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Old June 30th, 2004, 05:09 PM   #1
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help me find good looking no budget DVDs...

hey everyone.

I need to find some examples on DVD of movies shot on digital with a minimal budget. (under $10,000)
I'm writing a film with a friend and i need to prove to him that we can do something that looks good. (he is skeptical partially because he is not researching all the technical stuff like i am. he has seen Hal Hartley's "book of life" and i think he's basing his perception of what kind of quality we can achieve on that film.)

Can anyone point me to a couple of movies that were shot with, say, an XL1 or a DVX100 that look really good? Something you know wasn't made with a ton of money... (28 days later doesn't count)
I'm talking stock lenses and/or adapters. No mini-35. Decent but minimal lighting setup...

I'd love to find an example of one in color and one in black and white, if possible. We are now considering doing the film in black and white, but neither of us has seen any digital video that's been converted to black and white yet.

We just want to see some stuff that was done with our type of budget that really came out well.


Thanks in advance for any info!

-martino
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Old July 1st, 2004, 01:14 AM   #2
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I don't know if this is the kind of thing you are looking for, but I really enjoyed a 1998 movie called "The Celebration" (original title: Festen) which was one of the "Dogme 95" films. They weren't really going for pretty pictures and that was sort of the point. Dogme 95 follows a "vow of chastity" which includes location shooting only, no sets, no artificial lighting, no music, no sound effects, no filters, etc. and all shots must be hand held. Despite these shooting limitations, I found The Celebration to be a riveting film. I don't know what the budget was, but it couldn't have been too much. It was shot with video cameras and obviously not much else. If you are looking for high image quality, this probably isn't a good example. But it does prove that high image quality isn't a mandatory prerequisite for telling a good story. Also, sometimes the "low budget look" is appropriate for some subject matter as it gives that gritty feel.
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Old July 1st, 2004, 01:28 AM   #3
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Check out Martin Munthe's Camp Slaughter.

Search for his name here and you'll see all his posts about the techniques he used. I don't know the budget though.

You can buy the film off www.customflix.com - or search for Camp Slaughter on www.amazon.com.
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Old July 1st, 2004, 11:05 AM   #4
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thanks for the tips guys!
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Old July 1st, 2004, 01:12 PM   #5
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"The Celebration," like all Dogme 95 films used some world class actors, a really well know cinematographer, etc., so it won't qualify in the micro budget category, even though it was shot with single chip consumer cameras.

The best looking DV footage I've ever seen was shot with an XL1 for an HBO short called "Fatal Kiss." It was a half hour program originally shown on Cinemax, then later on HBO. They usually show it around Halloween, because it's a vampire comedy. The director/producer/actor is Jeff Rector in L.A. If you do some Googling, you can probably track down his web site and maybe get a tape of it. It probably won't go to DVD. I saw it when he was in town on theatrical projection, then later on TV. Looked great both times.
However, it was low budget only in that he knew the actors personally, and the DP and was able to get things done very cheaply. It is shot just as if it had been on film, excellent lighting, great dolly shots, great composition, locations, etc. Jeff said the HBO contact person thought it was film until told differently. And if I had seen it on TV, I also would have thought it was film.

One of my favorite DV movies is "The King Is Alive." It's also Dogme95. Shot with PD150, but again, with a well known cinematographer. It's worth watching, no only because of the great story and acting, but because it was shot DVCAM under really horrid conditions for video--exteriors under extremely contrasty desert lighting, and interiors at night with kerosene lamps.

You mentioned "Book of Life," which was done with the old VX1000. "Chuck and Buck" also was shot with the VX1000. It is available on DVD. "Saltmen of Tibet" was shot VX1000 about 4 years or so ago. "Tadpole" was shot with a PD150--typical Hollywood coming of age movie with Sigourney Weaver, so not low budget by our standards. It had a very nice look, I thought. One of the best documentaries ever is "The Gleaners and I" by Agnes Varda. Shot with a mixture of a DXC30 dockable (which has 2/3" chips) and a TRV900, which has 1/4" chips. It is also on DVD, and I think it's one of the best docs ever made.

