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DVX+M2 Feature Production Journal


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#1 Matt Workman

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:11 AM

Title: Butch Jamie
Director: Michelle Ehlen
DP: Matt Workman

I'm shooting an independent feature this summer with a the DVX100a and Redrock Micro M2 35mm lens adapter. There are some amazing people on this forum and some great production pics. I'm posting for anyone interested in Redrock Micro, a through back to when you were getting started, or just surfing.

My production journal has some simple breakdowns and is mainly photos from on set. These are some from this weekend. I'll continue to update this journal until the feature is finished.

Butch Jamie Production Journal
http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

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http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17


PS: If I'm doing something completely wrong and you spot it in the journal. Please tell me! A lot of this stuff I'm making up as we go.
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#2 Adam White

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 11:48 AM

Checked out the link, very nice. When you dont have your kit wishlist it often makes you come up with more creative solutions. Any newbies browsing should certainly have a good old look.

One request though, as much as anyone here loves looking at pictures of cameras (and we do) and crew, lets see more of the images you were getting. Youve got only one still from the camera pov and thats what you are gonna get feedback on.

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#3 Matt Workman

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 11:54 AM

Creativity is the name of the game. :P

Thanks for the response. I will definitely be more disciplined in getting the shots from the monitor and shots from the cameras POV. Should help with continuity in the end also.
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#4 Matt Workman

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 05:55 PM

New post is up. For the bar scene I have screen shots of all the setups we did. After reviewing I wish that the actor facing the camera was larger in the frame, for the OTS.

http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 06:49 PM

New post is up. For the bar scene I have screen shots of all the setups we did. After reviewing I wish that the actor facing the camera was larger in the frame, for the OTS.

http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

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Thanks for the pics and the details. The actual footage caps help the most.

Looks like you could have "slowed down" the edge lights in this shot. Not only do they start to clip on video, but they're too bright to look like believable indirect/ambient light in the location. They look pretty "sourcey" as a result. The background falls off a little too much on the left; perhaps you didn't have much for lights? (looks like one hard light for the BG, camera right). Overall it's pretty, though.

Same thing in the OTS's, and I would have used a soft bottomer (like Opal) to cut the hard shadows off the table but without totally flagging it. Remember your eye goes to bright areas and contrast first (along with movement).

Unsolicited tip of the day. ;)
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#6 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 04:05 PM

Matt,

... Interesting reading about your film. I've got a low budget feature coming up in a couple of months and have been toying with idea of buying the M2 adaptor and shooting with Nikon still lenses and hopefully some Arri 'glass too. 'Just wondering how you're finding it with the dvx? what stop lost do you get through the adaptor, are you compensating this with the gain or getting enough stop anyway? Are you using the top mounted lcd monitor for the focus, or to operate (or both?). On my film I'm going to need a 2nd camera quite a lot (2 week schedule!!) but I doubt there'll be the budget for 2 M2 so it'll be a 'normal' dvx or Z1. Are you doing the same?

Interested to hear your thoughts from the set...

Rupe Whiteman DP
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#7 Matt Workman

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:49 PM

Michael Nash: Thank you for your comments. I agree with you about some of the edge lots being hot. I am working without the usual flag/scrim kit, unfortunately. I think that having a soft bottomer would be helpful. I use the only net and flag for keeping the background light off the foreground.

You guessed it hard HMI to the background, with 1/4 diff though. What is the difference between opal and white diffusion?

Rupe W: The M2/DVX is a nice combo. Having the HVX and the new HD achro is preferrable though. Nikons are great, for the price. I have a large kit of fast primes and zooms, but I've only used the primes so far.

You don't lose any light to the adapter, only through the lenses. If you have a decent lighting package then you won't need any gain. I gained one scene because some of my lights were down. Even with my 55mm f1.2 I probably couldn't shoot any natural night exteriors, but who would do that anyway.

The LCD is a varizoom, and its only really for framing. The colors are whack and you can't judge focus with it. Although I'm only SD so you probably could. I usually use a maglite-to-eye for focus and I use the DVX monitor to judge focus. If we had a production monitor on set that day then I'd use that.

Mixing straight DVX and M2 is easy enough. DVX wide lens and the M2 wide lens are pretty similar. My 15mm is only f2.8 and my 28mm is only f2.0. Mixing anything over 50mm/M2 with the DVX zoomed in is going to be very different though.

I saw some HVX footage where Vincent Pascoe mixed some fisheye HVX with M2 HVX and it matched pretty well.


Update:
http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

New update. I took a poor mans panaramic of the set one day. It didn't stitch very well but it gets the idea across.

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Download wallpaper - 1280x1024

http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

Peace.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 04:06 PM

Looks nice. From looking at your other site, I can see you've got a lot of innovation going to make up for your lack of equipment. Keep it up!

You guessed it hard HMI to the background, with 1/4 diff though. What is the difference between opal and white diffusion?


Opal Frost is similar in density to #251 1/4 White, but it diffuses more (and spreads more) and lets less hard shadow come through. It's very common on most grip trucks because it's the strongest diffusion you can get at the lightest density (an therefore the least stop-loss).
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#9 dudeguy37

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:38 PM

Hey Matt

First of all, I've been checkin' out your journal latley and it's been incredibly helpful for me to see some basic but very inventive techniques as I am a young aspiring DP and generally speaking have the same type of equipment as you (minus the HMIs and no M2...yet) so it's nice to see that really nice stuff can come out of those circumstances. Anyway, the one question I had for you was if you could explain what you mean by this quote:

I usually use a maglite-to-eye for focus...


Thanks in advance.
Peace,

-Harry
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:15 AM

Anyway, the one question I had for you was if you could explain what you mean by this quote:
Thanks in advance.


