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Old May 11th, 2004, 12:23 PM   #1
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Going for it: GR-HD1 Feature-Length

After slapping it around for months I have decided to go for the whole ball of wax: ~100min Feature Film with the GR-HD1 this summer. I have wanted to do it for years, but it's easy to find excuses not to. Recent life events have pushed me to make the decision to do it.

I was at first intimidated deciding between the DVX100, the HD1 and the HD10 - plus all the other financial, material, and temporal obstacles in doing something like this, but I think I am getting it hammered out.

Camera-wise I decided on the GR-HD1 for one big reason: money. Here's how it worked it out:

GR-HD1 $2400.00
Lumiere HD $179
______________
Total: $2579

JY-HD10 $3000.00
Lumiere HD $179
______________
Total: $3179

DVX100: $3,500.00
Anamorphic Adapter: $700
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Total: $4200

So the HD1 saves me $1621 over the DVX, and $600 over the HD10u. Since I am financing the entire thing myself, that's a big deal. While the edge enhancement will annoy me some, I shot my last piece with a Sony Consumer TRV-30, so it will still be a huge step up. I will have to mess with ND and Polarized filters, but I'll manage I think. "Twixtor" 24p conversion of HDV footage, is the icing on the cake.

Here's the scary part. The "rub" is that I plan to attempt an insane 14 days shoot (principle). Since everyone helping is working pro-bono, that's the best I can do. Although I have been burned by mistiming stuff before, I figure I only have essentially 7 locations, so if I can spend two days in each location, and shoot completely non-sequential, I may have a chance. It's either shoot it in 14 days, or don't shoot it at all, so there you go.

I'm trying to pre-plan what I can to keep things as fast as possible. Any additional points are welcome.

STORY:
I've almost finished my first draft, will likely go through two more in the next few weeks. To help eliminate as much "What was this shot again?" as possible, I am storyboarding as tightly as I can.

TALENT:
I've got actors onboard for the leads (helps to have a brother in the Chicago theatre). I will hire one or two additional for other parts. I have many many people for extras. I'll be acting as DP myself.

LIGHTING:
I'll be lighting with my homemade Photoflood / reflector rigs. I'll plug in as much as possible, use UPS cells when I can't.

PROPS:
I'll be using 8mm & 9mm blank-firing guns. First time for that, I'm a little wary.

LOCATIONS:
Locations are being scouted for indoor and outdoor scenes. Much of the outdoor will be good old-fashioned Guerilla film-making.

EDITING:
I will be editing whenever I can on FCP 4.5. It may take a year to edit, but if I have the footage that's 80% of the battle.

SOUND:
I'll be using a combination of onboard mic, boom w/ Minidisc recorder, and lapel mics. I have a friend who's a musician to do the soundtrack.

And I also will have me hyperventilating.

It may be a pie-in-the-sky, but I think I can do this. Any suggestions, comments, things to look out for? I'll post my progress perdiodically.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #2
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Just one tiny, small thing; the HD1 has more edge enhancement than the HD10. If you already own the HD1, don't worry about it. If you are about to buy a camera, buy the HD10 (or if you know someone who owns it, see if you can borrow it).

The satisfaction of doing a film, short or feature, is great, so CONGRATS and good luck!!!

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Old May 11th, 2004, 10:49 PM   #3
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Mark,

Excellent choice. Be sure to post a clip or two of your work so we can check it out.

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Old May 12th, 2004, 08:05 AM   #4
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Re: Going for it: GR-HD1 Feature-Length

<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Love : I'll be using 8mm & 9mm blank-firing guns. First time for that, I'm a little wary. -->>>

As well you should be! Are these real guns with blanks in them? There can be a significant discharge of "stuff" from the barrel, even with blanks. This is a big problem at close range when pointing at someone, and even a concern at greater distances. When we do this sort of thing on stage we are very careful to arrange the performers such that nobody is in the line of fire. Hopefully you can can do the same. You should really have someone knowledgeable around whose job is handling the firearms and instructing your cast on their safe operation. This could be a major liability issue for you.... please be careful.

