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Old June 18th, 2006, 10:49 PM   #1
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HD100s Rock on the set of 2nd Unit

I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone from DVInfo.net who worked on-set for “2nd Unit” Saturday. As most know, the show debuts Wednesday, June 21st at www.2nd-Unit.tv and Saturday the crew was at Lite Panels’ factory where their amazing LED technology lit the way for three (3) JVC100HDs shooting Part 1 of cinematographer George Spiro Dibie's 2-part interview on lighting and cinematography.

For the first show, Paolo Ciccone drove 5-hours from Santa Cruz to balance the 100s for him to pilot along with cameramen and DVInfo members Scott C. Chambers and Jeff Sheldon while another board member Tip McPartland wired the sound. While the cameras rolled, producers and directors tracked the action through a trio of incredible HD Panasonic LH1700W provided by Abel Cine Tech. Abel also provided the 50" Panasonic Plasma display that George uss to illustrate his techniques after an idiot producer (OK it was me) knocked over and broke the new 42” monitor we just purchased for the show. In fact, there was such interest in the production that Abel Cine’s own General Manager Ron Ayers had ambled over on a Saturday to watch things unfold and with the crash, it was a good thing he did.

Why take the time to post this? Because it was one of those rare days when everything came together to support a belief that this board’s knowledgeable independent filmmakers can combine with today's "prosumer" equipment to produce incredible results that benefit everyone who sees the results. On an imperfect set being white-walled in background and black-to-dark gray in setting with actors dressed in dark to black wardrobe, the cameras and the crew had every opportunity to fall short… but they didn’t. The JVC’s latitudes, working hand-in-hand with LitePanel’s lighting, achieved results that were nothing short of terrific as blacks held true through a long range of gray-to-black transitions instead of crushing and whites held texture without blowing out; all this while writing 4:2:0 to tape and not 4:2:2 out the back. Stopped anywhere from 4 to 5.6 but opening as wide as 1.4, the JVCs had the range to work with the lighting proving that million-dollar results don’t need million-dollar budgets.

Do we hope you tune into the site each week for the education, humor and insight of our guests like Geroge, Rob Kositchek, Rodney Chaters and other notables and then return to DVInfo to discuss the shows? Absolutely. But we also hope you tune in to see how to make equipment like the JVCs and others sing in the hands of DVInfo board members. Remember, "2nd Unit" doesn’t get paid by sponsors to say nice things. Pictures don’t lie and after week one, we think you’ll admit after seeing the show, we picked a trio of winners in George Spiro Dibie, JVC and Lite Panels… and another winner as far as we're concerned and one completely out of the blue in Abel Cine Tech. I mean, a 50” plasma HD monitor on a Saturday without even asking if we’d like their help gratis after a catastrophe? Now that’s customer service!
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Old June 19th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #2
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Jonathan.
Thanks again for putting this together. Your dedication to helping aspiring film-maker is exemplary. George was a riot, his command of lighting is just amazing and I encourage everybody to download the episode when it will be ready.

Thanks again for making "2nd Unit" a reality.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 09:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Jonathan.
Thanks again for putting this together. Your dedication to helping aspiring film-maker is exemplary. George was a riot, his command of lighting is just amazing and I encourage everybody to download the episode when it will be ready.

Thanks again for making "2nd Unit" a reality.
Yes Jonathan I second that, I will follow the progress as it unfolds thanks again.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #4
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I'm particularly interested in George's information AND the lite panels. Since I just got my hands on a mini (and loving it) I want to see how you used the panels on the set.

