Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What To Do at NAB

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

The NAB Show, as I’ve mentioned before, to me, is a must do and see.

There you can meet with all of your online social network peeps, learn things, see what’s new in products and technology and just be engulfed in tech geek goodness.

Obviously http://nabshow.com is the place to visit to find out all about what’s there. The NAB Show app is really cool too.

Here’s a couple NAB Survival Tips blogs:
http://adamtheeditor.blogspot.com/2012/04/adams-nab-survival-guide.html
http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/2012/04/tips-for-attending-nab-2012/

Here’s Walter’s Post Centric “What to See” blog post:
http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/2012/04/things-to-see-at-nab-2012/

Here are a few party list pages, that mostly have the same parties listed:
http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/nab2012/story/whats_happening_at_nab_2012/
http://www.mediamotionball.com/nabinfo.html
http://supermeet.com/
http://www.nabshow.com/2012/event_highlights/official-afterparties.asp
http://kyleesportfolio.com/blog/?p=550
http://www.thomas-pr.com/01/nab2012.html

A Couple Podcasts with something to say:
http://t.co/SML3ri1N
http://scruffythinking.com/thatpostshow/2012/4/8/hold-it-again.html

As I think I mentioned before, color correction and iPad broadcasting (not necessarily related) are my two main interests this year. I really don’t think there’s going to be too much new to take in (that I’m not already aware of but can’t talk about because of NDA’s, even though the news seems to be breaking all over the place anyway!) for me as far as products go, but I do have a couple “want to buys” on my list.

As a new iPad owner, I am looking to see what products are out there for it and hopefully see them in action. I am also trying to do as much as I can on it as far as blogging and vlogging from there as well. Yes, we’re going to give you some video this year.

I plan on buying a couple Go Pro cameras too.

I plan to get to four main parties.

As far as I know free NAB show floor pass codes have expired but this page claims to have a link that works. So, give it a try? http://www.fcxuser.com/node/164

On The Pot, The Primordial Thinking Stool

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Please excuse this short foray away from digital filmmaking.

The Thinker is one of the world’s most renowned objects to convey thought.

Driven from my slumber this early Sunday morning by a bed full of coughing, whining children who only want “Mommy” to console them, I started to my office to finish some unfinished work, namely the sending out of the remainder of sponsorship package notices that I need to for #INKMINIGT.

Making some tea and settling in to do so, I realized I had some more pressing issues to handle. So, thinking my iPod touch nor iPad would really be productive at this time, I grabbed a small book to accompany me. My mind a whirl of thoughts, I never opened the book but contemplated the amazing amount of thoughts I had running across my mind… and why.

Throughout time, your cells, in whatever form they had, even before they begat the thousands of generations to come, have been at their most vulnerable when one had to scurry off from the tribe to “drop one off”. There they were, all alone, making an easily trackable scent. One, let’s say, any predator could pick up on. Just for sheer survival of of the species, one had to be on high alert at this awkward time. All fight or flight options had to be fully at hand, as who knew when some Lion or Cougar would come sneaking up on you!

As one’s form developed safer methods of protection during one’s most “aware” time, one had the luxury of being able to pursue more future thinking options. I dare say, in the “cycle” of life, its greatest advancements have been born during these times.

It’s amazing how fast one can compute any scenario. One could “write” a whole movie in an instant. One could think of multiple endings, in conceptual form, all at once. I would go as far to say that one’s whole future could be laid out in the short time it takes to…. After all, don’t they say your whole life flashes before you just before you die? The mind is (or you are) an amazing computing machine, beyond what we are probably even capable of understanding. I say, take advantage of this most conscious of times and postulate a divine future for whatever time frame you wish but exercise your mind and explore what Earth shattering developments you could push forward out into the world. Heave with all your might and release wondrous creations into the stream of the world’s consciousness. Squeeeeeeeeze one out… for the benefit of mankind.

I know you can. I thank you. The world thanks you. (And make sure to handle all the necessary paperwork and especially remember, “Employees must wash their hands before returning to work”!)

Hollywood Camera Works “Hot Moves” DVD Review

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

by Thomas Mathai
@rebeldigitalgod

We all want to make great visuals. Slick camera moves is the hallmark of the Hollywood blockbuster. Watching a ton of action movies is one way to figure out how great camera moves are done.

Hollywood Camera Work (www.hollywoodcamerawork.us) seemed to have dissected all that work for us with their DVD, “Hot Moves: The Science of Awesome”. Hollywood Camera Work has two DVD training sets, one is a master course on blocking and staging, the other on visual effects. “Hot Moves” is an addition to the master course, building on concepts introduced in that set. In fact, the narrator refers to the full master course set for in-depth information on designing shots that cut well, while Hot Moves is just the dessert.

Many of the camera techniques discussed are designed to be big and expensive, using long dollies, sweeping crane shots, or fly overs. Alternative less complicated or expensive options are given when possible. Animators may find Hot Moves more useful, since they aren’t facing the same real world limitations.

It’s important to realize that the narrative instruction on this DVD is purposely monotone with long pauses. While you may want to watch the whole DVD in one sitting for an overview, it’s seem to really be designed for repeated viewing to better understand the concepts being presented.

The DVD starts with a recap of some concepts from the master course. Then goes into the use of parallax, pivots, rolls and angles. There’s even some extensive information on shooting from extreme heights and aerial shots. These moves are definitely recognizable, and it’s interesting to see what works and what doesn’t.

Computer animation is used to great effect to demonstrate the techniques. The animation is visually clean and direct, and making it easier to understand the concepts.

It would have been nice to have a PDF showing diagrams of the moves presented on the DVD. While it’s nice to see the results of the move, it’s also important to know how complex it is.

Hot Moves is definitely for the advanced filmmaker, the one who’s ready to try something a bit more complicated, even attempt to cheat the more expensive shots using their available tools.

Contributing Writer Thomas Mathai works doing DI work in Hollywood for the movies.
You can follow him on Twitter: @rebeldigitalgod

The Future of Post Production — Post is Production

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

This last week was very eye-opening for me in a few ways. It’s not that any of these ideas are new to me; it’s just that I’m looking at them from a different viewpoint. Sometimes, you just take “facts” for granted. Sometimes you have epiphanies but you don’t give them all that much credence. I’m looking at these things anew. I’m “just” realizing the implications of this information and how it will really apply to me in my future and my future career path.

It all started with LAFCPUG on Jan 18th. There Michael Cioni, from Light Iron, talked about the “transformation” of digital cinema. He talked about the current workflows and how people just need to understand that this is how it works these days.

After a couple emails with Michael, I decided to peruse his company’s website and discovered free classes that Michael delivers there. I wasn’t the only one, as many of the attendees at the Jan 25th class had been at LAFCPUG the week before too. This class, first in a series they teach, is called “State of D-Cinema”, D-Cinema of course meaning “digital cinema”. This class pointed out the history and major time points of digital cinema and touched on this thing called “philosophies”. This is where I had one of those “duh” epiphanies. People have different philosophies, this transcends all areas of life beliefs, including technical, and indeed it is hard to reach agreement between people with different basic deep beliefs or “philosophies”.

I’ve talked about this before in a different vein, old computer mainframe operators complaining that there will never be anything better than mainframes and thinking they will have a job forever. But I’ve also talked about this in the very same vein, film projectionists thinking that film will “never go away”. Well, and as was pointed out in the “State of D-Cinema”, as much as you may like film, you won’t be able to manufacture it yourself and soon the manufacturers, if not already, will stop making it. They do not make film projectors any more, period. Think about it. Digital projection is the majority now in theaters. “All will be digital!” (Until something different comes along!)

Where are we now?
With all of this “digitalness”, comes the awareness that the only ones in the process who have been doing things digital for some time now, are the post production people. I mean think about it. Even animation, a very “production” sided activity is lumped in with the techies in post. Why is that?

Now, with the state of digital cinema as it is, we have post personnel needing to be a part of the production phase more than ever. It is so much so, that really, post is production. We have DIT’s, Data Wranglers, etc. on the set. We have to apply coloring samples to the raw picture so directors have an idea of what they will get in post. And we have lots of technology sitting there in “production” that once was just in the editing bay.

This is just a scratch into the surface of what is all there and expected right here and now. There is wireless transmission of “instant” dailies and on and on. What the heck will the future be like? Post is Production, there’s no doubt. It’s even a little pre-production.

More on the technology of post
Post production software has transformed too and is even transforming more than the general public is aware of. Final Cut Pro X floundered on the scene last year to much disgruntlement. It was “mainframe operators” saying you can’t get rid of mainframe computers, really. Since post is really all technology (not talking about the art of cutting, just the tools), then we really have to look to what technology itself is doing.

iPads and tablets are where computing is going. It’s funny how technology goes in circles. We used to have dumb terminals in the workplace, all connected to a, you guessed it, a mainframe computer. Then we got desktops networked into the mainframe. Then the mainframe went away. Or did it?

Let’s face it. Software is going to the cloud. Storage is going to the cloud. The software companies are going to subscription based software for a number of reasons. Yes, they are! There will no longer be a need for desktops. You will be able to do all of your work on “dumb terminals”. Whether those dumb terminals are iPads, iPods, tablets or mac airs, who knows. But seriously you will only need interfaces in the future. It’s all going to the “cloud”.

Current post production consists of big computers and lots of storage hardware and personally owned copies of software. Enjoy it while you can. Before you know it, these will all change.

I’m not saying I’m for this change. I’m just saying it’s an inevitable destination. I think the very aware ones are already preparing for this. I think the next level are just going with the flow of what’s here now and maybe are the bleeding edge guys. Then come the clueless who just wonder “why are they changing things that are working just fine”. And then, even below the clueless, are the “mainframe operators” who will yell to no end that “they can’t get rid of mainframes!”

Next blog post: What is Adobe Prelude?

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I guess I’m pretty lucky. 2011 wasn’t that bad for me. Looking over the news and a lot of Facebook posts, people are really looking forward to saying goodbye to 2011 and hoping that 2012 will be much better.

I do hope 2012 is much better for everyone. I also hope it’s better for me too, better is better, right?

I won’t say everything was great in 2011 because not everything was. Life is a pretty rocky road. You get dealt good and bad and hopefully, you have the ability to stand the bad. I seriously don’t know how some people move on from tragedy. I’ve heard it said that some lose something in their face, it becomes a little less bright or they wear their sadness there. As I get older, I feel like that slowly happens to me as well. At times, I can’t imagine living past a certain age. I thank my family for giving me the greatest reason to carry on, to enjoy seeing change and growth in their lives.

I live my life mostly in the pursuit of helping others but I also try to do as much of that through doing what I love to do too. Quintessential Studios was formed with some grand ideas. I envision a huge facility of video and audio recording and editing stages and bays. I think of it as a co-op sort of situation where the community comes and is able to take advantage of space, classes, etc. I make moves to push Quintessential Studios in this direction as much as I can, little by little. Currently we are an “independent production company” and as so, we are doing a little more each year. 2012 should be a really good year for that side of things. I also try to build the local filmmaking community by running Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire. We’re experiencing growth in that area and I’m very excited for 2012.

We have 10 meetings scheduled for 2012 and one super duper party planned for 15 April in Las Vegas during NAB! Hope to see you there!

Thank you to everyone who helped make my 2011 what it was and I hope you all have the best year ever coming up.

I will do my best to make it a great one. I look forward to more interaction with more people and growth along all areas. I’m really seeking some life balance this year and so far things are shaping up to be, mostly, great.

I’ll post more here too, I promise….

Why Join a User Group

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Do you have an interest that is shared by many or by a very rare few?  Perhaps you like photography.  That’s a big subject with a large fan base.  Perhaps you like to keep African Killifish.  That’s has a bit of a smaller appeal.  I, myself, have had various interests in my life (the above subjects included!) I’ve had more hobbies than years of my life.  I guess you could say I get bored quickly.  More than that, I get very interested in things, very easily.  Life interests me!

In the “good old days”, if you wanted to find out more about something, you’d go down to the library, check out a couple books on the subject, read up on it and give it a go.  Additionally, you could find a local store that specialized in that sort of thing and chat with the store owner for hours at a time.  The later worked very well if it was a popular activity, like tropical fish or photography.  It also helped in being able to get supplies for said hobby or future business idea.  I always seemed to want to grow whatever my hobby was into some sort of business venture.  I guess that is the entrepreneur in me!

I once saw a program on TV about this twelve-year old millionaire and he started with a pair of hamsters!  (Yes, I even tried to raise hamsters too!) I mean isn’t that what they say, “If you want to be happy, do what you love for a living!”  (I’ve also had more jobs than years of my life!)  But, I AM happy!

There have long been magazines on just about every subject too.  Sometimes, you’d get lucky and there would be a local club related to the subject of your interest, as well.  This adds a whole new level of enjoyment and education to your hobby/business interest.  I have been involved with a few different clubs in my past as well.  Heck when I was ten, I started the Riverside Tropical Fish Club.  There were only three members but I even managed to get a sponsor to donate free samples of fish food and water conditioner to the club.  After that win, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get a donated remote control car to my bright idea of a club, “The Riverside R/C Club!” Oh well! You can’t blame a kid for trying!

So, I guess you can say I’ve had a long history of starting groups.  It’s one of the best solutions for loneliness that I know of!  Join or start a group!  At the very least, you’re going to meet some cool people with the same interest as you.

A “user” group is a group of people that share an interest in “using” some thing, usually a piece of software or suite of software.  There are computer user groups too, like Mac User Groups or PC User Groups.  They are usually put together so that you can learn to use that particular thing better or to get new ideas on how to use it.  There are, for example, graphics user groups who cover creating things with graphics programs like After Effects or Cinema 4D or Maya or something similar.

One of the benefits of a user group is that with the combined membership, you have clout.  You have more clout than with just yourself.  Companies in the field want to communicate to your group and know that a group will benefit their business in many ways.  This is so true that they often give stuff to the group, like prize giveaways and big discounts.

More than the above points, user groups are just a lot of fun!  Meeting people with the same interests, talking about projects, networking, getting new ideas, etc. are some of the great aspects of being a part of a user group.

Currently, I am signed up with lots of filmmaking related user groups and attend three or four on a regular basis: Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group, Los Angeles Post Production Group, Southbay Filmmakers and Digital Media Artists Los Angeles to name a few.  This is in addition to the filmmaking group that I run myself (Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire, “IFIE”).

Each meeting or meetup I attend is great.  Very nice people are there and we all share a passion for what we do.  I can’t say enough about networking.  The bonds from a user group are usually a lot stronger than ones made “on the street”.

I see all kinds of people at user group meetings, from ones who just come to see the presentation and never talk to anyone to those who have their core friends that they meet there to those that are really good at meeting lots of people and engaging many conversations.  So, whoever you are, there’s a place for you there too!

My own group uses a lot of different things.  So, I have set out to make it an official user group for whatever products we use.  We are an official Avid User Group, an official Adobe User Group, an Apple User Group, a Focal Press User Group, a Peachpit User Group, an O’Reilly User Group and a Sony Vegas User Group.  Each of these designations has its own unique benefits.  All of which translate to a better user group experience.

User groups usually have a set meeting date and time, say the first Wednesday of the month, like mine, from 7 to 10 PM. Some are very strict with their schedule and start and end on time and others are a bit more lax and tend to go over, like mine!  I think the only problem I have is that I want them to go on longer.  Some groups have after-meeting get-togethers, like over pizza or beers or a late night Denny’s run, for the hard core members (who don’t have to be home so soon). Some are held AT a pizza place!

They also usually stick to a basic format, say some networking or introduction time, announcements, presentations of various sorts and then a raffle or auction of some sort.  The prizes are sort of an enticement to stay till the end, usually.

Like the good old days, we still have the options of the library and the local store owner.  But unlike the old days, we have all kinds of new ways to get information.  The Internet has helped tremendously, not only to look up information regarding your interest but also to find user groups to join!  Meetup.com is a great place to start looking.  If any of the above sounds appealing to you, I recommend finding a user group near you to join.  Not only join, but attend the meetings and functions.  You’ll have a blast.

My impression of In the Cut: Employing the Art of Editing Seminar by Thomas Ethan Harris at the Egyptian Theatre

Friday, March 11th, 2011

My impression of In the Cut: Employing the Art of Editing Seminar by Thomas Ethan Harris at the Egyptian Theatre 2/17/2011

Part I

It’s hard to convey the sheer brilliance of the seminar a lucky few of us had the chance to attend last night.

I’ve seen glimpses of this type of information, namely in two places, Peter D. Marshall’s directing course and in an introductory speech by Professor Daniel Jacobo from Chaffey College on the Tao of Super 8.

Granted I have not attended any film schools nor have I studied too in depth in regards to film theory, but I would agree that this type of expertise could probably be gotten at any film school, through lots of diligent study, but this night we were treated to an intensive course in intelligent filmmaking through exposure to some great scenes and lively discussion about the particular editing techniques used (or not used).

As a fairly new editor and filmmaker, I was completely unaware of the insidious disease that has been being transmitted to the youthful filmmakers of my and the upcoming generation of filmmakers, the infectious disease of (actually less-than) mediocre filmmaking.

It didn’t take long to discover that I and thousands of “filmmakers” the world round were engaging in unsafe activities and further propagating the existence of such deadly things as “mumblecore”!

It was nice to get professional treatment right there on the spot, in this make-shift “clinic”, the Steven Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian. An “inoculation” directly applied to the filmmaking wound of mediocrity that is festering and infecting the future of filmmaking.

“Dr” Thomas Ethan Harris not only provided emergency treatment but also provided education to help us prevent future outbreaks….

To read more go to http://bit.ly/frdpmN

2010 My Year in Review, or How IFIE Saved My Life

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

At the end of 2009, I felt kind of alone, in regards to filmmaking.  The people involved in the projects I’d been a part of, kind of went off to do their own things and I was left in a creative void.  In fact, it was quite a deep, empty void, for me personally.

I felt deep inside that it was my own fault that people were disbanding and I’d even had some harsh words to some.  I felt regret and remorse in my heart and, honestly, felt very near to ending it all.

That probably isn’t a very positive PR thing to admit, but I feel that maybe I should talk about it because there may be other people out there, who might be experiencing similar thoughts.

One particular day, as I was leaving school, almost with the intent to end it all, I decided to visit a friend. I figured I’d kind of get some things off of my chest and start to make my rounds, to tie off the loose ends, so to speak.  I also knew in the back of my mind that communication was always the key to solving problems, so it might help me out of my doldrums too.

I guess, luckily, he was home.  We talked about random things and eventually got around to how I wished I had had more filmmakers or people interested in filmmaking around, people who want to learn the things I wanted to learn and shared the same passion for it as I did.

We talked about successful groups that we had each been involved in, groups of all types, beer making groups, tropical fishkeeping groups, etc.  There were some things that each had in common.  Just having someone to listen to me, helped.  Talking about those groups, sparked something in me.  I decided to create a filmmaking enthusiasts group (and subsequently, to put my death plans on hold.)

Honestly, I didn’t care if it was just a bunch of people who wanted to get together once in a while and drink coffee and talk filmmaking.  The point was to have a group, some like-minded folks to be around, to build comradery.

I started to promote locally to see if I could garner any interest.

Jan 5th, I got six people to join me for coffee.  Everyone there was very interested in starting a group and felt that it was definitely a needed and worthwhile venture.

I decided to front up the money to put the group on Meetup.com and went to work promoting the hell out of the group.

Over the last eleven months, we’ve grown to over 300 registered members and a good average of 50 people in attendance to our monthly meetings.  We have over 30 sponsors and lots of support from various other groups and organizations.  I truly do plan to take this to an even higher level next year.

Our end of the year/one year anniversary meetup/”mini-expo”, while not as big as I’d planned, was quite a success overall.  It was held at the UC Riverside’s Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts.

We had presentations from Douglas E. Welch, Maxon Computer and Avid.  We gave away nearly $6,000 in prizes. Everyone seemed pleased.

If you are interested in joining IFIE, please sign up here: http://IFotIE.com

Quintessential Studios Action

Production wise, I’ve been still shooting B camera at LAFCPUG meetings, completed some marketing videos for a chiropractic marketing firm and some of their related services, covered a couple events, shooting stills and video and even did some shooting at a cousin’s wedding. (“I don’t do weddings”, BTW.)

I’ve helped produce/fund a couple of independent crowd-funded films: ‘Invasion of the Not Quite Dead’ and ‘Solomon Grundy’.

I’ve attended MANY industry expos and conferences and even was a technical adviser and cameraman for one (paid).

In October, I produced a live shoot for the band Pandemic Unleashed.  One of the videos can be seen here: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=180094208668072&oid=197727010181

Educationally, I’ve completed three more college classes this year: Sound Recording in Media, Advanced Editing (FCP) and TV Studio Equipment.

In Summation

People can become depressed for many reasons.  That’s part of life.  It’s not a chemical deficiency.  It’s a lot of things.  The main thing that IS going to help them, though, is communication and understanding.  Be there for people and listen.  My friend saved my life and he doesn’t even know it.  I’ve decided to take the time to be interested in others and to help see them through to reaching their goals in life.  Actually, I’ve kind of always been that way.  I just wanted to point out that you do matter and we can help each other out, every day.  And, a little goes a long way.  So, thanks for being interested in what I do and say and I hope I am able to return the favor!

How Zombieland’s Independent Approach Can Help Filmmakers Save Production Costs

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

As a part of NAB Show’s Broader-casting sessions was the panel “Big Idea, Small Budget: ‘Zombieland’s’ Production Innovations”, produced in association with Film Independent.

Digital technologies are providing filmmakers many more opportunities to create larger scale blockbusters on a much lower budget. Since we discuss digital filmmaking here on this blog, this panel was right up my alley!

Moderated by Josh Dickey, Deputy Editor of The Wrap, this panel was composed of Panelists:
Maher Ahmad, Production Designer, Zombieland
Michael Bonvillain, Cinematographer, Zombieland (not present)
Paul Linden, FX Supervisor, Zombieland
Ruben Fleischer, Director, Zombieland

To start off, the budget of this film was $21 million dollars. This is actually small for “Hollywood” films so consider that these cost-saving ideas are scalable and can apply equally to micro-budget, no-budget or mega-budget films.

There were basically four points that were covered with regard to “How exactly did you save money in production?”

Ruben Fleischer explained that he came from a low budget background (the first point) and from music video production and that producing Zombieland was a make-break moment for his career. The low budget background enabled him to approach the process with that type of mentality. Being given a hard cost budget to make his film, he had to juggle every cost involved along the way.

To Fleischer’s credit, he assembled a first-rate crew, industry veterans who not only had the experience to get the best quality but who also were smart enough to be able to work within a variety of budgets. This was an area in which he didn’t skimp on the budget. As Maher Ahmad added, “It can cost you a lot more in the end if you ‘try to save a few dollars’ on your management’s salaries”. He mentioned that some advice from his dad that helped him and that was to not be the “smartest” guy on the production and so he hired people “smarter” than him. He also said, “You have one job and that is to choose”. There are many choices brought to you by members of your team and you choose. You are the filter.

During the Q & A portion of the panel, he was asked how did you balance “letting the creative people alone to do their jobs, while still maintaining your own creative vision for the movie?” He said that part of the professionalism of the heads of his crew was the fact that they all worked within his creative vision for the film. Working with good people will help any production save money.

Tax incentives were another point where they saved money. It is not only important to find a suitable location but it could also be to your advantage to research what tax incentives are available in that certain state. This shouldn’t be the only deciding factor but it can be considered. Zombieland was shot in Atlanta, GA. Another sub-point here, a “smaller” community can really be excited for you to film in their area. Fleischer said that they were able to film in the mansion in the movie at a very low price for that very reason.

The two other points were kind of combined together in the presentation and those were “knowing the movie” and “preparation”. Preparation included, storyboards, previz, production design, VFX (which included 747-matte enhancements and digital squibs), greenscreen driving, shooting smart and quick and digital filmmaking.

Michael Bonvillain shot the movie in HD on the Genesis camera. The Genesis camera was good w/low light and there was a huge savings in having footage immediately vs. film development costs. Short comings were that the DIT tech does takes time and pulls away from the focus of the shot, discussing options but overall the shooting is faster. Also, blowups are great vs. film, not as grainy when blowing up a portion of the frame for a shot.

Paul Linden described the various VFX processes and the use of digital squibs vs. practical squibs. The decision was made pretty early on to go with digital blood spatter, not only because of the sometime misfiring of real squibs (blood packs that explode out), causing wasted time in retakes, but also that they could create any effect they wanted. They showed some examples of how they were put in and also how they could shoot, say some zombie getting their head smashed with a shovel or some other large object and that they could just shoot it with a shortened handle and VFX in the end of the implement and the resultant harm.

While some things seem extraordinarily expensive, like the giant indian statue in one scene cost $10,000 to make, they explained that that was cheaper than some other alternatives. (I don’t know about that but okay!)

freeway scene

Also, 150 smashed cars were used in the film. It’s cheaper to buy already smashed and crashed cars and move them around as you want them then it is to smash up good cars!

All in all, Ruben Fleischer was proud to announce that they came in $2,300 under budget!

A mention was made that with the newer, lower cost acquisition tools that are available to anyone these days, that there is no reason that these points can be applied to filmmaking at any budget.

This was the focus of another panel, I also attended, The Twenty-First Century Camera Crew and How it Works. I will discuss that session in my next post.

InlandSoCal.com/iguide/movies and How DSLR Videography Takes the Main Stage

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I’m blogging for http://www.inlandsocal.com/iguide/movies/ now, under their sub-heading “Inland SoCal Filmmakers”.

Here is the blog that was published Feb 22, 2010 from http://www.inlandsocal.com/iguide/movies/content/your_films/stories/movies0222dslr.1428f70a0.html

DSLR Videography Is Taking the Main Stage

by Eric Harnden

In April, I was on the Digital Production Buzz talking about finding deals when building your studio. I wrote up more about that here:http://wordpress.quintessentialstudios.net/?p=86

From that post I said, “A little more on knowledge: Overall knowledge of your subject can always be improved, and for me, I spend a lot of time going to expos (like Createasphere, DV Expo and NAB*); Seminars, Meetups and User group meetings (like LAFCPUG**) and I most always learn something new. In fact, I was surprised that I knew more about the Silicon Images’s SI-2K camera*** than a Moviola camera rental rep…. All because I had just seen it demoed and talked about at another event…. Of course he knew a LOT more about EVERY other camera out there and a TON about compression and data rates of the different cameras and, so, I did learn things from him.”

Last week, I went to an Orange County Meetup given by the MCAI-OC (Media Communications Association International Orange County). It was called “ALL About DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) Videography” and I learned all about the hot new Canon cameras that are now being used to shoot video, not just for home fun but for commercial video and movies. It was a very comprehensive event covering pre-production, production and post. Canon reps were there and Rob Terry showed how he used them to shoot 40 commercial spots in two days for the Kellogg garden company! While I have read and watched a lot of videos on the web of what’s being done with these cameras, I didn’t know the actual workflows of them. This is mainly because I am not shooting with them yet and so haven’t delved into them that much.

The tide is rising, though, on their impact upon the indie film world and I figured it was about time to dive a little deeper into this wave!

The Canon EOS Rebel T2i EF-S, retail price $899

The very next day, I attended the Createasphere Entertainment Technology Expo in Universal City and one of the main events was the Canon Intensive Workshop, where, you guessed it, they covered the exploding market and uses of these new cameras. These cameras are being used to shoot movies now. George Lucas is using them right now at Skywalker Ranch for some shots in his upcoming feature, Red Tails.

If that wasn’t enough, I decided to take part in “From the Camera to the Web – Your Files and What to Do With Them” and “Sound – An Audio Primer for DSLR and Small Crew Productions” not really realizing they were both part of the “DSLR Video Track”. And so, I ended up learning more than I ever wanted to know about DSLRs and working with them.

During these two days of intensive DSLR videography training, I meet some great people who said they would be willing to trek on down to the IE and give the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire presentations. So, stay tuned for an announcement about that.

Meanwhile, I picked up a bunch of free magazines to give out at our next meetup. Another benefit from expos, lots of free swag!

Speaking of which, I am in talks with DV Expo who are going to offer the IFIE’s free and discounted passes to their September 2010 show in Pasadena, CA.

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*NAB, National Association of Broadcasters. They put on an annual week-long expo  in Las Vegas every April.

**LAFCPUG, Los Angeles Final Cut Users Group. Meets every 4th Wednesday of the month in Hollywood.

***The camera used to film Slumdog Millionaire.

The Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month. Click here for more information.