Sunday, March 26, 2006

Announcing the Cast for "The Twenty-Third Letter"

We are proud to announce the cast for THE TWENTY-THIRD LETTER Trailer. We are thrilled to be working with such a talented group of artists. No doubt they will bring an immeasurable contribution to the quality of this production.

The shoot begins April 1, 2006 and will shoot through early May in and around downtown Los Angeles and the valley.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

H1 - Wafian/Cineform Support

Two pieces of good ultra-geeky news for H1 and Final Cut Pro owners and users. The Wafian HR-1 Recorder now supports the 24F and 30F frame modes of the Canon XL-H1 camera and removes 3:2 pulldown for true 24FPS support. The Wafian HR-1 is a hard-drive based recording deck in the same ballpark as the $100,000 HDCAM-SR deck at a much more attractive price point ($15,000) and even cheaper than a AJ-1200 DVCPro deck...and it's a tapeless workflow.

The other good news is that CineForm, the codec the Wafian HR-1 uses, will soon be releasing support for Quicktime. CineForm currently only supports Windows PCs because it utilizes specific instruction sets built into Intel processors. We suspect that CineForm Quicktime will require one of the new Intel based Macintosh systems for this reason. Apple is slated to release new Intel PowerMacs sometime this summer.

This bodes well for our upcoming feature production of SHADOW FALLS. We have been researching methods in which we could leverage the HD-SDI output of the H1. Most HDCAM-SR decks are extremely expensive to rent and aren't field production friendly (with the exception of the SRW1). Other hard-drive RAID based solutions require hauling around a mobile IT center on wheels. The Wafian easily provides the most attractive solution.

It's now a question of whether their Quicktime support is around the corner or not.

Shout out to MobileWhack and HD4Indies for the headsup.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

H1 - Full Moon & Cloud Timelapse Test

So I'm driving home just after sunset and noticed that it was a full moon and the clouds from the previous storm were creating some fantastic mood. So I rushed into the house, grabbed the H1, my sticks and ran up to the terrace and quickly framed up some shots.

Now the H1 doesn't have an interval recording feature. So I simply set the camera up to record in 24F mode (not sure if 30F or 60i would've been better), set the camera up for +6db, 1/8th shutter, stop full open. Then I hit record and just let it run. Reframed several times and let each shot run for several minutes each.

I then brought those shots into After Effects and did a 10x speed increase (frame blending toggled 'on').

Wow! The exposure, lack of grain, fluidity of motion of the all looks phenomenal!

Here are some Quicktimes of two shots (h264, high bit-rate):

Test #1 - 21 Sec. - Cropped to 2.35:1 - 24p - h264

Test 1 480P 16.4MB
Test 1 720P 24.4MB
Test 1 1080P 40.6MB

Test #2 - 15 Sec. - Cropped to 2.35:1 - 24p - h264

Test 1 480P 14.1MB
Test 1 720P 20MB
Test 1 1080P 26.9MB

Sunday, March 12, 2006

L.A. Night - H1 Available Light Test

In preparation for our rooftop sequences for THE TWENTY-THIRD LETTER shoot, we wanted to see what the new camera's low light sensitivity was. We didn't bring any lighting equipment with us. Our goal was to shoot wide-open, +6db, 1/48th shutter and see what we got.

The weekend's rain storm was just coming in behind us. We only had about 40 minutes up there before it started precipitating. So it was difficult to get the buildings to look razor sharp as we were shooting through a lot of atmosphere.

We're now convinced that once we have our foreground talent lit appropriately, our backgrounds of Los Angeles will look phenomenal for this film-noir thriller.

Here are some links to some Quicktime movies of the tests:

Test #1 - 22 Sec. - Cropped to 2.35:1 - 24p - h264

Test 1 720P 15.7MB
Test 1 1080P 23.4mb

Test #2 - 20 Sec. - Cropped to 2.35:1 - 24p - h264

Test 2 720P 14.7MB
Test 2 1080P 19.5MB

Monday, March 06, 2006

It Has Arrived!

We finally took the plunge and placed our bets on the Canon XL-H1 high-definition digital cinema camera system.

- Canon XL-H1 Camera
- Canon 20X Zoom Lens
- Chrosziel Matte Box
- Chrosziel Follow Focus
- Chrosziel Flags
- Nebtek/Panasonic 7" LCD
- Microforce Remote Zoom + Focus Control
- Sachtler DV6 Tripod and Fluid Head
- 1/4 Black Pro-Mist
- ND6 Filter
- Polarized Filter
- Hard H1 Case
- Pelican Case

Friday, March 03, 2006

DAY:11 - FilmThreat Review

FilmThreat magazine, an Online publication specializing in independent cinema, has a very good review of DAY:11 on their website.

Check it out here.