Neil Fanthom and Bradford Young ASC are up to something.
Today they launched a new venture called TRIBE7 and a technology called BLACKWING7.
Since I’m sitting in London within shouting distance of Sherlock Holmes’s 221B Baker Street, a bit of deduction might help unravel some of the mysteries that are yet to be revealed.
As Holmes might have told Watson, “It may possibly recur to your memory that when I examined the Tribe7 website upon which the words were fastened I made a close inspection for clues. In doing so I was conscious of a strong scent of color science and optical wizardry.”
Indeed. Neil Fanthom was the one of the ARRI Rental gentlemen who whisked me off to an undisclosed NDA location at NAB in April 2013 to foreshadow what would become the ARRI ALEXA 65 and its impressive collection of characterful lenses.
Bradford Young ASC is the acclaimed cinematographer whose credits include Selma, A Most Violent Year, Arrival and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
They said, “TRIBE 7 is a company interested in all aspects of creative image making and especially in colour, light and optics – how those facets of imaging can be explored, and re-imagined, to the benefit of today’s creative film makers. One of our aims is to provide artists the ability to tune (enhance) and de-tune (distort) elements of colour and light to bring a greater intentionality and visual authorization to their story.”
What does that mean? Elementary, my dear readers. Although these two gentlemen are clearly into music and audio science, I doubt they are planning to be the next musical duo, Daft Punk or Simon and Garfunkel. They are into “colour science, tuning and de-tuning.”
I don’t think that means piano tuning. What else to we tune and de-tune in our world?
Here’s the official TRIBE7 announcement:
Formed in the twilight of 2018, TRIBE 7 is a start-up collaboration between artist and academy award nominated cinematographer Bradford Young ASC, and technologist Neil Fanthom, former strategy and technology executive at ARRI.
TRIBE 7 is a company interested in all aspects of creative image making. Its primary areas of interest are in colour, light and optics – and how those facets of imaging can be explored, and re-imagined, to the benefit of today’s creative film makers.
The company’s approach to the development of creative technology is both cerebral and scientific. There are facets of audio science – frequency, distortion, intensity, harmonics – which also exist in the science of film making, and as such a strong technical and emotional resonance between audio and imagery exists but has rarely been explored from a creative and commercial perspective.
TRIBE 7 aims to provide artists the ability to tune (enhance) and de-tune (distort) elements of colour and light to bring a greater intentionality and visual authorization to their story.
TRIBE 7 ’s interaction with the film making community will be low-key, inclusive and democratic, yet also thought- provoking and creatively disruptive. The company supports creatives who seek to embed their voice in their work.
TRIBE 7 technology will sit under a banner branding – BLACKWING 7 – and will examine the influence of analogue and digital processes on an image as it follows the vision of a film maker, on-set and through post- production, through to exhibition. BLACKWING 7 technology will come in analogue and digital forms – which, to draw on the co-founders’ passion for music, harks back to the delivery of audio content on Vinyl and MP3.
Products and technologies will be curated to provide increased choice and creative variety for film makers. There will always be a strong resonance between imagery and audiography in all elements of TRIBE 7’ s creative vision.
TRIBE 7 works closely with partners who are also passionate about the origins of music, and how the historical influences of frequency, distortion, intensity, harmonics have influenced music, and in turn image-making, over the years. Together, TRIBE 7 and its partners will co-develop new creative technologies, products and services which will market under the TRIBE 7 brand.
In recent years, advances in motion picture production technology have certainly democratised the imaging process for the film-making industry, but have also diluted creative and experimental possibilities for the individual.
Digital sensors have advanced at such a pace that, in the eyes of many, digital capture has now superceded analogue film capture in terms of quality. And so for many young creatives, photochemical colour science has receded into an unknown art form – and many film school students and young film makers are not able to relate to the colour possibilities of an analogue film process, because it’s not accessible to them during their education and early film making experiences.
Optical technology has advanced too, at an incredible pace – modern cine lenses have evolved into complicated, finely tuned opto-electro-mechanical instruments. But many of the artistic qualities visible in cherished optics from the first half of the 20th century no longer exist in modern lenses – technological evolution and the power of computer modelling has allowed many nuanced characteristics to be “designed out”.
Accordingly, the two topics of concern now, especially to young film makers and creative story tellers, are COLOUR SCIENCE and OPTICS.
The goal of TRIBE 7 is to embrace and develop technology which allows creative film makers to become familiarised with the legacy of imaging, to dig down into the history, and meta level of COLOUR , LIGHT and OPTICS and embed their personality into their film making tools.