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David McDonald

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About David McDonald

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  • Birthday 12/29/1986

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    Vancouver, Canada

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  1. Here is a music video I directed for Madchild & Matt Brevner from Vancouver. Cinematography by Graham and Nelson Talbot. This video was shot on the Red Epic-M with Red Pro Primes. This was an independently produced music video, funded by the artists and myself...with an entirely volunteer crew (many of whom are students). It was a lot of hard work and help from many generous people to get this labor of love off the ground. Let me know what you guys think!
  2. I believe the Red ONE can...I know we did it on a shoot over a year ago before the Mysterium sensor came out....not sure if it's still possible. I don't know if the Red ONE is in your price range (yet). Honestly though, in-camera ramping is not a big deal.....if you shoot at a high frame rate, you can just make the ramp yourself in post quite easily.
  3. I'm shooting a music video very soon and basically the concept behind it is the performer will be like a giant or godzilla walking around the city....and the plan is to shoot a bunch of empty plates of the city and whatever else we want to comp him into, and then on a separate day shoot the performer in front of a green screen and try to match the angle and perspective of the performer in front of the green screen to the angles of the plate we already shot. So what I would like to do is somehow be able to connect the camera to a macbook pro and overlay the plate of the city with the live green screen shot and put it at half opacity to see if the perspective is correct. I've looked into a few programs that do live chroma keying, I think I might just use Veescope since it's fairly cheap and should get the job done. But I don't even know if it's possible to connect the RED Epic to a computer to do this. As far as I know the only input I can think that would work to connect a macbook pro to an Epic is the HDMI,since the camera has an HDMI input and the macbook pro has a mini display to HDMI connection......but I'm not exactly sure what would happen once those are connected....would the macbook pro become a mirrored display of the camera? I've never done anything like this so I may have it all wrong....does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing or can think of a good way of pulling off what I'm trying to do? If I can't do some kind of live monitoring, I may just have to resort to eye-balling the perspective by putting the macbook pro next to the monitor and try to get it as close as possible, which could work, but it would be nice to get it a bit more exact.
  4. There's many reasons....We had so many set ups to get through that we could have never done it fast enough with film. Like the whole concept of the film would have to be simplified and changed, since we couldn't afford rentals, locations, actors etc. for more than 2-3 days. And some of the digital cameras are much better in low light conditions, like streets at night when we didn't have many lights...or we were mounting DSLRs to the outside of moving cars with inexpensive car mounts. Or we would do certain camera moves on a jib, steadicam, or dolly that might be tricky and require a lot of takes to get right (especially with some of the less experienced crew we had) and would just be out of the question on film...the shots would have to be much simpler. Of course a lot of my points are more valid in smaller budget, independent films when there's less money, less time, less experienced crew etc. On a bigger budget film, a lot of my problems may not be an issue.
  5. Well really the most important thing is lenses....you can't put cinema glass on a crappy little camera/iphone so that's the biggest reason why you don't use cheap cameras. The camera itself is just the brain, and any good quality digital camera (Alexa, RED etc.) with good lenses will match 35MM. It's not that the shooting format is unimportant, it's that the highest quality digital cameras and 35MM are so similar in image quality that the difference in those particular formats is fairly unimportant. When people say audiences don't know the difference, that's when we're talking about these high-end cameras. Audiences do know when they're watching something filmed on a cheap camera. They don't know why, but they know it doesn't look like the higher quality productions they've seen. I agree that crews can be more disciplined, and actors/directors can be more prepared...but not significantly enough to outweigh the many benefits digital has to offer. You can be just as well prepared, and take each take just as seriously...as long as you are aware of this problem with shooting digital and make a conscious effort take as much care as you would when shooting film. And I forgot to mention how many more shots can be completed in a day with digital compared to film, which is another huge cost thing. I've shot some stuff that literally would not have been possible, or never would have been done in the 2-3 days we had to shoot if we shot film. You could say that the quality would be diminished with shooting faster, too...but that isn't always the case...and if so, it's not necessarily significant enough to make it worth shooting film. It's really a matter of weighing pros and cons....And while there are definitely valid pros for shooting film, like some of the ones you mentioned, I feel that Film's pros are vastly outweighed by Digital's pros.
  6. So writing and actor performances are the only things that make a film good? Even if that were true, shooting digitally helps those things to be better. You can shoot more takes with your actors, which doesn't always mean it will be better, but it definitely helps. Some actors don't really get rolling with a scene until it's been done a few times, and on a low budget film, you can usually only afford like 2-3 takes of a performance shot on film. And if you're shooting digitally, you can not only shoot more takes, you can experiment with your performances, and get your actors to try things differently, and give you a different range of emotions, or even try improvising a take or two. You can experiment with your shots as well...trying really longs takes, or trying elaborate camera moves that might take several takes to pull off. You can playback a take to see if you really got it...with film you have to just hope it was good and wait until you get your dailies to know for sure. If you playback the take and notice a problem, you can do it again and get it right. I would consider little advantages like that to be helping make your film better. There are tons of examples like that.
  7. David McDonald


