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'Sleep' an Alaskan short film


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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 04:14 AM

So we are working hard to get ready for the shoot. Things are going quite well. I thought I would submit my last pre-shoot post (well I might do one more but we will see)

First I got a chance to check out the hospital. On the down side, what was supposed to be a 5 hour shoot open to up to 15 people has been dwindled to two hours with a max of 4 people on set at any one point (including actors and crew). It was very dissapointing, since its basicly the end of the film, and while its only 1/2 page, I wanted it to play out in almost a minute, with several shots in sequence. I am working my plan to split up the two groups of people, so we can shoot the whole scene in two seperate locations (meaning I can focus the shots on the patient, not the doctor, and hopefully not loose any of my planned shots)

The rep from the hospital said they recently had a bad experience with a shoot, and had I called them later, they likely would have said no. I can deal with the extra restrictions on the location, since they have been really quite helpful in setting everything up for us (and for free no less, ups to them.)

On the plus side, the location is AMAZING! I will have pics to post soon (they are on my camera, but I am too lazy to transfer them to this computer) I have never seen a medical room look so high tech (including any episode of house) Its a great find, and I feel lucky to be able to shoot it.

We do have several restrictions in addition to people and time. We must limit equipment to what can be stored in a small closet. While the lab is rarely used on weekends, it is a place that is used for emergency operations, so we must be able to tear down in less than 10 minutes if the call comes out. I definatley don't want my film to be responsible for medical complications, so I am working to make the shoot as easy as possible. We are also limited to under 1500 watts local power (no option for a generator, or pulling from other circuts)

Now the question I have for all those smarter than I. I want to use the exam light they have mounted on a boom. I couldnt see the light type because of the optics on the light. I also couldn't turn it on during my tech scout (unfortunate since I wanted to see its color/power). What is typical color temp for a light of this type? It almost looked like it had a dicro on it (I could see a light gold reflection on the front glass) but it didn't look strong enough to turn tungsten to daylight. Does anyone have experience in these type of lights?

Now, not so much on the cinematography side, but I did get to do auditions on saturday. It was a great experience for someone who doesn't direct often. I got a wide range of actors to choose from, and I think I have it narrowed down (we had some really great readings)


The film is still in fridge, and I am sure all of you remember your first movie you shot on film. I am filled with anticipation to get down to it. I love it. No more compromising with lame video formats. I am also looking forward to be able to FINALLY apply all the concepts I have learned over 10 years of reading and shooting still film. I am moving to california next year after permanent funds are sent out, so I really want this film to be good enough to get me hired as a loader or whatever. I just really want to get out of local indie work and get into more mainstream stuff (even if its mainstream indie.)

At least the story is very good. Its not a zombie/slasher/gangster film, so I am out of the usual cleches, and the story's end really makes it a great story (I didn't write it, so I am not trying to talk myself up.....honestly I hope I don't F-it up. its a great script)

Anyway. Pics will follow soon. I may post a final Pre-pro wrap up, but after that I will have a slew of pictures from set (My boss from the TV station I work at will be on set shooting stills. Hes bringing his digiSLR and a harddrive so he has TONs of room for photos. he may also do a 1:30 nat pack for the 5pm news the next tuesday, that will be availible on our stations website.) I hope this is of interest to people. I know a lot of people on this site are farther than me in their career, but I think we all share the same obsessive passion for cinema. I have been doing ENG and news as a stopgap to make me feel good (hey, I got a camera in my hands!) but I want more. I want to take time to tell really interesting stories (not that the new elephant tredmill isn't interesting, but how many times can you shoot it and still call it 'artistic')

If I screw up, it won't be for a lack of trying.

Oh, check out this story I did last week. I was really proud of one interview shot in particular (you will notice it)
http://www.aksuperst.../4301832.html

http://sleepthemovie.blogspot.com
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#2 gustavius smith

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 08:47 AM

)

If I screw up, it won't be for a lack of trying.