PS Don't come near my flat panel.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 04:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Warren Shultz
I'm particularly interested in George's information AND the lite panels. Since I just got my hands on a mini (and loving it) I want to see how you used the panels on the set.
Warren, when the video comes out look for a giant 4x4 near the back wall. That thing could light the front of a small building. It was composed of 16 1" square Lite Panels :)
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Old June 19th, 2006, 05:35 PM   #6
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Awesome, Paolo. That's a lot of light! And all cool to the touch. So will we see or hear technique discussed?
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Old June 19th, 2006, 05:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Warren Shultz
Awesome, Paolo. That's a lot of light! And all cool to the touch. So will we see or hear technique discussed?
Yes, if everything goes as planned the first episode should be out on the 21st, it's expected to be a 1-hour long video. I don't know more because Jonathan is doing the editing as we "speak" and we still have to see how big the overall video will be etc.
I suggested to shoot it at 30fps and then export it at 15fps and 1/2 resolution but we still don't know where that leads in terms of file size. In the video George explains the foundation of his lighting techniques.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #8
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I hope this video will be downloadable and not just streamable. Can't wait to watch. I've actually watched Jonathan grow this project and even shot some on it a month or two ago. I have to say he's had a vision and really persisted with it. I have to admire that.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #9
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As those 20 or so of you who were on the set know, I was in none too good a shape Saturday. Between the back pain and doing the Rush Limbaugh diet,...anyway, the rough cuts were done at the studio while I was at the doctor's all day and I saw them tonight. The images are simply great. Paolo's tweaked settings for the conditions were exactly right and the latitudes on the darks were spread across the lenghth and spectrum of wrinlkes both in the black duvatene set dressing and the grey and black shirts and slacks of the on-screen talent. I know I've posted this before but I just can't help marvelling at the performance of the JVC...and it's not like we're on great terms right now with them so I really have no reason to make this stuff up. There's no other way to say it; the JVC's set properly in the menus, have no problems with latitudes and we were purposely on anything but a pristene soundstage but rather in the LitePanels warehouse...purposely. (We're going to do a complete show on Paolo instructing on the menus...Tell me, who beter?!?!?! But don;'t say anything to him. I haven't told him about this yet!) Anyway, we want to see what the lighting and cameras can do in less-than-perfect conditions on 2nd Unit emulating the conditions typical indies run into. At Lite Panels, there was simply no crushing at all. No blowouts at all either although that's due mainly to Paolo toning down the shockingly white walls in the background via in-camera setting. Remember, I'm a BIG fan of giving post as little to correct as possible!!! Anyway, the first cut will be 30 min with George explaining lighting but especially explaining George. I truly want the world to see George as I know him and the crew got to see him Saturday. First he's a real, great, personable, down-to-earth person and second he's television's most acclaimend cinematographer. And I want the filmmaking community to see that you don't have to be tyranical as many DPs and Directors and yes producers are today. That quiet confidence come through. So, the first show's in editing right now and we're shooting inserts tomorrow at 9am at CineAble (whether I can walk or not), the greatest company in the world as far as I'm concerned. Ron really saved the day when I destroyed a brand new 42" monitor by tripping over it (That whole Rush Limbaugh thing again) so Ron gave us an incredible 50" Panasonic to use. There's so much interest in 2ndUnit we had people from all over stopping by and it was great. Glad Ron ambled by. Kudos to the crew again and Lord willin' and the river don't rise, the site'll debut on Wednesday about 8:00pm PST. Hope to see you there.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 12:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Ames
(We're going to do a complete show on Paolo instructing on the menus..
WHAT?! As if I didn't embarassed myself enough with CruiserCast? You have some guts, buddy! :)
Jonathan, I don't know what to say, I'm honored, let's talk about this.
It's pretty funny to see on a world-wide forum that you will be doing a show, when you had no idea that it was happening.
I go watch a movie (Lord of War, very nice), relax for a couple of hours and see what happens? :)
Thank you my friend and thank you again for doing all this, can't wait for the next shoot.
Take care and good luck with your back.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 12:21 AM   #11
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What can I say. I found out that your settings worked. Great. :-/ No offense but even as you say, a lot of days fiddling and testing and fiddling and testing until you got things just right...anybody can do that. It got my attention but nothing more. But to walk onto a set cold, read the atmosphere, talk with the producer, director and gaffer relative to shot, location and lighting and then rack three cameras the first time to get a perfect setting that cut the whites and spread the black latitudes to do what you did...well, that's studied, knowledgeable genius & let's juat say the people on this site need to see what you did, see how you did it and then return here to discuss and spread the word. And 2nd Unit is just the place to show them. You've got the touch, my friend and the desire to share your knowledge. That's what this Board and 2nd Unit is all about.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 01:55 PM   #12
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Hey Jonathan -

Glad to hear it was a success and that you're continuing to get people involved.

I'd sure like to have the time to help (but not for a while). By the way, you say you're not on great terms with JVC. What gives?

All the best -
john

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