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A Taxi Cab Named Rita


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#1 David Sweetman

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 02:24 AM

Production is fast approaching, this will be the largest film I've made...25 minutes, 16mm, hopefully we'll get into some festivals...we're gambling on a straight narrative, our film isn't really designed to "say anything." Anyway I'm starting this thread because we just finished a "drive-by" test which involves some compositing to cheat gunshot flash and lumination without having actual firearms. I've always been disturbed by low-budget night composites of gunflashes, because the light from the gun has no effect on the surroundings. We tried to solve that problem...anyway here's the video:

This version is really, really crappy quality but it will play instantly and you'll get the idea:
Drive-By Test

This version is much better quality, and doesn't drop essential frames (like the flashes):
(you'll have to right click - save target as)
Drive-ByTest.avi

We just had two lights for this, a 1k fresnel and a 1k openface with a huge, diffused bulb. The lighting for the first shot got screwed up with the composite because our fresnel's bulb blew and we had to switch it with the open-face. Oh and you'll probably see the edges of the matte if you're on a laptop or LCD screen - that's simple to fix though, and it's only because I had to composite this in Vegas since my Avid is down.

edit: also in the good quality version, the flashes are too sharp for the image, they just need to be softened but I couldn't figure out how to do that in Vegas and got tired of looking. It's just a simple fix in Avid though, it's right in the key controls...

Edited by David Sweetman, 23 June 2006 - 02:29 AM.

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#2 David Sweetman

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 01:48 AM

This film's had its share of hitches getting into production...we're scheduled to shoot tomorrow - that might not happen, because we won't likely get a 'for-sure' on the location before tomorrow morning. It's really aggravating...we still haven't found another lead girl, but we've got some more ideas and we hope to have one by Monday.

Went and scouted the Ranch location today, it's going to work really well. I hope we get some sweet clouds like this on the day we shoot there!

Posted Image

Posted Image

This is where the ending shootout happens. (with definite influence from "the wild bunch.")
We'll have to cap off the tops of those fence posts in the first image with black electrical tape or gaffer tape...I don't like that green, it doesn't match the rest of the greens in the image.

the very short-version of the pitch:
Sarah tries desperately to save her family while it destroys itself with organized crime.

I plan to keep this updated throughout production...it won't be as enlightening for you readers as some of the more experienced posters' - heck it will probably be more like me asking for help.
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 02:02 AM

man, that drive-by composite looks bad...I can do it better, I just need my freakin' avid! I don't like that Vegas...whoever that was who was such a large proponent of it...get outta here.
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 02:21 AM

There are people who still use vegas? I heard a lot about it in the late 90's and tried it one one short...ended up recutting in premiere. I didn't know any kind of professional still used it.

So you said your compositing this image? have you tried putting a small xenon bulb from a flash unit in the muzzle? How did you get to this image? looks pretty good for a test. I assume this is a video test?

How long will the shoot take?
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 02:37 AM

Yeah but don't those bulbs take a little while to re-charge?

What I did for the composite was shot the car twice - once without the actor and once with the actor, then cut the actor in when I wanted to see the gun flash.

Yeah, the test was on video. The shoot will be about 6 days, total...can't wait to start, it's gonna be fun.
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#6 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 07:07 PM

"have you tried putting a small xenon bulb from a flash unit in the muzzle?"


Are you using real guns? Because they give muzzle flash. It's the blank guns with solid barrels that don't,
so how would you put any kind of lamp in one of those?

Edited by Tim O'Connor, 05 July 2006 - 07:08 PM.

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#7 David Sweetman

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 10:25 PM

"have you tried putting a small xenon bulb from a flash unit in the muzzle?"
Are you using real guns? Because they give muzzle flash. It's the blank guns with solid barrels that don't,
so how would you put any kind of lamp in one of those?


Well there's no right or wrong procedure, you just slap the bulb on the gun however it works. In my case, it's so dark you wouldn't be able to see the apparatus on the side of the gun. If i were setting up a flash bulb, that's what i'd go for. And no, we aren't using real guns, that's why I'm compositing in the first place. We aren't even using blank guns with solid barrels, we're using replica guns and airsoft guns. (Especially for the rach - they breed horses there, so we couldn't use any sort of live rounds because they would spook the horses.)

Oh, and yeah - didn't end up shooting today.

Edited by David Sweetman, 05 July 2006 - 10:29 PM.

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rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Tai Audio

Visual Products

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera