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ted
05-23-2008, 03:02 PM
I met with a group of film makers recently and found many reasons why these talented story tellers don’t ever get their movie done or seen. But there were some talented people and GREAT ideas.

I might have found a way to help many of these dreams get delivered.

What if we could show up on your set/location and live switch between cameras like a soap opera is produced? This would allow many of these people to get finished location shoots in a fraction of the time. Once you return to the edit bay you will have almost 100% of the film edited. Add titles and press to DVD.
Or take the iso footage and fine tune to your heart’s content.
Awesome! You could watch the entire finished scene immediately with the actors and crew.

I know this will not work for every film or film maker. And I know some will say it’s not “Pure”. But I see it as a blending of technologies that has great value to many who are striving to get their message, story and art to many people in a simplified way. I was amazed at the number of stories that are sitting on shelves. That’s really a “sad story”.

Let me know your thoughts on the benefits, feel free to list the drawbacks and discuss away. Worst case scenario, this would be a great way to get a pilot of your story produced so you can solicit funding.
I think it’s a great idea! What about you guys? I’d love to hear your feedback.

UnCommonGrafx
05-23-2008, 03:24 PM
That's why I like you, Ted.

I think what you suggest would get 200% more Indy movies made a year.
But it will only happen when they can see the worth of it; so far... Indys focus on their poverty to get it done, not always to their resources.

I think I'll get on my local indy film-maker board with a bit of seriousness. Someone else is paying the dime for the summer. ;)

Steamthrower
05-23-2008, 03:53 PM
Good ideas. I work with a local filmmaker and he would probably appreciate being pitched this idea.

However, the one potential issue is that the movies would have to be very low budget films. Knowing several directors and writers (whether Hollywood or local) their projects are their babies, and they're going to want to edit and edit until their eyeballs drop out (actually...that'd be until MY eyeballs drop out).

This naturally wouldn't work with our feature-length projects, using camera cranes and Arris, but for shorts I could imagine that it would be incredibly useful. The studio's got 6 XLs which would work wonderfully.

I'll keep this in mind, Ted. Why not film an entire movie like they film a sitcom? Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and most effective.

ted
05-23-2008, 10:05 PM
I'll have to see how it goes.
Last year I turned away a $100,000 film project about a family going through the destructive effects of alcoholism.
I bid that I would need about $125,000 to really be profitable and do it right. Using this method I could have done it for about $75,000 and made a decent profit.

I am sure the producer would have closed the deal with this very workflow. We actually discussed the details of this very process and he was happy as a clam.
The biggest problem was establishing all the gear at the many various locations.
With the gear we have just one year later, I can unload and be set up in less than 1 hour.

I'll let you know how this goes over the next year. Thanks for your thoughts. I certainly hope to get even more from you. Even if it's not optimistic feedback like on another, (non NewTek) forum I discussed this on. I think it will work out for many projects. We'll see.

Titus
05-23-2008, 10:47 PM
I met with a group of film makers recently and found many reasons why these talented story tellers donít ever get their movie done or seen. But there were some talented people and GREAT ideas.

Many movies are being edited on set these days Ted. This is a trend I see more common on magazines.

jin choung
05-23-2008, 11:01 PM
That's why I like you, Ted.

I think what you suggest would get 200% more Indy movies made a year.


yes, because the great problem in the world now is that there isn't enough content.

eeeeyyyyuuuuuhg....

