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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old May 29th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #1
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Personal Velocity - Special Features

If you are all interested in making movies with DV cameras go out and rent the DVD for "Personal Velocity". Absolutely fantastic.

To be honest I didn't particularly like the movie. (It was very well shot.) Literary movies with narration have never been real high on my list of favorites. (Hell, almost any movie with extensive narration bothers me. ) I have watched about a third of the movie and will probably watch the rest. What makes the DVD great are the "special features"

First I watched "Creating Personal Velocity" which was fun, if only to see the two PD150s shooting the film and to listen to Ellen Kuras, the DP, talk about the good and bad aspects of shooting with two cameras and on DV.

Next I turned on the commentary by Ellen Kuras and Gaffer John Nadeau as they talked over the movie scene by scene discussing in considerable detail about the problems they had in blocking and shooting the shot, how each was lit and all the good and bad aspects of shooting in DV and laughing about the challenges of shooting a low budget independent film.

Ellen Kuras is experienced in both film and DV. She was DP on Spike Lee's Bamboozled, shot with VX1000s and TRV 900s. It is fascinating listening to her detailing what does and does not work with DV. Personal Velocity won the "Best Cinematography" award" at Sundance.

I haven't listened to the director's commentary yet but am looking forward to it.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 02:55 AM   #2
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I am even more enthusiastic about the film, and my wife liked it more than me. She said, "It makes "Erin Brockavich look like "Cinderella."

I am going to rent it again just to listen to the comment tracks. BTW, I understand the director's trak is not so good.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 04:32 PM   #3
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After having watched the DP discuss in great and fascinating detail the shooting of the film, I attempted to watch the movie with the director's comments on.

I couldn't. Ironically, the director who was also the writer seemed not to have that much to say and what she had to say wasn't all that interesting. Oh well.

The funny thing was that having watched the two commentaries relatively close together, I found myself talking back to the director. Jennifer Miller commented that in the opening scene they painted the wall a pale brown and it gave the whole scene a sepia look. And I commented, "Well, it might also be that Ellen used a pale orange filter. That's what she said anyhow."

Not too long after I gave up. When I start talking to screen I know that it is time to go back to work.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 04:40 PM   #4
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It's pretty sad when the director doesn't know/understand what the DP's been doing. But it could just be that she had the walls painted and the DP thought "that's a crock of crap, let's do it more convincingly".

Sometimes, when faced with wilful stupidity, it's just easier to nod quietly and then do what you know will really work.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 05:11 PM   #5
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I don't want to imply that Rebecca Miller, who I was stupid enough to call Jennifer, was clueless. She just had a different focus, which is good thing. I am sure that they painted the wall if she said that they painted the wall. The budget was low enough that painting a wall was a pretty big deal so I doubt that she would have gotten that wrong.

In some respects is it probably good that the director does not always know what the DP is doing all the time and vice-versa. They both had more than enough to do in the 17 day shoot. When shooting they set-up a seperate set of monitors for the director so she could see what the DP and second camera person were shooting as they shot it. She got to see the "look" of each scene whether or not she knew what the camera settings were. It doesn't surprise me that the director was not always aware of what filter the DP was using.
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