The opening weekend of the 2016 Chetco bubble season was good considering the weather wasn’t very cooperative. According to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, trolling off the mouth of the river was made difficult by choppy seas and south winds to 20 knots. “Most of the guides averaged a fish per rod, with the best fishing between Salmon Rock and the red buoy. Guide Mark Papazian of Brookings landed the biggest fish I saw during the opening weekend, a 42-pounder. The fish averaged in …
South Africa sent a high-powered delegation of government, business and civil society leaders to the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 to 13 May. Watch video coverage of their contribution to the continental gathering.South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) greets Philipp Rösler, head of the Centre for Regional Strategies at the World Economic Forum, at WEF Africa in Kigali on 12 May 2016. (Image: WEF / Benedikt von Loebell)
The PostImage: Janusz Kaminski on set via Niko Tavernise / Twentieth Century Fox.Oscar Nominations: 2 — Best Picture, Best ActressDirector: Steven SpielbergDirector of Photography: Janusz KaminskiCamera: Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2Lenses: Panavision Primo, PVintage, PCZ LensesRecording Format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 50D 5203, Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219)With now over 20 projects between Steven Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, the DP shared with Deadline that he “wanted to make it feel like someone else shot [The Post]”:The first thoughts were, ‘Man, we’re spending a lot of time inside. People are talking and talking. How do we make this more visual?’ It was very clear that theWashington Post floor had to be more vibrant, not just because it makes a better movie, but because the reality of that the floor was that there was a constant exchange of information, constant phone calls.As filmmakers, we had to reflect that energy in the way we photographed the movie, knowing that the camera was going to move a lot. I had to create an environment where the actors were not inhibited by the lighting equipment within the frame, so they could go wherever they wanted and the camera would follow them.There was no compromise in my lighting; I just had to accommodate that particular need. So the choice was very clear: I’m going to put our own fluorescents into the set, and light from the top. Anytime I had a chance, I hid a little bit of lights so I could introduce more direct light onto the face, because top light tends to create a deeper shadow, and that’s often not right for the story. When you’re not able to see the character’s eyes, it feels like they’re hiding something. All the characters in the movie are very transparent, particularly the journalists. You want to see their eyes.Image: The Post set via Amblin Entertainment / Kobal / Shutterstock.Regarding his choice of gear:In America, we always shoot using Panavision equipment — it’s the best equipment there is. Because it was a slightly period movie and I didn’t want the images to be overly sharp and crispy, I used an older set of Zeiss lenses, with different color and light reproduction. I used 200 SA Kodak for all my Washington Post interiors, and for the rest of the movie, I used 500 SA Kodak, which has a little more grain.We used finer-grain film at the Washington Post office to make it feel more crispy and more immediate. The rest of the film, I didn’t mind a little grain. It was a very familiar environment — traditional equipment, traditional lights. It was an old-school movie set.Read the entire interview over at Deadline. For more on the relationship between Spielberg and Kaminkski, I suggest checking out 8 Cinematographers Behind Famous Directors and HBO’s New Documentary “Spielberg” Is a Must-See for Aspiring Directors.The 2018 Academy Awards will be presented on March 4th. Congratulations to all the Oscar nominees! Image: Set of Blade Runner 2049 via ARRI.We previously took a hard look at Roger Deakins‘s work on Blade Runner 2049. Our friends at ARRI provided some stellar set photos and gave us insight into the lighting rigs set up by gaffer Bill O’Leary.Roger achieved most of the look in-camera. For the lighting, we used soft sources and lots of gels on the lampheads to create the different color atmospheres. We went through almost 1,400 rolls of gel by the time we had finished shooting!Image: Set of Blade Runner 2049 via ARRI.The lighting rigs on Blade Runner 2049 were absolutely massive. One of the main set pieces featured a light ring with 256 ARRI 300-watt fresnels, and another used 100 SkyPanels.I always wanted to light the two scenes on that set quite differently. The