Olympus challenges filmmakers with 48 hours to make a movie at Vail Film Festival

contestToday marks the beginning of a very important 48 hours for a hoard of aspiring filmmakers. Olympus and the Vail Film Festival have teamed up to give contestants two days to come up with a two- to four-minute film to present before the festival’s panel.

And forget the classic camcorder: Participants have been outfitted with Olympus’ E-PL2, its latest Micro Four Thirds in the PEN lineup. Before this year, contestants would use whatever device they could get their hands on, but a uniform camera lends a little twist to the competition. With identical quality at their fingertips, filmmakers will be challenged to utilize the technology, not to mention a renewed focus on story.

Vail Film Festival founders Scott and Sean Cross expect the high-end Micro Four Thirds devices to up the ante this year. Have any doubts that what might sound and seem like a traditional stills-cam can get the job done? Apparently, you shouldn’t. Cinematographer Kris Krosskove spoke to the E-P1’s (one of the veteran PEN models) performance this morning, telling the crowd the camera’s size and superior lens quality are what made it an ideal choice on the set of Secretariat. Krosskove said he jerry-rigged the E-P1 to a pole, and the photo revealing this duct-tape heavy solution showed the high-end camera inches away from the hooves of horses traveling 45 MPH…something a big-bodied professional camcorder would be unable to do because of size alone.

At a briefing this morning, before the 48-hour countdown began, the 20 teams learned a little more about what the E-PL2’s video recording features. It records 30 frames per second and filmmakers can manually control every aspect of their shoot if they wish. Of course, there’s also the easier option of choosing Olympus’ iAuto settings.

There are more regulations than just using the same camera however – which include using one of the E-PL2’s included art filters. This will add some challenge, since randomly throwing in one of the settings isn’t encouraged, and they also slow down the fps recording, something filmmakers will need to take account of.

This is where the learning curve becomes important. If participants can master the functions, in-camera editing, and manual controls of the E-PL2, it will help them significantly cut down on the post-filming process. Top choice gets $5,000, a PEN lens kit, and to connect with an experienced filmmaker.

The entire contest makes you think: If (largely in the case of short films) filmmakers were able to boil down the production process to existing entirely within one device, would it increase or decrease the quality of the final product?

We’ll find out soon. The winning film will be screened Saturday night, and we’ll be there to fill you in on all the 48 hour-E-PL2 madness’ conclusion.

Photography

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Photography

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Photography

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.
Photography

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.
Photography

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Photography

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.
Photography

Olympus teaser shares glimpse of OM-D camera that’s good for more than sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's capable for landscapes…
Photography

Nikon A1000, B600 pack big zooms into compact, budget-friendly cameras

The new Nikon Coolpix A1000 packs in a 35x zoom lens, 4K video, and an optical viewfinder, while Nikon's B600 brings a 60x zoom lens to the table. The cameras are modest updates to Nikon's budget-friendly zoom models.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.