BUSINESS AND MARKETING: Business and Marketing Forum Business and Marketing Articles

A Major Motion Picture in HDV

COW Forums : Business & Marketing

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Dan Asselin
A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 5:19:16 pm

So I see in the news portion of the Cow Main Page that the movie "Crank - High Voltage" was filmed primarily using the Canon
XHA1 and the Canon VixiaHF10. (I was thinking that the next sentence was going to be that they edited it using Adobe Premier Elements but there was no mention of their NLE)

The reason I am writing this in the business forum is I want to ask people the following question. Have standards fallen so low that it makes no sense to even spend the money to go "all the way up" to a
full 1920x1080 camera instead of HDV.

I guess that I am more sensitive to this because I am in the process of buying my first "real" camcorder and, like everyone else, don't want to feel like a dummy afterwards.

I know there isn't really an answer here but perhaps this is a development which merits some discussion.

Thanks All;

Dan


Return to posts index

David Roth Weiss
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 5:29:46 pm

[Dan Asselin] "Have standards fallen so low that it makes no sense to even spend the money to go "all the way up" to a full 1920x1080 camera instead of HDV. "

Dan,

There are of course just as many articles out there detailing projects shot on RED and Genesis at 4K as well, and there are all kinds of projects shot on everything in between HDV and 4K too.

The look you want to achieve, the budget you're working with, the market you're in, and most importantly, the story you're trying to tell, should all be considered as the primary factors in camera selection, and renting rather than owning isn't all bad either.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


Return to posts index

jon agnew
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 5:43:10 pm

I think it is sometime all too easy for us to fall into the technology trap, giving too much weight to numbers...1440 x 1080 or 1920 x 1080....4:2:0 vs 4:2:2...etc. I am more than guilty of this. However, I think it's important for us to remember that, at its core, filmmaking is about story and emotion...and that cannot be quantified with resolution or color space.

One of my favorite movies from the last 5 years is "The Puffy Chair" shot entirely on a DVX-100. It may not look like "The Last Emperor", but the story was successful...and because it cost so little to make, it was a financial success as well. And it opened the door for the Duplass Brothers, who wrote and directed the film, to make more films...which, in the end, is how a filmmaker would judge his own success: "Can I make another one?"

I think it's laudable for filmmakers to pursue their craft despite limitations imposed by budget and format. I would rather see a good story shot on VHS, than a Michael Bay film in IMAX.



Return to posts index


Trey Gregory
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 5:59:00 pm

I feel like the barriers to entry are dropping with the cost of equipment.

Danny Boyle shot most of 28 Days later on a Canon XL-1, and in my opinion that movie LOOKS great! So gritty and grungy.

The barriers to entry for into film are getting lower and lower. It's not how high-end your gear is, it's how strong your story is, how good your performances are.

Personally, I would take a film with a strong story shot on a handy-cam over a film like Gigli shot on film any day of the week.

Good topic tho, very polarizing.

Trey Gregory
ECG Productions - Atlanta
HD Production and Post
http://www.ecgprod.com


Return to posts index

walter biscardi
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 6:16:38 pm

[Dan Asselin] "The reason I am writing this in the business forum is I want to ask people the following question. Have standards fallen so low that it makes no sense to even spend the money to go "all the way up" to a
full 1920x1080 camera instead of HDV. "


Shooting on HDV does not lower any standards. It's how you use the camera and the footage to achieve the best storytelling. We're using some HDV footage on three feature documentaries that are in post right now.

Bad storytelling lowers standards, not any particular video / film format.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


Return to posts index

Andrew Kimery
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 6:46:18 pm

Not to sound like a dick (don't you love it when people start off w/that?) but did you read the whole article to understand why they chose to use the cameras they did? Horses for courses. If they were going to shoot some epic period piece in 2.35:1 I don't think they'd use small HDV cameras. But for the style and aesthetic they want for Crank the smaller cameras fit the bill. And as others have said it's not what gear you use it's how you use it. A few years ago the movie November, which was shot on a DVX100, won Best Cinematography at Sundance.


