Living a dream as a photographer & filmmaker

Production Blog: development continues on Square One - a short drama to be filmed in the summer of 2013

This is a Jan/2013 update. Sign up to receive future updates via email.

This month I'm continuing to work on development and pre-production for the short film "Square One". Production is now scheduled for the summer of 2013.

Here's the short and longer log lines for the movie:

"Square One" is a short drama about a man, his wife, and the uncertainty of our existence.
After losing his wife in a tragic accident, Mike wants to take his own life, overwhelmed with guilt. But an unexpected turn of events makes him change his mind...

Operation DSLR Cinema Rig continues...

While I continue to massage the script slowly, I'm also working on finishing up putting together my cinema rig. DSLRs have terrible ergonomics for filmmaking.  I miss the form factor of my ENG-style Panasonic HPX-300.  If only they'd put a bigger sensor in it... Oh well... 

In order to make the DSLR ergonomics suitable for filmmaking, I have purchased a basic shoulder/tripod rig, that I have modified to fit my needs better.  In January I have purchased and installed a follow focus, and another articulating arm. I also installed a cage bracket, so that I can attach the microphone, and a fill LED light, whenever I get it. Here are some photos.

cineSerge Flat Cinema picture profile for the D4

I also started experimenting with the picture profiles for the Nikon D4.  Thing with DSLRs is that they produce an 8 bit image, which makes it a bit difficult to color grade in post production.  In order to obtain the best latitude and preserve detail in shadows as well as highlights, several settings have to be turned down a bit [contrast, saturation, and sharpening].  
On the other hand, if you turn these settings all the way down, then you'd run in the problem of skin looking plasticky and unrealistic.  So, there has to be a balance. 
I have created my own custom picture profile for the D4 based in D4's Neutral profile. I'll still need to test it extensively. I call it cineSerge Cinema Fat [Cinema NL FLAT version 1-03].  Here's a pic of the profile setting.  In the future I'm planning on writing a separate post about setting up the D4 for cinema production.

Color grading reference tests

[ In case you don't know what color grading means, look it up HERE ]. 
This month I've also tested some "looks" for the film, aka color-grading.  First three images here are from one of the actual locations that will be used in the movie. The fourth picture is a reference image from some magazine, which I like a lot, so I might have a similar color-grading in Square One. [I also like this grade].

More equipment to get my hands on

As far as equipment goes, I'm still looking into purchasing Atomos Ninja 2 external recorder/monitor, some audio gear, and a tripod.  I was browsing Videomaker magazine the other day and saw some gear that I might have to purchase: Libec LX7 tripod, indiSystem Airjib, Roland Systems Group R26 sound recorder, Que Audio Q Sniper Mic.  Need to do research on these items...

Status update summary

So far, I'm making progress with the script, getting the gear together, doing camera tests, and researching locations.  Next step after that would be casting... Stay tuned!
Related Posts
1. More posts about Square One 
2. Read all posts about filmmaking
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