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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old February 27th, 2002, 10:56 AM   #1
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Motion Pictures shot in miniDV?

I'm amazed at the possibilities of making movies at the desktop/consumer level.

I mean basically if you have a modern computer, a decent digital camcorder, the right software, and creativity...then you can basically create a full-lenth feature movie. I'm talking everything from shooting outstanding video-quality footage, editing that footage, creating special effects, adding sound effects, making your own music with the software out there now, putting in your own created soundtrack, etc...

I believe that this might turn into something big if it isn't already. We'll start seeing movies actually filmed this way in the theatres. We'll start seeing more amateur made movies turning big...maybe websites popping up with downloadable made movies.

Most of this has happened already or will be happenning soon. I've already found 2 motion picture movies being released soon that are being filmed in miniDV. "Full Frontal" by Steven Soderbergh was shot almost exclusively with the Canon XL1s. It's scheduled for release by end of March...includes cast such as David Duchovny, Julia Roberts, and Brad Pitt. "28 Days Later" is a film by Miramax also shot in miniDV.

Now you already have a bunch of fan-made movies shot in DV available off the Internet...and some of that stuff is really good.

Amazing! What do you guys think?
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Old February 27th, 2002, 11:02 AM   #2
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I think it is a very good time for us movie makers (or wanna be).
For the reasons you state. Cameras are good and relitive
cheap, internet reaches (allmost) everywhere and more and
more people have broadband connections... We are in a
real sweet spot!

Now we only need:
- Ideas & creativity :)
- More time
- More money

That sums it up I think....
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Old February 27th, 2002, 01:51 PM   #3
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It's no secret that for many of us, a future in the film industry is our brass ring. Just as Robert Rodriguez used his inexpensive methodology to catapult him to LA and become a Hollywood darling, DV will afford some of us the same opportunity. The difference is that RR had a smaller pool of competition than we presently do.

I set myself up with enough equipment to shoot, edit and publish my own DV feature to DVD.With the help of some very generous actors and assistants, I'm hoping the first "release" will come at the end of the summer of 2002.

"Breakfast at McQuarry's" 94 pages Reg WGAw

(Still working on the logline)

On the verge of his big break in LA, March McQuary reluctantly returns to his rural Texas hometown to run his family's restaurant and gain a new insight on family after his father suffers a stroke.

See you in the movies.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 02:10 AM   #4
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Why is it that there isn't a real independent video movement? Sure there are lots of us working with the medium and even some of us expressing original thought, but where is the audience? Where are the great video artists? Even people who follow independent films can't name me any (good or bad) video makers. It is assumed by many that video will revolutionize and elevate the recording arts, but where is the evidence?

When you say: "The difference is that RR had a smaller pool of competition than we presently do." Where is our competition? Name me a successful video maker that I can run against? The people that made Blare Witch Project?... I think blare witch 2 was shot on film.... Steven Soderbergh?... Do you really think he is going to stay in video? He is obviously just using it as a gimmick.

Artistic movements are usually begun by a relatively small group of individuals who believe in what they are doing. It seems we need more than just: ideas, creativity, time, and money. We need desire, a driving passion to do it better than it has ever been done, and just the ability to do the hard work. If we (video makers) are the future then it is time to prove it.

Last edited by Justin Walter; March 2nd, 2002 at 02:28 AM.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 05:58 AM   #5
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As far as "Full Frontal" is concerned, nobody in the exhibition industry (movie theaters, their bookers, etc) has heard of it yet. There have been no trailers released, no posters, no advertisements of any kind. If this is due to be released at the end of March (this month), then they are doing a HORRIBLE job on publicity. Maybe it will be one of those New York and LA only flicks that hardly anyone will see. Or maybe it will be an arthouse only flick. Either way it doesn't look like it will have a "wide" release.

Making feature length movies with DV is perfect as long as the intended viewing format is a television set. I don't care what ANYONE says, DV or any other NTSC or PAL video format just cannot compete with film on the big screen. It's great for video and film festivals to get your work recognized, but for a paying audience watching it on a 50 foot screen? Hell no. We'll see how Soderberg's movie looks. He is probably using video as an aesthetic look for his movie, much like Blair Witch Project did. I don't think movie directors will jump on the bandwagon and start making their movies with consumer equipment. I don't think Soderberg is using an XL1s just because he thinks it looks close enough to film.

Did anyone on this forum actually think that Blair Witch Project actually looked good?
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 11:22 AM   #6
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Joe,

Blair Witch Project looked the way it looked mainly by design rather than technological limits.

I'd have to agree that watching digital cinema on a "50 foot screen" would probably be a poor experience, certainly compared with film. But there aren't many "50 foot sceens" around any more. In fact theater screen sizes seem to be continuously shrinking as theaters attempt to belay their single-feature risk. The future off the movie theater is a limited one. Theater owners never understood that they're not in the "movie" or "entertainment" business; they're in the real estate business.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 12:38 PM   #7
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First off, Full Frontal, which was supposed to be released this friday has been pushed to August 2nd...which is why you haven't seen any publicity for it. August 2nd will be exactly 13 years after Soderbergh's "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" premiered. Although Full Frontal is not a direct sequel...more of like a cousin to that movie.

This is just something that Soderbergh is trying. As a director/producer...he is always trying to do something new.

I disagree with some of your comments. I still believe that there is so much that can be done at the consumer/prosumer level. Granted it doesn't compare to professionals but the possibilities have increased so much for the consumer/prosumer.

And DV can look amazing on the big screen when filmed correctly. Plus, Digital Cinemas are the way of the future...that will become a reality faster than you think. Digital Cinemas actually save the industry a lot more money.

