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Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
2:20 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus

On location for Walk of Shame, camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:41 pm

You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.

"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."

Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.

"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."

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Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
2:18 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Oscar Glow, Today's Tech Help Short Films Find Their Fandom

One of this season's Oscar-nominated shorts is Mr. Hublot, a French-language animated film about a reclusive man who must learn to adapt to a new housemate — a robot dog.
Zeilt Productions

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:53 am

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Movie Reviews
6:39 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Mouse, Meet Bear, And Let's All Make Friends

A bear named Ernest, voiced by Forest Whitaker, befriends the young mouse Celestine, voiced by Mackenzie Foy, even though their societies forbid it.
Gkids

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:26 pm

Animated movies excel in bringing to life the impossible stories, the ones drawn from fairy tales and mythology and the ones exploring the imaginary lives of creatures and things. It's an incredibly attractive notion, isn't it, to imagine there's a whole world going about its business, just out of sight?

The French-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine takes on that idea twice over, investigating the fictional lives of bears and mice, two societies living side by side, utterly intrigued by and terrified of each other.

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The Two-Way
5:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Yellen Acknowledges Weaker Economic Data; Markets Rally

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen gestures as she testifies during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing while delivering the Federal Reserves semiannual Monetary Policy Report on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Citing "softness" in the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a Senate panel today that the Fed will try to determine if the results are a new trend or are related to this winter's intense cold and storms. Analysts are seeing her comments as signaling a potential shift in the "tapering" of the Fed's stimulus program.

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Code Switch
4:59 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and only the third female president.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 pm

For the first time, this year's best director Oscar could go to a Mexican (Alfonso Cuaron, for Gravity) or a black Brit (Steve McQueen, for 12 Years a Slave). That film's lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also in the running for an award; so is his Kenyan co-star Lupita Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico. This year's nominees are diverse, but the people who vote for the Oscars are not.

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