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Mutant Chronicles


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 05:46 AM

Hi,

I have been hired to work on a film called "The Mutant Chronicles", based on the roleplaying game of the same name, which despite the "USA" tag on the IMDB entry is to be shot at Shepperton Studios and on the Isle of Man for the next ten weeks. It is to be shot on the Thompson Viper system recorded to S.Two hard-disk recorders and I have been taken on as digital imaging technician thanks to the kind recommendation of the DP Geoff Boyle.

Prep begins at Shepperton on Monday. I hope to maintain internet access while I'm there and if anything interesting comes up that I can mention without getting fired, and if anyone cares, I shall.

I was going to wait to mention this until the IMDB listing had appeared, but there's some discussion going on about the credit and it could be weeks...

Phil
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#2 Freya Black

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 06:56 AM

Hi,

I have been hired to work on a film called "The Mutant Chronicles", based on the roleplaying game of the same name, which despite the "USA" tag on the IMDB entry is to be shot at Shepperton Studios and on the Isle of Man for the next ten weeks. It is to be shot on the Thompson Viper system recorded to S.Two hard-disk recorders and I have been taken on as digital imaging technician thanks to the kind recommendation of the DP Geoff Boyle.

Prep begins at Shepperton on Monday. I hope to maintain internet access while I'm there and if anything interesting comes up that I can mention without getting fired, and if anyone cares, I shall.

I was going to wait to mention this until the IMDB listing had appeared, but there's some discussion going on about the credit and it could be weeks...

Phil


Yay! That's great news Phil, congratulations, and I hope you have a wonderful time. :)

love

Freya
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#3 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 07:03 AM

Cool.

B)

Post some pics if you can.

Viper.. that rings a bell. Wasn't that the camera Fincher/Miranda used for the Heiniken commercial?

Congratulations, Phil. good luck and keep us posted. Looks like a challenging gig.

-Jonathan
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 09:43 AM

Well done, Phil!

I hope you enjoy your stint with the 'non-existent' British Film industry ;-)

Let us know how it goes.
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#5 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 09:56 AM

Cool.

B)

Post some pics if you can.

Viper.. that rings a bell. Wasn't that the camera Fincher/Miranda used for the Heiniken commercial?

Congratulations, Phil. good luck and keep us posted. Looks like a challenging gig.

-Jonathan



yep, same camera. i am really curious to see what the movie will look like. i love the look of that advert
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:11 AM

Well it's not really the British film industry, is it, it's the American film industry!

P
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#7 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:33 AM

Well it's not really the British film industry, is it, it's the American film industry!


Let's not get into that....

congratulations, either way....!
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#8 Stephen Williams

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:41 AM

Hi,

I have been hired to work on a film called "The Mutant Chronicles", based on the roleplaying game of the same name, which despite the "USA" tag on the IMDB entry is to be shot at Shepperton Studios and on the Isle of Man for the next ten weeks. It is to be shot on the Thompson Viper system recorded to S.Two hard-disk recorders and I have been taken on as digital imaging technician thanks to the kind recommendation of the DP Geoff Boyle.

Prep begins at Shepperton on Monday. I hope to maintain internet access while I'm there and if anything interesting comes up that I can mention without getting fired, and if anyone cares, I shall.

I was going to wait to mention this until the IMDB listing had appeared, but there's some discussion going on about the credit and it could be weeks...

Phil


Phil,

Good news not all DoP's want to be their own DIT.

Stephen
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#9 fstop

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:46 AM

Congratulations!

I misread originally and thought this would be a remake of the Martian Chronicles from the late 1970s! It says on imdb that Simon Hunter who did LIGHTHOUSE (shot by Tony Imi, BSC with visual effects by the late Roy Field, BSC) is the director. Leigh Took is also credited as miniatures director- I take it his unit will be shooting on 35mm ala SUPERMAN RETURNS?
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#10 Patrick Casey

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:47 AM

Heh,

I actually worked as a game designer on that system when Target Games had their studios in Edinburgh (1998). There was talk of a movie then, and there was even a trailer made (which was terrible), but then Target went belly-up.

Anyway, good for you Phil.

What exactly will you be doing as digital imaging technician? I've seen the title mamy times and always wondered what it was.
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#11 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 01:18 PM

Cool, Phil!

Right man for the job, I'd say. Who's the DP?
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 01:27 PM

Hi,

> What exactly will you be doing as digital imaging technician?

It depends on the camera system. On something like an F900, you could find yourself embroiled in the paint and effect menus and doing all manner of amusing things. On a Viper shoot in Filmstream mode, it's going to be more about pressing "start", saying "speed" and dealing with the hard disk to LTO layoff procedure.

Apparently the plan is that we shoot a day, dump it off onto LTO (overnight at the very least) and then send the tapes off to Men from Mars; once they've verified they're recoverable, then we get to wipe the disks and start again. I think this is going to need a lot of hard disk storage, but it should be foolproof from a reliability standpoint.

> DP

Geoff.

Phil
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#13 Greg Gross

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 04:11 PM

Hey Phil,
This may sound stupid but I never miss a detail in anything I do. Just want to pick
your brain. Are the disks wiped perfectly clean or is there any chance of anything
being left on disk? I'm gearing up to become a digital cinematographer so I want to
know everything I can about everything. If you have time can you comment on the
technique they use to wipe the disk. Please keep us posted about using the Viper as
you are in production. Best regards for your production work.

Greg Goss
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 04:13 PM

And all of this is faster, easier, and cheaper, than film?

R,
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#15 Greg Gross

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 04:58 PM

Richard,
I'm not an expert. I think David Mullen ASC would probably have a good idea about the
expense involved. My mind is telling me though, just as expensive or more expensive.
Let me say that I love film and it will always be first in my mind. I'm an independent film-
maker though and I think digital is going to be my future. I can shoot,post,edit go to dvd
and buy my ticket to fly to the film festival. Is that not baring ones soul?

Greg Gross

Film though in my mind can never have its unique look replaced. I love Chinatown,Broken
Flowers,North Fork, Akeelah and the Bee,Lost in Translation, David Lean,Sydney Pollock.
Doesn't that say it all? I'm sorry, I forgot John Huston,god bless him.
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#16 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 05:52 PM

> What exactly will you be doing as digital imaging technician?

It depends on the camera system. On something like an F900, you could find yourself embroiled in the paint and effect menus and doing all manner of amusing things. On a Viper shoot in Filmstream mode, it's going to be more about pressing "start", saying "speed" and dealing with the hard disk to LTO layoff procedure.

Apparently the plan is that we shoot a day, dump it off onto LTO (overnight at the very least) and then send the tapes off to Men from Mars; once they've verified they're recoverable, then we get to wipe the disks and start again. I think this is going to need a lot of hard disk storage, but it should be foolproof from a reliability standpoint. ...

Congratulations, Phil! Sounds like an interesting gig. If you're able to relay "reality check" reports from the field (or after the movie wraps), that will be excellent.

If all goes well, I hope the schedule you describe allows you to get adequate sleep. ;-)
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 06:03 PM

Hi,

It is a shoot where a large majority of shots will have greenscreen, so yes, it makes a lot of sense. It is also fundamentally simpler than film, if you take into account that as a DP you simply aren't exposed to many of the complexities (maintaining a lab is inordinately complicated and precision-critical). There probably are simpler ways to do a digital workflow, but there are a lot of reasons why it's being done in this particular way.

As to cleaning out hard disks - it is traditionally very hard to do well. The S.Two recorders have an inbuilt, push-the-red-button procedure to do it, which I would assume is nothing more than a simple file delete (which removes the file allocation information but doesn't actually zero the data fields).

From here on in, I'm not talking about S.Two or Mutant Chronicles, but about hard disks and data security in general.

From a security point of view, allocation-table deletion is very iffy, and it's quite easy to recover the data with good reliability if you are coming at it from the counterespionage/cryptanalysis perspective. As a practical matter, though, there's no need for anything more - you just want to be able to rewrite the disk, not ensure that nobody can ever read it again. Zeroing all the data is time-consuming and still leaves every feasibility of a trace remaining. Writing random hash into the data space is more secure, as the random signature obscures the tiny trace signals you're trying to read, but amazing things have been done both by intelligence agencies and data-recovery people.

Beyond that point, there is no more secure recourse that doesn't involve destroying the disk. You can bulk-degauss it, which is probably more secure than zeroing and certainly makes it extremely hard to even attempt to read the disk (as servo information is embedded on the platters and you will destroy the heads' ability to seek to a particular location, in effect destroying the drive) - but even then, it's probably still in there as you're reducing all magnetic polarity evenly. Bulk-degaussed disks have been read.

About the only way to absolutely ensure that the data is destroyed is to melt the platters in a forge or blast furnace; obviously, the data is encoded in the location of the magnetic zones on the disk, and if you melt it down you not only remove the location information but also completely depolarise any magnetism in the metal.

Phil


> If all goes well, I hope the schedule you describe allows you to get adequate sleep. ;-)

Six day weeks, yay!

I don't care at this point, it's a gig.
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#18 Mike Williamson

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 07:41 PM

Congrats on the gig, Phil, hope it goes well!

I'm not sure if it's part of the DIT's job, but do you have a plan for pulling still images from the hard drives? I recall reading something from Claudio Miranda talking about pulling stills and tweaking them to set a look in Photoshop before going into to color correct for the Heinecken commercial he did with Fincher. If you're doing dailies, it may help you get more of the look in up front. Let us know how Geoff is planning on handling it, I'm curious.
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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 04:52 AM

Hi,

The recorders just put down directories full of DPX files, which can be pulled off via FTP and loaded into your application of choice.

Phil
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#20 Greg Gross

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 10:01 PM

Hello Phil,

I'm looking at the Viper on the Grass Valley web site right now on my number two computer.
There is an explanation about the mechanical shutter which they say guarantees no vertical
smear. They mention the electronic viewfinder,focus assist tools:crawler and zoom. I am not
aware of the camera's capability to accept different lenses. If you're on forum and have time
can you please mention the lens or lenses that you are using? Are you shooting at 1080p and
24-25? or 720p 24-25? Congratulations and best regards for your current production work.

Greg Gross
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