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

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Old February 5th, 2002, 10:45 AM   #16
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Cheers guys,
I start to go into production in a couple of weeks hopefully! It will only be a 4 minute short, shot with me and my friends, just to test a couple of techniques.

Ed Smith
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Old February 5th, 2002, 04:49 PM   #17
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Well Ed, I must say I wish you the best of luck on your production, and I certainly hope you'll keep us abreast of its progress!
Casey Visco
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Old February 6th, 2002, 11:51 AM   #18
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Can diddly do do!!!!!!

All the best,
Ed Smith
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Old February 14th, 2002, 10:28 AM   #19
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old film look

i have an after effcts plug-in called cinelook...
if you can score a copy of after effcts you can use this..
its a very good plug-in.

not only does it create awsome damaged film look..
it also takes your video and makes it look cinematic..just like if it was shot with film.

email me if you want it...
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Old February 25th, 2002, 12:07 PM   #20
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I thought that I would give you a progress report on how its going.

Just started postproduction.

(Flash back)
In order to give the kind of effect I was after, I decided to shoot at 25/1000-shutter speed, and slightly over expose the image. Then In post... In the end I decided to use the QuickTime effect even though it was technically wrong, it suited what I wanted to use it for. I used the colour fade option which took away the harsh colours which DV can sometimes produce, slowed down the footage by 80% and shot handheld - this gave the images a very unique look which I kinda like.

More to come, once it is finished.

All the best,

Ed Smith
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Old February 25th, 2002, 07:01 PM   #21
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Looking forward to seeing a sampling. Sounds great.

John Locke
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 08:15 PM   #22
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Use of movie mode ?

Just wondering if you or anyone else have used the frame mode for their short movies? I've tried it on specific shots and I like the feel of it, but don't know what a whole movie (even a short one) would look like with that effect.

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Old March 23rd, 2002, 02:18 PM   #23
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Every thing finished.

I thought I would let you know the whole story now that it is finished. The short drama is called E-motion, and is about a young girl who had her young baby taken away from her by her boyfriend. She is being driven up to see the baby for the first time in about 4 years. As she is driven up to see the baby by her best mates friend she reflects back on the times when she was with the baby/young child - hence the cine film look effect.

The first thing to say is that in the end we decided not to use the XL1 but instead to use a Sony DCRTRV900. The reasons for this include:

1. This is part of my college course and so decided that it would be easier to use the collegesí equipment.

2. The camera would not only be used by me but other people in my team, and decided that I did not want any one else to touch my camera apart for me (after all I would be telling them what buttons to press).

3. The Sony TRV900 camera is much more smaller then the XL1, and as most of the shots were going to be shot in a car, it made sense not to use the loveable XL1.

The shoot was set over 2, 5-hour days. The first day was to shoot all the car scenes, and the second day to shoot all the flashbacks.
Car scene - As I mentioned above we used the Sony trv900 as it would be much more easier to use when shooting in a moving car. I was the driver and so had no control over what the video would look like, in the end I left it down to one of my friends who seemed to know what to do. We were going to use some sort of camera stabilisation kit (monopod) but found it very difficult to use since the camera would be in awkward positions, As all DV cameras now a days are equipped with steady shot we thought we would put this to the test instead, and it worked remarkably well - nice and smooth, handled very well - or my friend had a very steady hand? The next problem was light, I thought that this would have been a big problem, but in the end it was not so bad. I wish I had taken a reflector, but did not think of that at the time (Doh!!). Some of the shots were under exposed, but this could not really have been helped due to light sources fading in and out, as the car was moving. Sound - man that was annoying!!! This is often the bit which gets left out when you produce movies for college, or is always the last one to be sorted out. The sound was recorded through a mono tie clip mike attached to the actor and plugged into the camera. The thing is when we reviewed the tapes the sound was horrible, very quite speech very loud car noise (more on this in the post prod section).
Flashback - I had control of the camera this time. As I mentioned in my previous post I shot at 1/25 shutter speed and slightly over exposed the images, this gave a very surreal picture, which has worked well for our opening sequence. Again sound was a major problem - windy day and so we used a riffle mic attached to the camera with a proper windshield, but this was still not giving the effect I was after (thank god for Post production). Oh yeah... I forget to mention that never work with uncooperative children. The young actress we used was my friendís younger sister, we thought every thing would be okay but in the end we ended up bribing her to do what we wanted.

