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#1 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 08:00 AM

I figured I would do another production journal, this time for a project I am shooting in January.

It?s a comedy staring Howie Mandel and directed by Kevin Castro.

The project has some challenges as far as keeping the visuals interesting, yet appropriate for the light hearted nature of the genre.

Most of the project (like 99.5%) takes places in a medium sized hotel room at night.

The director and I spent a lot of time trying to devise a plan that would keep things interesting, while creating a good environment for the actors to perform. We decided that an approach that is fairly ?counter intuitive? for the genre would help. The idea is to incorporate a lot of subtle, classy camera moves that you would really never see for a location of this nature (due to the difficulty with getting a dolly in such tight spaces, etc). On top of that we will be shooting in a 2.35 aspect ratio. This is very good for the material because we have a lot of characters coming in and out of the room, so it will help make our masters more effective.

One great asset is that the director has a very strong editing background, so it helps really condense our coverage because he knows exactly what he wants and needs; which in turn helps everyone out (especially the actors).

We will be shooting 3-perf Super 35 framing for 2.35:1. Because the project will live in D5, 3-perf really helps our budget out.

Our camera package is very small, consisting of a Panaflex GII and a few Primo primes. I have to thank Phil Radin sincerely for working with us on getting a camera package when we needed it, because I am told camera availability is very difficult lately. Not only that, but he really worked with our budget to get us what we needed; thanks Phil and Panavision.

A big concern of mine was grain, because a light colored location like a hotel room tends to have a lot of mid tones where grain is very apparent. Because of this I am going to shoot 5217 (200T).

We are shooting in a practical hotel room which makes things very tight once we start bringing gear into the room. I was concerned that we would be stuck in an ugly white room, but they found a pretty nice hotel. It has a very matte wallpaper (that is somewhat textured with fibers) that is slightly warm and not too light. Also the room has very high ceilings (like 12 feet high); this gives me plenty of room to rig from above, and skirt light off the walls.

My gaffer (Chris Hughes) is building a light that will rig to the ceiling and provide a good base exposure in the room. It consists of 12 4 foot Kino Flo tubes (4 rows of 3) attached to black show card. This will attach flush to the ceiling and then have an adjustable skirt to control the spill onto the walls.

My lighting package will consist of mostly Kino Flos with some small tungsten units, using just the available power (although we can steal plenty from either the room we are shooting in or the other two adjacent rooms). For the curious, you can view a rough version of our list here: http://www.kevinzani...vice/rs_v_4.pdf

I am looking forward to this one, it should be fun. The director is excellent, really on top of everything.

I will post more info as I get it, although there probably won?t be much to post. I will also take some pictures and put them up as well.

Kevin Zanit
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#2 Nathan Milford

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 09:01 AM

Most of the project (like 99.5%) takes places in a medium sized hotel room at night.


Checkout The Big Kahuna with Danny Devito and Kevin Spacey. It takes place almost completely in a small hotel suite.

- Nathan
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#3 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:24 PM

I had a play with the skater dolly by PS Technic and it might be really useful for the show and it is cheap to rent as well

The only major drawback I see is that you pretty much need remote focus pullers on preston

thanks

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#4 Tim Tyler

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 01:58 PM

We are shooting in a practical hotel room which makes things very tight

Why not build the room on a stage? It seems like some wild walls would REALLY make things easier for everybody, not to mention sound and power flexibility.
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#5 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 09:04 PM

I have seen the dolly by PS Technic, it?s an interesting idea.

"Why not build the room on a stage? It seems like some wild walls would REALLY make things easier for everybody, not to mention sound and power flexibility."

This, of course would be optimal, but more expensive. On top of renting stage space, they would have to build the set, and furnish the set.

The room fortunately is not too bad; I have shot in much smaller locations for longer periods of time ;). The real saving grace is the high ceilings.


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#6 Keith Mottram

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 11:58 AM

what are the other locations, what is the length of the project and how many weeks will you be shooting over? In the UK there are crazy deals to be had on studio space so I wonder how much more it would be to shoot on stage. And just out of interest why did you choose panavision over arri?

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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 01:50 PM

We will be shooting 3-perf Super 35 framing for 2.35:1. Because the project will live in D5, 3-perf really helps our budget out.

Kevin Zanit


Kevin,

Out of interest did you think about 2 perf for a 2.35:1? I guess untill Aaton makes their new camera its not that attractive.