99% of everything is crap. and 99% of these shelved dreams probably don't deserve to see the light of day. it's not SAD. it's mercy!

don't you people watch ameican idol? (i don't) ... but the entire gist of that show is: almost everyone who sux thinks they're great. people are delusional about their own abilities.

getting most of these vocal abominations to shut up is not SAD... it's sweet mercy for all involved.

and besides if anyone wants it bad enough, they'll find a way.

as a consumer of content, this sounds very much like a solution seeking a problem.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

as for the technique, it can certainly have a place but it's not exactly revolutionary - it's basically multicamera production but in the field. sure, it gets stuff in the can quicker but at a severe cost... you'll likely end up looking very much like a soap or a pbs drama or something.

nevermind "pure", it's simply a stylistic limitation that produces a look unlikely to be suited for general purpose production. though it could be interesting for a movie that made it a part of its aesthetic somehow?

as for speed - meh. the resource that indies DO have is TIME.

another way to go is go elcheapo lucas and use switchers and fancier than a news desk virtual sets to chump out a sci fi soap opera.

again, never mind the idea of "pure"... the fact that such productions have cameras that stay at about the same height and aim just about horizontally for the whole movie is not an issue of "purity"... it is sacrificing the resource of the entirety of the language of cinema to just get it done....?

jin

Steamthrower
05-24-2008, 07:23 AM
I don't think Ted is implying that live switching should be used for the next Star Trek movie, Jin. He's specifically talking about indie projects that already don't have a lot of money. These won't have effects shots or panoramic vistas...probably they'll be dialogue-centric, all shot in a closed interior set.

With a good operator, who has rehearsed the scene and knows when to switch, I really think that it'd be hard to beat the abilities of a good director/editor. And you always have the footage from the other camera to insert in case they really did get a bad shot.

Verlon
05-24-2008, 07:40 AM
Well, one could argue that crap movie come from studios crushing creativity, and more power to independent filmmakers would help.

I think that delivering a good multicamera crew to indie film producers (for a reasonable price, of course) could help them at least some of the time. I would think any director would PREFER to have all the tape, rather than (better yet in addition to) live switched though. I'd hate to have the boom mike drift in while I was focused elsewhere in the scene.

ericsmith
05-24-2008, 09:00 AM
I think Jin is on the right track here.

The thing is, if you're going to shoot multi-camera, you have to light multi-camera. Now if you're a very talented cinematographer, you might be able to succeed at that for some shots. But the notion of "assembly lining" the process almost guarantees that everything will either be flat lit and sterile (like a soap opera), or badly lit from some of the angles.

And other aspects of the direction/filmmaking process will suffer as well. In a "live shoot" environment, you're going to have to use an entire take in the final product, rather than cutting together the best moments from multiple takes. If the director has access to A list actors, this might not be so bad, but that's generally not the case, so they need more flexiblity in the editing process rather than less.

Not to mention the fact that making editing decisions on the fly can't result in nearly as good a final result as carefully cutting source material after the fact.

Jin's point is well taken that the one asset indie film producers have is time. And the hard reality is, if their stories were truly brilliant, they'd have no problem finding a producer to get it done with a proper budget. So that being said, they would be better served to get ahold of one really good camera, and take their time to craft a film rather than cut corners and assembly-line produce it.

Your process may enable someone to finish a project, but it's not as likely that it would enable them to succeed.

Eric

Eric

Lightwolf
05-24-2008, 09:00 AM
He's specifically talking about indie projects that already don't have a lot of money.
Go Dogma then... There's plenty of decent movies shot using just a camera and some dedicated people. It doesn't make a lot of sense as a business idea though.

Cheers,
Mike

Jim_C
05-24-2008, 09:06 AM
Karl Freund would be proud of you Ted....

:)
;)

ted
05-24-2008, 09:19 AM
Wow Jin. :D
I think most understood, but I might be partly to blame for using the term "Movie". That term is admittedly used too often for even down and dirty storytelling.

There are countless scripts laying around that I think this would work for. Just like the one last year that I had to pass on.

