers find different ways of getting the funding to compete more in the lucrative film market.  It also means we have more diverse perspectives when it comes to what hits our big screens.  Making a full length feature film is tough enough getting it distributed is another hurdle independent film makers have to overcome as the big boys have all the power when it comes to screens and times and they are not afraid to use it.  We feel the key to the success of Shlepp Entertainment and Tri-Us Global Media will be in their marketing and distribution strategies.  It is clear that they have the know how and talent to make a good product.

We wish this new partnership all the success and will keep you informed on how they progress

@gloabnewsink published this on 3rd July 2015 at this link: Stevie Eagle E and Shlepp Entertainment join with Tri-Us Global Media to produce 4 Major films.

The Legend, The Madonna and the Casanova – Tito Jackson, Ayi Jihu and Edu.

The Legend, The Madonna and the Casanova – Tito Jackson, Ayi Jihu and Edu

Legend Tito Jackson hooks up with Chinese Madonna Ayi Jihu and Edu Casanova

Legend Tito Jackson, Chinese star Ayi Jihu and Brazilian Star Edu Casanova

Before Chinese star Ayi Jihu could speak English, she could speak ‘Jackson’. Like millions of Chinese kids Ayi Jihu, also known as ‘The Chinese Madonna‘ grew up singing and dancing to Michael Jackson. In her own words ‘We did not know what we were singing but we sang it anyway because we loved it’. Ayi Jihu has carved out a historic career for herself becoming the first true-born Chinese RnB artist to transition successfully to the West. All that and independently too. She credits Michael Jackson and the Jacksons themselves for her inspiration. When asked about the Tag ‘Chinese Madonna’ She tells us it’s more about her business than her music. “Because I am independent and seen as a strong woman not part of the system who does my own thing in China, they compared me to Madonna in that respect, not because of my music or style which is very different. Obviously just like Madonna there are some out there who are not Ayi Jihu fans and seem to be on a mission to discredit me at every turn, but just like Madonna I continue to improve and move forward and I do not pay the ‘Haters’ any attention. I just keep working hard and doing my thing.”

Fast forward to the 19th of January 2014 from the small village in Leibo, Sichuan, China where she grew up and Ayi Jihu finds herself working with the Legendary Tito Jackson on track by Brazilian star Edu Casanova at Shlepp Studios in London. The Jackson’s are the biggest most well-known brand and name in show business. For Ayi Jihu they are the most important name, the inspirational name behind most she has done and now she has come full circle to realise one of her greatest dreams.

Tito Jackson and Ayi Jihu in the studio

Tito Jackson and Ayi Jihu in the studio

Tito Jackson flew in from Brazil having never met Ayi Jihu or Edu Casanova. Ayi Jihu and Edu Casanova have already collaborated on a track due for release later this year. Tito Jackson was introduced to the song ‘Bola Vez’, Edu Casanova and Ayi Jihu by his management. In Tito’s own words ‘I Checked out her [Ayi Jihu] website, music and story and I thought she was beautiful, talented and compelling. I also thought she is an important artist, someone who is in the right place at the right time in history,’ I loved the song and what I saw from Edu Casanova also. He is a passionate singer and songwriter. For me it was something I felt I had to get involved with for many reasons, not just the music.”

Tito Jackson with his Manager Vila billups and Ayi Jihu

Tito Jackson with his Manager Viola Billups and Ayi Jihu

For an artist like Tito Jackson, the very corner-stone of the Jackson’s getting back to music must be something to relish. With the press and media always hungry for all things Michael and his family in constant legal battles enjoying the simple pleasure of making music and being an artist must be a godsend for Tito. His sons (Who have a group of their own 3T) are also in London for the TV show The Big Reunion and Tito himself is working on a brand new album which he says is simply ‘Tito’. This gentle articulate gentleman is hungry to put the Jackson brand and focus firmly back onto music. Just like his brother Michael, Tito’s gentle manner completely disappears once he gets on stage or behind the microphone. It’s an almost 360 degree turn into a Showbiz Monster.

