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Written/Directed/Produced & Edited by: Ken Simpson
Cinematography/Camera operating & Color Grading by: Alex Dacev
The DP owned one 50mm prime, about as stock as they come and I borrowed my friends 28mm prime for a few shots here and there. I did however, rent a 70-200mm canon zoom lens for most of the shoot and that cost me another $200.00. Later I found out that a friend of mine had the same lens sitting on a shelf collecting dust...Bu Hao
THE DOLLY/FOLLOW FOCUS:
we used the microdolly for almost all of the moving shots (we used a tiny skateboard for the dolly along the shoes).
It's a very simple device to use, the kit is insanely cheap ($45.00/day) and comes with a 13 foot track which is like a tent pole design, meaning it's all one piece but you could collapse the end of it to fit into smaller spaces. There is a 45 degree curved track option as well, but we never bothered to rent it.
We probably should have had a little more weight on the tripod itself, given that it was only the 5D because the tripod would slip off the track from time to time. You'll notice we had a shitty tripod so we tapped it to the T-bar rather than it fitting in snugly like it would had we had a real profession tripod, ah well. Oh and those foam pads they provide you with to go under the track? We ditched using those after the first day, they just got in the way.
This may not be the best option in the world for flexibility, it's more of an indoor dolly for sure but I'd totally use it again if I was on a tight budget. It's a great way to add production value, considering the price.
We did use a redrock adapter but for some reason we couldn't figure out how to get the focus ring onto the left side of the camera, so the DOP could pan/tilt with his right hand. Not only that but his lens package weren't very high end so the clamp kept slipping off the focus adjustment on the lens (we ended up using double sided tape to make it bite properly). Focus was such a tricky and often elusive thing, there were several double digit takes done to achieve proper focus through out the whole length of the shots.
1x 1K Arri tungsten
1x 650W Arri tungsten
1x 300W Arri tungsten
-for Saffron's day scenes we used a medium flexfill
-and for her night exterior footage I used a tiny led (daylight balanced) camera light, the kind that slides into the accessory shoe of consumer cameras. Really cheap, it cost me $69 I think. The light sensitivity of the 5D really is insane. Since it was just a crew of two, the DP and I, it usually fell on to me to provide a little backlight on those night scenes and it was a little bizzare to be 15 feet back and it still be too bright.
I used my old Canon XL1s with a Lav attachment to re-record all of the spoken lines in the film. Basically after the cut was finalized I cued the scene up on my laptop, had the actors watch the takes a few times and then had them say the lines until I thought they matched up well enough. I bought the lav about 6 years ago, it cost about $250.00 or so and it wasn't top of the line or anything.
The reason were weren't plugging the lav into the 5D is because you still couldn't control the levels with the camera, so if something peaked, I'd have no real idea until afterwards anyways. You really do need an external device for good audio with this camera, sticking a boom mic or shotgun attachment won't really get you much better in the way of quality especially with that horrid auto gain feature.
Converted the footage in FCP to Apple ProRes (HQ) files.
Edited accordingly with shitty guide track from the 5D, then had the actors re-record their lines with my lav attached to my old XL1s running in 30P "FRAME MODE". Cleaned up the timeline then sent it to Color for grading.
Other than the one lens and the Microdolly and Redrock adapter, I just spent money the regular stuff like gas and meals. The locations were free, the actors brought their own wardrobe, except for the doctor (the DP has been a doctor for halloween for the past ten years and already had the lab coat and stethoscope!), there was no hair or make up dept. All of Saffron's scenes were shot over one day/night and by luck she had some hair extensions of her own that she was able to put in over lunch to help sell the idea that a lot more time had passed over course the of their relationship - you'll notice she never has short hair during any of her night scenes.
Total cost of this film $800.00 (approx.)
If you're still interested, you can check out our first short with the 5D MrkII here: