Emerson Smith Posted September 14, 2016 Share Posted September 14, 2016 (edited) Hey there! I'm sorry if this is too many questions at once, but I figured it would be better to just lay my initial questions all out at once instead of peppering them throughout the thread over time. I graduated from college this May with an English degree and a minor in Communications, and I want to go to film school as a graduate student. In order to do this, I need a short film (I'd really like to go to USC). However, my university didn't/doesn't exactly have a cutting-edge film program, so I'm a little flustered. Here's a bit of background about my short film project. It concerns a young woman going to a bar in the early hours of her 21st birthday (it's like 12:08 AM) and ordering her first-ever drink. It's going to be shot without dialog--it will be all body language and sound effects, like a Pixar short, if that makes sense. I want the look of the film to be "objective" (I know that's not a real thing in film) except for a couple of wide-angle shots and a deep focus shot which pulls back over the bar to establish that she's in a bar (if there's a way to do this without deep focus, let me know). I'd also like to do something like this shot from The Music Man (https://youtu.be/CC33O52pGUg?t=2m43s). I don't know how they did it, but I suppose you can cheat it in post if you're a good/patient enough rotoscoper. Anyway, I was looking into what kind of camera I should use to film this project. I've saved up a bit of money and I want to get the best camera possible for the job without requiring me to learn a textbook-worth of information or have tons of hands-on time with the camera before I use it. Since I'll be filming in a real bar (sadly, I haven't saved up enough money to build one from scratch on a soundstage) at night, there will be low light and the possibility of competing color temperatures (since I can't exactly tear out any lights). I'd also prefer to go for as filmic a look as possible. I would shoot the project on film if I could, but I super-don't know enough about film to do that. For this reason, I was looking at either the RED camera or the ARRI Alexa XT. After reading about the RED, I came away with the impression that it was a very particular camera that had kind of a steep learning curve, and that the ARRI Alexa XT would be much easier to shoot with, although I don't know if it's easy enough. My experience has mainly been with that one miniDV Canon SD prosumer camera that everyone had. I also would like to shoot Open Gate ARRIRAW for the project to maximize the pixel count for upscaling to 4K. Since I live near Atlanta, I'm looking at renting from here: http://pce-atlanta.com/. Here is their list of cameras and lenses (PDF): http://www.pce-atlanta.com/pdf/Camera%20Catalog_4_8_2013.pdf. I'm going to be renting the camera and lenses for a weekend. So my first question is: how feasible is this? Especially as I've never used the Alexa before and I'm not an experienced color corrector. Can you just drop ARRIRAW footage into the free version of Da Vinci Resolve or Adobe SpeedGrade and get good results just by messing with a few presets, or is it going to be a month of tedious work? Because I don't have the time to devote every day to it, especially as I'll also be doing foley work. My second question is this: ARRIRAW is flat footage, correct? So how do you know how the colors are going to look when using the monitor? My third question is: how much is that Codex docking station that plugs into the USB 3.0 connection on a MacBook Pro? I've been unable to get a straight answer from their website. And do I need to buy a software license to transfer the ARRIRAW files to a hard drive using it? My fourth question is this: what kinds of lenses should I use? I was thinking of just getting a zoom lens, since that would be cheaper, but would I be able to pull off that deep-focus shot with it? And ARRI's website tells me that shooting in Open Gate ARRIRAW can be a problem because a lot of lenses don't fully cover the sensor area. Do any of the lenses on that list qualify? I'd rather not abandon the Open Gate part of my plan, but I'd sooner abandon it than abandon the Alexa XT (although if I weren't shooting in Open Gate ARRIRAW I guess I could switch to an Alexa with the XT module), so if I have to, I will. My fifth question is: do I need to get a new tripod? I mainly have the kind which you can use for still camera work or for that relatively light Canon prosumer camera I mentioned. Is the Alexa XT a heavy camera? My sixth question is: lighting. I don't understand it. I have a lot of questions about it. I'm considering just using the available light for this reason. For instance, I understand the three-point lighting method (or I think I do, anyway) and I understand how it's easy to do in close-up, but what happens when you cut to a long shot from a different angle, exposing where the lighting rigs would be?My seventh question is: how do I keep it from looking like TV? Let me elaborate on that. I initially thought that aspect ratio played a part in making TV look like TV, but Better Call Saul looks like a movie to me, and Witness for the Prosecution, mistakenly presented in 16:9, looked like a movie as well--not like TV. So my theory is that it has something to do with coverage and composition (and maybe editing and lighting, too). I want my short film to look like a film. What are some common pitfalls I should avoid if I don't want my film to be mundane?I think that's it for now. If you guys could do me a favor and keep checking this thread, I'm sure I'll have more questions. Thank you so much for your time. Also, please let me know if in the future I should make separate topics for questions with separate subject matter. I just didn't want to clutter up your forums. Edited September 14, 2016 by Emerson Smith Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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