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Frank Barrera


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#1 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 09:21 PM

Our own Frank Barrera recently had a nice article in American Cinematographer written about a film he shot (El Viaje). Congrats Frank! I believe the film also won a medal at the Student Academy Awards.
It was an interesting article and sounds like an interesting film. I thought it was interesting that you shot 1:33:1, and the reasons why you did it. How did that end up working out for you on the festival circuit? Were there any problems associated with the aspect ratio?
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#2 Frank Barrera

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 10:13 PM

I thought it was interesting that you shot 1:33:1, and the reasons why you did it.

Basically we talked about documentary styles pre 16X9 video. They were all shot 1.33. We wanted to reference the traditional doc by going with this "older" ratio. Also, when shooting with kids and adults a lot of the frame gets wasted and we wanted to get in close with these kids. We wanted an intimate feeling. We wanted to be in their faces. 1.85 would've by it's very nature pushed us away from the kids. In addition Cady, the director figured the most likely outlet for distro was in Latin American and European TV where it would be broadcast in 1.33 anyway. We also were attracted to the idea of utilizing practically the entire 35MM frame. And finally for me the idea of shooting 1.85 and protecting 1.33 is just too frustrating. Lately I have been doing a lot of HD 16X9 shooting for future HD broadcast but for now it all broadcasts in 4X3. It drives me nuts.

How did that end up working out for you on the festival circuit?

Not so good. The film has screened all over the world and just about no body is prepared for a 1.33 projection. It usually takes one botched screening and Cady screaming at someone to get it right.

Were there any problems associated with the aspect ratio?

Other than the projection we had no problems. As I stated above it was a great benefit for our story.

I put up one short scene on my website in the narrative section. It's funny because there was just a thread here the other day about the economics of short films. Cady spent about $30,000 on this movie including two release prints. About 60% of that was grant money. Nevertheless he will be lucky to sell it for $5000. Which he hasn't yet so I can't put the whole short on my site.

If I ever get to put the full 20 minutes up there I'll let everybody know. Until then there may be a screening in NYC this spring...

btw my site has a pdf of the AC article.

thanks all
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:58 AM

It's funny because there was just a thread here the other day about the economics of short films. Cady spent about $30,000 on this movie including two release prints. About 60% of that was grant money. Nevertheless he will be lucky to sell it for $5000.

btw my site has a pdf of the AC article.

thanks all

I think most people realize when they produce a short that there is very little chance of them making any money on it, or even making their money back. But the great exposure the film is getting will hopefully payoff in the future with more work.
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 03:24 AM

The film has screened all over the world and just about no body is prepared for a 1.33 projection. It usually takes one botched screening and Cady screaming at someone to get it right.

Hi Frank,

First, congratulations on the write-up in AC - I remember reading it and thinking the subject matter was pretty hardcore! It was also interesting to read about your solution to the focus problems of shooting in red-gelled light.

Second, it seems that most modern theaters project 1.85:1 by filling the frame height of the screen. So simply removing the 1.85 aperture mask would cause the top and bottom of the 1.33:1 image to spill off of the screen. Was this part of the problem when you screened the film at festivals? Did you have to have the projectionist move physically the projector back a few feet? Or was it just a matter of zooming out the projection lens?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 04:01 AM

To project 1.37 Academy, you need to switch the projector lens to a different focal length and use an Academy Aperture mask. Many first run theaters have neither the proper lens to fit the Academy image onto the height of the screen, nor an Academy mask. Merely pulling the 1.85 mask would mean seeing the optical soundtrack on the screen because now you're projecting full aperture, not Academy.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 04:27 AM

To project 1.37 Academy, you need to switch the projector lens to a different focal length and use an Academy Aperture mask. Many first run theaters have neither the proper lens to fit the Academy image onto the height of the screen, nor an Academy mask. Merely pulling the 1.85 mask would mean seeing the optical soundtrack on the screen because now you're projecting full aperture, not Academy.

Ah, I see, thank you David. I didn't know that 35mm projector lenses were fixed focal length.
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#7 Frank Barrera

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 08:12 AM

Usually what happen at the festivals would be that they would simply project it with the 1.85:1 mask effectively cropping the top and bottom of our picture. In the wider shots this would not seem too bad but in the CU's it would look like I was a fairly incompetent cinematographer. Not so cool.
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#8 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:23 AM

I also read that article and recognized your name from the forum. Congratulations and well wishes for your future!
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