"The Signal" (Nick Hiltgen) picked up at Sundance at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:43 PM   #1
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"The Signal" (Nick Hiltgen) picked up at Sundance

"The Signal", shot on the H1, just got picked up at Sundance by Magnolia! Congratulations guys!
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 06:56 PM   #2
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Nick, congrats to you guys! 2 mill...nice sale. I hope it gets distribution with some money behind it for marketing.

Please tell David and Jacob I said congratulations. They've come a long ways since our Atlanta lunch meetings. I'm excited to see what they'll do next.

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Old January 24th, 2007, 02:06 AM   #3
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So, yeah, uh wow. I can guarantee you this time last year I did not think this movie would be worth 2 million, It has been a crazy couple of days. I've seen three drafts of the movie now and I am so impressed with how it's come out.

The details are sketchy right now but from what I understand we MAY have a theatrical release, I don't know any exact terms, or even if it's true, but from the sounds of it you should be able to see the first Canon HDV feature (I have no idea if it's really the first but we finished shooting @ jan 17 2006) in a theater sometime in the future. (hopefully near future, hopefully in a theater near you)

It's been awesome though. I can't believe how all of this is working out, I suppose if you really wanted to you could read up on all of the production process throughout these boards, from getting the camera to the footage posted with the mini 35 (which by the way made it into the movie- and looks sharp) to the missing pixel, to trying to figure out how to get the footage into an editing system, to comments on color correcting with an HDV codec, to getting accepted to getting sold. I and we owe this whole community a debt of gratitude. Thanks everyone.
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Old January 24th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #4
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Nick, did you cut the film? What was your role?

I'm also curious as to how the Mini35 worked with the H1. I have an H1 and can't stand the deep depth of field. I would love to get a Min35. What was your experience with it?

Kevin
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Old January 24th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #5
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I think they list my title as camera technician, which I suppose includes choosing the camera, tuning it and what not. IN addition I did b-unit shooting some a unit shooting, 1st A.C. (only on a few shots ahem... the in focus ones...) and then sat in on color correction and three drafts of the film.

I personally love the mini 35 with the H1 but I've been told some strange effects occur in fast action. This helps out in our movie but in others it may pose an issue. I imagine that this can be bypasseed through other means of compression.
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Old January 25th, 2007, 10:31 AM   #6
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is there a site for the film? Perhaps you could compile said list of your produciton through your posts etc? Also what kind of budget did you have? From investors or what? How big was the crew etc? Congrats indeed!
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Old January 25th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #7
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"The Signal" at IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780607/

and on Ain't It Cool: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/31337

and on RotTom: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/featur.../?mid=10007941

be sure to see also: http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/film/1507

in-depth tech at Avid: http://www.avid.com/profiles/070122_...adrenaline.asp

Official site: http://www.doyouhavethecrazy.com/ -- turn down your speakers! Eeek!

...all from just Page 1 of a Google search on "The Signal" + Sundance
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Old January 25th, 2007, 02:38 PM   #8
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Thanks chris!

I found the Avid review a little amusing, may have made it sound a little easier then it was...

And for the record, only "The Signal" was picked up at sundance, I still have yet to be...
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Old January 25th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #9
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Excerpt from Ain't It Cool (see link in my post above):

"What is most compelling about the feature (The Signal) is the production value that was gained on something that is most probably a considerably low budget. But you could not tell that by looking at the film, the film is full of wide locations that give the feeling of a full-scale production... This stuff rivals anything in the Land of the Dead or the Dawn of the Dead remake... really jaw-dropping things."

Rock on, Nick!
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Old January 25th, 2007, 07:47 PM   #10
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I would like to say that this is an amazing accomplishment and you should be proud (showoff).:) Can you give some more info on your workflow for this movie. I'll make it easy.

1. Did you shoot directly to tape (hdv codec)? If not or mixed please give some details.
2. Did you shoot with the canon lens that comes with the XL H1? If not what lense?
3. What editor did you use to edit this? What version #?
4. How did you color correct this movie? What programs or what facility.
5. What format was delievered as the master that was watched at sundance? DVD,D5,HDcam, etc.
6. Did you use any on camera filters or gels?
7. Do you have a trailer of the movie that is viewable by the general public/me?
8. What were some of the difficulties you faced on this shoot?
9. You work with f900s why didn't you shoot with those?
10. Did you edit in native hdv?
11. If you had twice the budget would you still have shoot with the XL H1?