-A


3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



Return to posts index


Nick Griffin
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 6:47:49 pm

[jon agnew] "It may not look like "The Last Emperor", but the story was successful...and because it cost so little to make, it was a financial success as well."

[walter biscardi] "Bad storytelling lowers standards, not any particular video / film format."

More than a couple of times I have explained to those starting out that they need to be conscious of, and stick to, what they CAN do with what they HAVE to work with. You can't have a smooth as silk crane shot descending from 75 feet in the air into the middle of the action if you don't have a 75 foot Chapman or similar piece of hardware. Duh.

Well you can't expect to have the look of Discovery Channel's Planet Earth from a DV camcorder either. But just as Jon and Walter point out, the storytelling needs to carry the project, not the equipment. In fact, the equipment and it's limitations can sometimes help the project.

Probably one of the better know examples of this The Blair Witch Project. It had the look of a handheld camcorder because it WAS shot with a handheld camcorder. The gear and its usage created the look which created the mood.

The long and short of it is you have to match what you've got, or are getting... or yes, David renting (because that's how people in Hollywood operate -- not that there's anything wrong with that)... with what you're trying to do. The problems arise when there's a mis-match.


Return to posts index

walter biscardi
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 3:10:36 am

[Nick Griffin] "Well you can't expect to have the look of Discovery Channel's Planet Earth from a DV camcorder either. But just as Jon and Walter point out, the storytelling needs to carry the project, not the equipment. In fact, the equipment and it's limitations can sometimes help the project. "

What's interesting about that is I met one of the editors of that series and from he told me, Color Grading saved many of the shots in that series. Many did not look nearly as good out of the can or during the edit as they did after Color grading was done.

We just completed a project recently that was all shot Z1U in India and they had some overblown white and just bad color issues on a lot of the footage. I did some serious color enhancement in Apple Color to completely change the look of the original footage into something that really helped tell the story.

So even after the footage is shot, what you do with it in post can make or break the story.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


Return to posts index

Asmund Voll Tesdal
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 9:33:48 am

Just one thought; how does the cost of extra time spent grading less-than-ideal footage compare to the savings of renting cheaper cams?

Just wondered, because I heard some talk about when people started shoooting on DV, only to find the savings being eaten up by more time needed grading. I wasn't around at the time myself, so I don't know, but is a situation that could hit low-budget HDV productions in the back? Just curious, really.


Return to posts index


David Roth Weiss
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:40:28 pm

[Asmund Voll Tesdal] "how does the cost of extra time spent grading less-than-ideal footage compare to the savings of renting cheaper cams?
"


While there are actually many cases that can be made for using less expensive cameras in a whole host of different situations, you bring up an interesting point Asmund. In my 30-plus years in the business, one of the mistakes I've seen over and over again, is what I refer to as "spending a dollar to save a dime."

On average, post-production costs typically represent sixty-five percent or more of most budgets (that means essentially two-thirds of the average budget is spent in post), and everyone knows this, yet you'll see producers constantly creating new and unnecessary work for their post-production departments, which they somehow think saves time and money.

The classic example that we hear about on the FCP Forum several times every day, is the producer who saves money in camera rentals by shooting their multi-cam project with three different cameras, at different frame rates, and with different pixel dimensions. Great!!! You just saved a few hundred bucks on cameras, but it's now going to cost you many thousands of extra dollars and many hundreds of extra man-hours in post to finish a project that will also most likely never be as good as it could have been if all cameras had matched.

The bottom line is, as I wrote in an article for Creative Cow Magazine a couple of years ago, "as technology takes us farther and farther, delivering cheaper, faster and better increasingly requires working smarter." The problem is, people think films are made with equipment and technology, and they forget to use that powerful computer that's positioned between their own two ears.

David



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


Return to posts index

walter biscardi
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 18, 2009 at 11:50:00 am

[Asmund Voll Tesdal] "Just one thought; how does the cost of extra time spent grading less-than-ideal footage compare to the savings of renting cheaper cams?
"


The camera wasn't the source of "less than ideal" footage. It was the operators. I've seen HDV footage come through here that looks like very low quality DV because they let the whites blow out and the crush the blacks. I've also had HDV footage that looks like high quality HDCAM because the operator knew how to set levels correctly and even enhance the image. The Sony Z1U seems to be the best of the HDV cameras in terms of quality of image.

We use Apple Color for just about every project that comes through our shop as it gives you opportunities to do looks and grades you simply can't do with any other tool on the Mac. I spent no more, no less time on this particular project than I do with anything else. I spent about 1/2 day color enhancing that particular project.

If you're going to do a "major motion picture" you better plan on 4 to 7 days of color enhancement anyway.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 20, 2009 at 9:56:17 pm

[Asmund Voll Tesdal] "Just one thought; how does the cost of extra time spent grading less-than-ideal footage compare to the savings of renting cheaper cams?"

Correct!

It depends your final deliverable. "Crash," of course, went to a film print. The overwhelming majority of microbudget movies are lucky to get an audience, much less a film print.

I'm repeating myself, but here's the answer for a DI: At monacosf.com the price ranges from .55 per frame to $1.20/frame. at 24fps
24*60*120=172,800 frames * .55 = $95,000 and at $1.20 = $207,000.

And transferring video to film costs about $3000/minute. 120 minutes * 3000= $360,000.

Question is, with half a million dollars in services on the table, is it possible to get a reasonable discount?

I think we call that question "a grinder"?
So there you go!


Return to posts index


Nick Griffin
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 11:25:46 am

Walt showed me the before and after on this India footage and his color grading on it was MASTERFUL. Yes. He truly made the story by adding mood and focus in some places and colorful excitement in others which simply did not exist in the original footage. (As said in Wayne's World while bowing feverishly, "We're not worthy. We're not worthy!")

So what happens when there's decent footage to begin with? Can't better work come from starting with a better product? I believe the answer is fairly obvious.

And while I have little doubt that Planet Earth was helped in post there are so many aspects of its cinematogrpahy -- ie. - the the one man hot air balloon camera gliding through the treetops -- that simply could not be on screen without it.

Then there's one of my favorites, production music. Put great music behind mediocre to adequate footage and suddenly no one notices the video, just how dramatic the scene is. Oops. There I've given away one of my secrets to how I pass myself off as a cameraman.


Return to posts index

Ron Lindeboom
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 20, 2009 at 1:14:48 pm

Personally, I have gotten so spoiled with so much of the good color grading being done on shows and movies today, that when I see a show that is broadcasting the straight from the can shots, it looks unfinished to me.

There is a visual polish that color grading often (not always) brings to a project.

I have also seen a lot of over-blown grading but when it's done right, I'll take it anytime over the natural image.

But hey, that's just me.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






Return to posts index

David Roth Weiss
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 20, 2009 at 2:01:26 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "when I see a show that is broadcasting the straight from the can shots, it looks unfinished to me. "

As it should. It is unfinished. If film or video are shot properly, they have maximum latitude for grading in post, which means that, from a color standpoint, dailies should not be particularly exciting to watch.

If you look at 2K and 4K dailies shot on the RED cameras, they look rather gray, as if they've been stripped of color. Again, that's because neutral color allows increased color latitude during grading.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


Return to posts index


Brendan Coots
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 16, 2009 at 7:31:21 pm

Yes the story should carry the story, but equally relevant here is that you choose the technology BASED ON THE STORY. Blair Witch, Rec and 28 Days Later all leveraged low end technology for authenticity's sake and to place the audience uncomfortably close to the action. In contrast, The Transformers needed the precise and ultra-clean look of very high end gear because of the story and the intended audience.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


Return to posts index

Dan Asselin
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 2:37:48 am

Like I said there is no real answer here.....but your comments are all exceptional. Just another day where I am glad there is a COW around



Return to posts index

Chuck Pullen
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 3:37:26 am

I believe I read an article about this movie in Digital Content Producer or some magazine like that. The best part was that they choose these cameras for financial reasons… This movie is going to make over $50 million dollars and they didn't want to spend an extra $20,000 for better cameras???

God love them for doing that though, and like Walter said, everything was done in color grading… It should give the rest of us with more expensive cameras some hope though… If they can make $50 million with some XLHA1's imagine what we should be charging for our shoots!

Chuck


Return to posts index

Alan Lloyd
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 17, 2009 at 1:58:33 pm

Stu Maschwitz on less = more in this context:

http://prolost.com/blog/2009/2/24/slumdog-millionaire.html

Slumdog Millionaire winning the Oscar for Cinematography last night is meaningful to me in two nerdy ways.

First, Slumdog was partly shot with a digital cinema camera—the SI 2K Mini from Silicon Imaging. No, not just the game show footage, also some of the wild chases through the slums of Mumbai.

But mostly what I love about Slumdog winning is the clips played all throughout the Academy Awards ceremonies. Of course the awards show highlights only the most emotionally resonant moments of the film (there are so many to choose from, it is a magnificent movie). And those emotional moments, almost without exception, featured key shots captured at 12 frames per second (or less) and double-printed for a staccato, dreamy feel.

That's right, in order to enhance the emotion, director Danny Boyle and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle showed less. They showed less and communicated more.



And Stu is also a grading madman. (Stu, if you're reading this, I mean it in the very best way possible!)


Return to posts index

David Roth Weiss
BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 19, 2009 at 12:13:50 am

http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2009/04/18/crank/index.html?source=r...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


Return to posts index

Dino Sanacory
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:41:39 pm

I think everyone sees it essentially the way I see it. That is, movies are about telling stories and the tools used are just that, tools. If the end result is something that can engage, entertain, and enrich the viewer, it is a successful movie.

That said, the same criteria can be applied to any story telling. Nobody cares if a book was written on a $6000 computer with two 30" screens or scrawled on the back of used placemats with a dull pencil. If the book is good, it's good. Now if the book is bad photocopies of that illegible, grease-stained scrawl, the story is effected buy the fact that I can't make out a third of the words and a feeling that I should wash my hands every time I touch the book. Proof reading, spell checking, type setting, layout, are all parts of the idea of a book. Leaving these out reduces the value of the best story. That is what we have with this movie. It is not an attempt to re-evaluate the tools. It is a disrespect of the craft.

I will never waste the time or money to see this movie in a theater. I did watch an online trailer in high res. The images looked over processed and abused as if from an attempt to compensate for the poor results of what was shot. Yes, that is my opinion. The thing is, as much as story, writing, acting, directing, editing, music all play a part in a successful movie, at the end of the day, film is a visual medium. We should expect a treat for our eyes as much as we expect compelling catchphrases or gratuitous violence.

There have always been financial limits that come into play in the creation of a movie. Nobody storms out of a theater in a rage because some self-financed independent didn't have an explosive train crash or an accurate recreation of ancient Rome. The filmmaker just has to be honest with the story that can be told based on the limits of their situation.

"Crank" is not art. That is fine. It's disposable pop, meant to titillate. 14 year old boys will love this movie. No one though should treat this as legitimate invalidation of a tried and true craft. Crank is not a subversive blow at some impenetrable industry aristocracy. It is a cheat of the audience that should expect a certain minimum standard of respect for our willingness to hand over our money in exchange for a visual experience.

We as image makers/manipulators should always strive to create the best possible visual experience we can. Don't ever let, what you can get away with, stand in for, what you should do.


Return to posts index

Dan Asselin
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 20, 2009 at 4:11:34 pm

That last line reminds me of what a school counsellor once told me about the fifference between a good and a bad job. A good job pays you for what you can do....a bad job pays you for what you can put up with.



Return to posts index

Alan Lloyd
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 21, 2009 at 2:23:58 pm

While it's not great art, let's remember one thing: They didn't make the movie for us, and most of the audience will not care if it was shot on Canon XH-A1's or Whoopty-Doopty HyperWiper 3700B/v1.5's (with the latest firmware update) or whatever.

This is the business forum, right? Imagine that! People made a film for a specific audience! It will likely be briefly successful, certainly make back its negative cost, and then that audience will move on. And a very, very small number of them will pick up a camera and say "I want to do that!"

I worked on a low-budget actioner a while back, we shot it in a week, in SD, for deliberate direct-to-DVD release. Know what? It'll make money. Not a lot, but it'll get into the black. And we...made...a...movie. the highest mountain on earth is the half-finished projects out there. We made a movie. And somewhere, there's an audience for it. They'll find it, and probably enjoy it. With luck, they'll want us to make another one.

It's not about us, guys, it's about them.


Return to posts index

Dan Asselin
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 21, 2009 at 2:36:47 pm

Alan, while I understand your point I think it is misplaced. It is my opinion that any development which can have an effect on how we plan to spend our equipment and production dollars has a place in the business forum. The people who have stated that the bottom line is that it's all storytelling and has nothing to do with technology haven't spent much time opening their wallet and deciding how much to spend recently. If you knew a distributor would take on your movie while you quarter your camera costs I'm betting you'd be in a better position to make more movies. (P.S....I do a fair amount of direct-to-dvd myself but that's not where "Crank" was aimed)

And congratulations on helping to get the low-budget actioner done.
You are right that the size of the pile of half-finished projects is
incalculable.

Dan



Return to posts index

David Roth Weiss
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 21, 2009 at 6:28:07 pm

[Dan Asselin] "It is my opinion that any development which can have an effect on how we plan to spend our equipment and production dollars has a place in the business forum."

I agree, and the reason I posted that review was that it specifically was not just about the bad story, but was critical of the film on a technical level. I didn't think anyone should be selecting a camera based solely upon hype about the movie, especially if the movie was, let us say, "technically challenged."


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


Return to posts index

Alan Lloyd
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 22, 2009 at 6:21:39 am

Well, lots of outright slagging of it having been made on XH-A1 and other HDV cameras. And while I would not try to make Lawrence of Arabia in HDV, and I will in all likelihood not go see Crank, I think the question really should be one of what the audience goes to the movie for, since without them there is really no film business, just film making.

It's like caring more what brand of wrenches your mechanic uses instead of whether your car gets fixed right.

I'm an audience advocate, and will always be one. They are our customers.

(And to tell you the truth, when it comes to spending these days, my inclination is to let the rental managers have the headaches!)


Return to posts index

David Roth Weiss
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 22, 2009 at 6:56:19 am

[Alan Lloyd] "I think the question really should be one of what the audience goes to the movie for, since without them there is really no film business, just film making.

It's like caring more what brand of wrenches your mechanic uses instead of whether your car gets fixed right. "


But Alan, the original post was from a guy asking about buying a specific camera. He was in fact interested in the brand of wrenches. That seems to make your argument a non-sequitur, or am I missing something?


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


Return to posts index

Alan Lloyd
Re: BTW - Here's a pretty dismal review of CRANK
on Apr 22, 2009 at 2:47:27 pm

At this point, the discussion has moved some distance. And my comments are/were to those who got on their high horses and started slagging the movie, and sniffing disdainfully at anyone who uses smaller tools and emphasizes the storytelling.

Late to the discussion, true, but there's some stuff that needed to be said here.

To address the original question, he should buy the format his clients want and need. Less won't help, more may well be wasteful.


Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: A Major Motion Picture in HDV
on Apr 20, 2009 at 9:57:59 pm

The American Cinematographer magazine reported http://www.ascmag.com/magazine_dynamic/digital_edition.php the footage went through a digital intermediate process, which, if you haven't looked into, is a very expensive process.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]