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#1 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:59 AM

I have a question. I traversed the world by foot for 10 years with a backpack and a DV cam and now I am staring at 300 DV tapes which were shot carefully. Some of the footage is amazing, more because of where I took the cam. I even got it inside a communist prison cell where I was detained and shot footage! I want to now buy a 35 mm cam and shoot film, perhaps to re-inact some particular scenes (snow storm near Everest, shooting incident, chased, and perhaps to shoot some whitty dialogue in the present day. Then the DV could be flashbacks. I dunno, because how could I have *so* many flashbacks....does anyone have any good ideas on this...sorry to sound vague...
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#2 Gordon Highland

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 10:07 AM

Why not just shoot the rest of it on DV for consistency so you don't paint yourself into a corner with the storyline? Also depends on how you want to release/distribute it. On the web, most would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. DVD, maybe you could Magic Bullet or Filmlook your DV footage and shoot the new stuff in video 24p or 16mm. I personally think 35mm is probably too big of a difference unless your story really motivates that difference in a logical way, and like you said, that's a pretty major Citizen Kane-sized flashback!
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#3 Erdwolf_TVL

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 06:38 PM

I have a question. I traversed the world by foot for 10 years with a backpack and a DV cam and now I am staring at 300 DV tapes which were shot carefully. Some of the footage is amazing, more because of where I took the cam. I even got it inside a communist prison cell where I was detained and shot footage! I want to now buy a 35 mm cam and shoot film, perhaps to re-inact some particular scenes (snow storm near Everest, shooting incident, chased, and perhaps to shoot some whitty dialogue in the present day. Then the DV could be flashbacks. I dunno, because how could I have *so* many flashbacks....does anyone have any good ideas on this...sorry to sound vague...


As you have alluded to, the nice thing about a mini-dv cam is that you can take it anywhere and everywhere. Even more so with cheaper cams that A. You don't give a damn about and B. Have Infra-red.

You probably won't have gotten half the shots you did, had you been carrying around a bulky film camera.

Re-enactment may be troublesome. Actors get paid good money to make something fake look real. More than likely re-enactments will live up to their name.

You probably won't stitch together anything apart from an amazing holiday video, but you are sitting on a pile of inspiration that will help you create a truly amazing screen play. When you have a finished script, get some cameras a shoot it!

"Books change when you read them a second time"
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#4 Mark Allen

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 06:48 PM

It sounds like an incredible adventure.

May you can just find the story in those 300 tapes and make a non-traditional movie.

It sounds like there are a lot of different adventures and the one thing that they all have in common is that there is this guy who felt compelled to travel the world... on foot!

Who is he? (I realize it's you...) But maybe through just editing the movie of your experiences, you can find a way of sharing (without narration even) what you learned. With clever editing you could even reveal these pieces of information for best dramatic impact - meaning in a way to create a paradigm shift - for example... suddenly discovering something about YOU which had we known in the prior 3 sequences would have totally made them seem different and now we re-evaluate everything.

Or... if that really doesn't work... then you can add some added later dialogue or something that will help. I suppose you could shoot some "pickups" with the same camera in the same way.

But... I think a nontraditional movie would be good for this. If it ends up beign like a hollywood style movie - all the DV stuff could have been staged anyway - so it would really not be nearly as dramatic.
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#5 Sam Wells

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 07:44 PM

It sounds to me like you have the material you need for a very interesting film. ('Digital movie' whatever).

Why add re-enactments like it was The History Channel or something. "Witty dialog in 35mm.... ??"
I mean WHY ?

Technically I don't see anything wrong with your idea, but.... why not try working with what you have, it sounds unique.

