Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Stephen Murphy

"COWARD" online

Recommended Posts

Guest Stephen Murphy

That 28 minute "short" film I shot almost a year ago this week has gone online in full. Fuji Eterna 500T pulled one stop with some Fuji Vivid 160T mixed in. Panavision HS and E series anamorphics. Lots of Mud.

 

Comments or criticisms welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And how much water did you have to empty out of your boots?

 

I like the way the fires add a bit of colour contrast to the trench stuff. Bright orange on dull grey.

 

What did you use for the sunbeams in the officer's dugout and the prison cell? One of those huge Xenon things?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Murphy

Phil I gave up trying to get the water out of my boots on the first day. The boots subsequently fell apart, literally, on the 3rd day - and they were brand new boots.

 

In both those examples I used an 18k hmi and a 4k hmi molebeam. The molebeam gives the shaft of light, the 18k augments the beam and adds fill. In the officers dugout they were the only sources of light but in the prison cell I was bouncing 2 additional 575hmi cinepars to bring more light into the space, one rigged in the ceiling just above the window (out of frame obviously) and one on the floor for close ups. This got me up to a t4/5.6 split on 160asa stock with an 85filter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some great classical anamorphic work there Stephen...couple of quick questions if you don't mind.

What was the schedule, overall & in the trench set?

Was the project heavily boarded or previs-ed beforehand, or dd you have a fair amount of input compositionally?..and as a supplement to that, I suppose, how much did you end up using of b-camera stuff, or was that mainly as coverage during heavy SFX shots?

 

Gorgeous stuff

 

John Allardice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Murphy

Hi John,

The shoot was 10 days total with an extra day for a few inserts. The trench exteriors were shot in 5 days, with the remaining scenes split over 5 days. I drew a few storyboards as a starting point for conversations about coverage but essentially most of the coverage and blocking was worked out on set and yes I was heavily involved in the compositions. I also operated a camera myself. B camera was used over two days with fellow cinematography.com member Ed Moore covering one of those days. The primary reason b camera was there was simply to maximise our coverage so that we wouldn't loose too much resetting pyro/fx (we had brutally short daylight hours)

 

Thanks Phil - you were expecting less then 22kw of light?:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect you could probably add up all the light I've ever used on every shoot I've ever done and not come to 22KW :)

 

(well, no, but, y'know)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Murphy

I suspect you'll get closer to 22kw then you think on your upcoming sci if epic!:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Yeah ditto on the other comments great work. Another 50 mins and the producer would of had a feature film to SELL.

 

One thing though, I couldn't understand a word they were saying, what language was that? :D

 

R,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful, classic FILM photography. It's pretty amazing for a 10 day shoot. Couple questions: How did you get to vimeo from the DI? Also, what's the market for this kind of film? Going online takes you out of the premiere festival circuit, so what's the plan? Is it just the ultimate calling card?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Murphy

Thanks Jon - from the DI Technicolor gave us a couple of different QuickTime masters and I used one of them, a prores master, to generate a file that would meet Vimeo's standards. The intent was always to screen it in theatres at some festivals and privately for other parties, which they've done, and then get it online and seen by as many as possible as soon as possible. As a 28 min film we all knew from the outset that it would have difficulty fitting into a lot of the festivals shorts programmes anyway so the decision was made to go online with it sooner rather then later. They still have their 2k DCP which they'll continue to screen at any of the festivals that have asked for it since its gone online. It does certainly seem to be working as a calling card at the moment thankfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gorgeous Stephen. Colors, shot composition, fluid movement. All stellar. Why cant all projects look this nice?

 

I think partly because most projects don't have the budget to shoot 35mm Anamorphic but the big factor is that most projects don't have one of the best cinematographers in the country attached to them and to be honest, you can't expect them to, as there are more projects than the tiny amount of top cinematographers and also because people need to work on projects to gain experience before they are able to reach that higher level.

 

Anyway you need some worse things to make the other things look good, after-all that's why "god" invented video cameras. ;) (meow)

 

Actually the bigger question might be why the top end of UK productions have traditionally looked so bad when they actually have real budgets behind them, and while I have lots of answers to this question, this is probably not the best place for them here.

 

love

 

Freya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What was the budget for this???

 

Who knows! It's a obviously a little low budget film, but one that can afford to shoot on film and nice lenses and rent a field and dig holes in it and proper lighting and nice costumes etc.

 

It's obviously not as much budget as a tiny BBC production, so the top end of a low budget short I guess.

 

Freya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to IMDB, the budget was 250k. Isn't a low-budget short to me. However, it wasnt a normal short since it was 1/4 of a full movie. Producers could have made a full movie for that but it obviously wouldnt have been as grand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to IMDB, the budget was 250k.

 

I'm guessing you mean U.S. dollars? Still seems unlikely but who knows!

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Murphy

The budget was approx 150k sterling by the end of the shoot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The budget was approx 150k sterling by the end of the shoot.

 

I guess that's the definitive answer on why most short films can't look like that!

 

Yikes!

