Amazon Video now streaming Dolby Vision HDR and HDR 10

 HDR Digital Cinema  Comments Off on Amazon Video now streaming Dolby Vision HDR and HDR 10
Jul 032016
 

Amazon announced on Monday that it is now offering its HDR content in two different standards, Dolby Vision HDR and HDR 10. Prior to today, Amazon had only offered customers HDR 10 content, and the addition of Dolby Vision HDR means that more customers will be able to take advantage of the service on boxes and TVs that otherwise didn’t support HDR 10. As a reminder, Sony, Samsung and LG have used HDR 10 while LG has also chosen to use Dolby Vision HDR on some of its other TVs.

The selection isn’t as large just yet, but there’s some compelling content available including Pineapple ExpressElysium, Fury, Hancock, After Earth, The Amazing Spiderman 2 and Amazon’s original series Bosch. The movies are available for purchase or rent, while Bosch is available for free to Prime members who want to get a taste of what Dolby Vision HDR offers.

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technobuffalo

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The Newsshooter guide to the what, why and how of HDR

 Cinematography, Gear, HDR Digital Cinema, HDR Images, Technique  Comments Off on The Newsshooter guide to the what, why and how of HDR
Mar 312016
 

With the announcement of the Shogun Flame and Ninja Flame today, I thought now was a good time to explain what HDR is and why Atomos have made a panel that can resolve the brightness detail and colour accuracy of 10-bit HDR images.

Atomos have definitely been looking ahead to the future when it comes to HDR. While HDR is still very much in its infancy, Atomos have looked to future proof (as much as you can) their Flame series of monitor/recorders. By adding HDR support now, Atomos are giving you a monitor that will still be relevant for many years to come.

So why do we need HDR and what is it? Grab a coffee because this isn’t something that can be explained in a few paragraphs.

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newsshooter.com

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Nov 132015
 

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With interest in adding high dynamic range (HDR) to feature and TV content running high, global standards body Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers opened its annual Technical Conference & Exhibition on Monday with the release of a 50-page HDR study group report that it hopes will help standards bodies and stakeholders to find some commonality and sidestep a potential format war.

High dynamic range is a term used to describe a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks in an image, and is viewed by many in Hollywood’s technical community as a feature that will create a more noticeable different to consumers, compared with resolution (Ultra HD or 4K) or high frame rates.

But with numerous companies and organizations using the term HDR in different ways, there’s concern that this could confuse consumers and possibly even start a format war.

The SMPTE report includes definitions, guidelines and other information. Importantly, it raises “red flags” by identifying key areas that require consensus, including brightness levels, compression and distribution, said SMPTE standards director Howard Lukk.

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hollywoodreporter

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Sep 252015
 

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Red Digital Cinema recently dropped an unexpected bombshell that radiated waves of excited expectation among filmmakers everywhere. This bombshell has a name. The Red Raven, a new $6K RED camera.

Word of RED Raven spread fast, attached to the simple hashtag #4K4ALL. Yes, the original disruptor, innovator and “freedom fighter” leading the independent film world into its biggest technological and creative revolution is at it again.

Details have remained vague and a full announcement has been promised for Friday 25th September but just today a few new details emerged.

4K4ALL carries with it very high expectations in terms of an affordable price point for RED’s latest new camera, and today we have a much better idea of where the RED Raven will be positioned.

Here’s what we know from Jarred Land himself:

“The Raven doesn’t replace Scarlet, It’s a new category in our line up. Raven is a younger, hungrier, more “spirited” member of the RED family with a bit of a chip on his shoulder ready to take on the entire sub-$10k market with images that you will be incredibly proud of.”

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cinema5d

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Sep 212015
 

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High Dynamic Range (HDR) — an image attribute that offers a wider range between the blackest blacks and whitest whites in images — has been generating plenty of interest in cinema circles, as well as for remastering movies for home entertainment, but the potential to offer HDR in live broadcasting is considered by many to be a key missing link in the HDR dialog. At this year’s IBC,  focus was moving in that direction.

Delia Bushell, managing director at BT TV and BT Sports in the UK, spoke about BT Sports’ recently-launched Ultra HD 4K sports channel and said the company is looking to add HDR capabilities, possibly in two years. Sky Broadcasting in the UK is among additional broadcasters testing HDR.