I think now is the time. I really do. Somebody out there with little to no experience will come up with this 'great' idea. I think that's whats missing. Just a great idea. That idea can turn in to something big. We have the possibilities...we just need that great 'idea' and it'll happen.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 12:47 PM   #8
 
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Dr_Pepper_78 asked: "Why is it that there isn't a real independent video movement? "

Contrary to a couple of nay-sayers on this particular forum, there is quite an established Indie movement in DV already in existence. If you'd like to see the work, I suggest visiting any of the myriad small film festivals around the country. In particular, the local Santa Film Film Festival has had several movies shot, edited and presented in DV format. In my opinion, some of these inde shorts were extremely well done. The story line and the videography was captivating enough to hold my attention and get my praise, at any rate.

There is a contingent of folks who are insecure enough with their position in the video industry to try to cut off DV growth at the knees, precisely because it makes indie movies available to everyone. Just as RCAA and some industry movie groups are trying to squelch free distribution of media, there are those who will try to squelch indie movies. IMHO, however, the tide is rising and will soon overwhelm those static fixtures not flexible enough to adapt.

Anyone involved enough in this venue probably reads the forum at www.dv.com. You will see that over there that the views and opinions are not nearly as narrow as you find from some folks here. Just my .02 cents worth.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 01:11 PM   #9
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mdreyes23:

I agree that using DV has a lot of potential to whoever takes it seriously and loves to make video. I'm certainly not saying that it can't kick ass.

Yes, Digital Cinema IS the future of the theater industry. But "Digital Cinema" only means "projected digitally". Most movies will still be shot on film. And the ones that are shot digitally to begin with will probably not use DV. They will use HD at worst. But even HD is not quite good enough, though it is far more acceptable. Once we all get HD cams I think we will see a lot more independant movies being made and shown on the big screen by people like you and me. But digital cinema will not take over film projectors any time soon. It will be a long transition.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 02:04 PM   #10
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dv vs film

Digital in any form may be a generation or two away from competing with film in the theators. But, theator runs are short lived. Where digital can compete now is where they are most watched. Cable, Satellite, DVD, Tape, etc. The quality is there for these formats for the tastes of the average veiwer now.

The problem it seems is that the theatrical releases are what sets the stage for the other releases. There needs to be other ways of getting attention to a product. Film festivals are certainly one way and the internet will play a part as well.

I really believe that we are just waiting for someone to come along with a great script that doesnt' have the money or experience to get their project done on film. If it is done on DV, and done well, that will be the start of something new. We need someone to come up with a great script, great acting, great shooting, great editing and then DV will really get some real attention.

So, you guys better get busy! Of course, after the first success you'll most likely be lured away from digital to film by the big money. But maybe that is where we are at this point in time.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 09:51 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by billravens : "there is quite an established Indie movement in DV already in existence. If you'd like to see the work, I suggest visiting any of the myriad small film festivals around the country. In particular, the local Santa Film Film Festival has had several movies shot, edited and presented in DV format. In my opinion, some of these inde shorts were extremely well done. The story line and the videography was captivating enough to hold my attention and get my praise, at any rate. -- >>>

No offense but this isn't exactly my idea of a meaningful artistic movement. Thank you for being one of the only ones to remotely address my concern though.

<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Doss: I really believe that we are just waiting for someone to come along with a great script that doesnt' have the money or experience to get their project done on film. If it is done on DV, and done well, that will be the start of something new. We need someone to come up with a great script, great acting, great shooting, great editing and then DV will really get some real attention. -->>>

Yes, many people have this view of video as a cheap mans film, something to do until you can afford to shoot on celluloid, but beyond that if a Messiah is to rise from among the people as you suggest and save us from obscurity we need to take a more active role than what you state we are doing: "...we are just waiting for someone to..." I believe we need to prepare the Way! Rally the people to revolution!
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Old March 3rd, 2002, 08:27 AM   #12
 
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dr_pepper_78 wrote:
"No offense but this isn't exactly my idea of a meaningful artistic movement. ."

Oh geez, I don't take offense, it's your opinion. But, I'm at a loss how anyone can believe that creative work, no matter what the medium, is not meaningful artisitc work. I'm still laughing. I guess my comments are verified. Arrogance lives.
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Old March 3rd, 2002, 08:55 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by dr_pepper_78:"....we need to take a more active role than what you state we are doing. I believe we need to prepare the Way! Rally the people to revolution!"--->>>

Ideas? How about a little direction here.
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Old March 4th, 2002, 01:19 PM   #14
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when you read a book you start to picture the story in your imagination.

you have you own concept on how the story looks and feels according to
the book...

I think of motion picture as a way to tell a story..simulating
that same feeling like when you read a book in your imagination,yet
develop that look and feel for the viewer.

no matter how its done with film or DV, its possible to pull it off.

its not a technology thing nor medium, if its told well visually then
its good no matter if it can be played on a "50 ft. movie screen" or not.

play it for yourself. play it for who enjoys the idea.. sooner or later
everyone will catch on.
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Old March 4th, 2002, 02:36 PM   #15
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Well stated, _redone_.

I agree with your implicit view that DV technology is not the "revolution" in itself.

a. Low-cost/high-quality cameras coupled with
b. low-cost/high quality NLE's coupled with
c. DVD burners and, gradually,
d. wide availability of broadband Internet connections

collectively represent the "revolution". That is, the ability for the general public to tell a story and widely and quickly disseminate it. Certainly the vast majority of us may never use this technology to tell any story that would be of significance or coherence outside our circle of family, friends or special-interest clients. But some of us do, or will, take on projects of broader interest and importance. I would guess that few members of this latter group would have had such an opportunity in, say, 1970. So, to me, therein lies the "revolution".
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