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Have you ever seen a production like this?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:46 PM

There is a movie called "The Room" out on DVD, produced in 2002. It has developed a cult following among those who find its unintentional hilarity in ostensibly serious moments to be so extreme that there are midnight showings at theaters across the country, much like
there has been with "Rocky Horror" with people dressing up and yet different in this case in that fans shout improved dialogue at the screen.

The movie is clearly shot on video, although there are two trailers in the DVD extras, one of which is presented as the 35mm trailer.

In the DVD extras, the director Tommy Wiseau says that the entire movie was shot simultaneously in HD and film. There are many pictures in the behind the scenes featurette on the DVD of a an Arri 35BL mounted side by side with a Panasonic DVCPRO HD camera.

How would you like to frame for two cameras like this?

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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 11:42 PM

That is pretty zany, but not any different than 3D acquisition, in terms of camera support / operation logistics. I have sometimes done setups a similar to this if I am shooting HD but I want to shoot some of it on S16mm for my reel (if it s a freebie or low budget gig and production is OK with it), but it is only a couple of shots max, never for an entire show.

The idea is interesting, if potentially tough on the op / DP / director / crew (small constrained sets, etc). The cameras are so close together though, the POV difference (aside from the obvious 2/3 chip - 35mm DOF difference and HD/ film image qualities factor) maybe like standing in front of a painting and closing one eye and then the other, i.e. quite minimal.

The upside is if matched lenses were used, one could do a "real world" HD vs film comparison like the ones Panavision, Zacuto, Kodak et al have been doing for the last couple of years. Although this would be better accomplished by using two 35mm sensor / gate cameras, as well as for the examples below

Or one could show the audience the HD cut, and then the film version and ask them if the movie is "any different." Especially if they don't know which one they are seing.That should settle the old question once and for all.

Of course one could combine both cameras' footage in post, HDR-like, and get the best of both worlds: Analog / Digital 3D, or would it be 5Dimentional?

I can almost here the cheesy pitch: "The topographical beauty of film, and the sheer crispness of HD, united."

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 23 July 2009 - 11:46 PM.

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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:28 AM

Was there any reason given for why they shot both simultaneously? Seems like a huge waste to me.
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#4 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:50 AM

Was there any reason given for why they shot both simultaneously? Seems like a huge waste to me.




Yes...sorta. On a DVD extra, there is an interview with producer/director Mr. Wiseau. He says that he hadn't fully understood the difference between HD and film. "At the time I did not have sufficient information and I was confused about these two formats" so he says that he chose this two camera two format method as a means of finding that knowledge and that, with the abundance of side by side footage the has now, he plans to share that information regarding "What is the true difference between these two formats?" He says "I'm planning to release a DVD documentary about HD and 35mm. film comparison, and also write a book about it."


Serge, you're great at writing pitch lines but beware your competition here. The movie is introduced on the DVD with the unattributed quote "the best movie of the year."

Oh, the movie was shot in L.A. with some scenes in San Francisco. There is a 2nd Unit credit but the names are of the actors who went to S.F. and nobody else, no crew.
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#5 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:05 AM

Was there any reason given for why they shot both simultaneously? Seems like a huge waste to me.

Because Mr. Wiseau is a gigantic nutcase. Here's an interview with him from The Onion's AV Club: http://www.avclub.co...y-wiseau,29598/
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:02 PM

That approach makes absolutely no sense. Lighting the scene for the film will blow out the highlights of the HD and lighting for the HD will give ugly, flat film. A compromise will just make both of them somewhat ugly.
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#7 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 08:29 PM

That's a funny interview, Scott (again, probably unintentionally.) In the audio clips on that link you can detect the
challenge the interviewer seems to be feeling in getting answers to fairly ordinary questions.

Chris, there doesn't seem to be any part of this project that makes sense. You know how people used to talk about
watching "Plan 9 from Outer Space" ? It's kind of like that in its own way and it then goes beyond with DVD extras.
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#8 Karel Bata

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 08:39 AM

Reminds me of the early days of audio music recording when a second mic would be hung next to the main one :lol: and a second wax master (was it wax?) cut for safety. Without knowing it they were making a stereo recoding! (But the left and right would be out of sync.) Years later some of these 'b' disks resurfaced and someone had the the bright idea of marrying up the masters and creating stereo. Read about that a few years ago, but not heard anything since...
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 01:02 PM

Reminds me of the early days of audio music recording when a second mic would be hung next to the main one :lol: and a second wax master (was it wax?) cut for safety. Without knowing it they were making a stereo recoding! (But the left and right would be out of sync.) Years later some of these 'b' disks resurfaced and someone had the the bright idea of marrying up the masters and creating stereo. Read about that a few years ago, but not heard anything since...


