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Crank 2: High Voltage


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#1 Peter Moretti

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 02:34 AM

I just finished watching Crank 2: High Voltage at the Arclight. I wanted to see how Canon's 1/3" chip HDV cameras held up on the big screen.

http://www.imdb.com/...21931/technical

I don't know if they actually recorded HDV or used something like Convergent's Flash XDR recorder to get 4:2:2 instead of 4:2:0 color. But after watching the film, I think they probably went the HDV route.

It just wasn't all that impressive. Blacks were noisy, highlights blown out, chromatic abberation (or it might have been spill from a blue screen). I didn't notice any problems w/ DOF, but deep focus probably serves action films well. Actually, sometimes the focus looked soft, on the newscaster for example, which seems odd since he's not moving and shallow DOF wouldn't be called for w/ such a composition.

It also had a desaturated look. I have to think that was a decision, as I've seen XH-A1 footage look much more saturated. Also the saturation could be increased in post. I also think the noisy blacks could be lessened in post by creating a mask around the blacks and adding a denoise filter.

But for all you digital lovers and haters, I'd LOVE to hear your opinions.


P.S. I also saw a lot of odd stuttering in scenes with movement, as if frames were dropping. I don't know if that's a result of recording 60i and converting to 24P, a problem w/ how Canon records 24P, or just an intended look (what I suspect). But I swear I even saw some interlacing errors in one shot, like two fields superimposed on each other.
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#2 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 03:07 AM

I haven't seen it yet (nor have I seen the first) but from what I saw of the making etc. it seems as though they used A LOT of Canon HF10s (that record in AVCHD) and from what I saw, they even had one kind of semi-rig device with about 10 or so (w/ wide-angle lenses) to obtain different angles, which I'm certainly interested to see how that works out. But the production also seemed pretty amateur, but from the interviews I've seen with these guys, they know what they're doing and they know exactly what kind of movies they're making. They're not delusional like a lot of other filmmakers in Hollywood seem to be.

As far as 4:2:0 goes, it's quite probable that they used Cineform's new software, Neo Scene, which not only converts both HDV and AVCHD file formats to an intermediate but also sorts out all that colour chroma.

I can't really comment on the overall tones and looks of the film, but yeah, I'll try and get around to seeing it.
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#3 Kevith Mitchell

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:00 AM

I have to agree with the second reply. I give these filmmakers credit because they know how to make a product using cheap cameras and pull it off. I read a interview with them and they are complete digital tech-heads and make their own rigs, etc. The stories are not deep, just crazy camera work that works.

As for out of focus shots, I see ALOT of those on these big Hollywood movies. But a hey, nothing is perfect.
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:39 AM

I don't know if they actually recorded HDV or used something like Convergent's Flash XDR recorder to get 4:2:2 instead of 4:2:0 color. But after watching the film, I think they probably went the HDV route.

P.S. I also saw a lot of odd stuttering in scenes with movement, as if frames were dropping. I don't know if that's a result of recording 60i and converting to 24P, a problem w/ how Canon records 24P, or just an intended look (what I suspect). But I swear I even saw some interlacing errors in one shot, like two fields superimposed on each other.


They have stated in interviews they had many cameras rolling at all times, and the production pictures that have surfaced show the cameras untethered so it is 99.99% that they recorded directly to tape on the bigger HDV cameras and 100% to cards on the smaller AVCHD cams.

As for drop outs I imagine that would be the CBR mpeg2 compression on HDV, that is notoriously inept at handling sudden jarring movements.

I worked on pre-prod on their next film, GAME (50 million budget), by which time the RED One cams had come out. That will stir a firestorm when it comes out, as it contains all these elements as well as heavy CGI compositing.

The important thing here to remember is that these are high budget films shot like skate videos. It is not "amateur," but rather, they embrace the seat-of-you-pants look and feel (and filming techniques) of skate videos. As I said, I worked for 2 months on the film they followed this one with, and the last thing they are is "amateurs." In fact my time at GAME were the most stressful pre-prod months I have ever worked.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 03 May 2009 - 10:41 AM.

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#5 Peter Moretti

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:42 PM

Saul,

Thanks for the info. Are you saying that they used Red Ones for the Game?

BTW, I've read that they used a faster than usual shutter speed for the frame rate in Crank 2, which would account for the appearance of dropouts with fast motion.

Does anyone know if they shot 60i or 24p?

And I'm sure the filmmakers are talented and technically savvy. From the buzz I'd heard, I was expecting something shot on video but looked close to what we've come to expect from film.

IMHO, it was video shot to look in many ways like video--which actually makes sense. I saw the Polish brothers speak at bookshop in Malibu. They said, choose a format for its imperfections as well as for what it can do well. "Some subjects just aren't super-35 worthy," IIRC.
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:19 PM

Are you saying that they used Red Ones for Game?


Yes.
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#7 Peter Moretti

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:54 AM

Here's an article on the making of the movie. Talks about the arc-shaped rig Marcus mentioned.

http://blog.digitalc...k-high-voltage/
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#8 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 01:31 PM

Here's an article on the making of the movie. Talks about the arc-shaped rig Marcus mentioned.

http://blog.digitalc...k-high-voltage/

Those guys sure have a lot of praise for themselves considering that they intentionally made their film look awful.

I mean it was a reasonably entertaining movie and the look works for it, so I'm not necessarily complaining, but let's be honest with ourselves that it looks really really ugly.
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#9 Giles Sherwood

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:13 PM

I mean it was a reasonably entertaining movie and the look works for it, so I'm not necessarily complaining, but let's be honest with ourselves that it looks really really ugly.


Yeah, but it looks how it's supposed to look.
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#10 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:27 PM

Yeah, but it looks how it's supposed to look.

Yeah I know. It's not even necessarily a criticism of the movie or the way it looks, but I just think it's kind of silly that they're talking about the amazing image quality and that it's got a totally unique look. It intentionally looks like every no-budget action movie ever made by 20-somethings.
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:42 AM

Reading through the article I'd say that it's very easy to shoot 270 hours of material if you don't switch off the cameras.

Not having seen this film but having seen Crank, I assume it has the same pulp comic strip feel, so the lack of beautiful images hardly matters.
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#12 John Allen

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:42 AM

I have to agree with the second reply. I give these filmmakers credit because they know how to make a product using cheap cameras and pull it off. I read a interview with them and they are complete digital tech-heads and make their own rigs, etc. The stories are not deep, just crazy camera work that works.

As for out of focus shots, I see ALOT of those on these big Hollywood movies. But a hey, nothing is perfect.



Hey kev, you really need to change your screen name to your 'Full Name.' It's the sites rule. I'm only telling you cause if you don't, one of the admins are gonna get on to you about it. So just trying to help ya out man. Cheers dude! :)
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:55 AM

Maybe it'll win best Cinematography in early 2010 :)
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#14 Daniel Porto

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:00 AM

Maybe it'll win best Cinematography in early 2010 :)


Nah the movie I shot on my mobile phone most likely will
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