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#1 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:50 AM

Hey guys,

I'm about to embark onto my first 35mm feature. Going three perf to save the $$$, looking at three camera packages right now -
1. Arri ST LT
2. Arri 535
3. MovieCam Compact

Glass:
Ultra Primes or Cooke S4 + Optimo Prime (25-290)
or the possibility of going with older glass, depends on what the director finalizes (old cooke S2's, shooting a music video this weekend on the RED with the rehoused ones from Wilmington Camera (formerly known as Joe Dunton Camera). I'll put a report up about the lenses soon.

So the story is about these four latino's in there 20's and 3 are guys and 1 is a girl who works for this concert venue and he boss is a crazy neo-hippy who has a calculation that the world is going to end that day. So he is holding a concert/potfest to bring everyone together to share the "green". The three guys decide to do what they thought best, and that was look for the perfect bud to smoke to the world ending. Through their journey for the perfect bud the main character runs into various obstacles that keep making their search difficult. That's all I will say for now, but I think the script is hilarious and would be a fun shoot.

The director knows it's a pothead film but he wants to turn it into a cult classic. We've been tinkering with the idea of the sun/burning object coming towards earth as an underlying antagonist. Want to create a hot summer in the city of San Antonio. The idea is I want to make the world feel like it's sweating, everything is blazing hot and you can't escape the heat. Want to play it through hot edges, strong defined kickers playing from the sun. Hard shadows and such. I've thought about cross processing kodak 5285 (100 Reversal) to get the big boost in color contrast and color shift. Maybe it might be too much, we have a segment where the 3 guys are bugging out after smoking something they shouldn't have, maybe there CP would work. Did think about shooting the day ext. with the 5285 and process it as reversal, tad pricey so I'm not sure if it is worth it. I will be testing all these stocks in mid Feb, should be interesting. Also looking at Fuji's Vivid160T. Anybody who has experienced shooting with these stocks would be awesome if you guys tell me how your experience was. Would be really appreciated.

Night ext. I plan on going with the tried and true 5218, I feel the 19 sees like my eye does and that to me is seeing way too much into the blacks. Possibility of some rear projection! Looking forward to doing that if it becomes finalized. Things are still premature which is good/bad, I feel indecisive but at the same time still viewing my options.

So please, anyone any tips or advice about the stocks and the cameras i'm thinking about give me some feedback. Like I said this is my first feature on 35mm, so feel free to comment.
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#2 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:07 AM

hi and first congrats for beeing where you are, in prep of a long feature


once to give the idea of a hot summer Nestor almendros will put the characters in any shade he could find and let the sun burn on the film. i thinks it's the exact oposite to your idea.

on "blood diamonds" Edouardo serra will over expose uncorecter 5218 2 stops to achieve the same thing

in many westerns they played with the "heat" leone and tonino delli colli "the good the bad and the ugly" did it really good.

but maybe "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" will be your main reference?
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#3 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:35 AM

but maybe "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" will be your main reference?


It's funny you bring that up, Fear and Loathing and Natural Born Killers are two of my look samples. Camera movement wise I don't think I'm going to match those films, maybe for the trip scene but I think we're going away from the handheld wide angle lense close up for the majority of the film.

There is a considerable amount of car work that is going to be done. I'm pretty sure we're going to go with a insert car + process trailer so that we have control of our situation and that we have more angles than a car mount (side and front...). We have a lot of scenes that take place in a car so I want to open the door to more shooting possibilities to keep it from feeling repetitive and bland. Wil still be using car mounts for driving shots and such though for inserts and cutaway shots of the car actually visibly rolling on the road it self. Also doing some stuff from just the back of the insert car, I'm looking forward to it, will be my first time dealing with an insert car + process trailer. The night time car scene is going to be the interesting, definitely going to use the process trailer there, has anyone ever done a rig mounting a 35mm camera to a bicycle to get a similiar effect that Libatique used on the rig for Requiem for Dream where they put the camera on the actor looking back at them? I want to mount it the same way to the bicycle at the handlebars looking back at person on the bike. I'm worried about the safety of the camera and the actor (maybe a use here for the arri 235?).
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#4 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:42 AM