I'm guessing our new capabilities will have a place in storytelling and you'll be seeing more and more of this in the coming years.
If I'm ahead of the times in our market, so be it. If I'm too far ahead, I'll pay for it.
But time will tell if I can make additional income helping to get these stories off the shelves and to an audience.

jin choung
05-24-2008, 03:13 PM
i understood.

and the term "movie" IS the down and dirty term as opposed to film or cinema.

and there are lots of great examples of cheapo low brow "movies" that nonetheless exhibit great use of the language of film.

as has been said, the switcher method will create a specifc look very much akin to soap operas. or a tv sitcom. or a filmed stage play.

that's a very specific aesthetic that will be unlikely to be viable for "general purpose" moviemaking. in fact, in terms of moviemaking art and craft, it's downright objectionable....

but it could have its place.

if you want to make the equivalent of 80s dr. who or the old brit tv show hitchhiker's guide - if you're going for a half hour tv look, it could work.

but that's gonna be the look.

finally, also as i said, 99% of everything sucks and we're currently drowning in content as it is so enabling even more is of dubious value imo.

jin

ted
05-24-2008, 06:22 PM
finally, also as i said, 99% of everything sucks and we're currently drowning in content as it is so enabling even more is of dubious value imo.
jin

Drowning in content is an overstatement by my perspective. It seems like we have 100's of channels that have repeats daily not to mention the opening of internet markets exploding. There is a need for more content and big business in providing it.

I agree that quality content is becoming more of a rarity. But then...if the pay is right I'll make what the client wants. Well, except for porn. My wife says no, unless it pays really really well! :hey:

jcupp
05-24-2008, 06:42 PM
Yeah, I think it could work well for a dialog centric 'film'. (Can you still call it that when it's shot directly to a hard drive?) Many films are not so much about the "language of film" as they are about the acting and a more spontaneous shooting method may make life easier for the actors.

Multi-camera lighting might be an issue but plenty of indies are shot with a minimum of lighting anyway so again I don't see this as necessarily an idea killer. As far as editing on the fly, I'd run 'media' in the cameras just in case.

ericsmith
05-24-2008, 08:07 PM
As I think about this more, I have to ask: How on earth would you deal with something as fundimental as a two person dialog sequence with matching over-the-shoulder cuts? Especially in a medium shot? Would you just have to place the cameras off axis enough to not be in each other's shot?

Limitations like this could really be a problem, especially when the content is more dramatic/dialog based.

Eric

jin choung
05-24-2008, 09:42 PM
well generally on soaps, they don't do ots... just 3/4 on the chick on the left. the 3/4 on guy on the right. actually, we've been saying soaps but like ANY multicamera show... like 'friends' or 'frasier' or 'seinfeld' etc... just for a "movie"...

so right, it would "stagey". and imo, meh... but it could have its place....

jin

LW_Will
05-26-2008, 12:21 AM
Okay... that's fine Jin.

Okay, everybody. Don't lift a finger to help Jin do anything. Ever. He obviously doesn't have an entrepreneurial or indeed a film makers spirit.

You know, they were doing a show for investors in films. Suits above the suits, people who didn't understand film, they just understood money. Well the guy from the studio lays out the money, shows that the ROI will be for the adverage movie will be and where they will have a loss. One of the big muckety mucks stands and asks why are they making room for the losses. The studio guy says that some of the pictures will have losses. the big money guy says, "Well... don't make the pictures with the losses."

Don't make bad movies.

One problem with that, no one knows which film doesn't suck.

Of course 99% of everything is crap, its the one percent that you can't know. As a film maker, you have to understand that the film you are making is the best movie in the world. Its when people stop doing that their work obviously suffers.

You cannot say that it is a blessing that these films are shelved. Amazingly, you haven't seen them. Funny how that keeps popping up, isn't it?

MOD sez... you may disagree with someone on these forums, but it is a violation of forum rules to start telling them to shut up, Will. Thank you in advance for your courtesty.

rakker16mm
05-26-2008, 12:56 AM
Personally I am more comfortable shooting with one camera. There is already so much to think about on set as it is. Adding more cameras seems to increase the complexity of the situation exponentially. One yo-yo can really muck up your day, so all the crew need to be able to work together smoothly and professionally.... OTHO if you have three camera operators you can send the worst offender home :D

One thing I can say is you really need to be on top of your game to pull it off. Then again having your shirt together is definitely a prerequisite in filmmaking. I think doing a very thorough storyboard probably saves you more time than any thing else. Of course I am biased on that count since it is what I do. The intimidation factor of a multi camera shoot shouldn't be underestimated in my opinion. Especially if you are working with inexperienced actors.