Cheers,

Stephen
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 02:59 PM

I don't think there are any modern sync-sound 2-perf cameras for rental in Los Angeles. And if you're out trying to get a good deal on a rental, it helps to pick a fairly common camera system...
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 05:01 PM

Sounds like fun. You might check out "Four Rooms," it takes place entirely in a hotel.
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#10 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 06:15 PM

Kevin,

Out of interest did you think about 2 perf for a 2.35:1? I guess untill Aaton makes their new camera its not that attractive.

Cheers,

Stephen


Can't say that I did. Probably because my first thoughts for a camera was either a Millennium XL or if we couldn?t afford it, a GII.

2-Perf is an interesting idea, but I have no idea where to rent a 2-perf camera, let alone at a camera house I have relationships with. Would save a hell of a lot of film though ;)


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#11 Sidney King

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 12:33 PM

Just read about a film called "Bug," dir. William Friedkin and starring Ashely Judd, set entirely in a hotel room (35mm, don't know if it's a stage or location; would guess a stage). It's not released yet, DP is a guy named Michael Grady, I'm not familiar with him. There's also "Tape," shot entirely in a small, somewhat dingy hotel room (also on location, not a set).
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#12 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 12:49 PM

Can't say that I did. Probably because my first thoughts for a camera was either a Millennium XL or if we couldn?t afford it, a GII.

2-Perf is an interesting idea, but I have no idea where to rent a 2-perf camera, let alone at a camera house I have relationships with. Would save a hell of a lot of film though ;)
Kevin Zanit


Hi,

I am surprised Panavision has not modified any of their cameras.

Stephen
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 01:07 PM

Hi,

I am surprised Panavision has not modified any of their cameras.

Stephen


For two-perf? No one in Los Angeles has, not even the Arri houses like Clairmont and Otto Nemenz.

Whereas 3-perf makes a lot of sense all-around, for TV and theatrical doing a D.I., the only people interested in 2-perf tend to be low-budget people who can't even afford 3-perf who are shooting a 2.35 production. So you can understand why the rental houses are not exactly jumping at the bit to satisfy the needs of low-budget productions shooting for 2.35, at least not in terms of making a financial investment in modifying cameras to 2-perf (which would probably be permanently stuck in 2-perf after that).

Edited by David Mullen, 01 January 2006 - 01:10 PM.

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#14 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 01:46 PM

For two-perf? No one in Los Angeles has, not even the Arri houses like Clairmont and Otto Nemenz.

Whereas 3-perf makes a lot of sense all-around, for TV and theatrical doing a D.I., the only people interested in 2-perf tend to be low-budget people who can't even afford 3-perf who are shooting a 2.35 production. So you can understand why the rental houses are not exactly jumping at the bit to satisfy the needs of low-budget productions shooting for 2.35, at least not in terms of making a financial investment in modifying cameras to 2-perf (which would probably be permanently stuck in 2-perf after that).


Hi,

As far as I can remember it was Panavision that modified the first 3 perf cameras. Converting their older cameras to give them a new lease of life. It took Arri many years to catch on!

Stephen

PS 3 Perf and Ultra 16 are Panavision Trademarks!

Edited by Stephen Williams, 01 January 2006 - 02:09 PM.

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#15 Mitch Gross

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 02:21 PM

Ultra-16? Let's not get atarted on that one again. 3-perf is a very viable production format that is used everyday in feature and TV production. Ultra-16 is not and I am sure that Panavision's use of the name has nothing to do with the so-called shooting format.
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#16 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 02:31 PM

Ultra-16? Let's not get atarted on that one again. 3-perf is a very viable production format that is used everyday in feature and TV production. Ultra-16 is not and I am sure that Panavision's use of the name has nothing to do with the so-called shooting format.


Hi,

I was suprised too! I downloaded the PV catalouge, its at the end! Ultra 16 (Not Ultra-16) I don't think they use the name, they just registered it!

Stephen
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#17 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 03:22 PM

Thanks for suggested references, I will take a look at them and see how they handled certain things.

2-perf is interesting for 2.35 work, although I think the director may appreciate the ability to reframe more in 3-perf down the road. Especially in tight situations like we will be in, having that little bit of flexibility is nice.

Other than the problem of camera availability, are there any transfer houses setup for 2-perf, or is there any real change to their setup?


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#18 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for suggested references, I will take a look at them and see how they handled certain things.

2-perf is interesting for 2.35 work, although I think the director may appreciate the ability to reframe more in 3-perf down the road. Especially in tight situations like we will be in, having that little bit of flexibility is nice.

Other than the problem of camera availability, are there any transfer houses setup for 2-perf, or is there any real change to their setup?
Kevin Zanit


Kevin,

I am informed that a Spirit can handle 2 perf without any modification, but I have not seen it for myself.

Stephen
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