Delorme: I will say the Nestor Almendros idea isn't the opposite, I talk about the hard shadows from what you're saying I'm still using that concept since the shadow that is casted for the shade is being chiseled out by the sun burning around them rather than the talent casting the shadow. Good way to make me think about using it the other way, just like taking out a backlight but using the bright background to make them "pop" in the frame. Maybe I could play these shadey areas as a small space in the frame to the point where it is, the only contrast in the frame could be a single area of shade in the frame (maybe, this sounds like a hard idea! Would be difficult to only have one place where shadow falls in a wide frame!)
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#5 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 11:02 AM

hi
for "the traveling car" you'll certainly able to find one in adition withe a "loader", a trailer where you can instal a traveling on the side.
so you car drive the crew, lighting/flaging and 3 axes of camera.

"U turn" is also a nice reference of road movie.

inf you inted to do some handheld forget about the 535

for the bike, as it's a shot/effect maybe you can try a small HD head with a PL mount something like the modula
http://www.easylooks...cuments/49.html
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#6 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:34 PM

Yeah that is what I was thinking. The 535 is somewhat of a beast, I think it's going to boil down between the MovieCam Compact or the ST LT, in the end it will come down to the budget. The ST LT is most expensive rental out of all the cameras.

Thanks for the link to the Modula, it's definitely turning the wheels in my head right now.
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#7 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:53 PM

the movie cam compact is a good camera with money saved maybe you can try the T-Rex systeme verry usefull for car extreme POV it saves also a lot of time and open at T5.6
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#8 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 02:08 AM

Sing, how was the decision made to shoot this feature on 35mm? It seems harder and harder to approach (and convince) producers to shoot on film. Since the introduction of RED, most of the low budget and indie world seem to think it is totally unnecessary to spring for the cost of film/transfer/rentals with HD equipment coming into the spotlight and delivering the quality it does at the price it does... Even I have trouble identifying key bonuses to shooting film over RED or other high end HD systems to producers/colleagues.

So, how did you do it!?
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#9 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:31 AM

Sing, how was the decision made to shoot this feature on 35mm? It seems harder and harder to approach (and convince) producers to shoot on film. Since the introduction of RED, most of the low budget and indie world seem to think it is totally unnecessary to spring for the cost of film/transfer/rentals with HD equipment coming into the spotlight and delivering the quality it does at the price it does... Even I have trouble identifying key bonuses to shooting film over RED or other high end HD systems to producers/colleagues.

So, how did you do it!?


I actually didn't have to convince him, we were originally going to go with S16 but because there is some effects work I told him to go with the RED (one for price and resolution!). He was fine with that, and I put a package together and had a great quote. He spent some time reviewing over other RED footage and called me one day and said "I don't like the look of the RED for this movie, I can tell it has a great image but it doesn't have the look of 35mm." I respect his decision, he doesn't think digital is the right medium for this project, I'm excited about it but also a little worried too about some things. 20 day shoot schedule on S35 is fully capable of being done and has, but has it quirks and has situations where it takes longer.

His decision is the aesthetic of film, he likes the look of film and that is how he wants his movie to look for the story. P.T. Anderson only shoots on film in scope only and doesn't believe in DI. I got lucky that I found a director that knows what he wants. Film and HD aren't the same, acrylic and oil paint will never be the same, you just choose what fits the project.
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#10 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:32 AM

Well, in my opinion, it takes a director who is REALLY committed to shooting film, there are some out there. And most would if they had the budget. RED is mostly a poor man's 35mm, and it looks it too. Che, the Soderbergh feature shot on RED, looks awful at times: so much noise in the shadows it's crazy. And a lot of shots just looks so . . . plastic-y. Just my opinion: no need to get nasty, you RED fanboys out there.

Sing, congrats on the gig! I would go cheap on the camera (Moviecam) and then get better glass and more camera support and lights with the money you save. I was just watching Swingvote which was shot in NM - I worked on it, actually. The DP went for a similar white-hot look (almost blown out) background and highlights for the exterior desert shots. This movie is a comedy so they didn't stylize it as the look called for. Not enough contrast for my taste, but it can work, just gotta do some tests or dial it in in post . . .
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#11 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 04:31 AM

Sing, I totally agree with you here, I really was just curious as to the situation, because most people I've worked with are more concerned about what saves them money as opposed to aesthetic differences in formats. :( You are very fortunate to have come across an understanding and passionate team!