-Sam
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 08:26 PM

Sounds amazing. Think carefully what to do with those tapes, your probably have all kinds of awards locked up in them. I would recomend documentary format, but if that doesnt fly with you, then what about this:

Have the lead charecter of the peice watching tape that was shot, it would explain the quality and give a cool feel to it, so instead of flashbacks he puts a tape in to remind him of something. could be a good hook
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#7 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:25 PM

Thank you so much to all of you. I think you all made good points here. I guess I may go back out to Tibet with a DV cam and, perhaps a 16mm to shoot the snow storm scene etc, and then the trick, of cutting it in. Maybe the whole thing should be made with the DV and see how it goes, then later, who know...thanks all.
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#8 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:35 PM

Have the lead charecter of the peice watching tape that was shot, it would explain the quality and give a cool feel to it, so instead of flashbacks he puts a tape in to remind him of something. could be a good hook

OK. Interesting...do you mean shoot this on 35mm film and shoot present day on film and then go into the flashbacks?
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#9 Alexandre Lucena

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 10:49 AM

Here is an interesting concept from the film Cache, in the words of Mr. Mullen.

"Saw this today, the new French movie by Michael Haneke, shot in 24P HDCAM and transferred to 35mm flat.
The film is about a couple who are sent disturbing VHS tapes by some unknown person who is secretly taping their house. It's an interesting use of the HD format because Haneke blurs the boundary between the normal movie footage and the video being shot -- at many points, you aren't sure if you're watching a normal image or the tape footage that the person has sent them (even though in real life, VHS would be obviously lower-rez than this HD image).
The "HD look" here is used effectively to create a world where you can't separate reality from the videotaped reality, since it is all video. There is a little lower-rez video mixed in because the main character is on a TV show and we see that studio footage as well.
In terms of the "film look" of the 24P HD material, it's that psuedo-35mm look we've seen before -- in soft overcast daylight with no hot spots, it looks fairly close to 35mm. At night, it looks cleaner than high-speed film but with more depth of field. And when dealing with bright sunlit backgrounds, bright practicals, etc. it looks the most digital and clippy. Color is that typical HDCAM sort of gray-brown skintones and overall grayness; they didn't attempt to punch up the colors to compensate for HDCAM's 3:1:1 color - the dreariness matches the mood of the movie. Sharpness is also typical for HDCAM, slight soft overall but not objectionable, and the close-ups look plenty sharp. There is one night driving scene in the back of a police van with some slight gain boosting in available light that looks pretty good, as faces realistically as lit by passing streetlamps and storefront lights.
But what's most fascinating is this blurred line between what's happening in the "now" of the story and what was taped in the past by this "video stalker". You see a shot that you think is just part of a new scene and suddenly it rewinds on the big screen. "

Make any effort to avoid cliche flashbaks.
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#10 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 11:43 AM

After very lengthy thought, I have decided to wade through all the tapes and write a book, but not publish it.

Then write a script.

The above two things would take some time!

But then I'd cut all the DV together to illustrate the story, leaving blanks where I just could not cover it.

Then re-shoot the whole thing (in film?) and perhaps switch just a few seconds of film for video just to let you know that this really happened.

Then try to release the film/book through an agent/film festivals

However, this approach wholly depends upon what shape the 'movie' is in aftercutting the video together. A reality movie might be nice, but i just don't know if its going to work with the footage I have because its quite impossible to shoot the awesome and dramatic moments as they happen. Even hand-held, those highlights....well...I got some of them.......but phew!........its tough to capture someone running at you with an axe and film them and your response.....and to follow the story though and to remember to run out the way..........(and then say "yeah, that was good, can we just do that again?").

So I am feeling that I may need to do some more aquistion. Plus, I want some *awesome* dialogue. I am still unsure though ... so i'd be grateful if you have any more comments.

Because this really happened, I have the script in my head and on tape already, which helps!

Can you help with your ideas please?
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#11 David Gottlieb

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 01:05 PM

Then re-shoot the whole thing (in film?) and perhaps switch just a few seconds of film for video just to let you know that this really happened.

Plus, I want some *awesome* dialogue. I am still unsure though ... so i'd be grateful if you have any more comments.

Because this really happened, I have the script in my head and on tape already, which helps!

Can you help with your ideas please?


Why are you planning to restart from scratch? You sound like you already have everything you need to make something amazing; don't be pressured that its on DV or not shot to a plan - 300 hours of what you're describing should be more than enough footage to narrow down to 80 minutes, if not more. In fact, it most likely will be the most challenging to cut it down that much. I think you should consider making this movie what it was shot as: a globe-spanning travelogue, genuine and unscripted. How many people dream of travelling the world in their lifetime? You could give them an opportunity to see that; you don't need 35mm to draw an audience (also, the contrast would be annoyingly apparent).
That being said, now you can be creative without trying to insert an artificial storyline. Just create a character that is trying to recover or searching for something about themselves or the world in general, or even better, for someone they lost, and has decided to search the world to find it/them (you can decide the mood by the character you create). I would make him the narrarator, the guide; he doesn't even need to be seen, just heard. He could guide the movie along, creating a narrative using the vast footage you already have at your disposal. It would be a character-inspired travelogue (The Constant Gardener uses this approach to a point very successfully while showing us different parts of Africa in a travelogue) using what you already have, and while nontraditional it could remain a narrative without sacrificing the authenticity of your 10-year project for a cheap hollywood premise (not to say you would) that doesn't fit or justify the footage you have. You have the chance to write some really interesting dialogue this way, and since you have the script in your head and the tapes shot, all you have to do is edit them to a reasonable length (though you may have enough footage for a mini-series; who knows?). You have all of your footage shot and simply need to shorten your story and create a guiding character. A script may help you, but you may find an outline far more useful; why describe the footage in detail when you already have it shot? Just my 2 cents.

Best of luck!
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#12 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 01:30 PM

OK, thanks. I will try it! So, I will get a computer, say with 2GB RAM and lots of storage memory and Final Cut Express and, what...? a pre-amp and mic? pop-shield? and write a narrative and do the whole thing with narration....? Do you think actual dialogue with voice over would work well? It would be a heck of a lot easier than going around the world to 20 locations to film! How should one improve the quality of the video? Magic Bullet? Do I need to de-interlace the video? Some video is NTSC, some PAL, some shot on 3ccd, some on 1ccd, although, in places like Tibet where the atmosphere and light was gorgeous even 1ccd came out great. What do you think? Should I have subtitles where, say, chinese talk, or where Hindus talk? Should I do any reconstructions on DV? Would this be a reality-movie?
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#13 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 05:03 PM

OK, thanks. I will try it! So, I will get a computer, say with 2GB RAM and lots of storage memory and Final Cut Express and, what...? a pre-amp and mic? pop-shield? and write a narrative and do the whole thing with narration....? Do you think actual dialogue with voice over would work well? It would be a heck of a lot easier than going around the world to 20 locations to film! How should one improve the quality of the video? Magic Bullet? Do I need to de-interlace the video? Some video is NTSC, some PAL, some shot on 3ccd, some on 1ccd, although, in places like Tibet where the atmosphere and light was gorgeous even 1ccd came out great. What do you think? Should I have subtitles where, say, chinese talk, or where Hindus talk? Should I do any reconstructions on DV? Would this be a reality-movie?


---Are you familiar with Werner Herzog?
In particular, watch 'Grizzly Man' and 'Little Dieter Needs to Fly'.

The former is mostly DV footage shot by a man eaten by a grizzly bear while 'studying them' and protecting them. Herzog also talks to people who knew him. There's voice over, but mostly the grizzy man speaks for himself.

In 'Little Dieter...' , Dieter starts to tell his life story, which turns out to be surprisingly amazing.

Seeing how Herzog handles this material could give you a starting point.

---LV
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 02:31 AM

I think using your footage as flashback will work amazingly well if used only as your charature's memories. I WILL look different than film just as memories are different than waking life. But I have one question, with all this terrrific documentay footage, why arn't you making a documentary? from what you said, it seems to me you have ready product with a lot of hours of editing and a great comentary and music track. Sell that then use the money to make your feature, retain the right to use certain images in future projects if you feel the need to .

Edited by Capt.Video, 07 February 2006 - 02:33 AM.

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#15 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:40 PM

I always thought of a documentary as an interesting thing you see on the History Channel, but not what I wanted to do. But good idea about doing a doco first and using the money to make a feature. I might try that.

Edited by LondonFilmMan, 07 February 2006 - 03:42 PM.

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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:34 AM

I'm not big on the idea of directing a documentary myself but I think the trick is to not look at it as a documentaty but as a feature using real subject matter. Find the heart, the humor the pathoes and tranform it into something worth seeing. I mean March of the Penguins did pretty well for that reason, right?
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