first lighting design was something I had thought out well before the idea of the pool was finally locked in. This was based on the idea of sunlight coming through skylights in the roof and was similar in a way to the initial wide shot that introduces the Records Library. Of course, the addition of the element of water helped me create a second, quite-different look for that ‘interrogation’ scene. But the caustics were just a background to the actual character lighting, which was also something I had been thinking about for some time. It seemed a natural extension of the theme of moving light. —Roger DeakinsYou can read the whole Blade Runner 2049 cinematography piece here. The film’s sound design and VFX were also well received. I’d also suggest checking out The Secrets Behind the Sound Design of Blade Runner 2049. Several VFX houses worked on Blade Runner 2049, including Atomic Fiction, whose office we visited in a previous interview and tour.DunkirkImage: Dunkirk set via Warner Bros.Oscar Nominations: 8 — Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production DesignDirector: Christopher NolanDirector of Photography: Hoyte Van HoytemaCamera: IMAX MKIV, IMAX MSM 9802, Panavision 65 HR, Panavision Panaflex System 65 StudioLenses: Panavision Sphero 65 (50mm wide angle, 80mm for close-ups), Hasselblad Lenses Recording Format: 65mm (Kodak Vision3 50D 5203, Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219)Image: Set of Dunkirk via Thibault Vandermersch/EPA/Shutterstock.In an interview with British Cinematographer, Van Hoytema shared the following:Chris is a champion of film, so Dunkirk was always going to be a film project . . . To be honest, I am very much with Chris that there is not yet any medium that reaches the depth and quality of film. So if you want to tell a story in a visual way — as a dramatic, close-up, immersive experience of what is in front of you on-set — film is still the No.1 choice.On shooting handheld with an IMAX camera:From an aesthetic point-of-view I thought it was an inspired choice. Our ambition was to be in the action all of the time, to portray feelings and evoke the emotions of the people caught up in those dramatic episodes, in a documentary style. There was some crane work — with the camera mounted on a stabilised Edge Head, provided by Performance Filmworks — but it’s very sparse, that style of cinematography can take out of the immediacy of the moment.From a practical point-of-view, the IMAX and the 65mm cameras are big — like a hotel mini-bar — and the 65mm camera is heavier than the IMAX. But the lengths of the filmstocks in the magazines are fairly short — two-minutes for the IMAX, and around eight minutes for the 65mm — and I knew I would only have to shoulder the cameras for short periods of time.Image: Christopher Nolan and Hoyte Van Hoytema via M.S.Gordon/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock.On the camera and lens package,Large format is not an off-the-shelf affair, especially the lenses, and we worked with Panavision L.A. for a good six weeks to assemble our shooting package. Although Dunkirk was essentially a one-camera shoot, we always had four IMAX cameras ready to go – on-set, hard-mounted to the fighters or on our camera ship — and Chris and I were constantly in motion, leapfrogging between the cameras. We shot the 65mm footage using the 65mm Panaflex System 65 Studio Camera — 65SPFX — which is blimped and is great for shooting sound.As for the lenses, because of our need for clarity, we shot Dunkirk completely spherical. Optically it is so much more pure than Anamorphic, with much less glass and light refraction between the subject and the emulsion. We had two pairs of lenses for the IMAX cameras — a 50mm wide-angle and an 80mm for close-ups.You can read the entire British Cinematographer piece here. Hoyte van Hoytema also sat down with Deadline to talk about Dunkirk, and I suggest giving that podcast a listen.For more on the making of Dunkirk, check out The Power of Sound: Using the Shepard Tone In Filmmaking to dive into the film’s sound design. If you’re interested in recreating the title sequence from Dunkirk, you can also check out our video tutorial here: Create Transparent Titles Inspired by Dunkirk in Premiere Pro and FCPX.MudboundImage: Dee Rees on set of Mudbound via Steve Dietl/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.Oscar Nominations: 4 — Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original SongDirector: Dee ReesDirector of Photography: Rachel MorrisonCamera: ARRI Alexa MiniLenses: Panavision C and D Series Anamorphics, Vintage Super SpeedsRecording Format: ARRIRAW 3.4KImage: Rachel Morrison shooting Mudbound via Steve Dietl/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.In an interview with IndieWire, Morrison spoke about her work on the film,Both Dee and I set out to shoot Mudbound on film. Everything about this project screamed to be analog. But our budget was so tight that any added cost came at the expense of something else — shooting days, extras, production design assets, etc. We did extensive tests to determine if it was worth it. We tested both anamorphic and spherical 16mm on the Arri 416 (which to this day is still my favorite camera ever designed) as well as anamorphic and spherical lenses on 35mm vs the ARRI Alexa shooting ARRI Raw. We were working with Fotokem locally in New Orleans, and I asked our dailies colorist Illya Laney to add a grain emulation curve to the digital media, match the shots to each other, and then reduce saturation and contrast by about 15-20%.It’s always a challenge to shoot a period film and not have it look like you hit the tea stain button in post. We wanted to create a world that was true to the time, but felt raw and real and not overstylized in a way that the audience can sense the theatricality.Image: Dee Rees on set of Mudbound via Steve Dietl/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.We chose older lenses, a mix of Panavision C and D Series anamorphics as well as Vintage Super Speeds from the ’60s and ’70s that had inherently reduced contrast and many optical aberrations. We decided to embrace the aspherical softening around the edges because we felt that even on a subconscious level, this would help the imagery feel more like the FSA photography of the era.We wanted the lighting to be naturalistic, largely motivated by sun and moon once the McCallan family have left the creature comforts of the city and settled into rural life. As much as I would have loved to shoot everything at magic hour, this film is about the sun beating down and what that does to one’s spirits — and so we embraced harsh lighting conditions when that was called for, but also contrasted the beauty of magic hour and dusk over the fields to illustrate that the endless battle for something greater is fueled by moments of hope and inspiration.We’ve been huge fans of Rachel Morrison’s work, and she also just shot the massive blockbuster Black Panther. You can check out our exclusive interview with production designer Hannah Beachler on creating Wakanda and the amazing sets for the film.The Shape of WaterImage: Set of The Shape of Water via K Hayes/20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.Oscar Nominations: 13 — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting ActressDirector: Guillermo del ToroDirector of Photography: Dan Laustsen Camera: ARRI Alexa XT Plus, ARRI Alexa MiniLenses: Fujinon Alura Lens, Zeiss Master Prime LensesRecording Format: ARRIRAW 3.4KImage: Set of The Shape of Water via K Hayes/20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.In an interview with British Cinematographer, Lausten talked about his rekindled relationship with Guillermo del Toro and how he shot The Shape of Water:‘We shot 3.2K open gate,’ notes Laustsen. ‘The bathroom is shot wet for wet so we used an ALEXA Mini.’ Elisa and the creature falling into the river was shot dry for wet with a lot of smoke, cranes, wires and projectors for caustic lighting. ‘I like Master Primes because you know what you’re getting. We went for wide angles and shot a lot with 25mm and 27mm. We were afraid of the female actors getting too sharp so I shot with a diffusion filter inside of the camera to break up the highlights.’In terms of the film’s colors, Luasten told Filmmaker Magazine thatThat steel blue color we used for The Shape of Water goes all the way back to something we used on Mimic. When I have those steel blue and green colors, I’m always at 3200° Kelvin on the lights and 3200° Kelvin on the camera as well. Then I’ll use gel on the lights to get the exact color I want. Guillermo and I like to shoot at a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning that our dailies look more or less like the final movie is going to look. In the Digital Intermediate (DI) we’ll use some power windows for adjustments, but the overall color is very close to what we shot.Image: Guillermo del Toro on set via S Giraud/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock.In terms of his limited budget versus setups similar to Blade Runner 2049:This was a pretty small movie — it’s a $19.5 million budget — so I had to be clever about our budget for lighting and camera. We couldn’t afford to have a bunch of ARRI SkyPanels on set. When you have to move so fast, I think it’s easier to control the light the old-fashioned way — use 3200° Kelvin lights and then put the gels on for the color. It’s a little bit backwards, but it worked for me on this movie.The film was almost entirely single-camera with ARRI/Zeiss Master Primes:I’d say 98 percent single camera. Everything is shot on either a Steadicam, a dolly on dance floor with a jib arm and a hot-head, or on a Technocrane.I just think Master Primes are the best lenses you can buy in the world right now. Guillermo and I want to have 100 percent control over the image, and Master Primes are really good for that. We try to not do anything by accident. We don’t like to work with lenses that are giving us something we didn’t know was coming, like an unexpected lens flare.You can read more of the British Cinematographer interview here and the Filmmaker Magazine interview here. For more on Guillermo del Toro, you may enjoy reading Los Directores: Mexico’s Famous Filmmakers.Darkest HourImage: Darkest Hour set via Jack English/Working Title/Kobal/Shutterstock.Oscar Nominations: 6 — Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best ActorDirector: Joe WrightDirector of Photography: Bruno DelbonnelCamera: ARRI Alexa SXT Plus, ARRI Alexa MiniLenses: Cooke S4, Angenieux Optimo LensesRecording Format: ARRIRAW 3.4KOn researching the look for the Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel shared the following with Deadline:The thing is, especially for those kind of periods, what you get is basically black-and-white photography, so you can only guess what the color would be. That’s always the problem with a period piece. It doesn’t mean anything, basically. In 1940, the light was exactly the same as it is [now]. So for me, it’s more about discussing with the production designer and finding the right thing from the ‘40s.Image: Darkest Hour set via Shutterstock. On the camera package:At the very beginning, we wanted to shoot with an Alexa 65 with medium format lenses, but you need so much light just to get enough depth of field that I convinced Joe that we should go with the regular Alexa, with Cooke lenses. Because then, I could work with not such a big amount of light. I like a very big depth of field, and I think the depth of field was interesting. In order to get enough depth of field, I couldn’t shoot with the 65.You can read the entire interview at Deadline.Get OutImage: Get Out set via Justin Lubin / Universal Pictures.Oscar Nominations: 4 — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best ActorDirector: Jordan PeeleDirector of Photography: Toby OliverCamera: ARRI Alexa MiniLenses: Angenieux Optimo LensesRecording Format: ARRIRAW 3.4KIn an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Toby Oliver talked about location scouting for Get Out:I do use Artemis every day when I’m location scouting, and I use it often on set in lieu of a traditional director’s viewfinder, but I didn’t use it for those photoboards because the quality of Artemis’s [photos] is a bit blurry and cruddy when you try to blow them up and print them. So I just used my 7D stills camera. That was a very valuable process for Jordan and I and also the producers, who were there acting out the parts of the characters when we shot the photoboards.Image: Jordan Peele on set via Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures.On shooting in real houses in Alabama:The Sunken Place was the only time we shot on a stage. Well, it wasn’t really a stage. It was a civic center that we treated like a stage. The rest of the movie was shot entirely on location in real houses and real buildings in Mobile. Finding the right house was difficult. Jordan had in mind a specific kind of estate. It couldn’t look too much like it was in the south because the movie is set somewhere on the east coast. Eventually we found a place that was the right balance between being big but not too ostentatious.In regards to choosing the ARRI Alexa Mini:I love the Alexa Mini. It gives you the same image quality as the regular Alexa, but in a smaller package. It’s about half the size and half the weight of the regular Alexa even with all the accessories and things you have to pile onto it. It’s great for working on location if you need to squeeze the camera into a corner. A couple of inches here or there can actually be quite handy. I’ve shot with Alexa Minis on my last three movies. And for Get Out, we shot ProRes 4444 at 3.2K. Because we’re finishing the movie at standard cinema 2K, 3.2K gives you just a little extra room to resize, which is useful in post.You can read the entire interview at Filmmaker Magazine. I also suggest giving a listen to Toby Oliver’s interview on the Go Creative Show, where he talks about blending horror and comedy, shooting with zoom lenses, and the challenges of a limited budget. There is also a wonderful piece on making Get Out over on Vulture that is definitely worth a read.Phantom ThreadImage: Paul Thomas Anderson on set via L Sparham/Focus Features/Kobal/Shutterstock.Oscar Nominations: 6 — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Costumes, Best Original Song, Best Actor, Best Supporting ActressDirector: Paul Thomas AndersonDirector of Photography: Paul Thomas Anderson (uncredited)Camera: Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2Lenses: Panavision Ultra Speed Z-Series MKII LensesRecording Format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219)There is no credited cinematographer for Phantom Thread, making it ineligible for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. This has to do with Paul Thomas Anderson’s collaborative cinematography workflow. On the subject, he told Entertainment Weekly the following;I should really clarify that. That would be disingenuous and just plain wrong to say that I was the director of photography on the film. The situation was that I work with a group of guys on the last few films and smaller side projects. Basically, in England, we were able to sort of work without an official director of photography. The people I would normally work with were unavailable, and it just became a situation where we collaborated — really in the best sense of the word — as a team. I know how to point the camera in a good direction, and I know a few things. But I’m not a director of photography.If you can give credit, Michael Bauman is the gaffer that I’ve worked with for many, many years on a lot of projects. I could veto Mike, I guess, but he held a lot of the keys. There was a camera operator, Colin Anderson, I’ve worked with, and Erik Brown, who was the first assistant cameraman and Jeff Kunkel, who was a grip. It was a real package like that. It was a really easy way of working. You have to be very, very careful because there are way too many good cinematographers that I would not put myself in that class for a second.You can head over to EW to read the entire interview with the director.Lady BirdImage: Sam Levy and Greta Gerwig via Merie Wallace/A24.Oscar Nominations: 5 – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting ActressDirector: Greta GerwigDirector of Photography: Sam LevyCamera: ARRI Alexa MiniLenses: PanavisionRecording Format: ARRIRAW 2KIn terms of the overall look of Lady Bird, Sam Levy revealed to IndieWire thatOne way we got at this aesthetic of memory was we were looking at a lot of photos by the French photographer Lise Sarfati, who has all these great portraits of young women from around the 2000s. The photos aren’t at all creepy, it shows they were taken by woman, they are so at ease the way our young cast was with Greta. Through Sarfati’s photos we kept coming back to this idea of ‘plain and luscious,’ that’s what Lady Bird should look like, it shouldn’t be dripping with the visuals.As for the camera package:We shot with the Alexa Mini with old Panavision lenses and, in testing different resolutions, we ended up shooting 2k — ARRI raw 3.6K was too vivid and too sharp. Alexa has native grain, sort of video noise, any sensor emits video noise. Alex brought up, How do we tease out the Alexa video grain? Instead of adding artificial film grain, but embracing the technology we are using, but in more of a handmade way, not unlike how you’d create this multiple photocopies.You can read the entire interview with Sam Levy and Greta Gerwig at IndieWire.Fun fact: the image of Sam Levy and Greta Gerwig above shows Gerwig wearing a name tag that reads, “Greta, Breakfast at Tiffanys.” This was part of a game on set, where each day the crew would wear name tags and write answers to a daily question. Now as to why Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Gerwig reluctantly revealed that this question of the day was their thoughts on the most overrated film classic.Call Me By Your NameImage: Luca Guadagnino on set via Frenesy Film Co / Sony / Kobal / Shutterstock.Oscar Nominations: 4 — Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best ActorDirector: Luca GuadagninoDirector of Photography: Sayombhu MukdeepromCamera: Arricam LTLenses: Cooke 35mm S4 LensRecording Format: 35mm (Kodak Vision3 500T 5219)Shot entirely on one lens, Call Me By Your Name was a challenge for cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. In an interview with Deadline, he talked about the challenge,The producer asked me, ‘Should there be some other, wider lens? Just in case?’ I said ‘No, no. I want to tie my hand to this approach, because this is how I work . . . I think if you limit yourself to something, you struggle inside your idea.’In terms of lighting:At the beginning, I was thinking about shooting with all natural light, but the weather conditions did not permit me to do that. At that time, there was historic weather in Italy — it was too hot. I had to adapt my technical approach to that, so I had to order a package of lights. I ended up with 15Ks, down to 2.5. With the lighting approach, I observed the director and the actors. It seems like we should have the idea of what we’re going to do, but it’s not so fixed like that. It always has flexibility. So with observation, I follow them. I adapt to everything that happens in front of the camera.Image: Call Me By Your Name set via Frenesy Film Co / Sony / Kobal / Shutterstock.Talking to IndieWire about the torrential rain in Italy during production, Mukdeeprom revealed thatWe had scheduled 30 days of shooting — five weeks, six day weeks — and we ended up shooting 34, of which 28 there were heavy rains . . . We were freaking out, and we’re reconstructing the light every day.I said to the producer, ‘This is bananas,’ I kept saying ‘You have to be kidding, this is not why I came to Italy. But it became my war.’There are times you don’t have the space or time for a large light, or set up . . . I have learned if I get the contrast right, what colors I can and cannot pull from the image in post. I don’t like working this way, ‘fixing it in post,’ but I’ve learned shooting in Thailand what colors must be present on set when we shoot and which I can find later on.You can read more about the cinematography in these interviews at Deadline and IndieWire.Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriImage: On set of Three Billboards via M Morton / 20th Century Fox / Kobal / Shutterstock.Oscar Nominations: 7 — Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (2)Director: Martin McDonaghDirector of Photography: Ben DavisCamera: Arri Alexa XT PlusLenses: Panavision E-Series and C-Series Anamorphic LensesRecording Format: ARRIRAWTalking with British Cinematographer, Ben Davis spoke about his crew,‘I had a lot of the same crew from Seven Psychopaths,’ states Davis. ‘My AC was William Coe who I adore and is great, Stephen Campanelli was the operator and Ross Dunkerley was the gaffer.’ Panavision supplied two ALEXA XT cameras along with E and C series anamorphic lenses, which have imperfections that help to break down the digital image. One truck of lights was utilized that consisted of a lot of LEDs, 4×4 Cine panels to create moonlight, and a single generator. ‘What you learn as you go on as a DP is to use fewer lights and to put them in the right place.’‘We never did a huge amount of takes,’ states Davis who shot the crime comedy drama in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. ‘The coverage was what was necessary. For me, the cinematography was purely about delivering the script. When the words are so good there’s a temptation to shoot your actors in the close-ups. We made sure not to do that.’You can read the entire interview at British Cinematographer. I also suggest watching this great behind-the-scenes video of a oner captured from the streets. Dive into the cameras and gear used to capture all of the 2018 Academy Award nominees for Best Picture and Best Cinematography.Top image: Set of The Shape of Water via K Hayes/20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.Leading up to the Academy Awards, I always love diving into the production stills and going deep into the tech specs for many of the Oscar nominees. That includes finding out the gear these filmmakers and cinematographers used.Obviously, ARRI continues to lead the pack as the standard cinema camera package — and ARRI just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary. Let’s dive into the cameras and lenses behind 2018’s Oscar-nominated films and see what made the list. (You can find previous nominees here: 2017, 2016.)Blade Runner 2049Image: Blade Runner 2049 set via Sony Pictures. Oscar Nominations: 5 — Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design.Director: Denis VilleneuveDirector of Photography: Roger DeakinsCamera: ARRI Alexa Mini, ARRI Alexa XT StudioLenses: Zeiss Master Prime LensesRecording Format: ARRIRAW 3.4K
The Indian team’s injury crisis seems to be finally ending with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday announcing the return of first-choice batsmen Gautam Gambhir and V V S Laxman for the opening cricket Test against New Zealand starting here tomorrow.Their return has forced the team to drop Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara but Dhoni feels the move would not be a de-motivating factor for the duo.”As far as Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara are concerned, they replaced Gautam Gambhir and V V S Laxman. And when you have players like that, when they come back into the team they will find a place in the final eleven. I don’t think it’s very de-motivating (for Vijay and Pujara),” Dhoni