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CUT Productions January 29th, 2003 10:54 AM

Has anyone seen "28 days Later" directed by Danny Boyle
Has anyone seen the film "28 days Later" directed by Danny Boyle. It appears that he used the XL1s (many of them) together with the Mini35 adaptor and although the film has received a mixed reation for both content and style it seems that he did at the very least try to get the most out of the XL1s, and not use it in the rather boring and cliched degraded way of Soderbergh. In other words trying to use the DV medium as a true viable alternative and not as some kind of sketchpad.

Looking at the trailer http://www.28dayslaterthemovie.com does seem to show some quite stunning shots.


John Steele January 29th, 2003 06:23 PM

Yeah, I saw it a while back, I actually posted on here asking what camera was used but obviously no-one had heard of it at the time. So you've answered the questions I had about it :). I don't know if you've seen it, but I thought it was pretty good, some parts you could tell it was DV, some DV artifacts and it lacked sharpness, but all in all I was really encouraged that a general release(in the UK anyway) film was shot purely on prosumer cams.


Rob Lohman January 29th, 2003 06:35 PM

Direct link to the trailer:

CUT Productions January 30th, 2003 10:40 AM


Since very feww people seem to be talking about this film it is good to find someone who has seen it.

I have not seen it myself unfotunately I have only seen the trailers (it does not seem to have been on release in my part of the world), but perhaps you could eloborate on the picture quality a bit. You see that at times the DV and artifacts are noticeable - in what way would you say? Do you think it shows that DV is perfectly usable in this way or really remains an interesting experiment?


John Steele January 30th, 2003 04:51 PM

OK Where to start :) I thought the film was good, the quality of the images were noticable worse than film(Obviously :) ) I think for the type of film this was then DV was a good choice and I think it was perfectly usable in this instance. Like you said Danny Boyle didn't try to degrade the DV like in full frontal, but there are times during the film where it looks pretty bad. It's hard to describe what was wrong with it, you know the type of compression artifact you see on DVD's well this was noticable on some scenes but not all, it also lacked sharpness, it was a bit blurry. Don't get me wrong I was really encouraged at the fact that a $3k camera can be used in this way to produce a feature film, I mean 5 years ago no way would anyone be doing this and I actually thought the quality on the big screen was good for DV. No where near as good as film but as I said a $3k camera you can walk into a store and buy, it's pretty impressive.

I imagine that the film will look much better when it does make it onto DVD on a small screen, so if you get a chance watch it, it's actually a good film and to be honest the people I saw the film with(Not really into DV etc) thought it was just using some new look for film they didn't realise it was good ole' DV. They enjoyed it too.

hope that what the info you were after :)


Keith Loh April 17th, 2003 11:00 AM

Decent movie / impressed by the production
I'll preface this review by saying that I had no idea this was shot on digital. This probably shows my ignorance more than anything but I saw this on a projected screen and while I had an inkling that parts were video I had no idea this was an XL1S / Mini35 shoot. Now that I know this, I'm twice as impressed by this production. And I thought the film was decent. The featurette on the official site shows the XL1S. This was a major shock to me when I saw it.

Review below:

28 Days Later
dir. Danny Boyle starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston
The director of "Trainspotting" and "Shallow Grave" Danny Boyle has made an innovative and entertaining submission to the post-apocalyptic zombie-fighting genre but takes a U-turn into moralizing just when it starts getting good.

Proving again that there is always another way to remake a shopworn genre, Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland have infused the zombie mythology with plenty of style and energy, which makes "28 Days Later" genuinely fresh. If there was ever an 'art film' zombie picture, this is it.

Set in near future England, the film begins with a series of violent images from documentary footage of conflicts around the world, shocking pieces of real horror that are a foreboding of what is to come. This barrage of violent images (Riots, shootings, Saddam Hussein) are impressed upon chimpanzees in a secret laboratory which is soon broken into by a group of radicals with predictable results.

Unfortunately, none of them seem to have seen horror films recently as the first thing they do is release a chimpanzee which promptly attacks them. As they soon discover, the chimpanzees have been infected with 'rage', a virus that causes the afflicted to puke blood horribly and act homicidally towards other humans, spreading the disease in their wounds.

