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Old March 24th, 2010, 12:57 PM   #1
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Canon 1DMKIV clips with Laforet and Papert

In January I shot a series of segments for insurance company USAA; Vincent Laforet directed and shot the stills that accompanied these clips in the company's annual report. Vincent posted a set of behind-the-scenes stills on his blog. The videos have now been posted on Youtube for general consumption.

We took advantage of the low-light capability of the 1D's when shooting b-roll, which was largely available light and in some instances, radically so. I lit the interviews more traditionally, with up to six Litepanel 1x1's and small tungsten units.

Overall we were happy with the results, although there were some instances where the skin tones came out a little funky. We had a number of Marshall monitors with us, from the 6.5 and 7" onboards to a 20", but as even Marshall will admit, these are not color-accurate reference monitors. I've since incorporated an HP Dreamcolor into my production package with an HD-SDI to HDMI converter and I'm much happier, as I'm used to having reference monitors on set (anyone want to buy any of my 3 CRT monitors??!)

The whole project was a fascinating experiment in configuration of personnel and equipment, like no other job I've done of that type. Everyone on the crew had multiple jobs, we all pitched in when there was a need for help in a certain area. We did the job in multiple legs and had plenty of discussion about streamlining and improving the package and camera configurations as we went, also experimenting with different technologies and accessories. These cameras force one to look at things a new way, both in front of and behind the lens.

My favorites ones (primarily on a visual level) are:

YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Dr. Philip Caravella
Youtube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Anthony E. Hargrove
YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Member Jon Monett

For a look at a traditional corporate interview environment, as seen with these cameras:
YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members

This one we shot with a 7D as the front camera on a Microdolly and two 1D's as the wing cameras, on sliders. You can see the lighting setup for this on Vincent's blog, picture 28. It was an extremely narrow space to work in and presented a lot of lighting challenges.

Other videos in this project:
YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Expanded Eligibility
YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Employee Linda Lopez
YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Employees
YouTube - USAA 2009 Report to Members: Employees
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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #2
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Holy Cow, these are awesome Charles and Vincent. Super-cinematic. Engaging. My wife and I are USAA members going on 20 years, and it's a fantastic organization. I am very pleased that they hired such awesome DP's to help tell their stories.

Charles, is there some info somewhere on your presets and grading?

Thanks for sharing these. Very inspiring.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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Hi Brian:

Grading was done by the client--it's actually fairly light, footage doesn't look radically different than it did out of the camera. We used a simple modified "normal" profile, no custom curves or anything like that.

What was a revelation to me more than anything else was the results we were able to capture in natural light under so many circumstances. I've since had similar experiences--shot a music video for the Courtyard Hounds (2/3 of the Dixie Chicks) and got some gorgeous results with day interiors, using the shutters in a bedroom to control the light from various windows.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 09:28 PM   #4
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very nice, loved the street shots, I'm guessing there were no remote focus, so you had to maintain the distance when wide opened?
very nice shots during interviews, at first I thought it's a slider, or was it a slider, I see at least couple on steels from the shot,
anyways, thanks for sharing, would be great to see the 'making of'
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Old March 24th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #5
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Hi Charles,

I watched the first one and thought it was great.

I was struck by the look of two shots, the first shot of him walking out of the house (with you on Steadicam, I would imagine), and the push in on him outside the house at the end.

The image was very different, with the subject looking almost like a 2 dimensional cutout. Is this because of the lens you used here? It was a neat effect.

Thanks for posting.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 12:39 AM   #6
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Buba:

I always use my Preston FIZ with these cameras, on or off Steadicam. It allows us much more control over focus than a hard follow focus as it expands the range of rotation of the lens significantly, and gives very accurate marks on the knob for the AC.

If you watch the background of the exterior push-in at 2:57 (in the first clip), you can see the focus shift as I close in the doctor.

As Vito noted, both this and the walking shot do have a notable quality. Part of this was due to the flat overcast lighting, and also our choice to shoot this at a fairly open stop, perhaps a 2.8 or a 4.
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Old April 8th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I always use my Preston FIZ with these cameras, on or off Steadicam. It allows us much more control over focus than a hard follow focus as it expands the range of rotation of the lens significantly, and gives very accurate marks on the knob for the AC.
Charles, but this is a two men job, right, I won't be able to controll focus myself, mounting transmitter somwhere on the arm?
from your knowledge can you recommend me any remote FF that will work with Pilot,
thanks in advance;
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