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As Good As Dead wraps


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#1 Frank Barrera

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 02:31 PM

We just wrapped AS GOOD AS DEAD starring Cary Elwes, and Andi MacDowell; directed by Jonathan Mossek. We used two REDs out of OffHollywood New York. Despite the talent named we were on an almost impossible budget. Mark at OffHollywood really helped us out. Camera support and lenses came from CSC NY. The budget was reflected in our choice of lenses: Cooke S2/3 17MM, 25MM, 32MM, 50MM, 75MM, and 100MM. We day played the Cooke 20MM-100MM and the Angenieux HR 25MM-250MM. And for a few exterior days we had the Cooke S4 150MM (beautiful glass that is). Some steadicam by Phil Martinez. And a Fisher 11. All in all it was just a regular shoot despite this camera body that few of us understood at first.

First some negatives:

Although the view finder image is bright with decent contrast and over scan view, the buttons are too easy to accidentally press. They need to move these buttons around front where no one's fingers would ever be just like with every other professional HD camera view finder.
I do like the B&W peaking function. We were at a 2.8 often so depth of field was usually very shallow.

We had the 8 GB cards which just aren't big enough for long narrative takes with actors improvising. We rolled out too many times. The 16 GB card will easily correct this. We would sometimes go to drives when we knew it would be a longer take but never more than 20 minutes so that we could keep up with media verification and management.

Hey it's still a video camera so clipping into over exposure is still an issue. Shooting at a shallow depth of field helps a lot as out of focus clipping looked ok.

The rest is positive:

I found that while shooting RED RAW I could somewhat accurately use my light meter which was a great help for me and our Gaffer. We concentrated on and were very specific about our ratios. Having to run back and forth between the monitors and the set was not necessary. That's something I do not enjoy when using a Varicam or F900 etc. Using a light meter while making a movie is fun.

Over all our experience with Build 16 was excellent. We had a few dropped frames on one day out of 18 and our awesome Red Tech, Keith Putnam caught it within minutes so we were able to re-shoot that one shot. Other than than it was very smooth. The hot swappable battery cable was great. We never had to power down.

Basically we ran this like a 35MM shoot. And that's a good way to run.

We did shoot a small test and pushed it around on Scratch so I know what's possible with this camera. We monitored 720p on LCDs (couldn't afford CRT) and that looked very good to me on set so I am optimistic about the intended 35MM blow up. I've seen some tests at Duart NY and that looked very good as well.

I am very familiar with the intense debate around Red's use of the Bayer chip technology but in the end, on a tight budget. if we must shoot HD and the D21, the F35 and the Genesis are off the table, I would easily choose the RED over the Varicam, P2 or F900 if not simply because I can use 35MM lenses hovering around a 300ASA exposure index.

Every job has different needs and requirements. For us Red was perfect.

And none of it would have been possible without our excellent camera department.
Operators Joe Foley, Learan Kahanov, Eric Giovon and Jae Song; 1st AC's Jay Cleary and Chris Hamilton, 2nd AC Maria Juranic, Camera Interns Loui LeRoy and Katharina Bosch.

My deepest appreciation to you all.


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#2 Ram Shani

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 02:16 AM

frank

what would you say was your latitude ?

pleas if you can sand some pics on set and BTS if you can:)
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#3 Frank Barrera

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:39 AM

frank

what would you say was your latitude ?

pleas if you can sand some pics on set and BTS if you can:)

i'm trying to get photos from the stills photographer that might depict some of our lighting set ups but i can't use anything with the actors in it and we didn't have proper stand ins so we'll see what i get that's post worthy.

as for the latitude i don't have a concrete answer. the decision to go RED was very last minute giving us zero time for any proper tests. all i can say is that almost every shot had something almost blown out, something blown out and something almost black. there seemed to be a decent range above and below our exposure to play with. i was very happy with the results we were getting. we definitely pushed the signal to the higher and lower edges as we were making a noir piece.
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#4 Frank Barrera

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:31 PM

whoops- i forgot that Jay Hillman also came out for one day to operate. thanks jay.

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#5 Gus Sacks

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 10:17 PM

I'm glad Eric's still working - haven't spoken to him in the past few months.

Congrats on a successful production.
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#6 Ram Shani

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 08:37 AM

thanks. looking forward to see some pic and lighting set-ups
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#7 Frank Barrera

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 01:37 PM

Finally got some pix. these are all crew members standing in. this shot is for a Close up of Andi MacDowell.

andi_s_light_001.jpg
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#8 Tim Terner

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 02:04 PM

That shot screams 'Digital'
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#9 Frank Barrera

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 02:15 PM

That shot screams 'Digital'


Well, it was taken with a Nikon D700, which is a digital camera. That having been said this feature film was shot with the RED HD camera system which is also digital.
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#10 Frank Barrera

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 08:33 PM

some more pix. these are all from a Nikon D700. as i sorted through our still photographer's excellent work i realized how i simply didn't prepare for detailing our lighting set ups at all. what follows is a series of photos with impromptu stand ins and random crew. next time i will go in with a plan for this process because i do think it can be useful to others as well as myself.

Over all we used HMI's most of the time and kept the camera at it's native daylight color balance. 1.2K HMI PARS were the work horses. a couple of 575s and occasionally a 4K PAR. lots of hard back keys with fill light usually provided by a hard skip into a 2'X3' white card covered with J-Lar tape placed on the floor very close to the subject.

this is a basement storage locker set that we keyed with a single 200 watt day light practical. the RED handled the bare bulb quite nicely. there were two baby 1K back edges and a 1.2K HMI PAR with Full CTB bounced into the white ceiling for camera side fill.

searchin.jpg

this was a day time noir film. and that was a challenge as we did not have the budget for big units outside of the windows pumping shafts of daylight into the main location. approx 60 pages takes place in one large loft during the daytime. one of the looks we came up with was the classic venetian blinds break up.

day_noir.jpg

here our 1st AC Jay Cleary just happened to be standing in a very typical lighting set up: soft light coming from below; no fill light and a rim light motivated by the practical windows.

Jay_CLeary.jpg

for the darker content we would simply back light the characters and only add a small eye light when appropriate. here the neck is blown out but that is not how we exposed it on the day.

typical001.jpg
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#11 Mike Nichols

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 06:35 PM

Hey Frank,

Mike from Abel Cine Tech here. Glad the shoot went well and I am happy Mark took care of you guys with the Red. Can't wait to see the finished film. Tell Lesa and Shawn I said hi at the premiere party!!

- Mike
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CineTape

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Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

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