Aesthetically, I prefer to set up each shot individually especially in regard to lighting and composition. Lighting for two or more cameras at the same time often requires you to compromise. Also as Jin said earlier OTS shots are better shot with one camera, but so are dolly shots and other camera moves. I'm not saying it can't be done but some things are a lot more straightforward when you are working with a single camera. Of course you can still save time with a second unit, as long as they are somewhere else :D

rakker16mm
05-26-2008, 01:17 AM
As I think about this more, I have to ask: How on earth would you deal with something as fundimental as a two person dialog sequence with matching over-the-shoulder cuts? Especially in a medium shot? Would you just have to place the cameras off axis enough to not be in each other's shot?

Limitations like this could really be a problem, especially when the content is more dramatic/dialog based.

Eric

You can do that but if the optimal shot is close to the eye line shooting with two cameras is definitely a compromise. Of course just because you have more than one camera on set doesn't mean you have to use them all at the same time.

In addition the other camera being in the way there is are also the lights that would be lighting your actor to the best dramatic effect.

ted
05-26-2008, 10:57 AM
I've got 3 decades of experience doing live stuff, so preperation and the process isn't a problem for live multi-cam recordings.

However, I am NOT a "MOVIE MAKER". I just hang with a lot of them and probably less than 50% are thrilled with this idea. About what I expected. :hey:

BUT...I see this "Glass Half Full" as a sign that there are some guys that do projects that could use this type of service. Heck, if only 10% could benefit from these services that makes a nich for me to capitolize on. No? :D

Feel free to give me more reasons why this can or can't be done. This will help me to do it better. :thumbsup:

rakker16mm
05-26-2008, 01:19 PM
It sounds like you have the experience to make it work. The other folks still have to do all the preparation on their end though. Definitely a storyboard and shot list is in order so that every one will be on the same page.

You probably will be shooting portions film in single camera mode I imagine. Establishing shots, Masters, and over the shoulders would all be one camera. On the other hand there's nothing that says you can't be shooting a close up and a reaction shot at the same time. That might be helpful to actors that are used to live performance and not film. Come to think of it those would be the best actors to use in a multi camera shoot since they are more accustomed to contiguous performances.

One thing is that I like to have the camera moving or work with the actors changing their staging to add a sense of movement. Both of those things are a lot easier with one camera. So you may want break it up from time to time and shoot with one camera just for that reason. If you do that it will give a special weight or tension to the scenes where things are not moving, but that is more of an aesthetic consideration.

As I'm sure you know one or both cameras can get in the other's shot. I had a situation where each camera operator had managed to record the other. We were moving along so fast we didn't catch it at the time and both shots were unusable. Fortunately I had plenty of cutaways to work with, but it was disappointing to loose what would have been an excellent shot. Reviewing the footage as we shot each scene would have saved me that headache but since we had two cameras we also had twice the amount of footage to review, and since the idea was to save as much time as possible... um... well... we skipped that part.

I do like certain aspects of it of having multiple cameras. It was nice when I was cutting the action shots together since everything matched seamlessly, but it made editing the sections with lots of dialog a bit harder. I can see my self doing multi camera shoots in the future especially when I want to match action shots, but I am still going to do a lot of stuff with just one camera because it is easier.

ted
05-27-2008, 10:48 AM
Rakker16mm, At least you see the potential for "some" use of this technology. :hey:
Yes it's different and no it's not for everyone or every project. But I'm getting enough interest that I guarantee I'll add a little income from this and have fun doing something new once in a while. :D
Thanks for all the input guys! :thumbsup:

Steamthrower
05-27-2008, 10:53 AM
Let us know how it works out, when you find an opportunity to use it. What cameras are you using? XLs?

ted
05-27-2008, 07:05 PM
We have 2 HVX 200's in house and access to a RED. But there is no shortage of almost every camera here.
Do you have any suggestions on what to use?