Ayi Jihu helps Tito with his portuguese in the studio in London

Ayi Jihu helps Tito with his portuguese in the studio in London

Tito flew in from Japan and headed straight for the studio. With the Jackson’s back on tour in the USA there was not much time in the UK. The press and media had also already got wind of his arrival and were laying in wait to speak to Tito and Ayi Jihu about their collaboration on this song with Edu Casanova. Not only did Tito and Ayi have to record in one day, they also had to shoot the promo video for the song. After a 16 hour flight, and no real rest Tito Jackson hit the studio and within a few minutes he was on the mic. When you have been brought up in music like Tito Jackson, the old school way, things like this are taken in ones stride. None of the extras, histrionics, moaning or ludicrous request of the so-called stars of today. Just in the studio and straight down to work. Old school, Professional, real.

Tito Jackson gets straight to work at Shlepp Studios in London

Tito Jackson gets straight to work at Shlepp Studios in London

Unfortunately Brazilian Singer songwriter Edu Casanova (and yes that is his real name) could not make it to London in time. Edu had just finished a live show in Bahia Brazil where hundreds of thousands of people turned up. Unlike many Western stars, Brazilian performers cannot perform for a few minutes and disappear. Three sometimes , four hour shows are common in Brazil. It was impossible to fly him to London in time. Edu Casanova is the writer and main artist on the song Bola Vez. The song Tito Jackson and Ayi Jihu are both featured on. The song is a fusion of Portuguese and English. A funky, almost Cool and the Gang ‘Get down on it’ type joint that makes it hard for you not to start moving. Produced by Peter (Doc B) Bielig in Brazil it could go all the way, especially when you think of the line up!

Stevie Eagle E and Peter Doc B - Peter Doc B produced the Bola Vez Track

Stevie Eagle E and Peter Doc B – Peter Doc B produced the Bola Vez Track

The UK side of the music and video production and also the director of the video: Stevie Eagle E and his Shlepp Entertainment team.
The producer of Bola Vez and is Peter Doc Bielig. Stevie Eagle E and Peter Doc B have worked together for over 20 years forming a successful artist and production team from which Shlepp Entertainment Ltd was created. EEDB (Eagle and Doc B) produced and wrote for Viola Billups and the Flirtations. Viola Billups is now the manager of Tito Jackson. Viola Billups who grew up with Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder and was herself a successful Decca recording artist was introduced to Ayi Jihu and Edu Casanova through Peter Doc B and that is how this whole collaboration came to be.

This collaboration as big as it is part of an even bigger picture. When one considers the fusion of music, cultures and artists and who they all reach, you begin to get an idea of just how big this could be. The biggest stars in the West are limited in China, due to language, culture and lets say Chinese Swag. The same can be said of the biggest stars in China. Music alone is not enough to cross over. You need to be accepted as a person and understood by the people you are singing to. This understanding does not always have to be language but it has to be something communicated which allows you to reach people who do not understand you. Perhaps thus far only Michael Jackson had mastered this conundrum. Now however Ayi Jihu seems to have this magical formula of being accepted and understood by both East and West, in fact by everyone! This allows her to open up the whole of China to other artist who collaborate and work with her bringing artist like Edu Casanova and Tito Jackson not just to the 200 million Chinese that may be able to understand them, but to Billions of Chinese everywhere.

Tito Jackson with Ayi Jihu and Stevie Eagle E from Shlepp Entertainment Ltd

Tito Jackson with Ayi Jihu and Stevie Eagle E from Shlepp Entertainment Ltd

This is reciprocated in Brazil and also the USA and Europe as Edu Casanova helps Ayi transition to Brazil and Tito Jackson helps her transition to the USA and the West. So what you have here is not just a musical collaboration, but a well thought out strategic and cultural collaboration that could signal a real change in the music industry over the next several years.

