PD-170 Feature Film shot in Santa Fe, Argentina at DVinfo.net

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Old September 17th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #1
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PD-170 Feature Film shot in Santa Fe, Argentina

Hi y'all! I'm here to show you a tidbit of a feature film that was shot in Santa Fe, Argentina, with a PD-170 camera. I'm the producer/executive producer/line producer of the movie. It's called "El Peso", and here's the trailer.


Stream on blip.tv (Flash): El Peso - Trailer 1

Download (DivX, 23.7MB): http://blip.tv/file/get/ElPeso-ElPesoTrailer1742.avi


It was a lot of hard work. This film was made with almolst no money (we spent around $2000 altogether, although we still owe about $300 to some people, including my father... :P). The actors worked for free and so did all of us, of course. This movie is part of the career's educational program on ISCAA (or Higher Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts, from Santa Fe, in English). I'm a student in the 4th and last year of this career. Production was 33 shooting days, and actual 7 weeks of work. We finished shooting last Monday, but we just might have to do a couple of pickups.

The camera did respond very nicely, and although smearing was a concern for the directors (yes, this movie was directed by two people... no worries ^_^), we had no problems with that. But the noticeable noise, even on well lit conditions or even daylight, was quite bothersome... We were on quite a struggle in preproduction, trying to decide whether to use an HV20 or this camera, and ultimately our coordinating proffesor, after a few tests, concluded that the PD170 was between 2 and 3 f-stops faster than the HV20, and together with the control issues (for him... our cameraman was just fine with the operating dynamics the HV20), that was the reason we leaned towards the Sony... (the directors, the DP and me felt the HV20 was the best choice, but we just had to go with it...).

Bear in mind that I made a fast color correction for this trailer, and it's not by all means definitive (in fact, I didn't bother too much about doing something about the noise that rose on some shots, at least for now). Still, this is yet more proof that the camera is important, but so much more so is what you place in front of it... ^_^

Please, leave as many comments as you want, and ask me any questions you might have.
Thanks for watching!
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Last edited by Ernesto Mantaras; September 17th, 2008 at 12:16 PM. Reason: The HTML tags I used didn't work... My bad...
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Old September 17th, 2008, 12:40 PM   #2
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Ernesto:

I remember the debate about what camera to choose. I urged that you use the HV20.

Trailer looks very nice!. Goes to show that choice of camera is not as important as the talent that is operating it.

So how did you accomplish 16:9 with the PD 170-- did you use the on camera letterbox, or did you, use wide screen adapter, or do it in post ?
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Old September 17th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #3
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Hi, Chris! Yeah, at that time it was a real concern for me. But the experience was the most important thing, and using this camera was then the best option. And yeah, the results show. It's mainly how you use the tools you have available, and all the work around it what makes it or break it. And also the love you put into it. ^_^

To achieve 16:9 we shot 4:3 with the LCD and monitor both masked on 16:9. Using the in-camera 16:9 didn't add anything (nor resolution like on true 16:9 cameras, nor framing space, like some Sony cameras that have Steadyshot, like an old Digital8 camera I used to have). So, it was better to do what we did, and that way we also had the choice to re-frame a bit in case it was needed (or take advantage of that extra portion of footage for special effects we might come up with... :P). I made that 16:9 DivX video by cropping the black bars. I'm hoping we'll have a true progressive 16:9 master through Cineform and Magic Bullet. We'll see, though.
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Old September 17th, 2008, 01:21 PM   #4
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While I like the music, the pacing is too slow for a trailer. Also, a few shots seem to linger on a close up a hair too long. The detective close up is too long in my opinion.

Another thing to address in a trailer (if distribution is in mind) is to work on sound design. It seems as most of the audio is recorded from the PD170 camera mic. I could be wrong on this but I am hearing much of the room (such as the scene when everyone is playing cards around the table). I'd try to mask this production audio in the trailer - as a distributor will see this a downside.

Lastly, length. Although, the trailer builds well, it, in my opinion, is too long. I'd prefer just seeing more a teaser.

Your opening shot has a guy with a bruised face. I like that opening but then halfway through we see him getting beat up (which I assume is how he got the bruises). Unfortunately, this in a trailer is usually a disconnect. Link things in a linear timeline unless there is a payoff at the end. I hope this makes sense.

Anyway, good work and I feel your work. I've just been where you're going. We shot a 83 min feature with the XL2 (Standard Def, native 16:9, 24P). If I had it to do again, I'd probably opt for the HV20 also. Distributors just like the fact that HD masters mean more market potential.

My advice is to upconvert to Pro-Res 422 @ 720p. This will allow you to gain room in color correction. Plus then you can make your HD master.

Hope this helps,
-C
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Old September 17th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input, Christopher. I too do feel that the trailer is longer than it should. It was made by the film editor, and it was made quite quickly for a press conference. We had to rush it since a well-known actress from Buenos Aires (Adriana Aizenberg; she's actually from Santa Fe, but has been living down there long enough) came before expected. We even had three days left before finishing shooting. I just redesigned (actually, designed...) the titling, graded the footage a bit, and placed and manipulated the music.
It was meant for local showing until the final trailer is released, once the movie is finished and we get ready for release (on december, we hope).

The sound is, indeed, the camera's. We recorded sound on a PDX10, and the Sound team is working on it, but like I said, we hadn't even finished the movie, and everything was made quite on a rush, so although they had been advancing on capturing sound, it was impossible to get what we needed for the trailer.

As for the succession of events in the trailer, I don't really see it as a drawback... I just feel the focus stands elsewhere by then. Somehow, it's like this, working more like a teaser, intends to be more confusing than delivering, and in that, chronology doesn't play that much of an important part... Of course, one tends to draw a linear thread of a story on trailers (an unreal one, if possible), and it just might fail there... But trailers are many times made of random images (at some point in their length, at least), so I guess it doesn't hurt to show shots in an unchronological order... And talking about time, you should see the film once it's made, and then we can talk about playing with chronology in the storyline. ^_^ Just my opinion, though.

Thanks.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernesto Mantaras View Post

To achieve 16:9 we shot 4:3 with the LCD and monitor both masked on 16:9. Using the in-camera 16:9 didn't add anything (nor resolution like on true 16:9 cameras, nor framing space, like some Sony cameras that have Steadyshot, like an old Digital8 camera I used to have). So, it was better to do what we did, and that way we also had the choice to re-frame a bit in case it was needed (or take advantage of that extra portion of footage for special effects we might come up with... :P). I made that 16:9 DivX video by cropping the black bars. I'm hoping we'll have a true progressive 16:9 master through Cineform and Magic Bullet. We'll see, though.
Ernesto,

I watched with interest as I am about to shoot a short on a PD-150.

A question: I understand what you have said about the masking the LCD and the monitor for framing. What I don't understand is what you then do with it in post. You mentioned cropping to eliminate the letter boxing; do you then have to zoom the image? Do you need to do anything in order to preserve the image resolution? My 4:3 images still leave the black bars at the sides of the image. Did you have to do something to eliminate these, and if so, what?

I am missing a piece of the puzzle and I just can't quite see what it is.

Thanks, well done and good luck with it.

Ciao,

marks
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Old September 19th, 2008, 12:54 AM   #7
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Hi Mark. Well, when I talked about the cropping, I was talking about Dr. Divx, a free application to convert any video into the DivX codec. There's an option there for cropping, and it basically recognizes black bars and cuts that off of the original video. Now, I was able to do that when converting for web delivery because we edited this way first:

The project was a standard 4:3 project, and I made a custom mask over at a friend's studio (you can PM me if you want it; it's no hassle to send it to you). So, the project was 4:3, but just like it happens with the mask on the LCD and monitor, this mask turns the image into a 16:9 letterbox video. This also allows for reframing up and down, which is nice, so take it into account.

Now, you mentiones black sidebars... So, I assume you are editing on a 16:9 project instead of a 4:3 project. And that is fine. I have finished some old VHS letterboxed shorts that way. You just load the video/s onto the sequence and then zoom until the left and right sides touch the borders of the project frame. And there you have your full 16:9 video. But beware of one thing: depending on how you work your footage, the interlacing might show pretty badly, or perhaps just work as on any usual video. But to be sure, you should either deinterlace all your raw footage (which I don't recommend), or just edit the whole thing on a 4:3 project with a 16:9 mask, and only once it's finished and you have the master, properly deinterlace it and then take it inside a 16:9 project and do the final zooming for your final 16:9 master of the short film.

Hope I was clear enough. Feel free to ask again if you didn't understand something. Regards!
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Old September 19th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #8
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Hola,

Buen hecho.

Looks great.

Mike
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Old September 20th, 2008, 07:53 PM   #9
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Thanks, Mike. It was a lot of work and effort, from a lot of people. So I'm glad it's being well received. Hopefully, you'll like the movie too. :P

By the way, it should read "Bien hecho" instead of "Buen hecho", but just so you know. haha
No worries there. ;P
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Old September 20th, 2008, 09:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernesto Mantaras View Post
Thanks, Mike. It was a lot of work and effort, from a lot of people. So I'm glad it's being well received. Hopefully, you'll like the movie too. :P

By the way, it should read "Bien hecho" instead of "Buen hecho", but just so you know. haha
No worries there. ;P
Pesky adjectives. Don't you just hate them? ;-)

No problems... I haven't been to Argentina in a couple of years. BsAs and Iguaz˙ Falls the last time.

Good luck with your film.

Mike
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Old September 21st, 2008, 08:55 AM   #11
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I see that you mention Red Giant for possible 16x9 conversion....

Not sure if you know but the Red Giant product is using the Topaz engine...

and Topaz themselves have a converter suite...

Topaz Enhance - High-end video enhancement software

now you have a choice...
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