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Old May 15th, 2003, 07:44 PM   #1
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"Far from India" - 95 min. Panasonic feature film ready!

Frederick, Maryland (May 15th, 2003). Hi. My name is Pepi Singh Khara and my company, Frederick Films LLC (www.frederickfilms.com) has just finished a 95 minute feature film titled "Far from India", which we shot with 2 Panasonic AD DVX100 cameras that we purchased for the shoot. According to the Panasonic Rep, my company was lucky enough to receive 2 of the 1st 100 camera's back in Nov 2002 (we then shot the film over 22 days). After 5 months of post production, the film is now ready for the film festival circuit. Trailers of the film and stills can be seen at www.frederickfilms.com

All I can say is that the 2 Panasonic's that we own performed very very well. They replaced the one Canon XL1s that we previouly had. We are gearing up to film our 2nd feature film later this year.

Hope you all check out our website and see what this great cameras are capable of doing.

Regards, Pepi.
www.frederickfilms.com
"Far From India" - 95 minute powerful drama feature!
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Old May 15th, 2003, 07:52 PM   #2
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Typo alert

Camera: Panasonic AG-DVX 100....... not AD DVX 100.

Cheers!
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Old May 15th, 2003, 08:12 PM   #3
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Please tell me you had a substantial budget when you shot this. Your movie looks frickin' amazing! I'll cry if you tell me you lit your film with two desk lamps and a piece of tinfoil.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 08:26 PM   #4
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Lighting

This is what we used: (1) Arri 650 Watt light, (2) Arri 150 Watt lights, (1) Kino Flo Kit (with 2 lamps), various construction lights from Home Depot with blue and orange gels, I own a complete gel set (40 plus gels for various uses), Frezzi camera mounted light (although we never mounted it on the camera).... various practicals with China Balls, JVC field monitor (9").... and then we used natural light in some cases, using reflectors.....

Pepi.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 09:30 PM   #5
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Well, I'm sure you'll hear this from all the people who view the trailer after me. . .frickin' beautiful. I think you're the first one who has actually achieved the hallowed and ever elusive film look. I tip my hat to you.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 11:30 PM   #6
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Yes, while some shots look great (the meditation scene with smoke rising and the shot with the father and shotgun, a lot of the other scenes I'm afraid to say, still looks very videoish. Not to say that it looks bad, it just looks like very clean video. It kinda reminds me of some of the features I saw shot on em big Sony DSR500 ENG cam. Thus far, I've been the most impressed with the shorts shown here:

http://media-tv.hi-ho.ne.jp/thefile/index_e.html

Of course, they were also used as Panasonic marketing pieces and Im sure the budgets cannot be compared. However, I think these are examples of what this camera can ultimately achieve. In the making-of video, it looks like they just used stock DVX100s. So just more complex lighting (not impossible in all cases I know)and more post production will give you that much increased in film-quality.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 12:04 PM   #7
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What settings did you use to shoot this piece?

24p, 30i, 30p?
Thick, Thin?
Pedestal, chroma, Cine-Mode?
4x3, 16x9?
Audio from camera or recorded separately?

Thanks,
Russell
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Old May 16th, 2003, 03:03 PM   #8
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The trailers look beautiful. It's thrilling to see a feature film made with the same camera that's in your own home! We are truly in the midst of a Digital video revolution.

It would be great if you could post some of the camera settings you used for some particular scenes, as Russell suggested.

Congratulations on finishing your film!
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Old May 16th, 2003, 04:07 PM   #9
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Believe it or not but our cameras arrived approx. 7 days before the shoot started. We were scrambling for locations right up to the last day... Finally, I was able to buy the $1,000,000 general liability insurance from a Calif. company and presto... all my locations fell into place. I just did not have the time to fool around with the settings so I let my DP (Tom Kost, NYC) to take care of all that. I figured that we'd learn as we went along. Tom called a friend of his who works for Panasonic on the west coast and he walked Tom thru various settings and we made sure that both cameras matched settings. We did not have to adjust much...

Yes, we shot in 24P mode..... which is the main reason why we got rid of our XL1s and purchased 2 of these cameras.

I do know that our cameras were adjusted to produce RICH blacks and we irised down to obtain a slightly darker look to our drama.

Here was the general sequence of each scene....