Post Production
This is the stage I enjoy most - seeing the raw footage turn into a polished production. All the editing was done at college a part from the creation of the music which I done at home using Ejay studio. We dumped in all the footage into the computer, and started editing using Adobe Premiere 6 on a Matrox RT2500 system.
As I mentioned before, I decided to use the QuickTime filter in order to create the cine film effect, it was good enough for what I had planned to use it for - the settings we used are: Film noise, dust and film fading, faded colour film and kept hairs and scratches to a minimum. As this is not a real time effect we had to wait hourís for it to render the bits with the effect on (so much for real time effects!). I also slowed down the flash back footage to 80%, which made every thing in slow-motion, as if it was a memory. That was the only effect we used, the rest of it is just simple cuts with raw DV footage.
Sound - as I mentioned above we had horrible sound problems, and so in the end we decided to re-dub the whole lot (dialogue, effects, buzz track etc). The sound effects was recorded on to MiniDisc, with that 90, 180 switch Sony microphone which produced pretty good results and then they were laid down in the time line where they were needed. We also had to do a bit of lip-syncing. So we connected a pair of headphones to the headphone socket in the sound card, used the MiniDisc recorder to record dialogue and headphones were plugged into the recorder for the soundman to monitor. We then played the video with the raw sound and recorded the actors voice as they repeated what was being said through the headphones (plugged in the computer). This was then placed in the time line - about 95% of lip-syncing worked - in the end it turned out pretty good.

9 audio tracks, 3 video tracks, a re-dubbed movie, and a child actor, which would not cooperate, I feel that we had made a very successful movie/ drama.

I have my final major project coming up, so I think this time I will use my XL1, shoot in wide screen, and in frame movie mode - plus more questions to come on this board.

Hopefully I should be able to get a sample of the movie on my website pretty soon.

All the best,

Ed Smith
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Old March 24th, 2002, 10:32 AM   #24
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film look

making things old is the easy part all good tricks give. make new video look like new film. its apples and oranges. i have had some success with after affects and using a 2 or 3 frame strobe. usually starting with beta sp or digibeta. i have used the frame mode on the xl-1 and added some other effects for old look. but not much success making it look like any of the current emulsions. i shoot and light for a good deal of film. soon film will look just like video and we will make our film look like video. (why?) much easier to do. i have intercut 16mm and 35mm with video on table top and product if the edit is under 2 seconds and the video is light nicely it is tough to percieve the difference. shoot film. find an arri s and have at it. peace
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Old March 26th, 2002, 02:51 AM   #25
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You sure had some problems :) But you can only learn from
those. Keep up the nice work!

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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Old March 26th, 2002, 12:20 PM   #26
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You could put it that way - problems are like hurdles, and you have to try and overcome as many as you can in order to create a video which is decent, and looks good. I kinda see them as challenges. But as you said I have learnt an awful lot from just this one video.

Any one with any tips or other ways on how to overcome some of the problems I had?

Ed Smith
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Old June 1st, 2002, 03:28 PM   #27
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Chris, feel free if you want too, to place my thread 'everything finished' in the homepage, it might be useful for other people who use the TRV900. Make amendments if needed and correct errors.

All the best,

Ed Smith
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Old February 11th, 2003, 07:39 PM   #28
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Take your *time* setting up your shots.Of course this goes hand in hand with carefully executed story boards also.If you know someone who is fantastic with a pencil,you can get some fabulous 'boards out of the situation and,therefore,fabulous shots.And even if you don't know such a person,you can do this.
Go through some old comic books of the superhero variety.Copy the pages that have "shots"(aka "panels")that have particular appeal to you that you think you can use in your own production.Try and look at them "cinematically" as if they are part of a finished movie.Make note of the lighting and composition and put your favorite panels in a "warbook" for future reference.Catalog them in any way that makes sense to you.
And when appropriate,try and execute a shot as close as possible to the illustration.This way your camera skills can only improve because you will have a variety of panels to draw upon
and you won't be just shooting all of your stuff from one tripod level.

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