Thanks! If anyone else knows the answers to these questions feel free to post.
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Old January 25th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #11
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Hey Nick,

Was curious what the budget for this film was. You don't have to tell us an exact number. A "range" would be great.

Also, what format did you deliver the HD master to Sundance in? HDCAM?
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Old January 25th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #12
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Nik, most of your answers can be found on the avid link above but here's the rest of the info.

1) We shot directly to tape, HDV. (there's more details on this in the avid article)

2) I would say that 95% was shot with the mini 35 adapter and the remainder (pickups/times when we needed the light) was shot with the stock lens. The beginning of the movie is a short from 4 years ago which was shot with an xl1.

3) this was cut on an Avid (see the avid article above)

4) Color correction was done at "lab 601" in atlanta on the Avid.

5) HDCAM SR was delivered to sundance for screening (also in the avid article)

6) We used just used ND and Polarizing filters.

7) I think the trailer is viewable here on Dvinfo.net it's on the myspace page which is linked on popfilms.org

8) Holy crap, uh, there was a pixel/dust issue that fortunately was fixable in post, once we had everything shot we had no way to cut the hdv. There was a little wierdness with a replacement mini 35 we had, but that was solved almost instantaneously.

9) Budget and look came into play, I discussed it with the producer and the directors, they told me the budget, and I had concerns over the amount that was going to camera (which is a concern I never have unless I'm working with friends or people I really respect, both of which were true in this case) and the cost of the 900 to post. For the record, I was originally asked to work on the movie because of my experience with the sony, but after the discussion of the film (I read the script) and the look they wanted I thought we could get a really good 16mm 1970's style look with the 35 and the canon. Then I had the big shoot out with shannon rawls (who was then a uh, vocal, member of dvinfo.net) At which time all of the panasonic fanboys and anyone who' ever had an opinion about anything jumped in and told shannon and I we were full of crap. (for the record there were many people who came to our defense, and you'll note that the people who were more level headed are the ones that still post here. I told the guys our results getting entirely too technical about the cadence and the estimated resolution, until dave (director of the first section) just asked me, "can we shoot with this camera and not have it detract from the story?" I said yes, and they were sold. The producer also loved that it would be a little cheaper and thought that would be a great way to promote the movie (the first canon hdv feature) as well.

10) The complete process of editing (cut a downconverted version because no codec and then onlined with a convergent box) is discussed in the avid article.

11) Hmm twice the budget? probably, I think the camera really worked for this piece. I think there is a right time for each different format be it dv, hdv, and film. Sometimes we make concessions due to the budget but I think this camera gave us the look we were going for. If we had a bigger budget we may have set up an uncompressed capture system which would probably have helped us out a lot in post and saved us some time, but that's more or less the only thing I would have changed with DOUBLE the budget. We may have used other cameras in addition to shoot the film, if the budget was bigger but, It's hard to speculate on that.

Robert, a range? hmm um blairwitch- to 28 days later. Though I will say we were closer to one of those movies then the other. I think when the movie is released the shooting budget will be public knowledge, but until that happens I dont' want anyone upset with me.
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Old January 25th, 2007, 09:58 PM   #13
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And that link once again... to the Avid article posted above (it answers most of Nik's questions) is located at http://www.avid.com/profiles/070122_...adrenaline.asp

For the trailer, see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=71222

-- thanks for the in-depth reply, Nick! Much appreciated,
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Old January 26th, 2007, 12:26 AM   #14
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Yeah that link to the avid article didn't say go here to see how they did it. It needed to be seperated. Thanks Nick and great job.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #15
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Great news Nick and congrats to you and all involved.

I do have a question however. I clicked on the Imdb link, and under box office & business states a $5.2 million dollar budget. Can that be right? If so...with a 2 million dollar sale of the film, that would be a loss of 3.2 million. Would you happen to know if the budget on Imdb is correct? If not, what was the ballpark budget for "Signal"
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