Masterminding all of this are several people Stevie Eagle E (Shlepp Entertainment Ltd ) Bernhard Storz (Storz Media GMBH) and Peter Doc Bielig. It is their vision and energy that has brought all these artists together and put this grand plan in place. Something individually and collectively they have been working on for over 10 years!

Tito Jackson with Bernhard Storz from Storz Media GMBH

Tito Jackson with Bernhard Storz from Storz Media GMBH

Peter Doc Bielig has almost completed the Edu Casanova album, working at the world-famous WR Bahia studios in Bahia Brazil. Ayi Jihu has already collaborated with Edu Casanova on Ilumina. She flew to Brazil late last year to record the song and also shoot the video with Edu. She also recorded and shot a video with another Brazilian rising star Maristela Muller. Another important part of this international puzzle.

Edu Casanova and Chinese Star Ayi Jihu new single Ilumina

Edu Casanova and Chinese Star Ayi Jihu new single Ilumina

The song Ayi Jihu recorded with Brazilian ‘Pop Princess’ Maristela Muller is called Xiboom and this is also due for release in 2014. All the artists are signed to Storz Media GMBH/Shlepp Entertainment Ltd. The constant theme throughout all of these collaborations is Ayi Jihu.

This international line up is preparing to tour the world taking their unique blend of music, culture and vibe to China, Europe, North America and beyond.

Maristela Muller and Ayi Jihu new track Xiboom

Maristela Muller and Ayi Jihu new track Xiboom

While the rest of the music industry tries to find its way in a changing world with shrinking domestic markets. This group of artists and mavericks are blazing a trail that leaves them way ahead of the competition. A combination of artists that cover practically all demographics with a huge global fan base and international cultural mix. Blending the roots of popular music with the future of popular music fusing languages and using social media to break down new markets.

We also have it on good authority that this global movement is not just about music but about social change and consciousness. The forthcoming tour will have a strong Anti-bullying and Cyber-bullying message, which will also include internet trolling (which is just another form of Cyber bullying) Something which Ayi Jihu and Tito Jackson have experienced first hand. The aim is to reach out to people especially the kids worldwide and change their perceptions about what is acceptable behavior to others no matter what race, culture, gender or persuasion they may be. This is something that Ayi Jihu has been advocating and preaching for several years now using her FearChaser alter ego as an example. With an established young audience of over 25 million kids who played her online Fearchaser™ Game she has a solid foundation for which to take her campaign global working with others like Tito Jackson and Edu Casanova.

Ayi Jihu Fearchaser™

Ayi Jihu Fearchaser™

So as the girl they call ‘The Chinese Madonna and the Legend that is Tito Jackson do the press and media round in the UK, speculation grows as to the future of this collaboration. A Collaboration that will include Edu Casanova in Brazil. Bola Vez maybe the first product of this Collaboration but it will not be the last.

Tito Jackson and Ayi Jihu meet the media in london

Tito Jackson and Ayi Jihu meet the media in london

There is a lot more to come from the Legend, The Madonna and the Casanova.

Follow more media news from around the globe @globalnewsink

Thursday 16th January 2014 – today, whilst working on my current Film Projects I have been compelled to take time out and write my first blog article for 2014 …

Anonymous Motorcycle Driver during "Bangkok Shutdown" march on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Anonymous Motorcycle Driver during “Bangkok Shutdown” march on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Yuriko Koike, Japan’s former defense minister and national security adviser, was Chairwoman of Japan’s Liberal Democrat Party and currently is a member of the National Diet. In her article titled “Who Lost Thailand?” published on 15th January 2014, Ms. Yuriko Koike writes “Thailand, Southeast Asia’s most developed and sophisticated economy, is teetering on the edge of the political abyss. Yet most of the rest of Asia appears to be averting its eyes from the country’s ongoing and increasingly anarchic unrest. That indifference is not only foolish; it is dangerous. Asia’s democracies now risk confronting the same harsh question that the United States faced when Mao Zedong marched into Beijing, and again when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the Shah in Iran. Who, they will have to ask, lost Thailand?”