The protagonist of the movie, a bicycle courier (Cillian Murphy) convalescing in a hospital, wakes up 28 days after the chimp attack to find London deserted. He soon learns that an epidemic has struck the city, causing it to be evacuated. Since we know that it is only a matter of time before he meets with the murderous undead, the time he spends poking around London is an excercise is restrained suspense.

After his first harrowing encounter with the Londoners the courier falls in with two other uninfected humans, who give him the low down on the events that lead to London's evacuation and teach him how to survive. Here Boyle and Garland begin to develop their thesis further, that rage is endemic to humans, not just the infected, and that the solution might be for humans to reject each other, not to pull together. In another nice twist to the genre, the stupid one in the band of survivors is the male protagonist, not the girl. Naomie Harris as the hard bitten survivor with a meat cleaver is not eager to team up with other humans who might slow her down, and is suitably vicious when circumstances call for her to act. Also refreshing is that there are no rapidfire solutions to their zombie problem. Americans might look down on the gunless weakness of the British in the face of post-apocalyptic chaos but dramatically, having to face the undead hand-to-hand makes for surprising thrills.

Learning that there might be a potential cure through an automated radio broadcast, the growing band of survivors decide to take their chances making their way across an uncertain country. It is when they finally meet the band of soldiers behind the broadcasts that the film begins to give way to heavy-handedness that frankly takes the joy out of the journey.

The squad of soldiers lead by stalwart Christopher Eccleston are the inevitable humans who act as poorly as the savage monsters they are fortified against. A bit of a zombie cliche already, the soldiers gone wild represent a bit of a bitter pill that Boyle makes you swallow as if to make you guilty you were having fun for rooting for the humans. This is the only negative in what is otherwise a fresh turn to an undying genre.

Coming to DVD.

Dylan Couper April 17th, 2003 11:16 AM

I am blown away. I watched this a few days ago on my 27" computer monitor. I knew it was video, but I figured it was a CineAlta unit. Any artifacting I noticed I assumed was part of the compression from my computer.
Keith asked me about it this morning, and I told him as a complete joke that it looked like PD150 footage. Then I told him I was kidding. Then he sent me the link to the featurette showing multiple times that it is an XL1. That showed me!

I'm not 100% sure all of it was done with a mini35. In one scene of the featurette it looks like just the manual lens when they are using it handheld (as opposed to the Steadicam shots).

The BEST part is... (smug mode on)One shot on the featurette shows an image from the XL1's viewfinder and "FRAME" is clearly visible. I think that answers whether it can be used for theatrical release films or not. (smug mode off)

All in all, knowing that this was shot on the same camera I have, moved this from my 5th favorite zombie movie, to my 2nd favorite.
I loved the movie itself, despite the last half of the movie, which was one big cliche. Boyle was obviously heavily influenced by Dawn and Day of the Dead.

Anyway, for sale: One black Corvette. Will trade for mini35 and lenses.

Keith Loh April 17th, 2003 11:23 AM

The making of featurette from the official site:

Zac Stein April 17th, 2003 11:31 AM

28 days later did not use a min35. It used standard xl1s PAL cameras with manual lenses.

I can't recall where i read all this, but it was a stylistic choice to use the cameras to give a more imediate and realistic look to the film. Also they knew it would degrade the image on the big screen which is what they wanted, as it was a degraded world they were depicting.

They had a budget of around 15 million USD, but chose to make it in that vain, using lesser known actors and a small crew, to make the story more involving.

It was actually a very strong and good movie, unlike a lot of movies that cash in on an idea, they never really talked about the fact it was DV, they just wanted to give the audience a feeling.

I would recomend seeing it, it was a fun ride and a lot better than most of the tripe coming out of holywood.


Keith Loh April 17th, 2003 12:04 PM

//28 days later did not use a min35. It used standard xl1s PAL cameras with manual lenses. //

Even more impressed. Do you have any links to more production info for the movie?

Simon Orange April 24th, 2003 06:25 PM

I was involved in the Post Production of 28 Days Later and can probably fill in a couple of details.

