Bill Zarchy

Listen to My Interview on FCC Free Radio

Radio host Lilycat interviewed me recently about my writing on FCC Free Radio.

The show ran live on September 18, broadcast from their studios in the Civic Center/UN Plaza District in downtown San Francisco. For two hours, we talked, she played music, and I read three stories from my book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil.

Once a month, she hosts authors like myself from Left Coast Writers.

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Incense Cedar

As we pass the 30-year mark in our home next week, the tall tree in the right rear corner of the yard, an Incense Cedar, stands tall and true, more than twice the height of the house. When we moved in, there were two tall trees. The left rear corner held a Monterey Pine, so

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Showcasing ‘Showdown at Shinagawa’ — The Video

Video of a presentation by Bill Zarchy at Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley, California on 2/3/16. The author reads excerpts from four of the stories in his book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil.”  He also discusses the ins and outs of self-publishing, as well as his background as a globe-trotting cinematographer. The

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A Chance Encounter

Sometimes the course of your life can turn on one small thing, one chance encounter. It happened to me, many years ago, the day Beverly invited me to visit her. Of course I had the hots for her — pretty, round face, sparkling blue eyes, long blond hair. But ever since our one blind date

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We Loved Our First House

We loved our first house in San Francisco, in the Excelsior district of the Outer Mission. We loved the fact that we owned it, loved that we had managed to move quickly enough to evade eviction by our last landlady (who had suddenly decided to move into our apartment), loved that our living space had

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Pop’s Podunks

Whenever my dad wanted to speak metaphorically about Podunks — places that were remote and sparsely populated — he often cited Broken Elbow, Indiana, and Frozen Dog, Iowa. I always assumed they were real places, and recently I dug around to find out how they got their colorful names. Internet research truly is the best!

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Why They Call It Far-go

At 9 am Monday, I left my home near San Francisco for what proved to be one of my longest trips ever. Twenty-nine hours later, I reached my destination, after a grueling air journey. But I hadn’t been hurled halfway around the world. I had finally touched down in Fargo, North Dakota, just halfway across

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SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA Now Available in Paperback and Kindle e-Book

Bill Zarchy’s new book, SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA, is now on sale at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle e-book versions.

SHOWDOWN AT SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil tells true stories from Zarchy’s long career as a director of photography, working on film and digital cinema shoots across the U.S. and all around the world — Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil.

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Daniel Pinkham: The Unpredictable-ness of What’s Coming Next

A new profile on Dan Pinkham I wrote for Varney’s Place, the blog of The Kenwood Group:

“In college, I supported myself with a commissioned sales job at a prominent Westwood Village camera store. One day I sold a super-8 camera to Johnny Carson and had the pleasure of teaching him how to use it! That was a mind-blowing moment for a film school student, to be sure.”

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Unpunished

Ten of us arrive, unannounced, at the restaurant on the terrace, hoping for an outside table.

The staff seats us quickly, then waters, breads, menus, wines, serves, desserts, and espressos us in style. The service is seamless, though during the meal I notice one of our waitresses hurrying by, looking harried. But we gab and laugh and catch up in the sun on the terrace, enjoying the company, the food, and the splendid New England day.

Eventually the waitress brings the check, with amends. “I’m so sorry about the delay. Thanks for your understanding.”

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Sony F5 & F55 Workshop at AbelCine in Burbank

Earlier this month, I attended a workshop at AbelCine in Burbank called Sony F5 & F55: Practical Shooting with Alister Chapman for the DIT and DP.

The new Sony PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 both offer Super 35mm, CMOS image sensors, wide dynamic range, high sensitivity, and an extensive variety of internal recording options. Except for the black lens mount on the F5 and the silver lens mount on the F55, the form factors of the two cameras appear identical.

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On Predicting the Future: Roku’s Reward and Augmented Reality

Predicting the future is a tricky business. It’s difficult to know what’s going to happen, and you never know whom you might inspire.

Jim Samalis, who joined Kenwood as Executive Creative Director on April 1, was reminded recently of a visionary film he made years ago, and was rewarded by seeing the fruit of some seeds he helped to sow.

The story starts seven years ago.

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Two Worthy Film Projects Need Your Donations

I have just pledged money to two worthy film projects by Eliciana Nascimento and Eli Adler, and I urge my readers to do the same.

Eliciana, an MFA student at San Francisco State, took (and aced!) my Advanced Cinematography class this spring. She and husband Ben Watkins plan to film her thesis project, The Summer of Gods, in her native Brazil, and are trying to raise $30,000 to shoot and complete the film this year. The Summer of Gods is a short film about a young girl named Lilli who visits her grandmother in rural Brazil. Near her village, she encounters Orishas (African gods) who challenge her with a mission.

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Writing Projects for Varney’s Place

Recently completed pieces for The Kenwood Group, for their Varney’s Place blog:

Giants Stadium: In the Shadow of Kenwood

Starting Friday afternoon and 81 times in the next six months, the neighborhood around Kenwood will be transformed. Thousands of people of all ages wearing Halloween colors and panda and giraffe hats will flood the streets around our office, their shirts bearing an odd collection of names which are common nouns like Posey, Pagan, Panda, Pence, Belt, Huff, Bonds, Snow, Mays, the Beard, and the Freak, as well as unique three-syllable names like Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Marichal, Scutaro, McCovey, and Lincecum.

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NAB Roundup 2013: LED Fresnels, Camera Accessories

I first wrote about the development of LED Fresnel lights two years ago, tracking earlier reactions by the industry to high energy consumption and high heat output: “Greening the Film Business: LED Fresnels.” This year I followed up with some of the same manufacturers.

Fresnel lenses, originally invented for lighthouses, have long been used on movie lights for careful light control and sharp shadows. Their typical concentric ring style enables them to have great diameter without clumsy thickness.

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NAB Roundup 2013: Cameras

Las Vegas is known for its buffets, and the NAB Show at the Vegas Convention Center is a grand smorgasbord of technology.

The floor exhibits fill over 800,000 square feet. 92,000 attendees crowd around 1500 exhibitors showing the latest products and services in TV and radio broadcasting, film and video production and postproduction, cloud computing, entertainment technology, file-based workflows, 3D visuals, and pro audio.

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