Oh, check out this story I did last week. I was really proud of one interview shot in particular (you will notice it)
http://www.aksuperst.../4301832.html

http://sleepthemovie.blogspot.com


Good luck Michael. If you believe in yourself then others will too.

Gustavius Smith
NY, NY
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 01:14 AM

Camera.jpg Thanks smith! Always appriciate your support. Not to knock docs and ENG (I would have loved to do that bahamas doc we were talking about) but I know that I want to include naritive feature film work. I have since I was 11, its was my main driving force to get me in ENG in the first place.

I got the camera today. Its sweet. A very clean CP-16 that is absolutely silent. I guess I figured an older camera would make way more noise. Even with the door off, it still makes less noise than I thought it would.

Big props to local Tom Pillafant. He got me the camera for free for the weekend I am shooting, plus a week and a half to test it, practice loading etc.

To anyone who answered my question about a month ago about how to load these things....sorry. i guess I thought loading a film camera would be much more complicated. I saw diagrams with several rollers in the mag, so I figured I would have to wind a path in the dark. As it is there is 1 roller and basicly I have to make sure the film perf is on the right side and make sure the film goes through the throat. I have been practicing all day (in fact my boss at the TV station I worked at had to tell me to put it away because I was too focused on learning. Eh, I had all my stories cut for the 5pm, 6pm and 10pm news so I figured it was cool, but I always respect the word of the bossman.)

I was also looking at the camera today and began to think 'If one of my hairs pops off my head and into a mag or the body, I would do serious damage to the motion and possible introduce a vissible shadow if it gets in the gate' (my hair is shoulder length, with a full beard to boot) so I shaved my head tonight. It worked out because I was saying I would do that at work, and my boss prommised me a half-rack of beer if I did. He made good on his promise, and I made good on mine. My head is lighter, and I notice just how cold this state is getting lately. At least I won't be worrying about long hairs getting into the camera.

I have loaded the camera probably 10 time so far (I have had a few of those beers so I am laying the camera for now) but I feel confident that when the time comes I will be able to load and thread the camera. I have a 1st AC (no 2d or loader) so he will do most of the loading, but I already know there are times when I will be the only one responsible to load (and direct, and DoP. lots of jobs on this short) so I am glad to know that after one day I am close to ready (10 days from now, it will be old hat.)

I checked with one of our engeneers today to see if my loading was propper and my loop was good. He started in TV back when film was used for news, so I trust his opinion. I could see it was off the bottom, but I always like a little reasurrance, and he helped me with that.

I am very excited. Just having the camera is amazing. being able to practice and learn lets me know when I get to LA, I will at least be able to load for big films (if I can find someone to give me a break).

I am doing a scratch, stability test tommorow and sending that out to the lab, just to check everything is on the up and up.

I also got cast set, locations set, permits set....what else is there to do? I just got to buy insurance and start shooting. Really the only roadblock left is to get the couple of ENG freelance shoots I have done in the last month to pay up. Once they clear their accounts, I just got to do rehearsals and shoot.

....so odd. I have never felt well prepared a week prior to shoot. Usually its after the 2d day where I realize I am way more prepared than I thought I would...or need. I like to walk into a shoot knowing exactly what needs to be done. That way the little creative or technical issues get propper attention.

Anyway....wish me luck. I attached a pic of the camera for anyone who wants to see....and if not, too bad.

I will send out a request to certain board members to view and critique my finnished film in the next 3 months. I have a short list of who I really want to see it. I will probably be sending out DVDs to those I want to give me critique (I really don't want to send internet feeds, but for certain prominent members I will if they only will view it online. Mullen, Max, Tyler, etc have their choice. Sorry Sweetman, if I am sending out a bunch of DVDs I will send one to you, but otherwise I will send yours via internet.)
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#4 Mike Rizos

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 11:39 PM

That camera uses three different belts besides the magazine belt. They are thin and rather flimsy. It's a good idea to have spares available. The manual explains how to replace two of them. You'll need a hex wrench to open the camera side panel on the battery side.

