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Douglas Hunter

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About Douglas Hunter

  • Birthday 02/10/1968

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    Los Angeles
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    I work on all levels of television production, currently I am the post super for "My Boys" for TBS. We are on the Paramount lot which I really like, great sense of community here and a bit of that old hollywood flair.

    In general I wear many hats from post supervisor, to line producer, to camera operator, etc. Despite my professional labor my real interest is in cinema as an art form so I am interested in everything from the American Avant-garde to the European narrative tradition, Bergman and Tarkovsky being my main sources of filmic inspiration.

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  1. "I actually wanted to hear the negatives when I posted the question." Well, I did a 2 camera shoot with the Canon 7Ds a while back and I am editing the footage now. I am very much a film snob, but I admit that in some situations the aesthetic qualities of the CMOS DSLR image are wonderful. Here are some negs. 1) If you hadn't already guessed the on-board LCD can't be used for precise focusing and the Canons don't have continuous autofocus in video mode(if you need that). 2) We found that the cameras would sometimes just cut off in the middle of a take for no reason. 3) The look is a bit inconsistent, some shots look like beautiful 24p HD, while others have a more muddy/flat SD 29.97 look to them, and yes our settings were always the same. Its just that the camera is not forgiving in the same way film is. It loves some light and hates other light and it will make you pay for this is a way that film tends not to. Also note that the amount of video noise can end up being significant even in situations when you think it shouldn't. 4) In post transcoding is a pain, and there is not very much color information in the signal, granted this is a problem on all prosumer digital video, just know that it will stick with you on this camera. 5) The image takes color correction pretty well, I am pleased with what can be done but was hoping for more. 6) Also note that if you are working in FCP for multicam work you must transcode all your dailies if you want to use the multiclip feature inFCP. As an aside we also shot dual system sound, and it turns out that you can't use .WAV files in multiclip mode. You need to marry the audio to some sort of video such as text prior to including it in multiclips. This is not in the FCP manuals but no one I have asked to test it can make it work with .WAV files. A couple of positives: I was shooting rock climbing and I have to say the texture of rock tends to look very strange on most video formats, the DSLRs, for what ever reason, do a far far better job of rendering the texture of rock than any other format I have used including 35mm stills, and super 16 (even with good glass). Let me also add that despite the negatives listed above I still really like the 5D and would use it again now that I have an understanding of how it works, what it likes and doesn't like. I am also drawn to the Nikon D700 for its continuous autofocus in video mode which I don't like to rely on but is really helpful when shooting while hanging in a harness tracking a climber in tight shots. I think if you bring the mindset and precision that you use when shooting film to a DSLR shoot you will find ways to get the results you want, but I would also suggest doing more testing that you might normally do.
  2. Shane, You might want to do a little more reading up on how to shoot sync. But to answer your direct questions, Most DJ mixing boards will have some sort of line out: either XLR or stereo plug that you would then be able to route to your recording device. As for what kind of sound recorder to use, if you are editing in an NLE the best thing to do is to get a field recorded that records to flash memory. I use the Marantz 660 device and it works very well. With any flash device getting your audio into your NLE is a "drag and drop" operation since the recording format is .wav or mp3 files. If you record to DAT you would need to capture your audio in real time. Honestly DAT is pretty outdated at this point anyway. Something else you will want to consider is longer takes. 15 second takes of a toast or speech seem pretty worthless. When shooting sync you will probably find that you start looking for performance more than you do when shooting MOS. To get performance, to capture the brief moments when people are at their best, you just gotta have longer takes. Sure some camera ops are really good at anticipating when that moment is about to happen but not always, and its still really easy to miss an important opening etc. The big problem you will have is that you will most likely NOT be able to slate your shots so you are doing wild sync. This can be pretty difficult. Assume that your camera will drift about 1%-2% (if its well maintained and in good condition) over the course of a take. You need to have some sort of good hard effects in the shot to see sync. The "easy" way around this is to shoot CUs of the speakers so you can really see their lips moving and find sync on strong lip movements such as the letter "P". when you have found some of those sync points then you can get an idea of how much drift you have and how much you will need to adjust picture to match audio. good luck.
  3. Steve, Congrats. The film is clearly doing well!! But I am a bit peeved that you didn't tell me it was screening in LA! I would have been there in a heart beat. How about a trailer on the website?
  4. I am pretty sure that Gillies has a an S8 dof calc. on Super8,org. Its a wigit for the mac OS so I don't know if that will cross over to an ipod.
  5. Keep in mind that for the examples you give doing such things in post is going to be more expensive. Next, in the professional world of features and TV, studio execs. are looking at dailies and want them to look really good. If the dailies are unfinished or don't look good then the phone will ring and the "should we fire the DP?" conversation may happen between the studio and the EPs. Then you also want to consider that the DP is not always around for the post process, and in some cases they are not welcome. So any work slated to be done in post, can be, and often is, done by someone other than the DP. There are some things that are better to do in post but it depends on what you want. From my experience in the realm of TV the DP is always better off crafting as much of the look as they can on set. It saves money in the long run and keeps everyone happy along the way.
