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Old December 23rd, 2003, 08:14 PM   #1
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Shot a short film on HD10

Jon Fordham and I go back a ways, because we have a mutual friend when I lived in Orlando four years ago. I met Jon via the internet, then we talked on the phone about various projects we could "audition" each other on. I want to hire him for my next film, 9:04 AM, and he's a very talented DP. He's shot on everything from the CineAlta and VariCam to SD to DV to film to probably a cell phone with a video camera! (I wonder if he could DP a movie with the iSight camera from Apple...)

To begin, the film I came up with was handwritten in L.A. last June as my friend slept all day following a non-stop/all-night edit session. (I slept in the front office lobby.) I was bored, so I came up with a sad script about a 20-something couple going through divorce, the classic starter marriage, and called it RELEASE ME.

We never shot it in L.A., with my friend's GL1 and cut on his PowerBook with FCP 3. Instead, I planned on it being the first film I'd do with the HD10. Jon liked the script, and we were set. But, it had to be done when he was in Florida, or I'd have to find some cashola to pay!

We tried October, but I was swamped with my first feature film going to DVD (Skye Falling). Had we shot then, it would have been done in Orlando (200 miles north by northwest of where I live) with a pretty good crew. But I had to scrap it because of my work load.

Fortunately, Jon had time off and flew down for the Holidays. Of course, my crew got sick, so it was just he and I. (And his girlfriend, who's a great script supervisor, amongst other talents.)

Another plus was the inclusion of the HDV Roadshow hosts and United Entertainment Media editors Michael Silbergleid and Mark J. Pescatore, who took photos of the production and answered questions. They hung out for a couple of hours while we did some shooting outside (in the sun) and inside.

Our gear was simply the HD10, a Bogan tripod, whatever other things Jon could use as a tripod, two monitors, a four-piece Arri light kit, and even available (non-flourescent) lights, including the sun and indoor lights.

Okay, so to the shoot. There were a couple of times that the camera started acting funny, and Jon turned on and off the camera, and it was fine. For instance, with the exposure locked, it was still changing the shutter and/or f-stops.

Another thing we noticed was if we hooked up the cable for component out and AV out, it wouldn't letterbox the image on an NTSC monitor until we unplugged the component cable. Whoops. We were using an NTSC monitor partially because I only have an HDTV LCD (tough to watch) and also because the short will be seen mostly on a NTSC TVs. We want to make sure the image doesn't look too different on HD or NTSC.

We shot with lots of shadows and low lights. One shot is of our actress, Chantal, sitting on a bath tub as she pulls her shoes on. The framing was outside the bathroom looking in, with half the shot of the bathroom. The other half was a dark wall.

On the LCD, I noticed artifacting in dark areas, as did Jon. On an NTSC monitor, it wasn't really there. I'm planning on taking my HD10 over to Circuit City to see it on a non-projection HDTV CRT.

I'm hoping Jon will post up a better review, with some stuff he's learned, along with some frustrations and also what he liked.

Oh, one more thing, Jon shot from inside Michael Silbergleid's SUV as the two actors opened the back hatch. Because the exposure/image was locked, we couldn't prevent the blow out of light when the hatch was opened. Then again, we didn't have room to put tons of lights to match 3:30 PM South Florida sun, either! And if we adjusted it with the exposure at all, viewers would see it and be taken out of the film, so to speak.

I'm trying out a couple of different things to cut it, which I'll post soon (my tested work flows for now, and the final workflow I've chosen, when I've done so), suffice to say I'm using DVHSCap to import into my Mac G5.

I'm much happier now that we've FINALLY really used the camera. I'd like more manual controls, but for now it's cool. Jon says the colors and artifacts in low lights will likely go away if a three chip HDV camera comes out. We'll see...Also, Michael and Mark both recommend avoiding blacks.

Any questions, I'll be happy to answer them!

heath
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 09:00 PM   #2
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Any filter usage?

Ken
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 09:07 PM   #3
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Nice writeup.

Heath,

Thanks for keeping us posted. It sounds like you're enjoying working and learning the HD10. Post some clips when you get a chance.

One thing that you mentioned;

Quote:
Michael and Mark both recommend avoiding blacks.
That's really unusual because from the clip that I believe Eric B posted of the trains at night was simply a stunner to my eyes. I have the clip playing back on a 55" HDTV monitor via RGB connections. The HDTV has been ISF certified and both the grayscale and color have been tweaked to 6500K. When showing people the clips I actually use that as a 'reference' clip for night shots. I then compare that to my night scenes shot with a TRV20 MiniDV.

He also posted some clips outside a church or something that looked really excellent. Both clips were shot in the dark with nothing but the street lights lit.

I've also seen some of the first clips of the notorious Jellyfish that was shot in a blackened aquarium. The blacks were amazing and the Jellyfish seemed to float in pitch blackness.

Anyway, I'll be able to more examine the situation more closely as I'll be unwrapping my HD cam in a day or so! :)

Troy
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 11:30 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Hodson : Any filter usage?

Ken -->>>

Yeah, Jon put on some sort of home made thing to hold a cheap plastic filter or something. I thought it was a promist wannabe, but I can't remember. He'll write something up soon. We're shooting one more thing.

Also, Chris Hurd is posting some clips up for us. And I have Jon's down converts of the HD10 vs. VariCam shoot out.

heath
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Old December 24th, 2003, 01:55 PM   #5
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Watched the footage late last night at Circuit City (love those Christmas shopping hours!) on a 60 inch Sony XBR CRT HDTV. I looked at a couple of shots and the one that really blew me away was a wide shot of the actor and actress sitting across from each other eating dinner. It was lit to look dim (including candles); it looked AWESOME! Wow, very hi def! Still saw slight artifacting in the dark, shadowy parts.

One problem on the XBR: it has a glass screen in front of it, which gave any image a "greenish" tint to it. When the regular HD signal pumping through all the HDTVs at Circuit City went back onto the TV, the other TVs didn't have that greenish tint. They closed before I could hook it up to an HDTV CRT without the glass screen.

heath
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Old January 14th, 2004, 03:38 PM   #6
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My impressions on working with the HD10 on this film can be found here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...867#post134867
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