said at the pre-match media conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.Vijay utilised the opportunity he got in Gambhir’s absence and slammed his maiden Test hundred (139) and also put on a crucial triple century stand with Sachin Tendulkar to help India recover from a poor start and win over Australia in their previous Test at Bangalore last month.Pujara too played in an attacking fashion to score a dazzling 72 in the same game when India chased a tricky 200-plus fourth innings target and achieved it with plenty to spare to complete a 2-0 whitewash over Australia.Dhoni said both the youngsters knew they will have to sit out with the main players back and available for selection in the final eleven for the clash at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera.advertisement”What’s important is they have also realized the fact once these players are back they will be in the playing eleven and they will have to miss out the game. At the same time it’s good that they got the chance to play at the international level.”Good thing is that Vijay has always done well whenever he’s played for the Indian team. And Pujara also, in the last game he batted really well in the second innings,” the India skipper said.He also advised the duo to utilise the free time away from action to work on their strengths and iron out any weaknesses.”They can work on their strengths as well as their weaknesses, which they think will affect them in performing very well. It’s a good exposure and I don’t think it’s de-motivating they won’t be playing in this game,” he added.For Dhoni, it was not the inconsistent displays of the seamers bowling in tandem with spearhead Zaheer Khan which is the worrying factor, but the injuries that have forced the team to constantly shuffle the pace pack.”For me the major concern is about injuries because we have important series coming up. After this series we are going to South Africa and the World Cup is also coming up. If you see the last few series we have played, we have missed key players, especially the bowlers.”(Abhimanyu) Mithun played a game and then missed out. Ishant (Sharma) was in and out and (Shantakumaran) Sreesanth came to Sri Lanka and he was out. That’s also the reason if you see the playing eleven you have Zaheer on one side and the other side the bowlers you see a constant change in them as most of the times they are either not fit or not 100 per cent fit,” Dhoni said.Dhoni said a team can gamble with a less than 100 per cent batsman by playing him, but can’t take the same risk with the bowlers’ fitness.”When it comes to fast bowlers it’s a very demanding job.With a batsman even if he is 70 to 80 per cent fit you can gamble and play him. When it comes to a fast bowler it gets very difficult especially when you play two fast bowlers and two spinners, which means if you miss one bowler in the middle of a Test match it becomes difficult to bowl those 90 overs (in a day). So the major concern is the injuries and hopefully no people would get injured at least till the World Cup,” he said.Dhoni hoped the wicket would be turning and he, after losing a few tosses, would win it on Thursday.But he also pointed out that the team has grown in confidence after chasing well on the last two occasions against Australia on wickets of uneven bounce due to the track’s wear and tear after India lost the toss.”Hopefully it will be a turner. Actually it looks like it has less grass compared to the last Sri Lanka game we played and a lot less than the South Africa game we played. It looks like a normal Indian track”.advertisement”Certainly it’s important to win the toss. I have lost quite a few tosses. In India it’s considered that the fourth innings is the toughest to score runs, which means the batsmen have to bat cautiously. Even if they are set, one odd delivery can get you out.”You can get a low bouncing delivery or a bit more bounce than the other delivery. It (batting well in the fourth innings) definitely adds to the confidence of the batting unit as a whole.”But at the same time in India you always want to bat first and push the opposition to bat last. Which means they have to counter that extra bounce and turn when it comes to the spin attack. And a bit more reverse swing when it comes to seam bowling,” he added.He expressed hope that Sachin Tendulkar would complete his 50th Test century in the match. Dhoni also expects out-of-form Rahul Dravid to regain his touch and score many runs.”Hopefully he will get the milestone here and we will certainly celebrate. We are always prepared for celebrations. I don’t think it’s very difficult to arrange for a celebration in India especially with the kind of reputations cricketers have got and the adulations we get, (but) what