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Old November 12th, 2002, 09:35 PM   #1
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Film look of DV horror movies

I've been checking out a lot of straight to DVD horror films because I've heard many horror films are being shot in DV now, and me being into the horror film genre had no problem checking this out. Yep, these were bad films but many of them have a nice film look. I saw one called "Hell's Highway." Pretty bad but you don't really know it's video if you're not looking. There's one called "The Strangers" that's okay but I would've liked to see it letterboxed. I also notice that a lot of the smaller production companies just don't fool around with letterboxing. Alot of these productions, for better or worse could had more of a cinematic feel had they shot in wide screen letterboxing. (I've gotten very use to the 16:9 image).

The Strangers looked like it was shot on DV but with a prosumer cam. With letter boxing this would've been nicer. I think video gives horror films a more immediate feel. Not really a scarier feel but it helps the film along.

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Old November 16th, 2002, 10:49 PM   #2
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There are definitely different flavors of the horror film look. Sometimes the harsh, cold, sharp look of video goes a long way toward creating that type of effect. But I agree, it seems like some of the lower-budget shot-on-video, direct-to-video movies are some of the most innovative with regard to creating new visual styles.
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Old November 17th, 2002, 03:58 PM   #3
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Reminder, Stanley Kubrick shot 4:3 then masked for theatrical release. So when you see his full screen video or DVDs you are actually seeing more of the film than in the theaters.

Smart man.

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Old November 18th, 2002, 01:05 AM   #4
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I find the video look idea for horror stuff actually but there's an off-film look that's hot to death as far doing certain types of films. Like those horror films that take place in the desert. Now if you're doing something along the lines of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" A great three chip cam with good low light capabilities (the VX2K) would be great for this.

-Vinson
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Old December 16th, 2002, 01:43 PM   #5
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Hey. Nice subject :)

Nice to see there are some horror fans (like me) out there yet. I have a horror film in the making. We are currently post syncing the hole thing. There are a few images from it on my website www.operafilm.com. Check the images under Camp Slaughter. A trailer will be arriving soon. The film was shot using a PD150 (PAL).

More info: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0337910

I really hope that small films done by enthusiasts are what is pushing much of the technology. You can't make expensive independent films today. There simply is no way of recouping costs if you don't max out the capabilities of prosumer gear.
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Old December 17th, 2002, 05:48 AM   #6
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Looks very nice Martin, great work!
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Old August 13th, 2003, 11:06 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Martin Munthe : Hey. Nice subject :)
I really hope that small films done by enthusiasts are what is pushing much of the technology. You can't make expensive independent films today. There simply is no way of recouping costs if you don't max out the capabilities of prosumer gear. -->>>

The footage and shots from "Camp Slaughter" are simply fantastic. I am about to do a short film on a PD150 and would love to know all the tech details on how you equipped the camera and lit for the shots.

So far I've read the 16x9 Optex Lens in Widescreen mode on a PAL PD150... Used a fog machine/mister to get that sort of depth of field... What framerate settings did you use before scanning into MB? I couldn't tell. Also, I'm interested in what type of steadicam or dolly rigs were used to get those smooth shots. Oh and the lighting... how elaborate did the setups get?

Extremely impressive. A+ professional quality.
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Old August 14th, 2003, 06:43 AM   #8
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Very nice indeed! I would like to know how you lit those night shots as well.
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Old August 25th, 2003, 02:26 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Joe Carney : Reminder, Stanley Kubrick shot 4:3 then masked for theatrical release. So when you see his full screen video or DVDs you are actually seeing more of the film than in the theaters.

Smart man.

Joe C. -->>>

He did that because he absolutely hated pan & scan and would rather crop the movie in theaters than have the home release plagued by artificial camera panning. If dvd existed at the time, he wouldn't have done this since most dvds are widescreen.
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Old August 25th, 2003, 08:26 AM   #10
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Actually, masking the frame, whether in camera or at the theatre, was commonplace then when widescreen projection took hold and anamorphic lenses weren't used on the camera. It's still done today in a sense with Super35.
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Old August 25th, 2003, 11:17 AM   #11
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Masking the frame is the way the majority of movies are displayed, even today. Any 1.85:1 movie is projected with a mask. The full frame of 35mm film is 1.37:1, they either crop the frame optically or with a mask in the projector to get to 1.85:1.

2.35:1 scope films use an anamorphic lens to get the widescreen image, 1.85:1 movies use a mask to get it.

Super35 (which is also 1.37:1 but we won't go into that here) extracts a 2.35:1-shaped area from the film frame, but then that gets optically (or digitally) squeezed to a full anamorphic image on the film. It then is projected like any other anamorphic film print: using a 2x anamorphic lens on the projector.
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Old September 1st, 2003, 12:14 PM   #12
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Because of Blockbusters' policy and consumer ignorance, there is a demand for 4x3 DVDs. Unfortunately many consumers think they are getting gyped if they watch a widescreen on their conventional TV and were complaining loudly to blockbuster and Hollywood video.


Instead of educating their customers on the benefits of wide screen (more movie to see actually) they caved in. Now Blockbuster is asking for a disk with both wide and pan and scan versions. so...

If you are going directly to DVD and hope to get a deal with the large video rental chains, one might want to consider shooting with a wide angle lense and masking, resizing in post.

BTW, these same customers will be complaining about black bars on either side of the movie when they finally upgrade to widescreen TVs. So resale opportunities for existing films will be a hot market in a few years.

I've embarked on a personal campaign to educate people who purchase DVDs, trying to convince them that for the futures sake they are better off with a wide screen version.

Thanks goodness for NetFlix.
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