It's funny that would do that rather than just split off from the first signal.
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#10 Karel Bata

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 04:34 AM

Hmm. Now you point that out... :(

I'll look into that.

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#11 Karel Bata

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 04:36 AM

Hmm. Now you point that out... :(

I'll look into that.

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- Damn! How did that happen?

Edited by Karel Bata, 27 July 2009 - 04:38 AM.

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#12 David Auner aac

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:02 AM

It's funny that would do that rather than just split off from the first signal.


Hm, maybe to do with a failure in the mike? But couldn't you just monitor that signal? Strange indeed.

Cheers, Dave
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#13 Karel Bata

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:15 AM

That makes sense.

I remember a wonderful story I heard about the first BBC radio drama 'Danger'. They wanted to broadcast a live "listening play". But what would be a suitable subject for a drama where the audience saw nothing..? The answer was a two-hander about Welsh miners trapped underground!

A Google yields http://www.irdp.co.uk/britrad.htm

"How were we to make our voices sound like an underground tunnel? Playfair solved that one by making his cast put their handsome heads in buckets. And the Welsh choir we had collected (in those days, Welsh miners were singing in the London streets for coppers)- the script called for "distant snatches of hymn-singing", but once started nothing could stop these chaps: only one studio, one microphone- Playfair put them in the corridor outside, with a sound-proof door he could open and shut.

"But the climax came when we said we wanted an explosion. The engineers had helped all they could, but this was the last straw. Even popping a paper bag would blow every fuse in Savoy Hill. But Playfair was something of a genius, and utterly unscrupulous. Reporters and critics were going to listen in a room specially provided for them, with its own loud-speaker. It would never do for them to hear no more than the diminutive "phut" like the roaring of a sucking-dove, even if that was all the public would get. So Playfair staged a magnificent "explosion" in the room next door to the press-room. Our "explosion" got top marks with the press. They never discovered they had heard it through the wall."



Yup, using two mics sounds feasable. After all, who here would have believed anyone would shoot film and HD simultaneously? ;)
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#14 boy yniguez

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 05:59 AM

It's funny that would do that rather than just split off from the first signal.

a split mono is not stereo.
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#15 Adam Hunt

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:02 AM

Can we resurrect this thread? I discovered the absurdity that is 'The Room' about a year or two ago, and it utterly fascinates me with it's unintentional weirdness.

Anyway, the version of the film that I have seen (and I think most clips of the film floating around) are from the 35mm version. The film is just really terribly lit and shot, so it looks like what you would expect from a no-budget amateur film shot on video rather than a film that had the money to shoot 35mm. I heard an interview with Wiseau from several years after the film was made where he still seemed to confuse the difference between HD and film. He seemed to still think that back then (2003) there was no way to transfer film to HD or HD to film, so the decision seems to have had something to do with being able to show it both on 35mm in theatres and on video. In that same interview Wiseau he blabbed for several minutes about how much better HD was than film, then indicated that the Blu-ray was being rescanned from the 35mm version (which according to him was not possible in 2003). :blink:



Some other interesting facts:

The film cost $6 million. Yeah, that's right. Don't ask me what they spent it all on because it sure wasn't the actors, the sets, or a talented DOP.

Also, Wiseau purchased both the HDX-900 and the BL4 (apparently because he did not know you could rent cameras).

There are some other weird decisions here like why you would shoot a whole bunch of roof scenes 100% greenscreen when it seems like this would make things more difficult than shooting on an actual roof.



Also, I know this is off topic from cinematography but did anyone else who has seen this film feel that it is possibly the most misogynistic film in history?
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#16 Adam Hunt

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:05 AM

Some of my favourite utterly stupid moments in the film:




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#17 Adam Hunt

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:07 AM

Also, as stupid as shooting two formats simultaneously is in this case, Oklahoma! (and possibly some other films) were shot in both 65mm Todd-AO and 35mm simultaneously. In that case however because of Todd-AO's 30fps there actually was no way to make 35mm prints from it back then.
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#18 Adam Hunt

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:40 AM

Get some cameras. HD and 35 milly. You can always choose later, so why be silly!


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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:53 AM

It is my instinct to be cynical about Tommy Wiseau.

However, he's made more films than me, so it's a bit difficult.

P
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#20 Adam Hunt

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:01 AM

I want to know how he got 6 million bucks being a first time filmmaker, and with a script this utterly terrible.

And imagine the reaction of the investors. Remember the story about the exec who had a heart attack after seeing the finished cut of 2001? He was worried they had spent all that money on nothing. Imagine seeing this film after sinking millions into it. I would die on the spot. As it turned out though, the film was so bad it became a cult hit and has probably made it's money back.
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