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In pre-production of feature film, need advice

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Seth Thy
In pre-production of feature film, need advice
on Oct 15, 2015 at 3:47:25 pm

Hi,
We're in pre-production of feature film (I'm a colorist). It's gonna be a combination od documentary and fiction. Style of color grading will be a bit different of fiction and documentary parts.
Fiction parts with actors will be shot on Alexa.
But we have a problem with documentary parts, because we need to shoot it more "guerrilla" style, which means: small crew, probably just 4 ppl. That means Alexa is out.
We plan to shoot everything 4K.

So, my question is: does anyone have any experience with mixing different camera footage with Alexa footage and can you tell me what should we use for documentary?
Sony PXW-FS7, Sony a7s, Panasonic GH4…? Something else?

Thank you
Seth


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Mark Suszko
Re: In pre-production of feature film, need advice
on Oct 15, 2015 at 4:47:52 pm

Since the two parts, the fictional and the doc, are by design supposed to have very different "looks", I don't know that it matters which doc camera you pick. So pick what fits your budget.

If you need the doc camera to look less "polished", and yet still be 4k, part of that will be done in the grading step, the rest will be a question of lens choices, framing, lighting, and technique. You could for example shoot all the "doc" footage on an iPhone. They even come in 4k now, I think. "Tangerine" was an entire indie movie done that way. Or use an iPad with the accessory add-on lens systems. Use different mic technique and sound design as well on the doc footage, to point up even more of a difference. Do things like online zooms and re-frames in the doc footage, compared to well-considered cuts and pro camera moves in the "fiction" part.

What will be interesting are any scenes where the same people and location are captured both ways, simultaneously.


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Seth Thy
Re: In pre-production of feature film, need advice
on Oct 15, 2015 at 7:04:42 pm

It will be graded just a bit differently, but we want to have same quality of image. I don't think you want to have such a huge difference in quality between Alexa and iPhone in same film. Well, maybe you do, but it is gonna be so obvious. We have an expression here: "finger in the eye". We don't want that.

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Mark Suszko
Re: In pre-production of feature film, need advice
on Oct 15, 2015 at 7:23:02 pm

It's good enough to shoot commercials for Bentley, but not for you?!?!? :-)

If you shoot them both identically in terms of lenses and sensors, then it will be especially important to get your two different "looks" through the color grading AND the change in lighting and how the camera is handled.

My thinking here is that, you would have to do fewer time-consuming and expensive changes in the lighting between setups, if the nature of the camera itself gave a different "look".

Maybe all you really need on the set to get your two looks is to throw a lens adapter on the same camera and swap lenses to something wider or with a different DOF. Whatever you do, think about my earlier comment that audio differences should match visual ones. Different mics and adding or removing reverb can help sell the illusion.


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Emre Tufekcioglu
Re: In pre-production of feature film, need advice
on Oct 22, 2015 at 8:33:18 pm

Your best bet is to go with a Arri Amira, same imager and recording quality as an alexa but built for documentary work. 1 man operation if needed, shoulder mount.

You can downgrade the footage to make it look like anything you want.

That's what we did, fantastic results.



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