Steamthrower
05-27-2008, 08:30 PM
Nope, not at all. I'm pretty raw into live videography. The cameras I work with the most are either XLs (with a local company) or personally with plain old Panasonic ENG cameras. I was just wondering what your setup was like. The 200s are very nice cameras. I was seriously looking at them a while back but decided against getting one since live camerawork is such a small percentage of my freelance work now.

rakker16mm
05-28-2008, 12:39 AM
We have 2 HVX 200's in house and access to a RED. But there is no shortage of almost every camera here.
Do you have any suggestions on what to use?

Use the RED and put the best glass you can rent, buy, beg, barrow or steel in front of it. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

OK but I have to admit that is partially due to my film bias because the RED has 35 mm format sensor which gives you the nice film like depth of field and film like resolution. Also I must admit that I haven't used one, but I did get to check it out earlier this year and was sufficiently impressed. I still have very strong leanings toward film so it takes a bit to get me to jump the fence as it were, and the RED camera is one of the few new items that makes me question my film bias. Generally I'm inclined not to make purchases at the moment because there are some truly paradigm busting technologies on the horizon and I don't want to get stuck in a dead end technology.

Dexter2999
05-28-2008, 06:16 AM
Ted an jin are both right.

I am a little bit of a film snob. BUT there is a reason. People who shoot video are looking to tell a story, and very often are looking to do it on the cheap. They are looking to cut corners.
So they shoot video instead of film.
So they need to get more set ups done in a day, taking less time on each.
So they get less talented actors because they are cheaper.
So they do less takes.

There is a cummulative effect.

Ted your method has the potential to lower costs and set up times that COULD allow the Directors to spend more time and money on getting their story told.

Good Luck

ted
05-28-2008, 11:29 PM
Dexter, thanks for that. On another forum I've ruffled some feathers by ruining the artistic nature of filmmaking! There are those that are open minded enough to see potential for some projects, but probably more than half tend to be almost offended.
This is funny since I doubt 1% of them have ever made a film in the true sense motion pictures are done. But those are the films they mention when they say this method won't work. I'd like to see films by those who are most offended. :D
There is more than one way to skin a cat. :hey:

rakker16mm
05-29-2008, 12:50 AM
Dexter, thanks for that. On another forum I've ruffled some feathers by ruining the artistic nature of filmmaking! There are those that are open minded enough to see potential for some projects, but probably more than half tend to be almost offended.
This is funny since I doubt 1% of them have ever made a film in the true sense motion pictures are done. But those are the films they mention when they say this method won't work. I'd like to see films by those who are most offended. :D
There is more than one way to skin a cat. :hey:

Hmmmm.... their knee jerk reaction sounds a bit dogmatic to me.

I would recommend they check out a copy of "The Five C's of Cinematography" by Joseph V. Mascelli [ ISBN 1-879505-41-X ] at their local library before they accuse you of ruining the art of filmmaking for suggesting the idea of using multiple cameras :D Actually I would recommend that book to any one who is interested in filmmaking.

The truth of that matter is this. There are things that must absolutely be shot with multiple cameras such as when an action can not be repeated IE. a news event, a wedding, action scenes that are too expensive to shoot more than once, and of course it goes without saying actors who can't match actions and dialog from previous shots.

There are also times you really only want one camera on set IE. a dolly or crane shot that intentionally crosses the line of action and would be record the other camera and be recorded by the other camera. Also OTS shots as previously mentioned.

