"The Lifeguard" shot with Letus35A at DVinfo.net

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Old January 28th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #1
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"The Lifeguard" shot with Letus35A

Hi all,
Just finished a fun little thing a couple of my friends and I wrote and shot this past summer (started in August of 2006) and finished editing last week. I had bought a Brevis a few weeks before but as the first day approached I gave Quyen a frantic call asking for overnight shipment of a new Letus35a. Ironically, the Brevis showed up at my door just hours after we shot the last scene.

I received the Letus the day before the first time we had the pool, and checked it over. Unfortunately (perhaps in Quyen's haste) the focusing screen was installed at a bit of an angle, throwing off half of the screen's backfocus and resulting in a sort of split-prism diopter effect. After correcting that issue, I prayed it would survive the rest of shooting and that we wouldn't have to deal with fiddling with it any more. Luckily it held out, and using a few plugins like Neat Video and CinemantiQ we got some pretty neat-looking footage.

I didn't use the Letus for all of it, and the shots with just the bare FX-1 should be pretty apparent. People ask a lot here "will the adapter footage mix well with raw footage" and the straight answer is yes. We shot some pretty grainy footage as we cranked up the shutter speed for a high action scene and not one person we've shown it to has raised a peep about it.

There were very severe cases of chroma aberration, vignetting, barrel distortion and dirt with the Letus when we shot it. However as the film neared completion I took it upon myself to export the shots in question to .bmp sequences, then batch process them in Photoshop with the Lens Distortion filter correcting these issues. This took a lot of time but was well worth it in the end. Some shots that suffered really bad vignetting are completely restored now, you can't even tell they were touched. Very neat stuff. There's still some dirt on some shots, but...in reality, most people just don't care. If it doesn't interfere with the story, I'm not really going to go out of my way to perfect it.

Anyway, here it is. It was a lot of fun to make and I sort of wished I had access to so many enthusiastic people to work with last year in high school.

http://www.thelifeguardmovie.com/
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Old January 30th, 2007, 03:36 AM   #2
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That was really great! The sound special effects and story was great! There of course were little things that im sure could be pointed out but the good points about the production out weigh the bad by a lot! I was very impressed, again there were some technical things but over all it "FELT" like a real movie, very professional. The editing really flowed again the sound and music were great special fx/stunts/costume design were awesome, you guys were brave to take on so much in that way! One question i like to think of my self as pretty technical and this may be easy to answer but for the opening credits how did u get certain parts of the video to go over the text? Like the beach ball going over the "Muwiki films presents" ect.? Did u use keying,and what program did u do it in?

Again great work GOD Bless!
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Old January 30th, 2007, 03:49 PM   #3
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I've been waiting to see more on this... and now I got to see the whole thing. I really enjoyed it. In a couple parts I was really laughing! Nice work.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #4
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That was fantastic! I loved it.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 12:47 AM   #5
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BTW Ben, did you actually pick up those underwater shots with a camera or was that a post effect? If it was underwater - what did you use to pull that one off?
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Old January 31st, 2007, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamon Lewis
That was really great! The sound special effects and story was great! There of course were little things that im sure could be pointed out but the good points about the production out weigh the bad by a lot! I was very impressed, again there were some technical things but over all it "FELT" like a real movie, very professional. The editing really flowed again the sound and music were great special fx/stunts/costume design were awesome, you guys were brave to take on so much in that way! One question i like to think of my self as pretty technical and this may be easy to answer but for the opening credits how did u get certain parts of the video to go over the text? Like the beach ball going over the "Muwiki films presents" ect.? Did u use keying,and what program did u do it in?

Again great work GOD Bless!
Jamon, thank you :) To answer your question, I just used a mask in After Effects. All the credit effects were done in AE in that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Hughes
BTW Ben, did you actually pick up those underwater shots with a camera or was that a post effect? If it was underwater - what did you use to pull that one off?
Jeremy, those were all done with an Ewa-marine bag for the FX1/Z1u. I tried selling it here on a classifieds some time ago, and eventually got rid of it on ebay for $420. Original price was $500 so $80 for all those shots...a nice deal :) I wish we had done more with it though.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 09:30 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Ben Winter]Jamon, thank you :) To answer your question, I just used a mask in After Effects. All the credit effects were done in AE in that way.


Ben thanks for the reply. Did u mask the Video or... I wouldn't ask you to excactly spell it out for me, do you know of a tutorial on how to do it?
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Old January 31st, 2007, 09:55 PM   #8
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Yes, it was just a simple mask. Somewhat tedious, but not difficult at all. Use the pen tool and you'll see what I mean :)
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Old February 11th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #9
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Just watched it

Great job. very entertaining, sweet, and acomplished. Amazing how when you are so engaged by a story that you forgive any technical glitches. This is not meant as a critique, as I really enjoyed the film. But I have to ask about a few shots where the focus seemed to buzz a little. Was it difficult to use the Letus? Did you measure your focal distances and use a follow focus? Did you use auto focus at all?

Other than the little focus glitches, I thought "The Lifeguard" was a very accomplished film. Too bad the TV series "On the Lot" doesn't allow bigger running times for the entry films. You guys would be a shoe in to at least get on the show.

Pat yourselves on the back.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #10
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Hey Ben,

Just got done watching The Lifeguard. I've seen my share of short films and this was better than about 95% of them. You made the most of what I would assume was a modest budget. Can you speak on that a bit? What was the budget, production time frame, post time frame, etc.?

Also, any festivals in sight?

E
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Old March 14th, 2007, 02:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Eric T. Johnson View Post
Hey Ben,

Just got done watching The Lifeguard. I've seen my share of short films and this was better than about 95% of them. You made the most of what I would assume was a modest budget. Can you speak on that a bit? What was the budget, production time frame, post time frame, etc.?

Also, any festivals in sight?

E
Sure Eric,
Aside from the equipment we already owned, we spent about $300 on props and food. Of course, including equipment, would bump up the budget to well over $5000. Our biggest single expense was a $500 waterproof bag from ewa-marine for putting the FX1 underwater. We wrote this during July, shot it all in August and did all post-production joys from September till February of this year. 24p footage from an FX1 is a lot more inconvenient than I would like, luckily I had an extra computer that just sat around and converted footage all day and night until it was done. That took a couple weeks, for 12 tapes.

I think my friend Pat would like us to submit this to some festivals, but after editing it for 6 months nonstop, I'll let him take care of it. The cost to buy the rights to the lyrics of the song at the end would cost around $400 which is money we just don't have right now. This was the original intention of recording it ourselves, so we wouldn't have to go through Ray Orbison for his recording and pay double. I'm also not sure how well such a derivative story would fare...I'd be interested to hear from those more experienced in festivals?

Your comment is very flattering, thank you so much for watching it and leaving your thoughts.
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Last edited by Ben Winter; March 14th, 2007 at 05:55 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 07:55 PM   #12
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Dude, i look up to you... im going to be a senior in High School next year...

how did you pull it off? Did you save up for the Letus yourself , or did someone help... thats an amazing film, i almost turned it off when i stumbled upon it, thinking it was film, and i was like "ill never be able to do that" but that was shot on an FX1 with a letus! wow, i am envious..

i love it

-zac
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Old July 9th, 2007, 06:23 PM   #13
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I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was well written, scripted, acted, shot and cut. Some real funny parts in it which made it very enjoyable to watch. The letus and crane movements gave it a nice pro look. Good job
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