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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cameraperson [Blu-ray]


(Kirsten Johnson, 2016)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Big Mouth Productions

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #853



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:42:40.863

Disc Size: 48,173,206,114 bytes

Feature Size: 28,635,820,032 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.84 Mbps

Chapters: 39

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: February 7th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2460 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2460 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



Burned-in for Non-English, optional English (SDH) for English dialogue


Editing “Cameraperson,” a new program featuring director Kirsten Johnson, producers Marilyn Ness and Danielle Varga, and editors Nels Bangerter and Amanda Laws (36:32)
In the Service of the Film, a roundtable conversation with Johnson, producer Gini Reticker, and sound recordists Wellington Bowler and Judy Karp (39:06)
Excerpts from two 2016 film festival talks with Johnson, including one between her and filmmaker Michael Moore (Traverse - 21:48, Sarajevo - 14:52)
The Above, a 2015 short film by Johnson (8:35)
Trailer (2:05)
PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda and reprinted writings by Johnson






Description: A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home with the director: Kirsten Johnson weaves these scenes and others into her film Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage captured over her twenty-five-year career as a documentary cinematographer. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality with crafted narrative. A work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, Cameraperson is a moving glimpse into one filmmaker’s personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world.



The Film:

Spend 25 years on any job and you’re bound to have a little down time. Kirsten Johnson has worked for decades as a cinematographer on many acclaimed documentaries, travelling to places such as Bosnia, Darfur, Kabul and Texas. Wisely, she always kept her camera running and didn’t throw away the spare footage. By collecting and curating “leftover stock” for her experimental film Cameraperson, she has made more than just a record of “what I did at the office”. It is a remarkable document about the creative process in the service of a specific goal. It may even tap into a richer vein: what it’s like to live on planet Earth.

Excerpt from TheGuardian located HERE

The collage film “Cameraperson” is one of the most original, challenging, sometimes infuriating documentaries of recent times. It’s well worth seeing and arguing about, but only if you can give it your full attention and glean the internal logic that went into its construction. And once you’ve done that, you will never forget what the movie showed you, or you own guesses about why it showed it to you, and how, and why. It’s an extraordinary feeling, meeting a film in this way. The director of “Cameraperson,” veteran nonfiction camerawoman Kirsten Johnson, always errs on the side of subtlety, which means the movie never comes to you; you always have to go to it. Compounding the difficulty is the reality of moviegoing as most viewers (critics included) typically experience it. Anyone who sees “Cameraperson” is going to have to set aside a lifetime’s worth of conditioning by word-driven features that make sure to tell you what’s happening and why it’s important every few minutes, in case the images and sounds aren’t making things clear.

Excerpt from RogerEbert located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cameraperson is culled from the twenty-five-year career of documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson and arrives on Blu-ray from Criterion.  It is transferred on a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate. Sources vary in quality as aspect ratio but the 1.78:1 HD image captures stunning colors and deep, rich, full visuals. While there are shifts in the appearance consistency - the overall images mesh beautifully together. This Blu-ray, with fascinating detail and varied locations is reproduced an impressive 1080P presentation.



















Audio :

Criterion use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 2460 kbps (24-bit). With footage shot over decades around the world - quality obviously varies. The lossless stabilizes the more wayward sounds and most of the narration and dialogue is consistent. Aside from some live, cultural, performances - there is no music supporting the documentary. There burned-in English subtitles for non-English dialogue (sample above) and optional English subtitles for English dialogue. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion include quite a few extras including Editing “Cameraperson,” a new 37-minute program featuring director Kirsten Johnson, producers Marilyn Ness and Danielle Varga, and editors Nels Bangerter and Amanda Law. The collaborative process of making Cameraperson is revisited by the group. In the Service of the Film, is a 40-minute roundtable conversation with Johnson, producer Gini Reticker, and sound recordists Wellington Bowler and Judy Karp. It was produced by Criterion in 2016. There are excerpts from two 2016 film festival talks with Johnson, including one between her and filmmaker Michael Moore. The Traverse running almost 22-minutes and the Sarajevo Film Festival for 1/4 hour. The Above, is a 2015, 8.5 minute, short film by Kirsten Johnson commissioned by Field of Vision, a filmmaker-driven visuals journalism unit that pairs directors with developing and ongoing stories around the globe. In The Above, a U.S. military surveillance balloon floats on a tether high above Kabul, Afghanistan. Its capacities are highly classified and deeply mysterious. The supplements also include a trailer and a liner notes booklet with an essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda and reprinted writings by Johnson.



works as both an intriguing documentary and gives some insight as an autobiography of Kirsten Johnson. This is the film's strong point and is both touching and delves into the creation process. It's also a stimulant to see more and further satisfy your curiosity on the destinations and stories she touches upon. This Blu-ray is very worthy of ownership. I can see revisiting this - especially with friends. Even not knowing anything about this before I put it on - I immediately become invested and was very pleasantly surprised by my own reaction. Certainly recommended!

Gary Tooze

January 2nd, 2017


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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