    I did a couple of tests at 2K 300 FPS....and I did notice some pretty bad noise in some areas, mostly the blacks. Oddly, with one test shot of someone in extreme sunlight, the image was disgustingly noisy...like it looked like a low quality H264 compression.... And that shot was at 48 fps at 5K....we couldn't really figure out why...the compression rate must have been unusually high for that one shot.
  8. I don't see why everyone is so resistant to just accept that film is dying? Things change. Technology gets better. New tools become available that are designed to make us better storytellers. The new digital cameras should be embraced....they are are tools that allow you to MAKE YOUR FILMS BETTER. All my experiences with shooting film had so many inconveniences and constraints that it was hindering my storytelling. Sure, Spielberg and Marty can jackoff all they want about the nuances and poetry of the magical celluloid...but 90% of the rest of the world doesn't have the resources and personnel to make the celluloid experience such a joyful one. And let's be honest, the difference, visually, between RED/Alexa and 35MM is almost impossible to tell to anyone who isn't a professional cinematographer...and even then, I've seen DPs wrongfully guess that a show was shot on 35MM when it was Alexa. I'm quite familiar with different cameras and the images they produce, and I'm always surprised when I watch a show and take a guess, then look it up online and find it was shot on something completely different than what I thought. Even if there ARE noticeable differences...they are so tiny and insignificant that it shouldn't even be worth such a big debate. I know the die-hard film people will disagree with me....but that tiny difference in image quality is not worth holding on to for the massive difference in convenience and technological advancements. Sorry, it's not. I think the perfect comparison can be made with Vinyl vs. Digital DJing. I used to DJ a few years back when the new digital DJing equipment was first becoming available, and there was the same split in opinions...there were a lot of die-hards that were insisting vinyl sounds better...but really, all they were doing was holding onto something because it was classic, not noticeably better...and trying to be among the few outsiders who could feel cool when they tell people they still play vinyl, and make pretentious remarks about how it's better. I used vinyl records for a while, but anytime I wanted to play a new song (that's right, ONE SONG), I had to head downtown to the record store, and pay 15-20 dollars for ONE SONG on a record. And then when that song became played-out or outdated, I was stuck with an old record that cost 20 bucks. Then I saw the new technology created by Pioneer, the CDJs, which played CDs and MP3s....and that was it for me...after suffering from the inconveniences of vinyl, and being held-back creatively by an archaic technology, I gave in and bought some CDJs. I could download new songs whenever I wanted, and burn CDs with hundreds of songs on them...and the technology on the CDJs was emulating the 'feel' of vinyl records quite well, while having tons of new features that allowed me to mix much more easily, and do cool new things liked loop certain parts of a song to mix with another song. Sure, people will still say vinyl sounds better than 320 kpbs MP3...but 99% of people could never tell the difference. It's exactly the same as film vs. video. The new video technologies allow you to do the same things as film and much more. I have no doubt that film will be completely dead in 10 years....there may be the odd person like Quentin Tarantino who will go out of his way to assert his coolness by forcing his crew to shoot film....but the digital technology will be so much better by then he will only be depriving himself of tools that could be making his storytelling better.
  9. Here is a sci-fi/futuristic style music video I directed for the Tito Deville Band. This video had a ridiculously low budget...around $2500-3000....most of which was spent renting the Red MX for two days (we got a deal for about $1200), a few lights (one 4 bank Kino, 3 Par cans, and a few other small lights). I did the editing and visual effects as well. This video was particularly challenging to make look good since it was shot almost entirely guerrilla style on the street with almost no lighting for the exterior stuff....and the interior performance stuff with the band was lit almost entirely with 3 par cans that had crew members waving cardboard in front of them to create the flashing effect, since the rolling shutter could not handle strobe lights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6fWS9nHS-M