Verlon
05-29-2008, 04:53 AM
I think the point about having to light multi-camera is valid. If you can find a way to REALLY make that work (without looking flat), you could be on to something.

I think mutli-camera IS coming in a bigger way, and people just need to get used to it. From a budget film perspective, good cameras keep getting cheaper, but other expenses just keep going up. Sooner or later, it is simply going to be too much more cost efficient to shoot multi-camera to ignore. It may not be right for everything, but it will play a bigger part in the future.

And before you get on your cinema high horse, before "The Blair Witch Project," what chances would you give a director who said "no, throw out the steadi-cams, I WANT this to look like it was shot on crappy hand-held cameras." Now look at how often people are doing just that, even in places where there is no obvious justification for it (i.e. couple of kids using handi-cams to 'film' the story).

If someone makes a compelling (or at least financially successful) film using this technique, it WILL become more popular.

I would say find a script that really plays to this format's strength (and is good), and make that one.

And this is art, generally constrained by resources like time, talent, and money. What about it has ever been 'pure?' At best, it is a blending of stage, radio shows, photography, and a few hints of other things. And THOSE things are al blends (or outright theft) of still OTHER forms of art.

ted
05-29-2008, 12:33 PM
Rakker and Verlon, Thanks for the input. At least you guys see that because it's NEW, doesn't mean it can't be considered.
Problems and issues to overcome, sure, but I've always liked a challenge. :D
Now I gotta get a gig to prove it can be done. :hey:

Surrealist.
05-30-2008, 02:48 AM
I met with a group of film makers recently and found many reasons why these talented story tellers don’t ever get their movie done or seen. But there were some talented people and GREAT ideas.

I might have found a way to help many of these dreams get delivered.

What if we could show up on your set/location and live switch between cameras like a soap opera is produced? This would allow many of these people to get finished location shoots in a fraction of the time. Once you return to the edit bay you will have almost 100% of the film edited. Add titles and press to DVD.
Or take the iso footage and fine tune to your heart’s content.
Awesome! You could watch the entire finished scene immediately with the actors and crew.

I know this will not work for every film or film maker. And I know some will say it’s not “Pure”. But I see it as a blending of technologies that has great value to many who are striving to get their message, story and art to many people in a simplified way. I was amazed at the number of stories that are sitting on shelves. That’s really a “sad story”.

Let me know your thoughts on the benefits, feel free to list the drawbacks and discuss away. Worst case scenario, this would be a great way to get a pilot of your story produced so you can solicit funding.
I think it’s a great idea! What about you guys? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Well I think you said it all here.

But I think very few people think about the reality of distribution. I think the prospects for distribution are just as important. They may not say it, but for filmmakers this is the reality.

But as you said it may be only a way to make a "demo". To do anything else with it and not have some great bright idea to capitalize on this and make it unique is really going to put it out of the league for any hopes of distribution.

I think, voiced or not, that is what you are running into with filmmakers.

So my feedback having made a few films and finally gotten one distributed is I would not go near this idea nor recommend it to anyone if it did not also come with some real good reason why it would make a particular project unique and stand out. Otherwise it would only cheapen it and pretty much dash any hopes for distribution. The market is extremely competitive.

As for the business side. Yeah, you'll find a market for it. I don't think you'll get many filmmakers per se. But I think you know that now. And it is not just about being pure and close minded it is about being realistic with the film market. Because it is still a "film" market. And the hype of digital wore off a few years ago. So I wouldn't me looking for distributors to jump up and down for joy if I came to them with a project that looked even more like video.

But if I had something unique and a clever way to use it to support the work of art in the perfect way and they could see this as something they could market, then yes, that is an entirely different story.

Verlon
05-31-2008, 07:20 PM
I was thinking about this recently -- and where it would shine. Besides the obvious like live events (or simulations of live events), if you could find something that relied heavily on point of view, or telling the same story from multiplie points of view (like "Vantage Point" promised but, IMHO, failed to deliver), you could really make this work.