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#1 Charlie Seper

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 11:53 PM

Just got back from seeing "November". It was shown on a full 30' screen at a Landmark Theatre that has digital projectors. It was by far the best projected movie shot in miniDV I ever saw. (I never saw "28 Days Later" on the big screen so I can't compare but I know it also looked quite good). This is the same theatre where I watched "Mad Hot Ballroom" a week or two ago except that film was on a much smaller screen in a different room. MHB was also shot on the DVX100 but it looked very pixilated compared to Nov. You know, about the only pixilated thing I saw in Nov was some hand held footage. There wasn't much of it; almost everything appeared to have been done on a tripod (thank God), but MHB was shot almost entirely with hand held techniques. I know they say that optical image stabilization is supposed to be so good and all, and it is when viewing your stuff on a TV, but it sure effects miniDV images when they're blown-up for some reason. At least that's the way it looks to me right now. If you're planning on using miniDV for anything that will end up on a big screen I would sure think twice about taking the cam off the tripod.

The DP did a lot of little things to shoot the movie in such a way that kept the pixelation hidden from the audience. A lot of the scenes were shot with blue, green and a little red filtering. Actually, I got tired of seeing the green stuff after a while. But those filters sure made the blockiness obscure. And there were virtually no wide outdoor shots. Several scenes, especially at the beginning, were purposely out of focus too (easy to do when dealing with psychological issues) in all the right ways. However... I have to say that even during the mid shots where the lighting was good and with no color filters, it still looked first-rate.

Did it look like film? Yes, it looked exactly like film. No one would have known the difference. The motion blur, everything was dead on. Sure it was a little soft, but it just looked like soft film. In short, if you haven't seen how good the DVX100 can look on a big screen when its shot well, then by all means check this one out. I can't imagine how good it would have looked on a smaller 20' or so screen. Don't get me wrong, real film certainly has more detail. But for a film shot on a $4000 cam it was more than good enough.

As to the story itself, I had it figured out half way through. But it was pretty good. It was well acted (although I wasn't nuts about Anne Archer) and it kept most people scratching their heads to the end. Several people commented afterwards that it was "weird". Make whatever you will of that. It seemed to me that no one really knew how to take it. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
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#2 elvworks

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 09:44 PM

Hi Charlie,

I just saw Mad Hot Ballroom, specifically to see how it looks on the big screen. Ihere were only a few shots that looked okay. Those where the outdoor shots. Most of the indoor shots where against a white or very ugly green wall, and the whites really did bleed through alot. I mean alot. So much so it was hard on the eyes.

I understand this is a documentary, so I will have to check out November to get a better example of pro-sumer digital on the big screen.

Anyway, I didn't finish the movie, I was just bored and started to fall asleep, so I theatre hopped and ended up watching in an indian bollywood movie which was pretty cool.

Rick

p.s. - if anyone saw 28 days later on the big screen, please share, it would be useful information for me.
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#3 Charlie Seper

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:55 PM

Well you're probably a lot younger than me. When you're 46 those kids look pretty darn funny. Most of the people in the theatre (and there weren't many) were about my age and I'm guessing most of them had kids so it was easy to relate to. "Mad Hot Ballroom" was for old folks.

I thought the outdoor shots were bad too. MiniDV just doesn't have enough oomph to handle big wide landscape shots. Its much better indoors, but in the case of MHB it was all handheld and constantly moving so it didn't look good indoors either. Do watch November though if you can find it. It looked really good. Its a benchmark film for miniDV in my opinion, although all of us that have grown accustomed to working with miniDV will probably be switching over to HDV (or something) soon so it probably won't matter.
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#4 elvworks

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 08:30 AM

Hi Charlie,

I understand that MHB was a documentary of sorts, but I think if just a little bit was added to the preparation of the shot, I think it could have been alot better. So does being a documentary mean shooting it as is and whatever footage comes out good, you package?

I will certainly look for November and check it out.

The kids were funny, but I guess I just went in there with the mindset of seeing the picture quality. After I left, I then came back, but then left again. I tried to stay but couldn't. The theatre being without heat didn't help either :)

Have a good day,
Rick
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#5 Charlie Seper

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 04:12 PM

I read an interview with the filmaker, (a woman, but I can't for the life of me remember who), that was made while she was shooting it and she said she went with the Panny because it was small and could be handheld easilly at waste level. She wanted to be able to have it down around the kid's heads while she walked aroud the dance floor. Makes sense I guess.
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