As a long time expatriate resident of Thailand there are quarter tones joined as chords that resonate in unison, 21st century composers in sympathetic dissonance, emanating from the trading partner-ships whistling through troubled waters in the East China Sea, the stage of Japan’s dispute with China to the smaller vessels hauling materials on a variety of other covert Whistle-blowers and covered junks conducting business, whilst traveling up and down the Mekong River, a vital chord flowing with life, connecting China, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. From the river’s banks life is bottled up and exchanged in merchandise that ripples through many states, the birth places of many indigenous peoples from Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, Shan, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Oudomxay, Luang Phrabang, Sayabouly, Vientiane, Vientiane, Bolikhamsai, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Salavan, Champasak until eventually the remaining silt branches out and spills into various points and exits Vietnam somewhere between the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, where sabre-rattling and posturing continues to spread outwards.

The Mekong Delta (Vietnamese: Đồng bằng Sông Cửu Long or in English often transliterated to mean the “Nine Dragon river delta”) could be accurately described as a rather gradual fertile river delta and unlike Japan it is not close to any submarine abyss. Continuing movement on the subduction zone associated with the Japan Trench is one of the main causes of tsunamis and earthquakes in northern Japan, including the megathrust Tōhoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred on 11 March 2011.

People marching during "Bangkok Shutdown" on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Despite the “Bangkok Shutdown” the Chao Phraya River continues to flow smoothly through Bangkok, known fondly as the “City of Angels” of the Far East and as with all rivers on the planet it too eventually meets a large body of water to empty into… and waterways are the veins of sustenance for life in all forms, and often are diverted, reformed, dammed and flooded, by natural forces as well as by human beings … as the seasons ebb and flow, the climate changes and prevailing winds of change wreak havok on agriculture and commercial business interests alike, there remains a natural inclination for things to remain in balance.

Perhaps, in a wider context the expressed perspective from Ms. Yuriko Koike shows how much Western ideologies have influenced and shaped the Japanese economy and the Japanese people’s opinion since the United States of America decidedly dropped Nuclear weapons of mass destruction on Hiroshima and Nagasaki back in August 1945? On August 15, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, and seven days after the Soviet Union’s declaration of war, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies, signing the Instrument of Surrender on 2nd September 1945, commonly acknowledged as officially ending World War II. The bombings’ role in Japan’s surrender and their ethical justification are still debated.

People marching during "Bangkok Shutdown" on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand: “Occupy Bangkok” Begins – Published 13th January 2014 is a very interesting and well-balanced account of what’s happened over the last decade to bring about the current protests in Bangkok Thailand being staged against the present Government that was elected by a majority vote supported by a well-financed regime leader living in exile that has used “Thaksinomics” as a political tool to amass a personal fortune; Taksin Shinawatra is himself supported by very strong wealthy global banking powers that want a larger share of the Kingdom’s valuables as well as those of other neighboring countries that have developed more slowly but are also are full of natural resources and deeply fertile environmental jewelry.

In the most recent general election Thailand‘s people voted to put Thaksin Shinawatra‘s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, a member of the Pheu Thai Party, and the 28th and current Prime Minister of Thailand following the 2011 general election into lead a new Government of Thailand. Yingluck is Thailand’s first female Prime Minister and at 45 is the youngest Prime Minister of Thailand in over 60 years.  A Statement delivered by Yingluck Shinawatra, H.E. the Prime Minister of Thailand on the dissolution of the House of Representatives was delivered on 9 December 2013. Many people in Thailand are now protesting against the regime’s manipulation of the country’s legislatures, its infiltration of Government structures and large corporations who have benefited from Thaksinomics.