 

Freya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Stephen Murphy

You'd think that's a lot of money, and it is compared to most shorts, but you're still having the same conversations with the producers, needing one more light or more sparks etc. and them not having the cash. in this case I was also heavily involved in the production as an exec producer for the shoot, so I have a pretty good idea of where the money was spent, and ironically the camera/lighting department was one of the cheapest elements of the budget. This shoot was broken down into two parts, the first was a 7 day shoot in the uk encompassing all the trench stuff and a few other int scenes. That's all the budget that we had to begin with would cover, and the producers gambled that with that footage in the can they'd be able to use it to raise finance for the second, smaller half of the shoot, 3 days in Ireland, to cover the opening scenes and some of the remaining interiors, and post. The single biggest expense as far as I'm aware was catering and petrol. We were shooting at the coldest time of year in London with temperatures always below freezing, that means keeping the crew and cast fed with hot food drinks was crucial especially given we were adding movie rain. Added to this the fact that the crew was working for free as a favour to the production meant we really needed to feed everyone properly. So if you estimate that you're going to spend 30 pounds per person per day on hot food/tea/coffee/water etc that's 30 x 150 cast/crew x 7 days = 31,500. we were shooting quite far outside London so now add 100 pounds per person for petrol for the week (150 x 100 = 15,000) and you've already spent 46,500. The total cost of camera/lighting/grip/stock/processing and transfer came to approx 16k and the rest of the budget for the initial 7 days was spent on insurance/costume rental/machinery rental/art department materials/truck rental/genny rental and location fees etc. I think it's fair to say that for the second half of the shoot there were some unforeseen costs incurred shooting out of the country which would have pushed the budget up a bit further then expected plus you're having to pay the same again for the same camera/grip package etc but everyone agreed the extra cost was worth it in the end.

I think it's worth pointing out that while this is a lot to spend on a short it's a gamble that was well calculated and worked out. The handful of people who invested in this did so for a very specific reason and thankfully their gamble looks like it will pay off for them. The director and producers primarily financed this out of their own pockets, some of them had been working towards and saving for this for over a year - they sat down with the script over a year ago, figured out what it would cost them to make it with favours, and set about trying to raise as much of that figure as possible, which I think is far better then what I see a lot of people do nowadays which is picking a figure out of the air and trying to squeeze ambitious scripts into that unrealistic budget with unrealistic expectations. None of the investors in this were rich. none had money to spare. they all just worked really really hard for a long time to put their own money into the budget and augmented that with investment from friends or by cashing in stocks/selling property etc. Yes they could have made a small indi feature for 150k but part of the reason they wanted to make this the way they made it was because how we made it was important to them. They weren't interested in a little red/canon 5d/available light indie feature - that's not the kind of movie they're interested in seeing, and it's not what they're interested in producing and crucially it's not what they're interested in selling themselves as. This was a better option for them. It's also worth mentioning that most everyone involved in this had worked their way up the ranks over the years, which allowed us to crew up with mostly friends and colleagues that we knew would help us out for free and in some cases provide incredible discounts on kit. We would not have been able to make this movie with out that goodwill and friendship from both crew and vendors. One of the many reasons its worth working up through the ranks perhaps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to be discreet and not mention it - and I'll completely understand if it's something you can't go into - but since you mention the fact that it was "a gamble that was well calculated and worked out", I have to ask.

 

Why was this piece produced?

 

It's beautiful, although it does fall slightly into the mental category I have for "well, it had better be pretty for that sort of money." I feel the same way about, say, Transformers. Of course it's nice. It would be pretty alarming if it wasn't nice. I ask this question because on the face of it, it's exactly the sort of thing that people are constantly counselled not to produce, because it costs a fortune and won't play festivals.

 

I hope you'll excuse my impertinence in asking, but I think this is very important in a wider sense. As you have ably demonstrated we do not have a problem producing pretty material in the UK; we have a problem funding it, and we have a problem funding it because there is no sales outlet for it. Getting money is not a problem if you have a workable business plan. Filmmaking is, or should be, just a business. Funding filmmaking should not be any different than funding any business. If you and your friends have put 150k into starting up a business, fantastic; I'm impressed.

 

Right now, though, there is no reason to produce an expensive feature in the UK because there is no way to sell it. The UK film industry's problem is not access to money, or at least not any more than it's a problem to any other business, it's skilled producers and access to some sort of marketplace. If there is any criticism to be made of Coward or any other very nicely produced short film, it is that making very nicely produced short films does not really address that issue. This is part of the reasoning behind my interest in things like Kickstarter, because it is, if you look beyond the smoke and mirrors, in effect a presale, something that no UK-produced feature will under any circumstances achieve otherwise. Right now it isn't an approach that will fund 150k for half an hour of material, but this may change and there is an increased tolerance for shoestring production technique. I'm cripplingly aware of sounding like a red-waving indie filmmaker here, but I think you're aware that's not my main intention.

 

I presume someone has an extremely specific, presumably contractual need to make Coward - "Show us the first 28 minutes and we'll give you $100million" or something like that. In that, or whatever such endeavour, I wish you the very best of luck - keep us posted!

 

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So well said Stephen ! About time someone on here told how the real world is . A really great short film beautiful to watch and very moving . I would love to see others who post on here come anywhere near to quality like this , no matter whatever the budget was . Take care .

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  


  • Serious Gear



    Ritter Battery



    Tai Audio



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Paralinx LLC



    G-Force Grips



    Wooden Camera



    Metropolis Post



    Just Cinema Gear



    Abel Cine



    FJS International



    Visual Products



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    CineLab



    Glidecam



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    The Original Slider



    Rig Wheels Passport


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...