1. We blocked the scene with the actors
2. While they rehearsed lines, movement etc, we lit the scene
3. White balanced
4. Focused (since in 24P mode you need manual focus) using a professional field monitor
5. Set the iris dial to match the image look that we felt was right (it is suggested that you irin DOWN 1/2 a stop to get a more cinematic look and that is what we did).
6. Did a sound check
7. Finally we shot......... on average, we spent 2 hours "setting up" before rolling cameras... thanks to Tom, my DP. He had infinite wisdom and patience to help us light "as if" we were using film cameras and the results speak for themselves.

Our sound dept. consisted of 2 professional sound guys from Los Angeles (one mixer/recordist, the other the boom operator). We recorded scratch sound into the cameras and recorded straight via mixer into a field DAT recorder that the sound guys brought with them..... the DAT was our main source for sound. We used a digital slate to coordinate visuals and sound. However, now that our editing is done, the next time, I will have the following setup (in about 5 months, when I shoot my 2nd feature film)...... the sound guys will capture sound via mixer into both the camera (via XLR) and into a DAT recorder. In the edit, we will use the sound captured into the camera as the 1st choice and IF we run into sound issues, we will refer to the backup DAT sound to pull from..... it'll make editing much faster and less cumbersome....... Moreover, next time (I, as the director) will insist that the sound guy run a headphone feed to my head from the mixer/DAT recorder - so I can monitor sound that is being recorded into the camer and into the DAT.

In all my research, audio is the "Achilles Heel" and if not done right, the rest of the project goes down the toilet as well. I now have post production guys working on my film, some of whom have 20+ years in the biz (ie. sound mixing, sound edit, foley, fx). That combined with a professional MUSICAL SCORE for the film, I am very very optimistic for "Far from India" to get noticed at film festivals starting August 2003 onwards.....

We shot in 16x9 mode which is built into the camera. Our professional field monitor (JVC 9" from B&H) is also equipped with 16x9 settings so after we calibrated the monitor, we were able to see EXACTLY what the final image would look like and "protect" accordingly.

For most of our indoor shots, we were able to really plan the shot, the lighting, the movement (using our dolly and/or 14' jib crane) etc. There are a few hand held, run and gun shots to break up the monotony of the rest of the film's style..... but even they look very nice and smooth.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 04:51 PM   #10
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When you say "iris down a 1/2 stop", a half stop from what point?

Also, what did you do to get those richer blacks? Did you lower your pedestal? I'd like to apply those settings, where possible when using my XL1s.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #11
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Irising down 1/2 stop.

For example.... let us say that the image looked pretty good at a particular iris setting (per the field monitor), we pushed the iris another 1/2 stop down to close the iris some, hence darkening the image to give it a more "cine" like look - as per suggestions from the Panasonic people we spoke to....... also by playing with the iris dial and the built in 2 stop ND filter and combining it with the zoom, we were able to obtain a deep or shallow "depth of field" to blur out the background in some scenes.

Yes, I do believe it was the pedestal that my DP adjusted to obtain a certain "look"....
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Old May 16th, 2003, 05:39 PM   #12
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How much color correction did you do in post?
Are we seeing the final pictures? Or are you still working with them?
Same questions regarding audio. Is this the finished mix, or, did you rush this to get the trailers out quickly?
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Old May 16th, 2003, 05:47 PM   #13
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We're about to color correct the film next week...... most of it will stay as is..... just a few problem scenes....... what you're hearing is DAT audio........ without any EQ'ing etc....... we rushed to add DAt sound to the trailers....... new trailer is forthcoming....... Sound Edit will start in 10 days........ final sound will be added in 3 weeks to trailers and film........... we expect to be done 100% by early June.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 05:53 PM   #14
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Good to hear that more color correction will be applied, maybe you can work on the outdoor shots, to tune down the contrast perhaps. In particular, the shot of the guy hanging from the tree. Or the dark face of the girl when talking to her father, while against a bright background.

So I gather from the trailer, you were trying to break off from the typical Indian vs. Westernization comical theme like American Desi or Bend it like Beckham, it's more of an emotional, and less upbeat storyline?
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Old May 16th, 2003, 09:12 PM   #15
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Just one thing about the onboard sound of the DVX100, the maximum it can handle is 72db, while the dat has over 90 db, trust me, when you are going to show it in the theaters, you need those extra db's. That's pretty much 30db extra of sound pressure with a DAT.
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