“There’s still some technology questions open, but the big issue is the cost,” said Twentieth Century Fox CTO Hanno Basse, who chairs the UHD Alliance that’s working on quality standards for HDR home entertainment. “For a Hollywood studio, making HDR is fairly straightforward. On the [live] TV side, they don’t have that luxury, especially if it’s 4K. They’ll need new cameras, switchers … and that’s a much higher investment.”

On the technology side of the equation, during IBC several manufacturers showed demonstrations of how live HDR broadcasting might be handled. For instance Technicolor teamed with video processing company Elemental (which was recently acquired by Amazon Web Services in a deal reportedly valued at around $500 million) to host a live IBC demonstration of a broadcast delivery system of 4K with high dynamic range.

The demonstration includes a new server-based version of Technicolor’s Intelligent Tone Management software that scales standard dynamic range source material (in this case, 4K at 60 frames per second) for HDR use. The aim is to allow sports or live event productions to continue use current cameras and infrastructure at a venue, and also upscale the broadcast to include HDR. The Elemental Live video encoder was used for encoding and delivery in the demonstration.

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hollywoodreporter

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Aug 252015
 

Amazon_Originals_Mozart_in_the_Jungle-970-80

Amazon has just announced the UK availability of high dynamic range (HDR) content on its Amazon Prime Instant Video platform.

Starting today any Prime Instant Video subscribers can access Amazon Original series in HDR at no extra cost…so long as they have a compatible TV to watch them on.

Amazon initially launched its first HDR content to its US subscribers on Samsung SUHD televisions back in June and is now bringing the service to the UK. Like the US launch content is mighty thin on the ground – and you thought Ultra HD content was few and far between – with only the first series of Mozart in the Jungle and the pilot of the upcoming Red Oaks show.

HDR is expected to be one of the talking points coming out of next week’s IFA tradeshow in Berlin, so it’s a good time for this feature to find its way over to the UK and continental Europe.

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techradar

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Aug 072015
 

Photographer Dave Hill released this behind-the-scenes video that documents a recent advertising photo shoot for the Japanese carmaker Toyota. Hill shows us how various elements of the photographs are first taken then composited together in postproduction.

Shooting with a Hasselblad H4x and Phase 1 IQ 250 digital back, Hill composed, shot, and combined multiple photos to turn a small group of extras into a bustling parade scene.

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Jul 202015
 

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We’ve just checked out Dolby’s newest high-tech cinema in Hilversum, Holland. It’s only the second in Europe and the first to launch with the brand new twin Christie laser projectors necessary for Dolby Vision.

And the most impressive thing about it all was an empty screen.

That might sound utterly dismissive, but it’s genuinely not. The Vision demo I was treated to was seriously one of the most impressive things I’ve seen on a technological level in a cinema. It’s all about those advanced Dolby Vision projectors rocking the latest laser tech mixing wider colour gamut and high dynamic range (HDR).

These new projectors can create contrast levels far in excess of the current generation of digital projectors.

Where even the most advanced projectors are hitting contrast ratios of around 8000:1, and most standard ones around 2000:1, the Dolby Vision beamers are batting above 1,000,000:1. Count those zeros…

And that means real, deep, inky blacks.

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techradar

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Jun 222015
 

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Fox Home Entertainment is releasing its first titles in Ultra HD resolution with high dynamic range (HDR): Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Maze Runner, Life of Pi and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Additional UHD with HDR titles are expected to follow in the coming weeks. The initiative is led by Fox Home Entertainment and the Fox Innovation Lab, which has been experimenting with UHD with HDR mastering.

As previously reported in The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox recently decided to make versions of all of its new and recent movies in UHD with HDR, the biggest commitment to date on the content side.

The new titles are part of a beta launch, through which consumers can purchase these movies on M-GO and download them to their Samsung Video Pack, for viewing on Samsung SUHDTVs, which support UHD and HDR. (Fox previously supplied clips from Pi and Exodus for Samsung demonstrations).