There is an expressed feeling that the pillars of Government have been abused to such a degree that it has become unacceptable and unconscionable to remain in the shadows. The links in the Thailand: “Occupy Bangkok” Begins – Published 13th January 2014 article also lead to other interesting articles too.

Then on the same day my attention is directed to another article, written by William Pesek, a columnist writing for Bloomberg based in Tokyo, Japan. And this makes me ask the rhetorical question, which more aptly put is an observation: Who Won Japan?

Bloomberg should be ashamed to publish such an article. William Pesek’s views are way too polarized and filled with silly ignorant inaccurate general “sound bite” statements and phrases, such as are contained in “The choice is between Egypt and South Korea. It’s time for Thailand’s 67 million people to decide whether they want to live in a constant state of chaos and socioeconomic stasis (like Egypt), or to move up the economic ladder, Korea-style. The only way democracy works is if a critical mass of the people trust it. In Thailand’s case, that means building credible and independent institutions that provide checks and balances for elected officials. Only strong judiciaries, anti-corruption arms and networks of government watchdog agencies can ensure accountability.” … This, simply put is trashy journalism at its worst and Bloomberg should be careful to call it a “Bloomberg View”.

Bangkok Needs More Bread, Fewer Circuses” By William Pesek
January 15, 2014 11:26 AM EST – Uploaded by UUID:7953017 at 1/15/2014 11:23 AM

William Pesek is based in Tokyo and writes on economics, markets and politics throughout the AsiaPacific region. His journalism awards include the 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers prize for commentary.

Since joining Bloomberg in 2000, Pesek’s columns have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Post, the Straits Times, the Japan Times and many other publications around the world. Pesek began his journalism career writing for the American Banker and Bond Buyer newspapers. He also worked for Dow Jones Newswires, where he wrote the daily credit markets column for The Wall Street Journal. Pesek earned a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Bernard M. Baruch College-City University of New York.
Reference: http://www.bloomberg.com/view/bios/william-pesek/

The future for the peoples living in Thailand, the Governance of Thailand, it’s prosperity and the prosperity of Thailand’s South-East Asian neighbors is all at stake and will be affected by how things are perceived and the reaction of people not only in Thailand but also throughout the world. Why? Because, trading, imports and exports, for Thailand and ASEAN is contingent upon keeping the rivers flowing, water being proportioned in a balanced and respectable way for life to be sustainable and peaceful.

We pray for a process that will be as painless and as death-free as possible … we are living in interesting times… and we have a ways to travel yet… floods, droughts, come rain and shine, survival is a matter of adapting to change.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article, and here’s wishing you a safe, healthy and successful 2014 as we approach the Chinese Year of the Horse.

Blessings,
James With

PS After writing this article, the following articles were brought to my attention:

By Lewis M. SimonsCan Thailand Avoid Another Coup?“published 16th January 2014 formerly as “Thailand’s Grave Future”

By Credible Reform, Not Shutdown, Needed to End Thailand’s Political Standoff” – 15th January 2014

By @charliecamp6ellThe Nightmare Gets Worse For Embattled Thai PM Yingluck” – 17th January 2014

By Veera Prateepchaikul, Former Editor, Bangkok Post – Opinion “Corruption Award Goes to Rice Scheme”  – 17th January 2014
© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved. View Bangkok Post policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip.

By Voranai Vanijaka in Bangkok Post – Opinion Commentary “With all sides wrong, There can be no right” – 19 January 2014
© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved. View Bangkok Post policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip.