  6. You've got it backwards its not that people in the industry think they are "above" the courses, its that they know students are "below" practical experience (and they are right). I take issue with english lit not being #1. There has been a HUGE glut of English PHD's in the US for 2 decades now!!! What is sad is that many of the majors on the list (philosophy, English, Art History ) are those that require critical thinking skills. But thinking doesn't make you any money right?
  7. Jake recommended the Weston books and I second that, they are good resources, I also like Bruce Block's "The Visual Story" it's a very strong guide to learning to control the visual elements of film and video. He shows you the visual tools but its up to you to apply them. For learning standard coverage there is a book called "Grammar of the film language" Its not a great book but if you want a quick start guide to the standard ways of covering different situations with different numbers of actors in different situations it does provide the basics. What books to recommend really depends upon what kind of director you are wanting to be. If you just want to direct hollywood type film and TV then closely watching TV and films is a very good education, if you are observing the right elements. What you miss in viewing (and in all the books) are all the nuances that you can only really see in the editing bay. What I mean by this is all the small distinctions that make the difference between the shots that get on air and those that do not, including performance, framing / type of shot, camera moves, etc. etc. etc. Each type of show has different "rules" that are not really in the books on directing, but they are writ large in the network notes!
  8. 1) When using CT your dailies should have both a time code and key code window burn. 2) It is not advised to go right from a CT cut list to a neg. cut. Conforming a work print is a REALLY good idea! I can't tell you have many times people find errors in their databases!
  9. Just noticed this thread today and saw the above statement. What's funny about this is that almost every TV show out there breaks the 180 degree rule here and there. Every TV production I've worked on crosses the line here and there. The thing is, if the geography of the scene is well established crossing the line is actually not all that jarring. I'm not advocating that people cross the line but it happens all the time in TV work. When it comes down to it, the priority is for the best performance at any given moment and if that means a line jump many people will go for it. The problem comes when you cross the line in a jarring way on a not very dramatic moment, then it really stands out adding emphasis to a moment that should not have it. Jumping the line on an intense dramatic moment can add to the tension of the scene in some cases. There is also an example from Tarkovsky's film Stalker, in the scene after they get out of the "meat grinder" when they are sitting in the room with all the piles of dust. There are 2 (I think its 2, could be only one) huge line jumps in the scene that I believe to be unintentional (it hard to believe that the scene was shot this way intentionally with a shot reverse shot pattern in mind. it really looks like they were just working with what they had.) but that work great to help the sense of unease and the strangeness of the place they are in.
  10. That particular E-bay seller ALWAYS list items at 2 - 3 times the going rate. The 5008s is a good camera because of the C-mount lenses and it has pretty good registration for a super 8 camera. The prices in the super 8 world all a mess right now. Keep in mind that what ever you purchase, you will most likely want to invest a $200 - $300 for a clean and lube and minor repairs. Good Luck.
  11. I assume they did it in telecine. There may have been more to it but telecine was part of it. I thought the footage looked wonderful too. The video on the internet does not give the full effect. Seeing it on an HD monitor was great. Too bad I don't like snoop Dog.
  12. I was in the lobby at Encore the other day and by chance saw the oddest thing. A country music video made by Snoop Dog and Willie Nelson. It featured 200T and Tri-X among other super 8 stocks. As totally bizarre as this sounds I am not making it up: http://videos.onsmash.com/v/iEbvY2Y2Kj8EmZvJ
  13. I've done a number of micro budget docs on film and video. Brian is on the right track, you need to consider all the variables prior to making a camera decision. 1) The full workflow from production to final delivery. If its not being produced for a specific outlet then he needs a work flow and acquisition methodology that translates well into various different formats such as festivals, network, cable, internet etc. 2) The aesthetics that the director wants to achieve with the project. even Run-N-gun shoots should look like something! 3) Pragmatics of the shooting schedule. How many days of shooting extended over how much total time. 4) The entire budget, not just the camera department's budget. On micro budget projects the financial demands of every aspect of production compete with all the others. For micro budget projects buying a camera may or may not be a good idea. It's possible for the camera purchase to cost significantly more than a rental would there by robbing other departments of funding they could have really used. Consider that its often the case that low budget shoots need a lot of post work on both the image and the audio due to the shooting conditions. terrible lighting, off-mic dialogue, poor camera work, etc you name it.
  14. Exactly the "buy it now prices" have been fairly stable but a lot of those auctions end with no bids, and the auctions that do get bids tend to sell at fairly low prices. Yesterday there were 5 rex-5s on ebay all with no bids. The obvious reason may be that folks with 3,000 or under to spend on a camera are buying Eclairs or other lower cost sync cameras, as you mentioned, or HDV video cameras.
  15. Honestly I am not trying to be discouraging, I promise. But I've been watching the 16mm and super 8mm markets for a while. Most cameras seem to be to be dropping a good bit (there are exceptions!). For me its good news because I am currently in the position of buyer!
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