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thehollywoodreporter

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Jun 172015
 

 

It was just 2013 when the marketing drums started beating for 4k and the response from that journalistic segment – seemingly paid to throw cold water on new technologies – was that 4k TV was unnecessary. The human eye can’t see 4k. Living rooms can’t be built big enough. And, the usual opening salvo: there’s no content.
The fracas over 4k has passed with hardly a scuffle. The people who have complained that 4k TVs are a long way away have shut up – much faster than usual because 4k TVs are being bought much faster than expected. Prices for 4k started their inevitable slide toward the end of 2014, and consumers predictably started buying. Worldwide sales for 4k TVs jumped 500 percent compared to last year, and the content has started to flow, or rather, stream.
The providers of OTT (over-the-top, as in over-the-Internet) content, such as Netflix, Amazon, and UltraFlix, are providing 4k content, and they promise to match the pace of innovation in ways their counterparts in cable and satellite can only dream about matching. However, DirecTV is also going to offer 4k service soon.
The upward trend for 4k TVs will continue of course, but, ironically, 4k really isn’t the point. The content creators and providers – the directors, cinematographers, and broadcasters – are much more excited about the potential of high dynamic range (HDR), and immersive audio, high frame rates, and whatever else they think up that 4k TVs could deliver. The inescapable message at NAB 2015 is that HDR is going to bring a real change in home TV viewing.
Cameras have been adding resolution, and along the way, have become capable of very wide ranges of light capture, which, if you’ll excuse a breathless aside – Isn’t it the most wonderful thing the way digital cameras have become so incredibly capable and relatively inexpensive? These cameras are enabling a shift in favor of independent filmmakers and cinematographers who can create professional content with their own equipment.
Last year, AJA introduced its own camera. A year or so before that, Blackmagic introduced theirs. The cameras have been slow to ship, and both companies admit that making cameras is a lot harder than they had thought, but the goal is end-to-end control over the pipeline: in this case, the entire acquisition to computer workflow. In fact, Blackmagic, Red, and Sony have also added software editing, color grading, audio, and more.
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cgw.com

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Jun 102015
 

tomorrowland-hdr

Want to see the Dolby Vision HDR format in action? You can check it out at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where Disney’s Tomorrowland—the first film graded for Dolby Vision—is enjoying a four-week run. AMC has the system installed in one auditorium each at the AMC North Point Mall 12 in Atlanta, the AMC BarryWoods 24 in Kansas City, and the AMC Deerbrook 24 in Houston. On May 29, those theaters replaced Tomorrowland with San Andreas, the first Dolby Vision title from Warner Bros. Pixar’s Inside Out, opening June 19, will be the next fix for HDR junkies who crave brighter whites and broader dynamic range

The key to efficiently encoding all of the brightness information in a HDR picture for Dolby Vision is something called the perceptual quantizer, or PQ for short. Dolby researched human visual perception of luminance changes, then developed a new quantization curve based on those findings. The goal was to specify brightness levels from 0 to 10,000 cd/m2 using 10-bit or 12-bit encoding. The resulting PQ curve, approved as SMPTE Standard 2084, replaces gamma for Dolby Vision image encoding. In post-production, this means the image must be graded twice—one time for the standard P3 color space that most cinema viewers will see, and then again in the PQ format that specifies characteristics of the HDR version. Read this 2014 SMPTE presentation by Dolby Labs researcher Scott Miller for the nitty-gritty.

Tomorrowland was graded on DaVinci Resolve at Company 3, where Stephen Nakamura said his goal in the 31.5 foot-lambert Dolby Vision pass was to make sure the picture took advantage of the expanded dynamic range while still retaining the feel of the standard 14 foot-lambert version. He elaborated on the grading process, and the thinking behind some of the creative decisions, in a statement released through Blackmagic.

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studiodaily

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May 212015
 

LG55EG960VFrontColour

In a dramatic about turn from previous announcements, LG has exclusively revealed to me today that it’s going to add high dynamic range video playback to its current range of OLED TVs.

According to a statement from LG’s Korean headquarters, the ability to handle HDR video with its higher contrast, more richly coloured images will be added to LG’s EG9600/EG960 OLED TVs via a network update. The statement also promises that the firmware update will include the ability to handle HDR both through LG Smart TV partner apps or video streams delivered via other devices through the TV’s IP interface.

LG wouldn’t be drawn on an exact date for when the firmware update might start rolling out to its EG9600/EG960V TVs, only stating that it will ship “once technical specifications for HDR are finalised”.

