Thursday, March 26, 2015

Talk myself down

So we're going with the Blackmagic URSA camera on this next movie. With all the kit and kaboodle it'll be about $2400 for the movie.
This is the quote.
What are things that concern me? Well firstwise I worry that after all is said and done we're going to need to do some reshoots/additional photography. Hopefully we'll get everything we need and not have to but I've never seen that happen in the history of things that happen. So we're going to need to get a 4K camera eventually. Or something.

The other thing that concerns me is something which I actually have trouble uh, making clear with the verbal thing where you say the stuff and then other people understand what saying you are making with the sense.

In short I feel we need more sophisticated and elegant camera moves in our movies.

I think this solves a couple big problems, not only does it make the picture look bigger and more expensive, but also it serves for visual interest while we watch characters think for a while. We've noticed that our movies tend to go a quite a clip and that we tend to be a bit "breathless" as well as going under-time. We need a moment, to watch the android inside the derelict ship, as she decides whether to kill everyone aboard or not. It's these kinds of moments which we need to be able to sit on, to experience, to bring us closer to the characters in the story.

If we were to rent a Fisher 10 (or 11) with a dolly grip for a weekend it would be about $2000. Thing is that on our sets we don't have more than about... er... 10 feet(?) to go on those tracks. Not side-to-side anyway. We could go with one of those gimble stabilizers, but only if we were to do a smaller camera.

Well, that's a $600 difference in price. There's no quality hit that I know of when going from the Ursa to the Production 4K. But the 4K will be easier to bring to remote locations and such. Hmm...

I'm kinda talking myself out of the Ursa.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


13 classic scenes that explain how horror movies work is interesting in that it shows some different techniques and counter examples to how they work.

Horror films are just too hard. I have no idea how to make them. So I don't.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Too Old to Play with Dollys

Everybody's been talking me out of a dolly. I would love a Fisher 10 or 11 and a full-time dolly grip. Then I got talked down to a Matthews doorway dolly, and now I've been talked down to a slider. Sigh.
One day. One day I'll have a Fisher with a jib and a dolly grip. One day.

Friday, March 20, 2015


This is a beautiful short, The Leviathan.

The Leviathan -- Teaser from Ruairi Robinson on Vimeo.

I may end up with a Matthews Doorway Dolly rather than a Fisher 10 dolly on our next movie. Sigh. I want the Fisher. The producer part of my brain is yelling at me. But the director part really wants a Fisher...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

памяти и куклы

памяти и куклы
That means "Memories And Puppets". Which, I think, is the Russian name of the shop in Android Masquerade where one gets one's android from.
Apparently I do not post this image often enough on this blog. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Voles, Crimea

So we're just pricing some things around. Looks like two days of a Fisher jib and dolly grip will be about $2000. That's to be expected, right?
Dealing with insurance. About $600 for liability and another $400 for workman's comp? That's about right, no?
Crimean vole. Do we need a geared head? Or should we give up on all this whackadoo grip gear?
Also, in the future there's some kind of space knife. There are at least two in this movie. What kind of knife to people have in the future? Maybe I'll make one of those bondo switchblades out of a comb switchblade...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More on Ursa

The awesome Libby Csulik turned us on to which is where it looks like we'll rent the Ursa camera.
Shane Hurlibut says the Ursa wants to shoot at an ISO of 400. He says that whackity-doo* things happen to the image at both 200 and 800 ISO.
The fact he has a football strapped to his kit is all kinds of awesome.

The trick is to use infrared resistant ND filters for out there in the sunshine. Whether we feel the infrared pollution on the image is a good or bad thing may be up for debate, but we're GOING to need some ND. This morning I measured an f45 out in the daylight at 400 ISO at 24fps and a 180 shutter (I still have my Sekonic light meter from Pandora Machine). That's right, an f 45.

Obviously that will have to be knocked down a couple stops. The IR ND filters are delightfully expensive. Delightful!

This is information I frequently need:

Neutral Density Factors

• 2x = ND.3 (exposure adjustment = 1 stop, reduces ISO 1/2)
• 4x = ND.6 (exposure adjustment = 2 stops, reduces ISO 1/4)
• 8x = ND.9 (exposure adjustment = 3 stops, reduces ISO 1/8)

*My words, not his.

Update: a complete explanation of f-stops!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thinking Out Loud About Cameras

Our thinking nowadays is to rent the Blackmagic Production 4k camera.

We can rent the camera body for just under $900 for the shoot.
The Alphatron EVF is about another $325 for the month.
Add a shoulder-mount and an EVF thingy and we're staring down the throat of somewhere around $1500 for a month.
But that doesn't include lenses or batteries. I think we're okay with EF lenses, but our power needs are great. Perhaps two of the Switronix PowerBase batteries.  So think somewhere in the $1700 range for 30 days of 4K with global shutter.
Remember folks, we'll be shooting at about a 200 ISO for the entire shoot.
We'll need a decent SSD drive for the camera though. Adorama seems to have the best price. Although Ha! They don't have them in stock. So B&H it is. Think $500.
We will also need a reader. Think another hundred bucks.
So $2300 for a month with the Production 4k.
But wait a minute.
If we were to go with a Blackmagic Ursa, two cards and a reader, and a couple batteries, it would be about $2,000. Now we wouldn't have an EVF with that, but we'd have a variety of taps onboard. The camera is about 20lbs but we don't need a shoulder mount (but for about a hundred bucks we could rent one).
Just to make life more difficult the AJA CION is another camera which is interesting. Although all I can find are PL-mount versions and we don't have access to PL-mount lenses. So there.