This week I’ve been working with Martin Wood and David Geddes on the set of Sanctuary, SciFi network’s latest TV show. Our new company, Inspired Cinema, is providing the complete camera & support package, as well as a data management cart (nicknamed Winivision, after the guy who operates the cart). I’m on set for the first few weeks providing workflow support. I haven’t had much time to take pictures, but here’s a few from the last couple days of shooting (click the pic to view).
In 2006, DIY filmmakers were splashed with news of a hot new camera, the RED. I lined up with many other eager would-be camera owners and put my $1000 on hopes that it would deliver. After having shot with it myself in Rwanda and more recently back in Vancouver, and after prepping it for several high-profile shows, I can confidently say that this camera Kicks Ass.
4K, RAW photography, shooting to compact flash, flexible, tough, fast to work with, and it makes beautiful images. The proof is in the footage:
This thing is pure gold: the Hollywood Microdolly. Sets up in two minutes, is smooth, light, and fits into a small handbag about 30″ long. It weighs maybe five pounds, and you can set up a new shot in less than 30 seconds. Fifteen feet of travel and it looks great.
This shot is from a tripod-mounted Red, sitting on top of the micro dolly. Saif was doing a press check at his workstation. Behind us is a 150-foot-long giant of a Heidelberg, pumping out four completed magazines every second.
We set this up while he was working. His movements weren’t coordinated – we tracked with him as he worked, guessing at each action. Having the Microdolly took this from a boring pan shot to a much more interesting movement that accentuates the speed of the action and the size of the workstation, while keeping the focus on his attentive character.
Suddenly, things got busy.
- Post continues on Rwanda: Hope Rises along with preparations for screenings in May and June
- The Red camera business has taken off like a shot. I spent this afternoon at Anthem Visual FX testing our workflow for an upcoming SciFi network TV show
- This morning was spent prepping for a week long shoot with the RED, including skydiving, sailing, and ice skating
Worked today on the set of a music video for Emily West, an up & coming country music star. That’s right… I spent all day listening to country music. Now that’s sacrificing for your art!
Emily made it easy – she’s full of energy, and her hit song, Rocks in Shoes, isn’t too bad – for a country song… (you can see a pre-shoot version of the video on this MySpace page. The version shot today will look 1000x better.) Jim was operating steadicam, the most excellent Ian Seabrook was first assisting, and I was 2nd assist – which takes on a whole new meaning……
… when you’re shooting with the Red. This was the Red’s first Vancouver music video, and the first rental of our new venture Inspired Cinema. Big things are afoot with the RED in Vancouver, and we can hardly keep on top of the demand. The fantastic imaging quality, slick workflow, and the unbeatable price point – along with the service quality and experience we’ve put together – make our Red cameras a very attractive proposition for a lot of shows.
I’ll post more about what I was doing and the tools I’m using later. Lots going on!
Just got back from a great long weekend away with friends. Some sweet spring skiing and barbeque on the lawn. Classic USA.
Here’s what’s up in the world of me:
- Today finishing up a five-day shoot for Teldon Media Group. I’ll post some samples once they’ve run through the presses.
- Editing on Rwanda: Hope Rises. Steve Plitt has recently joined the team and brings some much-needed editorial expertise. We’re working towards a mid-May screening in Fresno.
- Some potentially big news on the RED side of life… will post more when it’s official.
Last night Digital Film Central hosted the first “Beer & Pixels” night. Jim van Dijk and I presented the RED One camera as part of the launch of our new rental business. We showed some footage shot last week by Jim and local DP Greg Middleton, comparing the RED to various film stocks. I also provided some RED footage from Rwanda. The shots were graded at Central and projected in their 2K Baselight DI suite.
I was blown away by the images. “This is awesome,” and “Central rocks” are soon to be pull-quotes on Central’s website…. Especially seeing what we shot in Rwanda up there looking so great next to film…
The two have a different aesthetic. Film has a nice crunchiness with slight shifts in colour as it goes towards black, and more room to play down in the shadows. RED has less range and highlights don’t clip as cleanly, but the overall image is crisp & clean, with lots of room to push the image towards different parts of the spectrum. Seeing them next to each other is like lifting the veil – we’re so used to film grain in our images… but the RED is super clean.
Initially we were thinking 20-30 people would show… turned into 50-60… and then I lost count. The interest was high, and there were all kinds: Producers, Directors, Production Managers, DPs, Post Supervisors, Camera Operators… any part of the production that touches the imaging workflow was represented, from both high and low budget filmmaking.
Overall the night was a great success. I’m still playing those images back in my head…
The pre-edit checklist:
- New burr grinder, for consistent, tasty quality
- Slightly leaky but functional coffee machine
- nearby coffee shop for emergencies
- 7 terabytes of data neatly organized and backed up
- Workstation set up and monitors calibrated
- Post workflow researched and tested
- Slide scanner prepped for distraction during long renders (yes! finally get to bring in some of my slide film from 2006)
… and I’m ready to start editing! Here’s where I’ll be spending the next six weeks:
Not the greatest picture, I guess… ah well. I’ve finally been able to set up a standing editing workstation, something I had back at my old job. I had the maintenance guys find an old countertop and install it at standing height. It helps keep me alert for the long stretches… this isn’t quite as fancy (two cardboard boxes and a leftover shelf) but it’ll do the trick.
Editing is my favourite and least at the same time. I enjoy seeing the story form from the raw, but the long hours without fresh air get to me… and my attention span has decreased with my approach to old age :)
I’ve found a nearby river for some peace, and I’m within walking distance of an old heritage home with a coffee shop inside. I feel well prepared and I’m looking forward to tackling the story challenges ahead of me.
While I’m getting my edit suite set up, and data moved around & backed up ready for a six-week edit session, Jesse‘s been playing a bit with some of the footage from Rwanda. This one’s just too cool not to post. Click the image to see a 1K cloud timelapse (down-res’ed from 2K, processed in RedCine and After Effects).
There’s also a few RED frame grabs from our shoot in Rwanda posted here if you’re interested.