  10. ^ Yeah it definitely is pretty long, but it's actually for a "short film" contest, but because of the topic, I wanted to make my "short film" more of a commercial....most other entries to the contest were more commercial/PSA style films as well. If this were a real TV spot it would definitely be cut down to 30 seconds or 60 seconds.
  11. Here is a short commercial I did for a local film contest in Vancouver about the dangers of distracted driving. This was extremely low budget...maybe around $400. It was shot on Canon 7D with Zeiss 50mm 1.4, Zeiss 21mm 2.8, and Canon 70-200 2.8. The surgery scene was lit only with a small kino flo diva rigged above the actors and a 300 fresnel as a backlight in the close-ups. The fire scenes were also only lit with the one Kino, a 2K and a 300, with CTO over them....many of the lights were flickered and waved in front of to get a fire effect. The outdoor stuff was just sunlight through a 4x4 frame of diffusion. I did all of the visual effects myself (some may not even be noticeable, like the little girl in the last shot was comped into the backseat)...There were also only 2 surgeon costumes and 1 fireman costume....so any shot with multiple actors in costume included camera tricks or compositing. All of the monitors in the surgery scene were put in the background and the actors were rotoscoped over top of them. Please let me know what you guys think. Also I would appreciate it if you could give it the 'thumbs up' on youtube since that casts a vote for the competition. Thanks!
  12. I don't see theatres going anywhere. There isn't really any reason recently (other than maybe HD and 3D TVs) that would cause people to stay at home. - Theatres have the best sound, huge screen, and best projection (usually film). - It's always fun to go out and see a movie with friends or on a date. - Nothing beats the experience of sitting in a big dark room with a bunch of other people. There's just a different feeling when watching something with a large audience; especially when the film is scary or funny, you can hear the reactions of other people. And if it's a sad film or a dramatic film you can just feel the mood in the room. Watching a movie at home will never match that stuff. Oh, and the increased popularity of 3D and IMAX (and who knows what else they will come up with in the future) will probably keep people going to the theatre for much longer.
  13. I don't see theatres going anywhere. There isn't really any reason recently (other than maybe HD and 3D TVs) that would cause people to stay at home. - Theatres have the best sound, huge screen, and best projection (usually film). - It's always fun to go out and see a movie with friends or on a date. - Nothing beats the experience of sitting in a big dark room with a bunch of other people. There's just a different feeling when watching something with a large audience; especially when the film is scary or funny, you can hear the reactions of other people. And if it's a sad film or a dramatic film you can just feel the mood in the room. Watching a movie at home will never match that stuff. Oh, and the increased popularity of 3D and IMAX (and who knows what else they will come up with in the future) has actually made going to the theatre more popular than ever.
  14. I also agree that the extreme DOF with the 5D is undesirable. When I first started shooting with these cameras (back when 5D was 30p) and not every other kid on youtube had a t2i, the shallow DOF look was more desirable...but it became played out really fast...and now I definitely prefer to have around 6 inches in focus rather than the centimeters you tend to get with the 5D (and even 7D) with an f stop lower than 5.6. I don't really notice much of a difference in 5D and 7D in shallow DOF though...they both have extremely shallow DOF. The 7D is nice if you want a bit more focal length out of a lens (because of the crop sensor)...but at the same time the 5D can be useful when you need the shot to be a bit wider...I know I've switched from the 7D to 5D a couple of times on-set when the 7D was just a bit too tight and we didn't have a wider lens.
  15. The 5D is probably a superior camera, for reasons stated by everyone above, but I feel like I like the "look" of the 7D more in some cases...even though they're probably almost identical. Anybody notice a difference in the 'look' of the two cameras?
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