Aside from that, best wishes on your project, sounds exciting!
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Old May 12th, 2004, 08:17 AM   #5
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RE: Blank guns

Quote:
As well you should be! Are these real guns with blanks in them?
No, these are stage-type guns. The barrel is blocked, with the discharge out the side. Even so, we won't be firing any closer than 6 ft probably. I'll follow my usual rule, we'll unload and clear the chambers for any close up "gun-to-head" stuff. My biggest fear is that the barrel flash will not look right. We'll see.

Thanks for the well wishes everyone. I'll post clip as I get them.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 08:37 AM   #6
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This is probably obvious, but rather than unload for just close-ups, you'd want to just "go hot" for shots that actually involve firing--right? No need to mess around with accidental discharge from any distance.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 08:44 AM   #7
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RE: Blanks Guns

Quote:
This is probably obvious, but rather than unload for just close-ups, you'd want to just "go hot" for shots that actually involve firing--right? No need to mess around with accidental discharge from any distance.
Exactly. The thing is, I am actually a bit afflicted with OCD. As such, even if I know that we only load for shots where we need the rounds, I'm still going to be freaked out unless I check and clear before each use.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:52 AM   #8
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Here's a thought.

Why not rent a camera?

For roughly three thousand dollars, you can get a heck of a deal on a camera and lighting package for two weeks. If your goal is to capture the best images possible, that might be the way to go. Think of what can be done with that portion of your budget.

If your goal is to shoot a movie and own the equipment, then full steam ahead.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #9
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RE: Rental

Quote:
For roughly three thousand dollars, you can get a heck of a deal on a camera and lighting package for two weeks. If your goal is to capture the best images possible, that might be the way to go. Think of what can be done with that portion of your budget
I did consider rental, but my fear with renting is that if I do go over the two weeks, I will have to fork out again for additional days. Even if I get principle done in 2 weeks, there will no doubt be some post-stuff that I'll need footage for.

Also, shooting on HDV, if I want to proof it on my very-nice-but-nonHD big screen, I will need the camera to view it, won't I?
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Old May 12th, 2004, 11:05 AM   #10
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For viewing it helps to have the camera.

But after you capture the footage to your computer you can render the uncut footage to DVD. That's how we show dailies to the client.

Regards,

Ed
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Old May 12th, 2004, 12:33 PM   #11
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For that kind of schedule, you should consider plenty of rehearsals so that when the shooting actually happens everyone in front of the camera knows what to do.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #12
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RE: Schedule

Quote:
For that kind of schedule, you should consider plenty of rehearsals so that when the shooting actually happens everyone in front of the camera knows what to do.
I think that's a good idea. I'm going to see how best to get this accomplished. Hopefully I can get everyone together at the same time, but if not, I may have to settle for 2 or 3 at a time for rehearsals. My brother and his cohorts will be available whenever I need them, but I can't predict how the other "hires" will be with timing. With no budget, it'll be hard to get people to commit too much time I fear.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 01:27 PM   #13
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A couple of things. Definately don't use the onboard mike for your dialogue, either use good quality Lavs, or a DAT with boom and shotgun setup. Bad sound ruins so many indie films I've seen attempted.
Second, practice a lot with various ND filters for outdoor shots, blown out whites are the curse of this camera, so you need to know what to use under what conditions.
I you feel your film might really be great, investigate what deals you can get on a Varicam or any other high end HD cam. The Panasonic HD formats now edit very easily in FCP, and while I love the little JVC, if I valued what I was doing, (and you are probably going to be dedicating 1 1/2 years of your life to this project) I would at least take a look at higher end alternatives. You might end up spending a lot more on trying to "fix" the problems inherent in the camera in post than a few thousand dollars spent on renting.
However, I do feel it might be possible (with a LOT of care) to make a watchable feature on the JY-HD1OU.

Good luck.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 07:26 PM   #14
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Well, Paul, I believe Mark probably doesn't have too much money, so going with the HD1 is probably a viable alternative.

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Old May 12th, 2004, 07:35 PM   #15
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ps-Mark's move on making his film reminds me of when I did SKYE FALLING, my first feature, five years ago. I'm feeling nostalgic!

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