I am in the pre-pre production stages of a feature to be shot late Summer and I am making the same decision, RED or 35mm. It is really a budgetary decision so I look forward to seeing how your film pans out through to the stages of transfer costs, timing, etc. Maybe I'll be able to make a more informed decision based off your experiences here.

Best of luck on the shoot.
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#12 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:02 AM

SAUL: It's funny you bring up the plasticy feel of the RED. The director said it felt flat in dimension and I could see where he came from. The last feature I shot on the RED was interesting, the camera doesn't act like film emulsion, it still can't handle going under like film can. Its strength before falling apart is no comparison to film. I found myself shooting a little hotter than usual with the RED and pulling it down in RedCine, one to make sure I get no noise (underexposing the red has a good bit of noise). I'm looking forward to going back to film though, it's nice picking stocks again and hearing the sound of a film camera. I actually just got my quote back on the MovieCam and will be going with Ultra Primes with an HR rather than the Optimo (maybe even no zoom).

ANDREW: I did get lucky on this director and it's great having a director that really appreciates the look of 35mm. I will let you know about my process and transfer rates, I got a quote on that is amazing. 90,000ft of film with HD dailies, HD-CAMSR, and 40hr of DI a 53,000. Let me know how your shoes goes?
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#13 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:15 PM

WOW. That is fantastic! We are shooting in PA, so maybe I could look into the same company you got your quote from.

Look forward to hearing more as this project develops!
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#14 Gus Sacks

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:30 PM

WOW. That is fantastic! We are shooting in PA, so maybe I could look into the same company you got your quote from.

Look forward to hearing more as this project develops!


Congrats, Sing. Very, very cool. Were you working with Shooters?

Andrew, if you're shooting in PA and need an Op or anything, lemme know. I have family down there so I work there from time to time.
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#15 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 03:58 AM

That may work Gus, I will most likely be doing most of my hiring out of NYC.
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#16 Gus Sacks

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 12:20 PM

That may work Gus, I will most likely be doing most of my hiring out of NYC.


Great, let me know. I could even recommend other crew if you needed some.
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#17 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 11:14 PM

Congrats, Sing. Very, very cool. Were you working with Shooters?


No I am working with CineFilm in ATL.

The film is going to be pushed back into early summer, not bad news because I would prefer this movie have the proper time to prep. 2 months was going to be rushing the project when some development things needed to be handled. Nothing worse then going into a film that has not had the proper time to get prepped. Still working on camera quotes, finding out my options with Panavision now, looking at Pana Florida or Pana Dallas.
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#18 Rob Vogt

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 06:02 PM

I was reading AC and I saw your name come up as operator on the Short takes section. Congrats Sing. It reminded me of this and I was wondering if this project ever got kicked off or is about to.
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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 12:14 AM

Sing, how was the decision made to shoot this feature on 35mm? It seems harder and harder to approach (and convince) producers to shoot on film. Since the introduction of RED, most of the low budget and indie world seem to think it is totally unnecessary to spring for the cost of film/transfer/rentals with HD equipment coming into the spotlight and delivering the quality it does at the price it does... Even I have trouble identifying key bonuses to shooting film over RED or other high end HD systems to producers/colleagues.

So, how did you do it!?


Really? I think it's getting easier and easier. RED simply doesn't compare to the look of 35mm. It has many other advantages but the look of 35mm isn't one of them.

I had no problem convincing the producer of my next film to go 35mm and we will be running three cameras on set.

R,
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#20 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 03:12 PM

ROB: Unfortunately the project was canceled, well the director and screenwriter had a conflict and the writer left with the script. It was an odd experience though. Just a couple days before I got the call about the project being canceled I scheduled everything for a camera test in San Antonio and the director was talking about giving me part of my pay upfront the next week so he could feel more comfortable about asking me to do more prep work. I was shocked by that and then blam, the project is shut down. Real bummer.

RICHARD: I completely agree with you on the 35mm vs. RED look. The only reason I put together a RED package was based on the budget. When the project was a go we had a good bit of night ext. w/ a process trailer for probably at least 1/3 of the shoot. The budget just didn't seem right to be done on 35mm and at the pace we needed to go either. But after the director looked at more RED footage he opted out and went and found more money just to shoot 35mm.
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Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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