Not to speak for Matt and his technique, but there's an AC's technique known as a "choir boy," where the 2nd AC will take the lens/reflector assembly off a mini-maglight, and hold the bare bulb next to his eye. The small, hard light source provides a good subject for critical focus, also illuminating the eye as a focus subject.
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#11 Adam White

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 04:02 AM

there's an AC's technique known as a "choir boy,"


Thats an excellent way to grab a quick focus if there is no time for a tape measure, though I never knew it was called the "choir boy". Last to know anything, I am :huh:

Matt, looks like its all progressing well. Whats been your biggest challenge in terms of shooting with limited lighting and what has pleased you most as the shoot continues?
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#12 dudeguy37

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 05:22 PM

Not to speak for Matt and his technique, but there's an AC's technique known as a "choir boy," where the 2nd AC will take the lens/reflector assembly off a mini-maglight, and hold the bare bulb next to his eye. The small, hard light source provides a good subject for critical focus, also illuminating the eye as a focus subject.


Thanks a ton Michael. That makes perfect sense...now just to find my maglite :D Have a good one everybody.
Peace,

-Harry
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#13 Matt Workman

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 09:07 PM

I think that the "choir boy" should be reposted in the AC section, heh. I learned it from a 1st AC I worked with, I was usually the one holding the maglite. <_<

Michael Nash: The info on the opal was really helpful. Too bad all we have is white diffusion and 1/4 white diffusion. We used some full frost too but that cuts out almost all the light. What is that stuff for?

Adam White: Thanks. The biggest challenge for me is just lighting continuity. Besides the obvious lack of lamps and flags/nets to control them. I have to set up my wide shots knowing what I want for the close ups etc. Some times I could pull off a sexy MS/CU but there is no way I could match the wide shot.

What has pleased me the most is that I'm still excited each shoot. If this was a regular 20 day (6 day week) feature I might feel differently, but I still look forward to figuring out new locations and doing what I can with what I have. My crew is really great and I'm learning a lot.


UPDATE

Updated it just now.
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http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

Edited by mattworkman, 09 July 2006 - 09:08 PM.

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#14 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 09:30 PM

I have to set up my wide shots knowing what I want for the close ups etc. Some times I could pull off a sexy MS/CU but there is no way I could match the wide shot.



You should try going a little farther in your close-ups then you do currently. You would be surprised how far you can change the light from wides to CUs without destroying continuity. I was terrified of tweaking my CUs too much at first until I shot something that was meant to mimic the glamourous style of early black and white films. I tried and tried at first to get that outlandish with my close-ups and to my eye, they looked good! It taught me that you can go much farther than you first think when you are inexperienced.
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#15 Morgan Peline

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 06:14 PM

Thanks a ton Michael. That makes perfect sense...now just to find my maglite


Just a note...always remember to keep a finger on one the side of the bulb nearest the actor's eyes for safety and be very, very, very careful as you could easily blind an actor by mistake if you are not paying full attention or even sneaze!
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#16 Ethan Lyu

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 03:32 AM

Hi Matt

Looks like you are having fun, envious.
I saw on your forum you are using the following equipment.

Just wondering how much did it cost? assuming you rented them?
Which part of the country are you guys shooting? NY?

I would consider you to DP if you lived in Cali

thanks a lot,

Ethan
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Camera, Grip, Electric

- DVX100a
- Redrock Micro M2 35mm lens adapter
- Nikon Primes (15/28/55)
- Nikon Zoom (80-200).

- 2x 650w Britek
- 1x 300w Britek
- 1200w HMI and a 575 HMI Fresnel
- 3x Fluorescents (3200k)
- 3x Fluorescents (4100k)
- 100w and 60w Chinaballs

- 100' and 50' 10 Gauge
- 100' and 50' 12 Gauge
- Misc. other stingers
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#17 Matt Workman

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 02:22 PM

Thanks Ethan.

We are shooting in Albany, NY. The camera/lighting package is mine, so we aren't renting it. If this were a typical 21 day straight feature we would have had more options. Production did buy a lot of expendables (gels, stingers, some lights, etc.)

I'm always down for a trip to LA :D .

There are a few more updates in the journal and there are some scenes/teasers online. Although they aren't scenes that particularly show off the camera work.

http://www.balletdie...Headshots_l.mpg
http://www.balletdie...ies/MJ_sing.mpg

http://www.mattworkm...wforum.php?f=17

Three more weeks a.k.a. 7 more days of shooting.
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#18 grahamstanly

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:15 PM

I see in one of your stills your useing one of those pvc pipe rolerblade wheel dolly tracks I built one of those also and I havnt tried it out yet hows it working for you?
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#19 Matt Workman

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 07:02 PM

Graham Cracker. Lol I saw Mullen's post about your name, it makes me lauph.

Anyway, this is the cine-dolly from dvxuser.com I really don't like the dolly. Compared to a fischer 11 or even a Matthew Doorway its just bad. Though its comparing $10,000 and $100.

But there wasn't a budget for a real dolly or track. I'd rather have this then no dolly, but for the frustration involved with "leveling" a pvc track and trying to get usable movement out of an oversized skateboard..well its not fun.

They are quick to assemble and even with the camera on the dolly we can move the whole track and adjust the angle. Try that with a Pany on steel track.

I think skateboard dollys are okay in some situations, but PVC track is just always a hassle.
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#20 Adam White

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:36 AM

Hey Matt,

this has been a very interesting and informative string. . . how'd the final shoot period go?
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Glidecam

Opal

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rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

The Slider

Technodolly

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Glidecam

Opal

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery