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Phil Connolly

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Everything posted by Phil Connolly

  1. Indeed the last "free" music video I did was on the agreement they let me do what I want and have no input in the edit. Its not fun getting trapped in edit hell on free jobs because the artist is upset they don't look sexy enough....
  2. From memory I think its about 8 or 9 stops. Limited mostly by the 8 bit DVCProHD Codec. I never actually tested it but at the time was better the DV type cameras and similar to Digi-Beta/HDCAM - which have similar specs. Perfectly fine if your able to control the lighting. I did work on the post of the Top Gear Polar special, (shot on the first generation) and the footage looked excellent. Panasonic HD cameras were less popular in the UK compared to Sony HDCAM. Mainly because the broadcasters picked 1080/50i as the standard. 720p production was less common. Shame as the Panasonic colour was nicer then Sony's its 4:2:2 rather then HDCAMS 3:1:1 and they are a bit better in lowlight, due to the larger pixels. Also it was easier to work with, you could capture tapes over firewire and not have to invest in a HDSDI capture card. I used a few panasonic's because the university I worked at the time was a Panasonic training centre.
  3. Hi Sam The dialogue is quite tightly written and its paced well. The idea around a girlfriend leaving a boyfriend behind to go to collage has potential. The current draft however lacks drama. Most films create a challenge for the protagonist (Brent) to overcome, this could be a difficult decision he has to make or a problem he has to solve, or a sacrifice he has to make. Its important the protagonist is the person that drives the story through the choices they make. Currently in the script, stuff just happens to Bret and he goes along with it, we have 5 mins of disappointment, but its not that dramatic. Films where nice stuff just happens to the heroes, tend to be a bit dull. Ideally you want to challenge and make life difficult for your characters. This is too easy. What if the parents do not want him to take a year out? What if he goes on the road trip reluctantly? What if he was more angry about April going to Brown? What if he failed his exams and the year out is cover for the fact he couldn't get into collage? It could be more dramatic. Find away for Brent to make more decisions. Often its a good idea to give your protagonist a personality flaw , that they have to overcome to resolve the films conflict. E.g he could be too possessive of April and realises he has to let her go at the end. Short films should be pacy and too the point - you don't really need the scene where he's given the car. It doesn't advance the story, unless they give him his sisters old pink VW and Bret acts like a brat (conflict), then it can break down later (more conflict). Think about how many locations you use (you have to shoot these places). What are the most cinematic ways of shooting these scenes, e.g is the phone call needed I would recommend you read "On Writing" by Stephen King, he really talks about the need to put your characters through the ringer and this podcast episode on writing is very good: https://johnaugust.com/2019/how-to-write-a-movie It talks about story from the POV of addressing your characters wants. Screenwriting is hard well done for putting yourself out there and I hope this feedback helps. I do think your central theme/idea - has potential but it just needs to be developed further. Have fun with it, see if you can throw in some curve balls, make it surprising.
  4. They are nice lenses - looks glossy, good colour pallet and pacey edit. Was the 2.39:1 crop decided in post or during the shoot? Some of the full hight dancer shots are cropped at the ankle and it looks a bit tight, might look better in open matt 16:9 At times the operating is a bit uneven - on wider dance shots (particularly) I think camera movement (is it hand held or loose tripod) its a bit distracting.
  5. I agree the with the kit side of things, they should consider that an "in-kind" investment - so both a exec producer credit, a contract that states a deferred payment (which you won't get) and clear agreements about showreel should be the bare minimum. To be honest I'm not a fan of producers that also want free kit, especially when they aren't paying for labour. Its a bit cheap ass, what other corners might they cut? As a producer in the past I have done microbudget project with unpaid crew, I didn't enjoy it, made me feel cheap, but I alway paid for kit hire and I once was able to make a deferred payment to the crew when a project won some prize money.
  6. Don't rely on future promises, there's no way they can guarantee future work and shorts are unlikely to make a profit. But if you think it could be profitable you could ask for a contract with a deferred payment, without paperwork its not likely you'll get anything. A deferred payment is pretty common - e.g you have a contract that states you will get X amount if the film turns a profit. However I can count on 1 finger the number of films that I know about that actually was able to make the deferred payments. Particularly for shorts. Only do the film if it benefits you for other reasons - e.g levelling up on the showreel/experience. Or do it because you want too, filmmaking is fun, if you enjoy making films then its not a bad thing to make a film for the pure joy of making it outside of financial reward. These days I do project for free either because it allows me to explore something creatively that haven't been able to do in paid work, or i like spending time creatively with a specific bunch of people. In terms of future work or being promised they will hire you when they get funding for the TV/feature version don't expect too much. In the first instance its very unlikely project X will become anything bigger - its a long shot. Also, even if the filmmakers are working in good faith and they get funding for a bigger project and want to keep working with you. They may not have the clout to take their crew with them. The studio make (for instance) want them to use a DOP thats known to them. If your a filmmaker presented with an opportunity to make the film, but only if you work with the crew the studio demand. It would be very tough risking a deal breaker to keep your old DOP. This has happened with quite big directors e.g Danny Boyle and Kevin Smith not being allowed to bring on their own DOP's from the indie days when they make a studio sale. So even if they promise they will keep you, they might not be able too.
  7. I dun lit this with 2 red heads, sorry for the low res, I never kept a copy, this is grab off youtube. The back light just had a bit of ND and was backed well off to get the level down. Key was a red head through 216 and a lastolite on the side bringing a bit of fill. Creating a crisp backlight is easy, the trick is to not have it OTT. I don't like it drawing attention to itself Full video here - quite happy with the lighting on Chris Hopewell as well, same deal 2 x red heads for the interview, but I got to leave the lights in the set on:
  8. If you want to shoot a "live" performance with a single camera. Do the wide shot with the musicians playing "live" and record that sound properly. That recoding now becomes your "master" audio recoding, so keep shooting till you have a take that looks and sounds good. Then for your subsequent shots get the musicians to "mime" along to your live "Master" recording. This gives a hybrid live/mined video thats again easy to sync up. The trick is to shoot a take near the start that establishes sound and then everything matches that. Otherwise you risk the musicians drifting off. This approach can look really good and fool most people into thinking its a fully live multi-camera performance. As Jon said it could be possible to put it together with the musicians playing live each time to a click track, they would have to be good, it would be more work to put the music together and combine the sound and not all musicians are great with click tracks - it would be possible to get lost. The other option is to use 2 cameras. Then you can get 2 live angles and 2 mimed angles - so it feels more live. My tutor at film school shot an Erasure video with 2 x16mm cameras at a concert. The did one pass in the sound check and another in the main concert. The footage sync up because Erasure were playing to a backing track and the speed was consistent between takes. You couldn't tell the shots were taken at different times, matched well.
  9. At this point, sounds like your jumping through so many strange hoops to make film work. Why waste stock on a compromised film option? If they aren't keen with "movie cameras", thats when digital does become a more flexible option. The location is happy with small digital 4K and its gotta be better then battling low light while attempting to push process small gauge film stock. Sometimes its better to take the path of least resistance.
  10. Widescreen Cinema by John Belton is an interesting read. Shows how widescreen technologies developed and stories behind them. Its good back ground and context for the formats we use today. After reading you can become a true aspect ratio nerd.
  11. I would have loved to see this on the big screen. The 4k Netflix version looked and sounded great
  12. I've been intrigued by Mark Jenkins approach to filmmaking using home processed 16mm. His previous short "Bronco's House" is available for free here for 1 week: https://www.lecinemaclub.com/ Its rather good. Certainly an unique look
  13. If you want things like bottle smashes to be really slow and awesome looking 48fps might not cut it. Slowmo starts too look cool in the 150 to 200 fps bracket for thinks breaking if you want to see the particles clearly. The other problem with the performer learning to lip sync at high speed means her motion will look strange as well - they will look slowed down as well, even with lip sync and a 2X speed up as David said is really hard to do. 4x or 6x to get more slow mo even more impossible. The other approach would be shoot it in two passes. Lock the camera off and shoot the background action in slow mo. Then shoot the shot again at normal speed with the singer in position. You could use a portable green screen to comp the two together or use the roto brush in after effects to cut round the singer so you can comp him on the slow background. You could shoot the singer in green screen in a studio but its easier on location to match the lighting. In terms of light levels you'd want to put ND in for the normal speed, rather then stopping down - so both show happen at the same f stop.
  14. Nah, you may wish that was the case and you may be correct in terms of the technology used. But, language doesn't work like that. The millions of people that use the term "filming" for digital moving image capture, are not going to stop because some nerds on cinematography.com state its wrong. Its not wrong, because thats the word people use, how could it be wrong? Again its not about technology, but if you go up to any English speaker and invite them to shoot some video. A very large percentage of them will state they were "filming", thats the way language works. You can't police it or control it. Its like the time, the French language people, got upset with too many Americanisms creeping into French. E.g they created an alternative French word for "Walkman", which was "Baladeur" which was used by practically no one, because the general public were happy with "Walkman". The term "filming" is out in the wild its already being used by millions to describe video recording. At this point it stops becoming incorrect and just a part of the English language. Same when radio interviewers describe they got "great tape"... I doubt they are still rocking DAT machines. If you try correct someone for using the term "filming" wrong, its only going to make you look like a pedant. Also you'd be wrong because if you take the English language as its used by most people: Filming means recording moving images, ask anyone. Language isn't a debate, its a conversation.
  15. The back up thing does stress me out when I'm supplying my own gear. I keep my trusty old 60D in the car on shoots, its good to know you can limp through on it if the Black Magic spafs out. On the fashion front I guess if Alexa is even 1% better, then on the high budget jobs thats worth the extra expense. At the commecials level its alot about image. I mean is the prod co and team that charges £500k for a 30 sec video going to be functionally better then a team that could do it £50k. Its a lot about having the balls to charge crazy prices and then the clients start to think its worth it. Alexa plays to that image in a way the trust FS7 doesn't
  16. I used to shoot similar projects at I worked at the East 15 Drama school in London for 2 years doing this, the priority was never the cinematography but giving the trainee actors experience acting in front of the camera. More time spent lighting means less time for the students to practice acting. The quality looks similar to what we would achieve, e.g that of a small crew working very quickly. Also working with inexperienced actors means they are going to miss their marks, make mistakes - this can result in buzzed focus and mistimed camera moves. I got in the habit of shooting to quite deep stops, because I couldn't be confident I'd nail the focus on the one take the acting was kind of ok. This kind of work isn't the sort of thing you should be critiquing in the context of cinematography, its more of a teaching exercise - the production values just need to be "good enough" to give the actors a realistic "on set" experience. From my own experience doing this, I was often aware of the problems with the lighting - but if your shooting a 45 min drama in 4/5 days with a crew of 2 people and trainee actors, just having something that vaguely cuts together is a good achievement.
  17. 2048 x 1107 is a 2K scanning/record resolution of 1.85:1, 35mm film. Since a 2K scan is going to be 2048 wide and the hight dependant on aspect ratio up to 4:3. If your producing a 35mm print, then you would master at 2048 x 1107 for 1.85:1 2K typically and laser record it to film at that resolution. But if your mastering for digital projection, stick to the DCI spec, it assumes a 2048 x 1080 or 4096 x 2160 chip in the projector. Ideally you want to avoid resizing if possible. The bigger challenge is for odd aspect ratio films e,g 1.66:1 or 2:1 - they aren't coved in the DCI spec. At lot of 2:1 films are letterboxed within the 1.85:1 DCI frame - even though they "could" use more pixels by using the full width of the chip.
  18. For cinema Its 1998 x 1080 - for DCI 1.85:1 flat The full 2048 width is only used in cinemas for the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The 2048 x 1080 full container is a 1.9:1 aspect ratio , thats the actual number of pixels a 2K DLP chip has and its wider then 1.85:1. So to maximize resolution for a 1.85:1 file, it can only be 1080 pixels tall. The full hight is used and the chip is slightly wider then 1.85:1 so the sides have to be cropped down from 2048 in to 1998. For 2.39:1 the full width of the chip is used 2048 and its vertically cropped to 858. Best to stick to the DCI flat standard to avoid cinemas miss framing. Also best to conform to the correct resolution initially to avoid resizing too much If its for broadcast or web its better to 1.85:1 letterbox within 1920 x 1080 16:9 container. The DCI spec is only important if your going to make a cinema DCP. For 4K double the numbers
  19. The photography really does stand up. However, I did find the film overall look a bit dated from a production design POV, also its very unbalanced in its gender representation, they should have cast the net a bit wider, I'd have made the "Buzz" character female. But the biggest problem is how ridiculous the whole thing is. As, if an entire country can come together in that way behind a scientific ideal. Governments can't even fix things like homelessness, hunger or healthcare - so a space programme, not credible, even if its a fun idea
  20. Hi Osman, I think its a good idea to use the forum as a sounding board for ideas. Sometimes you can get stuck on an idea and an external input helps. One of my film students was struggling to get permission to shoot in a grave yard. I asked him why he needed a grave yard. He responded that he needed to show one of the characters had died. I asked him if there were other ways he could he could achieve that visually. That was all the prompting he needed to come up with a better solution. Sometimes you can't see the wood from the trees. I've done similar things where I wish I'd talked ideas through and taken suggestions. I think often we try to overcomplicate things and ignore the simple/obvious solution. Maybe because its "too easy" but very often the most straight forward approach is best. Don't delete the thread it shows working out and illuminates your thought process for others. Good luck with the shoot and do post the completed video when its done - I'm curious to see what you had in mind.
