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Gordon Highland

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About Gordon Highland

  • Birthday 08/21/1973

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  • Location
    Kansas City
  • Specialties
    Music composition, production, and performance, screenwriting, photography

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  1. Yeah, as I've gotten older I've become more conservative in an "I'd rather be alive and wrong than dead and right" sort of way. But if companies are so worried about damaging their trademark, they should uh, stop putting their giant logo on every effing surface of the planet. Legally, though, even if you don't feel you're "passing judgment" on a trademarked logo in a frame, it's still a good idea to avoid it, because the company may see it otherwise. Maybe you're not literally suggesting that Hitler endorsed Coca-Cola, but cleaning off his coffee table before you shoot him there would be the better plan. Take Chris's advice and explain its importance to your subject.
  2. Sometimes I don't have the luxury of shooting the master first, though I would certainly prefer it, technically. Often we're under heavy time constraints so I'll begin with framing up singles of whoever knows their lines best (don't tell James Lipton). If someone's got some heavy technical jargon or a long monologue, this gives them a chance to go over their lines many more times off camera, while still getting a feel for the interaction with the other actor(s). Then by the end everyone knows their stuff inside and out through repetition, and I'll get the most usable master in just a couple of takes, with less time and media wasted all around.
  3. Yes, 29.97 interlace is always what's recorded on the tape itself, and thus it can be captured this way also and edited accordingly with no additional rendering if you want. And it has that same strobey film look that comes with pulldown. The additional frames are removed during capture (if you choose, and if you're using "advanced" pulldown) to get to 24 progressive. The SDX is the same way.
  4. I used to be an airport security screener and it would always amuse me when someone would go to great lengths to practically berate me about hand-checking all of his camera gear (it's no problem, just when they're a-holes) outside of the x-ray machine, inside which there's virtually no chance for damage. Yet he'd then walk through the metal detector (which IS magnetic), and set it off as a result of film canisters in his pockets. Heh heh heh. Happened several times.
  5. Eh, after looking at these over time, I think it tends to be more like 50 seconds per page. Features, i mean. As you said, though, some variace depending on dialogue versus action and the writer's economy of language. I'm sure on episodic TV with staff writers and not spec, they can predict these things with a much greater degree of accuracy. There's also less exposition; we know what the main characters and locations look like from week to week.
  6. Assuming you don't mean editing actual 4K-res film scans, if you're talking about editing offline at a lower res, most of today's laptops would suit you just fine. If you're of the Mac persuasion, Final Cut Pro on pretty much any laptop they've made in the last several years will work. I have a simple off-the-shelf 12" Powerbook (pre-Intel) that handles DV50 with ease. On a PC, Vegas is extremely popular, as is Avid Xpress DV. Either way, in the laptop world, you'll probably want to invest in a portable Firewire800/400 drive, both to not clutter up your system drive, and to make porting the footage easier. Not wise to color-correct on a laptop, but you can always hook it up to a deck/camera that's connected to a monitor.
  7. Ah crap, did i just get all the math backwards in my previous posts? My brain hurts. I'm think I got the on-set playback and post-production sync mixed up. You ultimately want the song at its natural speed in the final version, right? 100% at 24fps? So when you shoot overcranked in slo-mo, you need to speed up the song on set by the same percentage, not its opposite. So sorry, guys. Arrrgh!
  8. Well, undercranking makes the action appear fast, and overcranking makes it slow, so apply the same percentage that you deviated from 24fps (100%) to the music clip speed. < 100% is slower and > 100% is faster. 24 divided by 33.33 equals 72% speed, right?
  9. You could burn your own CD after using a workstation to change the speed. So if 24fps is "normal," then 12fps undercrank results in 200% speed of the song to maintain playback sync, and that's what you tell your audio software/plugin. Or 60% speed for 40fps, etc. At low speeds, the samples will break up and have a stuttering sound when done digitally, but it shouldn't be a problem for performance. Make a disc with several different speeds and label the tracks with their respective frame rate.
  10. Isn't that Gary Busey in there, maybe 2/3 through? Maybe not, but sure looked like him.
  11. I'm on a calibrated monitor and the black level could come up a little I think. You do have a sizing issue; you'll want to squish it horizontally a little more in your compression program, I'd guess about 10%. Probably the difference between square vs. non-square pixels (use a multiple of 640x480 instead of 720x480). Nice-looking shots! I'd have probably started with some of the more dramatic stuff that we see later. And as good as the cinematography may be, unfortunately reel-watchers tend to gravitate towards celeb content, so you might move that up also.
  12. I think the biggest thing is to light it for B&W. Yes, you can turn down the chroma on the monitor, but as the other poster mentioned, you'll probably want to do a lot of post correction unless you like that flatter look. I'm not a fan of simple desaturation; I don't think it looks quite right, and prefer to adjust the gamma on teh R,G,B channels individually to get the right combination. Not sure of the look you're going for, though. Here's a chessy extreme example I had to throw together one afternoon. Just two hard lights and a lot of post processing (the crappy audio sells it, i think). Link
  13. I wouldn't change much at all. For good contrasty B&W I think you did the right thing with lots of edge lights. Some of the shots it looks like the players might've stepped out of their backlight, but I thought it was a good look overall.
  14. So. . . do you have something to share with us? We'd love to see what it looks like!
  15. I feel exactly the opposite, personally. Although a theater experience can be good for the self-esteem sometimes. (So can an 11pm trip to Wal-Mart.) But it's an amusing theory, and I wish that studio execs applied that logic when it came to greenlighting more intelligent, demanding films. I felt 25% dumber while watching "What the #$%@ Do we Know?," however, yet smarter afterwards. Who knew quantum physics was sexy?
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