Prior to this new announcement, we’d been led to believe that we wouldn’t be able to get our hands on an HDR-capable OLED TV from LG until later in the year, following a potential unveiling at the IFA technology show at the end of August.

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forbes.com

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May 152015
 

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Only a fraction of the movie fans who spent $187.7 million opening weekend to see Avengers: Age of Ultron saw it as it appeared at Airbus IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

 What was a big hit elsewhere was a literally huge one here: Six stories high and more than 85 feet wide, it is the first museum in the world to employ the newest laser technology. Its super sharp 4K laser system encased in two perfectly calibrated fridge-sized projectors is enhanced with a new 12 channel sound system with a sub-bass.

The likes of Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk have never been so formidable—or in 3D versions, so bright. The one drawback to 3D has long been that the glasses darkened objects on the screen.

 Technicians from IMAX who worked long hours right up to the Ultron opening demonstrated the next morning how the laser light source betters the old xenon bulb in brightness. “We’re 50 percent brighter than any cinema,” says IMAX executive vice president David Keighley. “That’s one reason you love our images—they seem more real.”

At the same time, the vivid white and colors from the screen are due to the deeper blacks it can also project. To demonstrate the sharpness between the two, Keighley didn’t show a clip from the Avengers hit, but a still black and white checkerboard pattern, whose borders never bled or wavered, yet boasted absolutely sharp lines and corners.

“If you’re a technical geek you should go wow,” he says.

Many did.

“I never thought we’d get that kind of resolution,” says Keighley, who has been involved in the post production of hundreds of IMAX films and has been the president of IMAX’s post production image and quality control subsidiary DKP 70mm Inc. for more than 40 years.

Keeping the black parts of the film absolutely black means filmmakers can alter at will the dimensions of the film’s border, as director Christopher Nolan did in 2008’s The Dark Knight and last year’s Interstellar. Those are two of the very few Hollywood hits made in 70 millimeter size that can play an IMAX screen. But now that the Udvar-Hazy Center has moved to digital projection, the many more popular Hollywood titles made that way can be shown at night, even as the daytime museum favorites such as Journey to SpaceD-Day: NormandyLiving in the Age of Airplanes and Hidden Universe are also further enhanced.

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smithsonianmag

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May 132015
 

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TV manufacturers have found that one of the most reliable ways to get consumers to buy a new TV is to push more pixels. The big jump was from Standard Definition (480 horizontal pixels using interlaced scanning) to High Definition (1080 horizontal pixels using progressive scanning). Today, we’re being pushed to buy “4K” TVs, but that definition switches the emphasis from horizontal pixels (there are 2160 of those) to the spec’s vertical pixels (3840) because it’s so much bigger than 1080.

Recently, however, an entirely new buzzword has entered the manufacturer’s vocabulary: High Dynamic Range (HDR). Suddenly the discussion isn’t just about more pixels, but better pixels. At its most basic, HDR delivers greater contrast between light and dark areas of a video image. How does that work and how important will it end being to your TV enjoyment? I shall endeavor to enlighten you.

How HDR works

If you’re familiar with High Dynamic Range at all, it’s likely via a setting on your smartphone or digital camera. As its name implies, the feature increases the dynamic range—the ratio of light to dark—in your photographs. It accomplishes this by photographing the subject three times at different exposures, doubling the light in each picture. The three images are then blended into one (in a program such as Photoshop, if the device doesn’t handle it internally) that retains the darkest and brightest parts from the first and third exposure, respectively. The result should be a brighter, more detailed picture that’s much closer to what your eye sees.

The idea behind HDR video is similar: It increases the range of brightness in an image to boost the contrast between the lightest lights and the darkest darks. If you’re having difficulty grasping how that translates into a more realistic image on your screen, think of the subtle tonal gradations a fine artist creates in a charcoal drawing to build the illusion of volume, mass, and texture, and you should begin to get the picture. But HDR doesn’t just improve grayscale; its greater luminance range opens up a video’s color palette as well. “Basically, it’s blacker blacks, whiter whites, and higher brightness and contrast levels for colors across the spectrum,” says Glenn Hower, a research analyst at Parks Associates.

