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Tyler Purcell

My new cosplay documentary being shot on film

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In fall of 2016, I wrote a script that featured a teenager with a badly damaged face from a fire. After doing research, I stumbled upon the furry fandom as a potential activity where he could wear a costume and be in public without being ashamed of who he is. This led to months of research, writing a pretty good script and then going back to research the fandom even more. Come April, I was hooked on the fandom, mostly the people and the stories they weave. The community is full of mental health issues, broken families, difficult upbringings, sexuality issues, etc and being a storyteller, I saw a huge opportunity to take their stories and put them on film.

 

sniper_tyler.jpg

 

At first it was going to be a narrative series, but after discussing it with producers, building budgets, casting and scripting the first few shows, I was seeing too many timing conflicts with a low-pay crew, locations and cast. It was getting ugly real fast and instead of continuing down that road, I decided to put the narrative series on hold and switch gears to a documentary series that I can shoot on my own. I brought in a great friend of mine to produce with me and Ive already started the shooting process.

 

The interviews will all be shot digitally, using my pocket cameras, with Rokinon DS primes. This is mainly due to their ease of transport, but also I have 2 complete rigs, so that means I can run two cameras for all the interviews. The rest of the show will all be on film and I plan on shooting Super 8, Super 16 and S35, using my cameras: Beaulieu 4008 Super 8, Aaton XTR Prod Super 16 and Aaton 35III 3 perf. The show is going to be produced entirely in 1080p @ 1.75:1 aspect ratio. This is mainly because the distribution channel is web, so there is no reason to go higher then 1080p. The super 8 will be scanned at 2k, the s16 at 2.5k and the 35mm at 4k, then all prepped for a 1080p edit in Avid.

 

aaton_horse.jpg

 

So why film? Well, its undeniably a different look than anything else out there, especially in the core group of people who are going to be watching it. The other reason is simply visibility, people who may not watch such content, will watch because frankly it looks interesting and different then anything out there.

 

Deanna_tye_35mm.jpeg

 

I put together two demos (shot on 35mm, finished in 4k) which will have some overlay historical pictures on them when finished, as a way to attract people to the project. This gives an idea of what the show will look like, even when the pacing is slowed down to compensate for the added imagery when it arrives.

 

First some stills:

 

deanna_cerros_horse_BW.jpg

 

deanna_smile.jpg

 

https://vimeo.com/248796829

 

https://vimeo.com/248797913

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This is a totally cool idea and I'm glad to see you shoot on film. I just wish the embedded videos were a little larger so I could check out the film grain. Clicking on the V doesn't seem to take us to the Vimeo page.

 

Either way, brilliant idea, Mister Tyler!

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It’s good work. Yes, film does stand out and like us “nerds” who like it perhaps there’s a relatability with the “nerd-like” subject matter.

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Just wrapped our second shoot in San Jose california. We shot both 35mm and 16mm with the Aaton packages and a Steadicam Zephyr. We shot 4 rolls of 16mm and 5 rolls of 35mm. The 16mm was B-roll for my doc, but the 35mm was a scripted short film that I had been wanting to do forever.

aatonxtr_steadicam_nice.JPG

It was a difficult shoot, coming off a sickness and having not flown my 35mm camera before. It took me a while to get it balanced and I realized I was overloading it, so I had to back down and set it up without a mattebox.

aaton_35III_tye_steadicam_BW.JPG

Because the convention was pretty well lit from sun coming in, I figured out 250D would work perfectly for most of the shoot. The night/dark dances and such, were all shot with 500, but the vast majority of the show as shot with 250D both 16 and 35. In fact, I only shot one roll of 500 on 35mm because we had a very un-lit interior to shoot and I didn't want to risk it.

aaton_35III_tye_on_ground_Rokinon.JPG

I did use filtration on the 250D on the 16mm package because it flew fine with the mattebox, but on the 35 I couldn't use the mattebox. So luckily we were shooting in the shade all the time, so it was mostly F8 - F11 exterior and F2.5 - F4 interior. I did a location scout thursday afternoon with my meter and got the lay of the land exposure wise. There were some tricky meter issues though, one of them was the final shot of our short film, where I had to go from interior to exterior. I figure it will be a bit over exposed as they exit the frame, which is fine.

 

aaton_35III_tye_steadicam_withfurries.JP

 

I'll be putting together the short very soon and have it out for everyone to see in a month or so. I'll also be putting together some BTS material from the shoot, as we did have someone shooting video all the time! So stick around for those updates!

 

aaton_XTR_tye_steadicam_furryfollow.JPG

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This is great, but I can't click on the Vimeo link.

 

Thanks! It's comin' along well so far :)

 

Hmm, so odd. Even when I log into another web browser that isn't logged into vimeo, it always works for me fine. :(

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That's a heck of an advert for film.

 

 

Took the words out of my mouth. What song is that?

 

And to think I was worried about using 500T in an indoor sports event.

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Took the words out of my mouth. What song is that?

I get most of my music from Audio Network Music. It's called "synthetic life" and it's by one of the better composers of pop stuff on there.

 

And to think I was worried about using 500T in an indoor sports event.

Hehe, well we had A LOT of light. I've shot these events digitally @ 800 ISO, so I knew there would be no problem @ 500ISO on 16mm.

 

I regret not shooting some 35 at the same time, but alas I didn't bring enough 500 with me to the event. If I get the steadicam for the next event in May, I'll bring the 35 package up and blow a roll on some dark stuff.

