Thursday, May 19, 2011

Behind "Depart From Me"

To see Depart From Me the short film, go here:

Like most independent films these days, Depart From Me was made on a low budget. Roughly $700. I'm not so sure that's even considered low anymore. Anyway, I wanted to take some time to let everyone know what kind of equipment and software I used for the film and what we spent all that money on. If anyone has any questions about the production of Depart From Me, shoot me an e-mail and I'll try and get back to you as soon as I can.

I guess I'll start with the money. There really wasn't anything that we really needed to buy besides the set and lights. The lights were from Wal-Mart and cost about $70 for the fixture and the bulbs. They were just really cheap fluorescent lights. We also bought lumber, cloth, buttons, batteries and cement. By the way, NEVER use actual cement on walls if you want that kind of look. The walls in the video weighed about 300 pounds. Most of that weight was the cement. It really sucked moving it around.

I filmed Depart From Me with a Canon 7D DSLR camera. I shot mostly 1080 24p, but for the slow motion I had to use 720 60p because the 7D doesn't allow you to shoot slow motion in 1080p. I used a Canon 28-135mm IS zoom lens for all the moving shots because of the image stabilization. I would also use a Nikon Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4D that I bought from Overland Photo Supply for shots where I needed a shallower depth of field. The only thing that sucks about using Nikon Lenses on a Canon DSLR Camera for video is the shakiness. I had to use a lens adapter to attach the Nikon lens to the canon body. The adapter doesn't allow the image stabilization to work in the lens. So I had to keep the camera locked down on a tripod for all the Shallow DOF shots. Bummer. I used the marvel cine picture style you can download here. This picture style allows you to capture more color information, so you can manipulate it more in post-production.

I used a super crappy tripod I bought from Wal-Mart because I couldn't find my Bogen, which totally sucked. I also used a really crappy skateboard dolly that I built about 5 years ago. It's similar to the picture above, but not near as well built. The thing barely moved. We had to put a ton of WD-40 on the wheels. To fix the shaky movement from the tripod, I would rest the camera or tripod on pillows. It absorbed a lot of the shock. For other shots I would have somebody push me and I would just hold the camera steady. The tripod and the dolly are the only two things we used. We didn't have sound, so a microphone wasn't needed. 

I used 4 fluorescent lights that I bought for $15 a piece at Wal-Mart to light most of the set. To light the monitors inside the laboratory I used those same lights and just put them behind the plexiglass. I also used a 6" battery powered fluorescent light for the woman scientists face.

I do all my post-production with a Mac Quad Pro with 8 gigs of ram. It really gets the job done. I edited it in final Cut Pro. For all the visual effects I used Adobe After Effects CS3. I also used Video Copilot's Optical Flares and Action Movie Essentials 2 for some of the fire effects. 

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