Cinematographers: Samsung and Joseph Gordon-Levitt need your help to shoot a crowd-sourced 4K film with the Samsung NX1!


posted Friday, October 24, 2014 at 5:52 PM EDT


Over the years, we've seen more than a few celebrity camera endorsements: In the last decade, there was a long tradition of celebs signing deals to promote digital cameras, some more successful than others. Now, Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has signed a deal of its own with Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, looking to promote its impressive flagship Samsung NX1 compact system camera through a crowd-sourced short film project that could land one of five Samsung NX1 kits in your hands.

Celebs and digicams certainly have a long and storied history. Nikon was among the first to offer a celebrity digicam endorsement, launching a campaign with Hollywood actor Val Kilmer in late 2002. Two years later, Canon signed tennis ace Maria Sharapova to a worldwide deal, and by 2006, Nikon's US marketing campaigns featured model Kate Moss and fashion designer Daniel Franco, while overseas Panasonic partnered with singer Shakira for a campaign in Latin America. In the US market at least, though, the most famous of the bunch was the long-running tie-up between Nikon and Ashton Kutcher, which first started back in 2008 and continued until as recently as last year.

Through a newly-announced celebrity endorsement, Samsung will show off the 4K ultra high-definition video capabilities of its Samsung NX1 compact system camera.

Not all of these are as memorable as that with Kutcher, though. We're guessing that a few of the endorsements we've just mentioned have left you scratching your head and asking yourself "Did they really endorse cameras?" -- and perhaps for good reason. As demonstrated in a recently-published study from the University of Arkansas, it's a big help when your chosen celebrity has a perceived connection to the product in question. (The stronger that connection, the better -- surprisingly, even if it's a negative one. It seems that when the celeb's connection to the product isn't clear, we simply forget what the product they were endorsing actually was.)

That's probably why in recent years we've seen less of the big-name endorsements with tenuously-connected celebrities holding cameras and smiling, and more tie-ins like Canon's Project Imagination with Hollywood director Ron Howard, plus the Nikon Ambassadors and Canon Explorers of Light programs involving well-known professional photographers.  

Hollywood actor, director and producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt will shoot his upcoming 4K short film, "In a City", exclusively using the Samsung NX1.

As we mentioned at the outset, Samsung's just-announced endorsement comes from Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best known for his roles in TV's 3rd Rock from the Sun, and as Arthur in 2010's Hollywood hit, Inception. (Four years later, the latter still stands at an impressive 13th place on IMDB's Top 250 movies of all time.)

Although he's perhaps more closely-associated with acting than for his work behind the camera, Gordon-Levitt does have some background behind the camera, too. As well as directing, writing and starring in last year's raunchy rom-com Don Jon, he's also executive producer of 2012's sci-fi thriller Looper, and has served as producer, director, editor and even camera operator on several other shorts, TV episodes and documentaries. Clearly, he's got a fairly strong connection to the subject matter at hand, then.

The Samsung NX1's 205-point phase-detection autofocus, manual exposure, focus peaking, zebra striping, and audio monitoring capabilities will doubtless prove handy for Gordon-Levitt's project.

And now, Gordon-Levitt will add to his resume -- and that of his production company hitRECord -- with an ultra high-definition short film entitled "In A City", shot entirely in 4K resolution on the Samsung NX1 compact system camera. Filming will take place through Fall 2014, with the project taking its inspiration from cities around the globe. And you can take part, too, because hitRECord describes itself as an "open collaborative production company" that crowdsources its creations.

Five cinematographers who provide suitably-attractive sample footage will be provided with a Samsung NX1 on which to shoot content for the movie, while writers and musicians are being asked to submit poetic thoughts, lyrics and audio content for use in the film's production. The final result is set for release on December 11th, 2014, and will serve as a demonstration of what Samsung's flagship camera -- launched just recently at the Photokina tradeshow in Europe -- is capable of.

While Gordon-Levitt and his collaborative production company work behind the scenes, you can join in the project, too. Five lucky cinematographers will be given a Samsung NX1 kit with which to shoot footage for the project, and writers and musicians are needed to provide content as well.

In the process, Samsung will be looking to persuade not just the general public but also movie professionals that the NX1 has much to offer, regardless of an affordable US$1,500 pricetag. And that fits perfectly with what we already knew from the camera's launch: Samsung clearly wants a piece of the pro camera market, and with this high-performing mirrorless model, it believes it has precisely what's necessary to capture it.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt introduces the "In A City" project, his partnership with Samsung, and how you can help shoot and create the film!