"Table Manners", EX1/Redrock short film online at DVinfo.net

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Old January 17th, 2008, 04:25 AM   #1
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"Table Manners", EX1/Redrock short film online

Brian Valente from Redrock and I recently teamed up to make a short film to demo the Sony EX1 and his M2 35mm adaptor. It was an interesting project in that I worked somewhat backwards, writing a script around the layout of the stage that Brian had secured (he sent me pictures of the two existing sets on the stage and I picked one of them) as well as including certain elements that would show off the capabilities of the EX such as the 60 fps mode.

It was a short but intensive day; about 8 hours of shooting to capture some 23 setups, every one of which made in the final film. Brian did a great job of coordinating everything from the great food to making emergency pickups (viewing monitor was DOA), Mole Richardson provided their teaching stage and crew to us (finally--enough grips and electrics to get the job done right), Luis Sinabldi brought along the Carrion, his great onboard monitor; and I more than had my hands full pulling together the script, casting and shooting and directing duties.

The edit was something else; it didn't take long to assemble picture, but due to some location sound issues as well as a cast member with a heavy cold, I ended up doing a vast amount of painstaking ADR and foley.

Oh and--complete credits will be added shortly, this version is for a Sony presentation at Sundance.

Enough of the back story--here's the film.

http://web.mac.com/chupap/Films/tablemanners.html
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Old January 17th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #2
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Thanks for that. I laughed and laughed. Can you talk about how the Redrock mated with the EX1. What the setup was like.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #3
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Any chance you can make a high quality version available for download. I can only watch it in a window in my browser as it is now. Don't have Quicktime pro. Would be nice to be able to see it full screen and full quality.

Great short by the way!!!

Last edited by Ola Christoffersson; January 17th, 2008 at 01:11 PM.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #4
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Ola, what size file do you think is reasonable for download? Full size and full quality is currently 3.5GB (ProRes422HQ at 1920x1080). I'll be happy to take suggestions on settings and sizes for a downloadable version but obviously it needs to be much smaller file than this (I can't support that kind of traffic).
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Old January 17th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
'll be happy to take suggestions on settings and sizes for a downloadable version.
Quicktime is crippled without High profile h264. A more modern encoder will yield far greater results. The x264 library is the chart-topper right now: it renders amazing 1080p at just 6-12 Mbps.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #6
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hilarious

that was hilarious...very well done

gotta love those 35 mm adapters
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Old January 17th, 2008, 04:07 PM   #7
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Quicktime is crippled without High profile h264. A more modern encoder will yield far greater results. The x264 library is the chart-topper right now: it renders amazing 1080p at just 6-12 Mbps.
Thank you for the info Daniel, I downloaded ffmpegx and did a test with it, but I'm not sure what output format to use. If you are experienced with this and can suggest the proper settings so I can replace the current version I have up with something bigger and more efficient, I would be very grateful. Don't have a lot of time right now to experiment.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #8
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Charles, really enjoyed the story, although is was somewhat predictable from the moment when mom doesn't react on her son being naked,

please consider my notes as nitpicking, IMHO
the lighting: it was great till 00:27 uneasiness with just an overhead and no fill light, on moms face again 00:28 shadows on women's face, eyes somehow distracts from setting myself up for a comedy mood
00:35 my favorite shot, great!
00:48 again some "serious mood" shadows on her face
The son shows up, one thing I keep asking why does his skin glows/he glows?
By no means skin glowing is sensual/comedic,(in context of your scene)it's more like people in "Ghost Whispering" showing up...
that's my honest feel to your great piece, forgive for being maybe hard on you, I plan to shoot a comedy this year in Moscow and was thinking to use same setup as you've had, still have my doubts, maybe not for comedy, maybe need more lighting...
Do you mind sharing your lighting and lenses, filters setup, and any other info, will appreciate,
Warm regards, Oleg Kalyan.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Thank you for the info Daniel, I downloaded ffmpegx and did a test with it, but I'm not sure what output format to use. If you are experienced with this and can suggest the proper settings so I can replace the current version I have up with something bigger and more efficient, I would be very grateful. Don't have a lot of time right now to experiment.
I have more experience with Windows than OS X, but this should get you started:

Video tab:
Bitrate: 12228 kbit/s
Video Size: 1920x1080
Autosize: 1:1 (AKA Pixel Aspect Ratio)
Frame Rate: NTSC Film

Audio Tab: defaults are fine. (128kbps AAC)

Options Tab:
Disable "constant bitrate"
Enable Two-pass encoding

FfmpegX doesn't expose a lot of x264's options, but it should still do a lot better than Quicktime. Render a 10-second clip at several different bit rates to find the best option.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 08:06 PM   #10
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Thank you Daniel, will start playing with that after I get back from Sundance.