By Thin Lei Win Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation “Shutdown Protests in Bangkok ratchets up risk of violence and coup, ICG warns” on Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 07:00 AM & “The din of misogyny at Bangkok protests” on Friday, 17 Jan 2014 10:29 AM

Reuters Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Alan Raybould “Thai government imposes state of emergency in Bangkok” on Tuesday January 21, 2014 4:47pm IST

By Marc Saxer in Social Europe JournalHow Thailand’s Middle Class Rage Threatens Democracy” on Thursday, 23 January 2014

By William Pesek on Bloomberg Opinion “Thailand Is Only the Tip of Asia’s Iceberg” on Friday, January 24, 2014 5:00 AM GMT+0700

By Pradit Ruangdit in Bangkok Post “Suthep: PDRC is ‘’pro-democracy’’ movement” on Friday, 24 January 2014 at 23.25
© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved. View Bangkok Post policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip.

By The Sunday Nation Newspaper “Suthep will be arrested soon, should surrender to avoid violence: Chalerm” and “Advance voting to go ahead” on Sunday, 26 January 2014 at 01:00

By Suttinee Yuvejwattana and Anuchit Nguyen in Bloomberg News “Yingluck Rejects Proposal to Delay Feb. 2 Thailand Election” on Tuesday, 28th January 2014 7:03 PM GMT+0700 To contact the reporters on this story: Suttinee Yuvejwattana in Bangkok at suttinee1@bloomberg.net; Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at anguyen@bloomberg.net

By David EimerThai red shirts leader says ‘It’s time to get rid of the elite’” on 30 January 2014 at 10:42AM GMT and previously “Anti-government protests escalate in Thailand amid calls for a ‘people’s revolution’” on 26 November 2013 at 12:04PM GMT and “I can back down no further, says Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra” on 10th December 2014 at 9:45PM GMT and  “Thai Prime Minister considers delaying election as anti-government protesters blockade Bangkok” on 13 January 2014 at 12:19PM GMT and “Thai anti-government protesters threaten to kidnap PM” on 14 January 2014 at 3:21PM GMT and

Chinese Star Ayi Jihu planning a return to China

Chinese star Ayi Jihu planning to return to China

Chinese star Ayi Jihu planning to return to China

After over 4 years of Globe trotting around the planet building her name and brands it seems Chinese Star Ayi Jihu is looking to go back home to China. The Chinese sensation who has built her name as a singer, ambassador and philanthropist and now an actress is planning to return to her hometown area of Leibo and her region of Sichuan some time this year. Possibly Sichuan’s most famous export after it’s spicy food this spicy artists has become a worldwide name from Africa to Europe, North America to the Middle East and continues to grow through her music and Fearchaser™ Brand.

GlobalNewsInk who monitor Ayi’s tweets and social networks in China picked up a tweet from her letting her friends know she was planning to come back. We wasted no time in getting hold of Ayi Jihu to confirm if this was true. Ayi Jihu confirmed she was planning to go back to her region of China before next year when she would be too busy with FearChaser and various other Movie and Musical projects. ‘If I don’t go now I’m not sure when I will get back home and I really miss home’.

Chinese star Ayi Jihu reported to be heading back to China

Chinese star Ayi Jihu reported to be heading back to China

The obvious question on everyones lips was: would she be doing any live shows? We asked her about her plans. ‘I know everyone wants me to perform and I am sure I will, but I do not want to turn this into a music tour otherwise I will not spend anytime with my family or friends. I plan to do many things including a few shows, some tv and press, but mainly I just want to get back to my home and be with some of my friends and family who I have not seen for quite a while’. We tried to push Ayi further on her schedule and plans but she remained tight lipped about any exact details including when she is actually planning to go there. All we know is she wants to go before 2014

Ayi Jihu is known all over China and Asia but it is the 200 million plus region of Sichuan where she is the most famous. Her Aunt Asha Jihu is an established public figure and star and Ayi will be welcomed back with open arms by millions of fans in Sichuan who have never seen her perform live. Ayi Jihu comes from a small village in Leibo County, which is in the region of Sichuan, she is minority Yi.

We will keep you informed with any developments on Ayi Jihu’s return to China here at GlobalNews.

For More information on Ayi Jihu visit her website www.ayijihu.com

Follow GlobalLink on Twitter: @globanewsink