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Here is a "final" version of that dance scene. (I removed the one from above)

 

Did I mention how much I love film? If stuff like this doesn't make you wanna go out and shoot film, ummm IDK what would! Having shot these dances digitally for awhile, the difference is night and day. There is a beauty to this footage that no matter what you do with digital, just doesn't exist.

 

I wound up resizing to 1.67:1 instead of 1.75:1 in order to retain as much resolution as possible. Then instead of going with a 1080p workflow, I simply kept the UHD workflow that I normally use for film scans and finished in that.

 

Thus, this is the highest quality version available online and contains a lot more footage then the last version from above. I wish I had done this first, but I made the decision this morning to cut a long version and post it for public consumption to draw attention to the project.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Here are some pix from our 3rd shoot this past weekend! Both 16mm and 35mm.

 

Part of my story is telling that of a musician who is part of the community, so we shot the rehearsal and performance. I shot nearly all of the S16 stuff with a 12mm lens.

 

All of this shoot was 5219 and 7219, I decided to just shoot 500 the entire time and that's all I brought with me. We didn't use any filtration, though i did swing the mattebox a few times.

 

tye-smile-xtr-steadicam.JPG

 

 

tye-steadicam-XTR-omnom.jpg

 

We had a lot of downtime and I had a C stand holder for the camera down stairs with the camera package so I could store it between takes. It helped greatly, but it was a pain to deal with over-all.

 

xtr-painting-steadicam.JPG

 

First time carrying the Zeiss 12-120 on the steadicam Zephyr and where it did work, it was over-loaded. I was upset about it because I really wanted to get smoother shots, but it was very difficult. I wound up taking it off mid shoot and putting on the 12mm.

 

tye-xtr-elevator-zoomlens.JPG

 

Tye-with-Sedona-steadicam-xtr.jpg

 

tye-steadicam-furry-blocks.JPG

 

 

And for those who wanna see my character... here it is with my 35mm camera! I had a great time running around the convention floor (not far away from the elevators) with an assistant, getting some pix of a furry dragon with a steadicam... pretty cool.

 

Renn-with-steadicam-and-sofa.jpg

 

Renn-with-camera-outside.jpg

 

Renn-directing-outside-35mm.jpg

 

#furrydoc

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Well, yet another shoot has come and gone. This time we were in Pittsburgh, shooting Anthrocon the largest convention in the world. It's a pretty spread out convention in a wonderful city, so capturing city life was paramount.

Unfortunately, I couldn't take the steadicam, so for this shoot it was primarily shoulder mount and tripod with the Aaton XTR Prod as my only camera.

I bought a Tenba 21" cine bag to hold my camera, spare magazine, batteries, 9.5mm Optar prime, 12mm Optar prime and 12-120 zoom lens. I really like the 9.5mm for those wide angle shots and the 12mm works great for most everything else. The zoom came out for exteriors, but I used the optars for interiors due to them being faster.

I brought 2 rolls of 250D and 4 rolls of 500T, all brand new stock from Kodak. I found a bag to sling the film from my camera bag for the TSA screenings, to keep it separate. It worked very well and the TSA guys were happy how easy it was to access. I also kept the lithium batteries separate as well and the screenings went very smoothly.

The first few days were shooting city life, including the funiculars that run up and down the hill.

Tye_bridge_selfie_xtr.JPG


xtr_on_bridge.JPG

tye_in_funicular.JPG

tye_shooting_funicular.JPG


The next part of the shoot was shooting a music video, outside and inside 250D and 500T. I had to load up the cine bag and bring it to the location so I had a spare magazine and support as well.

scath_wide_with_xtr.JPG

tye_shooting_scath.JPG

My friend Morgan came in from Boston to shoot with his hand-crank Kodak Model A and I spent a great deal of time shooting him because he'll be part of my documentary as well. As a side note, he shoots expired B&W reversal and hand processes it, which is very cool.

Morgan_Kodak_model_A.JPG

tye_shooting_morgan.png

Finally, we did a sunset dance shoot that was pretty beautiful. I had always wanted to do one and it was really nice to do something special for my friend Allison.

 

tye_sunset_xtr.JPG

 

tye_shooting_allison.JPG

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A bit of time has passed since my last post in July, but suffice to say I've not stopped working. Here is a little short film I assembled using some of the footage I shot at my final shoot this year in November. I've also included the behind the scenes video so you can see what went into making the video. There are tech specs about the process on the Vimeo link description.

 

Full video:

 

 

Behind the scenes:

 

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Awesome. In addition to being an interesting film, it may also prove to be an awesome pitching tool to get a movie or TV series off the ground. Looking forward to seeing the final doc.

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Love film as u know.....can u explain what this is all about though I don't know what cosplay and fandom is and who these people are and what they do....haven't seen this in my part of Eurooe....other than not knowing what this is all about i love the look of it and the filming

Edited by Stephen Perera
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I didn't know the Aaton was still a workhorse for some people. Very cool. I talked with their LA rep way back in the 90s when considering buying a 35 mm kit, but was concerned about them being based out of France and needing servicing if anything went wrong.

 

I've got mixed felings on cosplay. Some of it seems interesting, other people seem to be kind of "out there" for lack of a better term. Just my honest gut feeling on the topic.

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I talked with their LA rep way back in the 90s when considering buying a 35 mm kit, but was concerned about them being based out of France and needing servicing if anything went wrong.

It's easy now to get one serviced (picking up a 35-3P in a few days after a full inspection and lube service in the LA area) and was even easier to get done then.

 

Looking great. I'd also think that prime would make the interior shots a lot easier, for exposure's sake too.

Edited by Vince Sweeney

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