is important is to concentrate on the game.About Dravid, Dhoni said that a great player like the Bangalore stalwart would go on and score big once he gets set.”Not really (about his recent drought of runs). He’s a great player. He’s always bounced back from situations like these. We are not worried too much about it. Once he sets in he gets a big score. He’s looking very good in the nets and expecting good runs from him,” the India captain said.Dravid had a poor Test series in Sri Lanka where his highest score was 44 and he mustered only 95 runs in three Tests. His performance against Australia in the last series was a lot better with 77 in the opening Test at Mohali his highest in four innings, but still way below his best run in the recent past.Dhoni also welcomed the decision of former captain Anil Kumble and ex-India pacer Javagal Srinath to contest the Karnataka State Cricket Association’s elections as he felt those who have played for India would show a lot of understanding about the problems of cricketers.”Cricketers coming back into the mainstream of administration is good because they are the ones who have seen everything. Senior cricketers have seen Indian cricket change.As you play for your first class teams, at times you don’t get (train) reservation and you have to travel without reservation to play the games.”At the same time they have seen 5 star facilities and the problem areas which are around cricketers. It’s definitely a good sign as in this way they can give much more to cricket and society. They understand the problems much better. But it doesn’t mean the administrators right now are not understanding the problems,” he said.advertisementThe Indian captain cautioned against taking the New Zealand team lightly on the basis of their poor display in the recent ODI series in Bangladesh where they were thrashed 0-4 by the minnows.”Biggest mistake is if you take any side lightly. I think they are a good side. They have got good international Players who have performed almost everywhere they have played. We are not thinking about Whatever happened in Bangladesh. We need to do well. We won’t take them lightly,” he said.The Indian stumper also brushed aside reports in the media that Harbhajan Singh, who practised hard on Tuesday and Wednesday, had suffered a finger injury.”There are no issues on the fitness front as of now. All players are fit and available for selection,” he declared.Dhoni maintained the team members were focusing on the game at hand and not concentrating about the team’s number one ranking in Tests.”I think winning the game is closer to our hearts than the number one ranking. When you win the game the ratings take care of themselves. I don’t think many players in this side or the support staff are bothered too much about the ranking. But what we are bothered about is how we do on the field, whether we have prepared well for the game and planned well for the opposition and accordingly put 100 per cent on the field,” he said.”Even if the opposition on that day scores more runs than your side it?s still ok as at times at international levels you can still be outplayed. You have to accept the fact,” he added.
zoomImage Courtesy: Arctech Helsinki Shipyard The acquisition of Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard will be finalized by the end of the month after the terms of the transaction were agreed on May 9.Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy (AHS) will transfer its assets and operations to Helsinki Shipyard Oy, a new company it has established ahead of the transaction.The agreement will further see AHS sell 100 percent of Helsinki Shipyard Oy’s shares to Algador Holdings Ltd.Following the transaction, AHS will continue its shipbuilding operations as part of Nevsky Shipyard LLC. The last vessel that will be delivered from the Helsinki shipyard under AHS’ ownership is tanker NB515, which completed sea trials on May 12.“The transaction will not have any effect on subcontracts. AHS’ personnel will be transferred to Helsinki Shipyard Oy without changes to their contracts. Under the new owners Helsinki shipyard can concentrate on its core expertise, which are strong ice-class vessels and cruise ships,” said Victor Olerskiy, the incoming Chairman of the Board of the Helsinki Shipyard Oy.Algador Holdings is owned by Rishat Bagautdinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko, whose companies operate international shipping and shipbuilding businesses including Russia’s largest river cruise ship operator Vodohod LLC.AHS’ tender backlog currently stands at EUR 1.5 billion (USD 1.7 billion) and consists of several cruise ships, icebreakers and LNG tankers. Letters of intent for some of the tenders have already been signed.