Cameras were xl1 PAL - Tests were done on various cheaper DV cameras and it was decided that the xls were the most suitable. All material was shot in 4:3 and (I am pretty certain) standard interlaced mode. This was then transferred to D1 via SDI and all subsequent work was done in Flame/Inferno. We were aware from the beginning that the DV footage would need careful treatment for it to maintain quality. To this end we didn't even want to archive the footage in/out to D1 and kept it on the Inferno's throughout the project (despite the fact that D1 should have no generation loss...it does !). All the footage was treated with five-d (RIP) filmstyle spark and deinterlaced. This was a real 'number crunching' exercise and kept a few Flames running late into the night.

3D work was done in XSI and all compositing was done in Inferno.

I think the reason Danny Boyle decided to use DV was his experience with two films he shot for the BBC (Vacuuming and Strumpet), both shot on DV. There was certainly no intention to make it look 'degraded' that was just the limitation of DV. Additionally the nature of the shoot meant that he had to use a lot of cameras (during the Picadilly Circus scene for example) and the use of DV meant that costs could be kept down.

I think that the movie does look like it was shot on DV, but it doesn't detract too much from the overall look. It is, however, particularly noticible at the end when real film was used to shoot the 'happy ending'.


Keith Loh April 24th, 2003 06:33 PM

Thanks a lot for that information, Simon.

Dylan Couper April 24th, 2003 09:10 PM

In one of the shots of the featurette, it shows a shot through the XL1s' viewfinder showing FRAME mode enabled. Is this just a coincidence?

Simon Orange April 25th, 2003 03:54 AM

I have just spoken to one of the the flame artists and he also couldn't remember (helpful eh ?!?). He did say he seems to remember de-interlacing all the footage, so I am assuming that frame mode wasn't used.

He corrected me on one point, we didn't use the 5D filmstyle spark on this project (although we did on Vacuuming and Strumpet), the final grade was done in Telecine.

I will ask the guy who transferred all the from footage from DV to D1 if he remembers when I catch up with him.


Alex Gingell May 3rd, 2003 06:39 AM

OMG :) Pretty cool that people who worked on that hang out on these boards.

I've got to congratulate you on your work!

What company did the vfx work on the film?

Simon Orange May 3rd, 2003 09:12 AM


mostly done by Clear Ltd, in Soho.


Alex Gingell May 3rd, 2003 11:04 AM

Do they do summer jobs or internships :) ?

I'm a keen vfx artist in my spare time...I'm currently about to take my Chemistry Finals, and then I've got all Summer to work on VFX and short films. It would be cool to perhaps get even a menial part time job somewhere like that.


edit: changed avid -- > keen to avoid confusion ;)

Simon Orange May 3rd, 2003 11:21 AM

check your email.

Brad Simmons May 4th, 2003 07:51 AM

I just saw the trailer for this film on a huge screen before the movie 'Identity'. I do not mean to offend those who worked on the film, because I know the limitations of DV, but to be honest it just looked horrible up on the big screen. The colors were very muddled, and the lack of shallow DoF was almost jarring. They also showed the first teaser trailer, which I don't think is nearly as good as the full length version.

Again, I'm not expecting film quality because I know this was shot with the XL1s and I'm sure its going to be a great film and well edited because I love Danny Boyle's movies. But at the end of the trailer, someone yelled out "stupid!" and everyone laughed. This is unfortunate and it goes to show that a lot of people (Average Joes) aren't yet willing to accept miniDV on the bigscreen (unless everyone tells them they have too). They immediately think 'home video' and label it as amateurish.

I for one am excited to see this movie. I think it looks interesting.

Dylan Couper May 4th, 2003 10:58 AM

I find it interesting that you selected lack of depth of field as one of the major drawbacks, having seen only the trailer.

Steven-Marc Couchouron May 4th, 2003 12:22 PM

This is nothing new but DV blown up to 35mm always looks crappy the first few minutes you watch it. Then, if the story is engaging, the brain just adapts to the lesser resolution and it tends not to be a problem so much anymore. This is something I have observed many times.
So, in effect, a trailer can not do justice to this kind of movie because you don't get the chance to adapt and if you have other trailers which originated on 35mm shown just before the difference in resolution is just going to stand out that much more.
I have to add I haven't seen the actual trailer projected on the big screen. But I have seen many other movies originally shot on DV, and you just get used to it once the story starts moving along. For that very reason, I would be very wary of mixing footage originating on 35mm and on DV however, unless justified directly in the story itself.