Another good doc is "Spellbound," which was nominated for the Academy Award year before last when Michael Moore won. It was shot with an XL1, and the whole thing was done by two guys. The DP was a film school grad and familiar with film cameras but had never shot with an XL1 before. He got a quickie half day hands on course with the camera and went from there. The producer did sound. This is also a great documentary, and has pretty good composition overall, considering the uncontrollable situations you run into in documentaryland. This one probably would be the best one for you to watch. I believe it's on DVD by now.

I always make it a point to see all the documentaries and features that are done low budget and/or on DV. Most have been shot with the older VX1000, with PD150s, some XL1's, and most with higher end DVCAM cameras and Digital Betacam. However, the one with the overall best look, in my opinion, is "The King Is Alive." I haven't seen anything shot with a DVX100 except that really rotten "k-street" "reality show" that was on Showtime for a couple of months. It was so bad I think it gave the camera a bad name.
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Old July 1st, 2004, 04:22 PM   #6
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wow - lots of great information. thanks very much, Bill
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Old July 6th, 2004, 08:54 PM   #7
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Market 175 was shot on dvx100

DVX100 + $700 budget for food & misc

http://www.panasonic.com/business/pr...news04_002.asp
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Old July 7th, 2004, 06:45 AM   #8
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The Japanese movie "Visitor Q" was shot on miniDV for 70000 dollars. Its a good example of good use of video.
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Old July 7th, 2004, 07:29 AM   #9
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Honestly, I would tell your friend not to worry about the whole "DV is inferior" thing too much. If your content is superb, no one is gonna give a damn. Even though this movie was WAY more then 10k, look at 28 Days Later. This Horror movie kicks a#$ and was shot with the XL1. What you and your friend could do is simply rent a DV cam and see what the image looks like. Of course, don't make the mistake of shooting interiors without proper lighting. And don't shoot outdoors on a bright sunny day. Either shoot exteriors on a day with overcast, or use a reflector properly.
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Old July 7th, 2004, 11:18 AM   #10
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I just watched "Spellbound" on DVD yesterday. I didn't know it was shot on an XL1 - the quality is superb.

I'm inspired.

Christopher
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Old July 7th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #11
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What Glenn said. Don't worry about the camera so much. Content is everything. Blair Witch Project was shot primarily on Hi-8 (and some 16mm) I believe and raked in more money than probably most 35mm films that Hollywood releases.

BTW the budget on 28 Days Later was something like $15 million.
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Old July 7th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brennan Houlihan : I don't know if this is the kind of thing you are looking for, but I really enjoyed a 1998 movie called "The Celebration" (original title: Festen) which was one of the "Dogme 95" films. " is appropriate for some subject matter as it gives that gritty feel. -->>>

Brennan, I highly recommend "Celebration" as well (though you cannot get it on DVD in North America).

HOWEVER, you should know that the budget for it was $1m U.S. There were a lot of great actors in that film so you can chalk some of that up to their wages, but then you must consider the wages of all the crew as well.
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Old July 7th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #13
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holy cow!
check out all these replies! thank you everyone for chiming in, i really appreciate it.

yeah, it's always rung true to me that the content is more important than the quality of the image by far. and i'm also of the mind that the camera is probably the least important part of the gear chain in terms of a film-like image. although i haven't played with lighting yet, i'm sure that's the entire story right there.

we don't need to rent a DV camera, i already own a GL1 - which i'm only impressed with some of the time. it doesn't look that great to me, but at this point i'm not really planning on shooting the film with it, just using it to practice shooting with. it has some technical problems anyway.

thanks again for all the replies. unfortunately i haven't had time to follow up on finding any of these movies since i first posted.
i've been holed up in a huge practice space engineering and producing a record for a local rock band. there's no air conditioning, no bathroom. it's so rock and roll, i'm having a blast!
i'm totally worn slick, though.
but hey..... i shot some video of it!

i will definately check some of movies out when i get some time.

thanks, everyone

martino
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Old July 7th, 2004, 06:12 PM   #14
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Ryan,

Definitely make sure you check out "Spellbound." You can see the trailer at http://www.apple.com/trailers/indepe...pellbound.html. It's a very well done trailer, worth seeing even for those who have already seen the film.
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Old July 7th, 2004, 08:53 PM   #15
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Ryan
If you can't make GL1 footage look great all the time, you won't be able to make any camera look great all the time. It's the artist, not the paintbrush.
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