Oleg, thank you for your thoughts. Traditionally comedy is more flat but I wanted to give a bit more texture to this film. For the closeups I brought in more front fill especially on the two women, where I sometimes added a little eyelight as well. Certainly I could have used a bit more on the Mom's right eye, in retrospect I wish I had dug in a little deeper but we were moving awfully fast. I've worked a lot on studio comedies and this is always a line you straddle, where the obvious choice is to flat-light but the desire is to create more contour. Mostly I didn't want it to look like a sitcom, which would have been very easy to do considering the 3-wall set, style of film etc.

The overhead coop was a setup with 4 jumbo lights, double diffusion underneath (forgot what I decided on--might have been light and full gridcloth, or possibly 216 and 251) and a duvetyne skirt. Fill was two 4x4 Kinos with crates on, plus an inky with diffusion for occasional eyelight. A series of tweenies hung above the set walls picked out highlights on the stairs and mantel etc. A 5K bounced into a 4x8 beadboard above the coop gave some ambience to the back half of the room and upstairs. Two tungsten pars on a doubleheader mounted to the dolly were used for the car drive-by (unfortunately the really pretty part of it where it plays across the back wall as a light pattern didn't make the cut).

I used a diffusion plug-in filter which helped smooth out the highlights on foreheads etc. as well as help the gal's complexions. I see your point about the boy's skin glowing a bit--my concern was not having diffusion on him might stick out. I may revisit his wide shots to see if I can back it off without looking harsh compared to the rest of the material. That's a good note.

As far as it being predictable, that's a bit surprising--I still don't know exactly what it is about myself!! I liked letting the mom "give it away" by not reacting, as the dad picks it up immediately thereafter (and I don't think it is easy to know that he is going after the nose ring), but mostly I think the comedy in this piece comes less from the storyline but from the performance, dialogue and overall absurdity. But of course, it's tough to dissect comedy as it falls apart quickly and what one person finds funny, another may not, of course.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #11
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Hey Chaz....

I always love to here your opinions on things here and I'd love to here what you think of the camera.... have you "flown" with it yet? and do you have any plans to get one for yourself?

as for the diffusion "plug in".... is doing it in post SOP now? Do you ever though a black net in front of the lens anymore? Also... did you use any profiles with the EX1?

cheers.... and thanks for being here!
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Old January 18th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #12
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No flying yet but for me all the cameras in that group fly the same as I would have to beef them up with 15 lbs of steel to put them on my rig! For a Pilot or Flyer, I would think it would be fine, nothing jumped out at me particularly abnormally. But I really didn't handle the camera much as I think I said. In fact not at all. Had an operator on this one.

I wasn't planning to use diffusion, it was sort of an afterthought, and I dialed the effect up and down for different shots more than I would have had time to on the shoot. In fact, after Oleg's comments I'm going to revisit the shots with the young man in them and see what they look like with less of the glow.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Oleg, thank you for your thoughts. Traditionally comedy is more flat but I wanted to give a bit more texture to this film. For the closeups I brought in more front fill especially on the two women, where I sometimes added a little eyelight as well. Certainly I could have used a bit more on the Mom's right eye, in retrospect I wish I had dug in a little deeper but we were moving awfully fast. I've worked a lot on studio comedies and this is always a line you straddle, where the obvious choice is to flat-light but the desire is to create more contour. Mostly I didn't want it to look like a sitcom, which would have been very easy to do considering the 3-wall set, style of film etc.

The overhead coop was a setup with 4 jumbo lights, double diffusion underneath (forgot what I decided on--might have been light and full gridcloth, or possibly 216 and 251) and a duvetyne skirt. Fill was two 4x4 Kinos with crates on, plus an inky with diffusion for occasional eyelight. A series of tweenies hung above the set walls picked out highlights on the stairs and mantel etc. A 5K bounced into a 4x8 beadboard above the coop gave some ambience to the back half of the room and upstairs. Two tungsten pars on a doubleheader mounted to the dolly were used for the car drive-by (unfortunately the really pretty part of it where it plays across the back wall as a light pattern didn't make the cut).

I used a diffusion plug-in filter which helped smooth out the highlights on foreheads etc. as well as help the gal's complexions. I see your point about the boy's skin glowing a bit--my concern was not having diffusion on him might stick out. I may revisit his wide shots to see if I can back it off without looking harsh compared to the rest of the material. That's a good note.
Charles,

Thanks for sharing your lighting setup with us.

This is how we all learn as a community and it is great to see.

Any chance you could post how the camera was setup?

Last edited by Tim Polster; January 19th, 2008 at 08:16 AM.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 04:25 PM   #14
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Thanks for talking about how you had things set up for the lighting. Any chance of some on the set photos showing these things? Great short, gave me a good laugh, especially the ending :)
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Old January 20th, 2008, 01:07 AM   #15
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Thanks guys, I will hopefully be able to post pictures next week after I get back from Sundance.
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