The DVD (Zone 2, UK) will be available in a couple of weeks. Should be interesting to listen to the audio commentaries.

Dylan Couper May 4th, 2003 12:51 PM

ANy idea when we'll get a Zone 1 DVD release?

Steven-Marc Couchouron May 4th, 2003 02:29 PM

Seems the US theatrical release is planned for june 27th. So I guess the Z1 DVD will have to wait a while...

Dylan Couper May 4th, 2003 11:31 PM

That sucks, but at least I'll get to see it again, this time on the big screen.

Steven-Marc Couchouron May 5th, 2003 04:48 AM

While we're on the subject, Simon, do you know where the transfer to film was done?

Simon Orange May 5th, 2003 06:24 AM

Transfer to film was done at MPC (iirc)



John Steele May 17th, 2003 09:52 AM

I just got the DVD of 28 Days Later through today and all I can say is WOW, it really looks damn good. It's amazing what you can do with a DV cam :-)


Alex Gingell May 17th, 2003 10:17 AM

where'd you get it from john??

I can't wait till monday! :)

John Steele May 17th, 2003 10:48 AM

I Pre-ordered it online from Play and it arrived today.


Steven-Marc Couchouron May 17th, 2003 01:32 PM

So, do the bonuses give any further insight on how the film was produced?
Are the commentaries interesting?

Wayne Orr May 17th, 2003 02:23 PM

Bear in mind, when you look at trailers, they are often rushed to get the hype going and are not necessarily representative of the final product.

It looks like 28 Days is going into wide release, and that certainly will make it one of the more successful dv productions automatically. I'd love to know the total cost of the post production.

Nigel Moore May 17th, 2003 02:28 PM

It'll be out on R2 DVD in a couiple of days.


Rick Spilman May 17th, 2003 02:56 PM

I went with my 6 year old to see X-Men 2 the other day and saw the "28 Days Later" trailer. It looked very edgy and raw but I assumed that was the look they wanted for the trailer to a zombie movie.

Zombie movies are real low on my "must see" list, but now that I know that it is shot in DV I will check it out.

Don Donatello May 18th, 2003 02:12 PM

my local paper is showing a June 27th , 2003 release date for "28 days later" ...

fox seachlight is showing June 28th release date


Rob Lohman May 20th, 2003 04:30 PM

Not to judge you or anything, but you took your 6 year old to
X-Men 2? I would not take my 12 year old there. I think most
rating systems are way way way too low, but that might be me...
I am from Europe after all <g>

Rick Spilman May 20th, 2003 05:02 PM

I mistyped. I left the 6 year old at home and took the 10 year old. (Pretty scary. I only have two and I get them confused. Oh well.)

I watched the first X-Men movie on DVD before taking my son to X-Men 2. I found nothing in either the first nor the second that exceeded the level of violence found in the cartoon shows that I allow them to watch on Saturday.

Truth is if I really wanted to shield them from violence I would worry more about CNN than X-Men.

Nick Hiltgen May 29th, 2003 10:39 PM

Xl1 or no, I still don't understand why danny boyle did a sequel to a sandra bullock movie ;)

Nic Pesante June 17th, 2003 09:19 PM

Okay, I read the entire thread, what I still want to know is: Was it shot with the mini35 adapter or not, one said yes, another said no. Anyone know for certain?

Personally I thought the trailer looked pretty good on the big screen, I would have never guessed it was an XL1S!

Keith Loh June 18th, 2003 12:42 AM

No Mini. Not only did someone who worked on the post production actually say so on this thread, you can look at some of the behind the scenes footage from the official site where you can see a plain jane XL1.

Nic Pesante June 18th, 2003 10:53 AM

Hmm, thats interesting, I don't recal Simon saying no to the mini, and why can't some of the sots have been done without it?? The behind the scens stuff also shows FRAME in the viewfinder.

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