The result is richer, more lifelike video images. Rather than washing out to white, as it would in conventional video, a ray of sunlight reflecting off a lake in HDR will gleam, and a bright cloud will appear soft and cottony. Basically any image your current TV would render shadowed, dull, muddy, or bleached out will look nuanced, vibrant, and strikingly realistic in HDR.

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techhive

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Apr 242015
 

Sony presented some amazing new products at NAB 2015. Here Claus Pfizer speaks  to these new HDR developments.

Apr 242015
 

Looking to upgrade your 1080p TV to an Ultra High-Definition setup? Sony has opened pre-orders for some of the 4K UHD TV sets it showed off at CES.
Specifically, the X830C, X850C, X930C, and X940C come in sizes ranging from 43 to 75 inches, with prices starting at $1,300 all the way up to $8,000. Pre-orders are expected to ship in May.
The X830C series is the cheapest and smallest of the lot, measuring in at 43 inches or 49 inches, for $1,300 or $1,600, respectively. Then there’s the X850C, which is available in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch flavors for $2,199.99, $3,499.99, or $4,999.99.
For those who want the best of the best, Sony has the 65-inch X930C for $4,499.99 and the 75-inch X940C for a cool $7,999.99. Both of these models will be compatible with High Dynamic Range video, which can display a wider range of brightness levels for a more lifelike experience, via a network update this summer. Amazon and Netflix have both announced plans to embrace HDR video this year.
With HDR video, “customers can enjoy a peak brightness of LED as well as deeper blacks, providing them with a superior viewing experience compared to that of normal HDR video sources as well as any other video source,” Sony said.

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pcmag.com

Apr 152015
 

 

 

While still leaving many questions unanswered, Technicolor is using this week’s National Association of Broadcasters Show to reveal more of its plans to support high dynamic range, a feature that expands the range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks that can be seen on a TV or movie screen.

Announced steps include HDR color grading services for movies, TV shows and commercials. Also, the company plans to license what it calls an Intelligent Tone Management plug-in, developed to help broadcasters to create HDR content in their own facilities.

Hollywood is interested in HDR, but a challenge to a rollout is that various, some proprietary, formats are appearing.

Technicolor said its color grading services would launch in Los Angeles in June, supporting the HDR guidelines set by the UHD Alliance, an industry coalition that includes most of the Hollywood studios. Those guidelines, however, have not yet been set; Technicolor is hopeful something might be in place in the foreseeable future.

The Intelligent Tone Management plug-in was created to analyze video in real time and provide colorists with more control of luminance in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights. The company plans to license the plug-in, which is being tested with a planned release in June.

At NAB, Autodesk is demoing the plug-in with the Autodesk Lustre color grading system and Blackmagic Design, with its DaVinci Resolve color grading software. FilmLight also is planning support for its Baselight grading system.

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hollywoodreporter

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Apr 152015
 

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Red launched the first mainstream 4K camera when 1080p seemed like overkill, and now that this whole 4K thing might work out, it’s got an 8K RAW model. The Weapon ‘Vista Vision’ features a mind-boggling 8,192 x 4,320, 35-megapixel sensor that can do up to 75 fps, widescreen 8K. The chip is also 40.96 x 21.6mm or Vista Vision-sized, considerably larger than the full-frame sensor on a camera like the Nikon D810. Video can be recorded in RAW and scaled-down ProRes formats simultaneously, just as with the company’s 6K Weapon models.

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engadget

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Dec 112014
 

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Dolby has revealed that it will be launching its own advanced cinema format that will directly rival IMAX.

The company might be equated with high quality audio in most people’s minds, but Dolby is taking another massive step into the world of cinematic visuals.

Dolby recently announced a new movie projection format called Dolby Cinema. The idea is to pair the company’s high-end sound technology with its Dolby Vision, which applies high dynamic range technology to films.

Dolby Vision hit 4K TV sets this year, bringing with it “high dynamic range with enhanced colour technology that has been praised by filmmakers for its amazing contrast, high brightness, and colour range that more closely matches what the human eye can see,” according to Dolby.

Expect to see the first Dolby Vision projectors hitting select theatres in 2015.

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trustedreviews

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Nov 252014
 

This is a fun look at doing street photography the hard way, with a large format camera and Fuji Instant film!