Good luck with your project.

Edited by Mike Rizos, 12 October 2006 - 11:40 PM.

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#5 Michael Collier

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 04:42 PM

Thanks for the tip. I think I have all 3 spare belts included in the package I borrowed (2 smooth, one with teeth on either side). Looks like I should be set. I will be sure to keep a hex on me, or have my 1st AC get one. The only filter I needed was an 85B, and as it happens, there are two included with the camera. Not sure why but I suppose for day shoots to make it easy I can keep one on the zoom and one on the prime.

My next question. I have a 6mm prime lens. I really like the lens as it looks through the camera. I will post info if anyone knows about angie primes (6mm, f1.8 i forgot the type, I think type 3 I will check it when I get home though) does anyone know about these lenses, their quality, etc. I will test for vinetting, but I won't be able to print or have the footage sent back.

It does not have a focus, just an iris. I assume that it is set to infinity, and all i must do is shoot everything past a minimum distance to have it in focus. Is there anywhere I can find out what that distance is? I don't have DoF calculator on me, so If yall know (or know where I can find it) that would be great. I have a few hectic handheld shots in mind, and since we have no followfocus, having a lens that is in focus no matter where I am would really help out

And the wide lens is exactly what I wanted the scene to look like. Lots of motion, but not the jaring sickening look that borne supremecy had, more like the camera, though handheld is targeted on the subject, who is walking and turning around in desperation, and the world is wrapping around her by keeping the camera perfectly on the imaginary sphere surrounding her. I was displeased with the 10mm minimum on the zoom, but I put the prime on last night and got very excited with its look. lots of barrel distortion. reminds me of the old death lens' I used back when I was 14 doing a skate/snowboard video a month.

...also I was serching old posts and someone said the angie zooms have to be focused to a minimum of 5 feet. Anything below the red line at the wider focal lengths vignettes. I forgot who posted that but thanks. Great advice.
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#6 Mike Rizos

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:53 PM

If you are refering to the 5.9mm f1.8 Angenieux, I don't have any experience with it, but It's described briefly in Underdahl's book. It's T2, minimum focus at T2 two feet to infinity, and will take series nine filters with Tiffen adapter 75s9. He also warns about the flange/focal distance of the camera being checked, and the lens collimated since it's so wide.
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#7 Michael Collier

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 11:09 PM

Thanks for the tip. If the flange is off, I really have no time to fix that. We shoot next saturday, and there are no camera techs local (that I know of, and I am sure I am right in that assumption) so I guess I will have to test it and send it off to the lab for them to check. Is there a prefered sharpness test, or do I just light it to a T2 (minimum DOF to highlight any problems) and shoot a standard SMPTE chart at greater than 2 feet away? If it comes back that the flange is off by enough to throw the wide off focus, but not the zoom, I will be in quite a pickle. Well not really, but I would not be able to use the wide I assume. If the flange is off by more than that, I will be completely screwed. I doubt its in dire straights. It was used without issue about 6 months ago, when about 2000 feet was ran through it. Since then it has been in its case, not moved, so I doubt the flange would be off.

(I should note that during 1 of the two scenes I am planing for this will be outside, probably with no ND, just an 85B, during magic hour, so I will probably be stopped down pretty well, at a T8 or greater I assume (the other shot will be at a T2 or T4, so polar oposite). Light during this time of year wildly changes from day to day even, so I am waiting to take my measurements for planning the actual schedule until wednesday so they are accurate. I only have a couple outdoor shots, and they can be floated, but one needs to be during magichour.
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#8 Shane Bartlett

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 06:29 AM

Hi Michael,

I look forward to seeing this, if you do post it online.


May I ask where you found the script?

--Shane
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#9 David Sweetman

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 05:47 PM

Sorry Sweetman, if I am sending out a bunch of DVDs I will send one to you, but otherwise I will send yours via internet.)

Haha, hey I'm flattered you think of me; cant wait to see it either way. Anyway it should be about halfway through your first day, hope all is going well.
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