  21. Technically is well shot and the clone effect is neatly done. But as others have said when the figures are so small its a frustrating watch - you want to see the instruments being played in detail and see the singers face. Personally I like to see the musicianship on a video, more traditional coverage isn't a bad thing. Maybe the concept would have worked better if you used the same basic composition but either did more extreme zooms onto the figures (even if it goes grainy) or just cut in some close ups. So keep the wide with the clones - but have some tighter shots to ground it. The opening frame is quite good. Just needs more development. Maybe treat this as a camera test and rework it to include more shots or thing of other ways to develop it - once you have the idea of "clones" what other things could you do with the concept. Being quite aggressive with the edit I find works on music videos. This was my attempted at a "Locked off" music video: sync seems a bit loose - even on the super wide shot the guy hitting the box thing seems to be a couple of frames off the beat. Some of the clones are more "on beat" then others - but at times feels a bit iffy.
  22. If you want the cookies to interact with the waves and wash up on the beach, thats going to be hard to mock up on a model shoot. You'd need some form of "wave tank" - possibly doable but quiet a complex build. To be honest its probably easier to do on an actual beach with a ton of cookies (they are bio degradable after all), then you know its going too look real - and you don't have to mess around with compositing and green screen. If you time the tides right and maybe use nets to contain the action. Multiple cameras could be used to give you a couple of angles. Anything else and your dealing with issues of scale - where would you get mini fortune cookies etc... Beaches are big things, I'm sure you could find a quiet spot to shoot something quickly san's permit. I would put my energy into scouting a secluded spot, finding a time when the tides going out early in the morning or at magic hour and doing it that way. Then you know it will look "real". Putting the artist in pool in front of greenscreen is going to need a proper compositor to sell that - water and greenscreen is challenging cos of all the reflections etc... if the Director is doing the post, you want to keep it simple and active the effect in camera. The Sea Gulls would probably be pleased about the free meal if you do it for real as well. Obv's if your do put the performer in the sea - make sure you've thought through all the Health and Safety aspects and mitigated any issues etc...
  23. This absolutely...even just eeking out a living requires a huge amount of work and dedication. But to work the top level on features - its equivalent to representing your country at the Olympics (only more difficult) Anyone thats worked in film production for any length of time will have been involved with some absolute "trainwreaks" and will have further "trainwreaks" in their future. Most of us show solidarity for each other, aware that we are in glass houses and better not be chucking any rocks about. There are some very experienced people on this forum that are sharing their experiences as a gesture of goodwill. Its not a place to pick fits and say X person is wrong. As a general rule the more "opinionated" a person comes across on the forum, the less experienced they are. Which is fine we want less experienced people on the forum is a place of learning. But its flipping filmmaking, there is no correct approach, its not an argument to be won.
  24. Thats not the point I was making, I could have substituted any low cost digital format for my iPhone comment. I purposely chose a poor example of equipment to indicate that I would prefer a good film on any format then a well shot bad film. Funding is difficult, most films fail at this first hurdle Filmmaking is difficult - I have a lot of respect for anyone that got a feature film made. That is a huge achievement regardless of how good it is artistically.
  25. Thats not post production - thats a live multicam-TV studio gallery (or control room for you Americans) The op is sat at a Vision Mixer (Switcher in American English). On the two main screens you are seeing 2 camera feeds and what looks like 2 VT's feeds or a clock and the other big screen (top left) is the programme out. The other screens will be to control VT's, graphics, titles etc.. All which are mixed in live On live TV you need a lot of screens cos everything happens at once Other things in the shot are an audio mixer on the far left and 4 radio mic receivers. This is a very small TV studio gallery - set up for 2 or 3 cameras. The one at my place of work (Brighton Uni) has about 3 X the number of screens and can handle upto 8 cameras at the same time. And thats at university - a sports or news gallery (sorry control room) will have 100's of screens and properly look like mission control
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