Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How best to use YouTube - continued

On Sat 27 Jan, see below, I wrote of my experiment to produce and post a clip "CheekyGirl10..." as a response to someone else's high profile clip = "Poor Pluto" by "LonelyGirl15". Well that was 4 days ago and so far "LonelyGirl15" has not accepted my submission as a response so no result yet on that experiment. The good news is that the "CheekyGirl10" clips are scoring better than any of my previous ones just by normal osmosis or whatever it is that brings viewers.

"Love Song to Super-8" - blog05 - In the clutches of Chinon

Late last night I went further with dismantling the Chinon camera from inside the cartridge chamber. 2 screws removed and out came the backplate. 2 more screws and the clutch removed nicely as a unit. It is adjustable, but this one was on its lowest setting and still seemed tight. So a deep breath and following my new theory that minimum take-up reel force is good, I replaced the strong spring with part of a ballpoint pen spring. Today we had the last day of pickups and I did some shots with the modified Chinon. It transported OK including running one entire cartridge on its own so I nervously await processing to see if less torque fixes the jiggles.

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Love Song to Super-8" -blog04 - camera experiences

Our Super-8 experience is going to depend on how well 25+ year old secondhand cameras have survived. We have started out with 4 cameras on "Love Song to Super-8". In brief: a Canon 814E is looking like the champion.
In detail:
Canon 814E - lens performance unknown as yet, we have had one mediocre EIA1956 result of 500 horiz line pairs but that was with way outdated b/w film with dodgy processing - so we don't really know. BUT the Canon is standing out as giving rock steady registration. My guess is that it has a better(lower) tension on its take-up clutch than the others. The others just pull too hard.

Sankyo 620 SuperTronic - reasonable lens performance = about 550 line pairs horiz, small registration jiggle. Kinda average. Dedicated animation stand camera on this project so it can live permanently with a close-up lens and a vertical mount.

Sankyo ES44 - low-light champion but failed on set just whirring and not transporting. My guess is that a release solenoid has failed or jammed. It lasted just long enough to get an action scene where we ran the ES44 at 9 frames per second and got the actors to act out in slow motion movement - aiming for a strange quality of movement when sped back up in post. Changing between cameras is a trap - under pressure I forgot to pay attention to the ES44's unusual daylight filter switch so did an entire scene (fortunately) set to daylight while lit with artificial light. We anxiously await the result back from the lab. Maybe it will make sense as an orange-toned scene? Maybe we can correct digitally?

Chinon Pacific 200/8 XL - this is a good-looking and nicely ergonomic unit to use and our EIA1956 tests are showing excellent lens performance up to 720 line pairs horizontal which rivals HD cameras. BUT its registration is awful. Bad jiggle and one sequence shows film going momentarily out of focus which IMO is the gate spring bending under pressure. This hints at the awful truth. The take-up transport just pulls with too much tension. Just putting a finger on it makes that very clear. We've pulled this camera off the project and replaced with the Canon 814E but I am trying to figure out how to reduce that take-up tension. I have been able to partially dismantle by easily removing the film chamber backplate but I can't see enough yet to get many clues. This would be a brilliant camera if I could fix its transport problems.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"Love Song to Super-8" -blog03 - black-and-white film

We are shooting the main storyline in colour with Kodak's new Ektachrome 64T stock. 7 rolls of that is in the post to Spectra Lab in California so we don't know what that looks like yet. Some of the films-within-the-film are black-and-white. I am doing hand processing so we have our first results with new Kodak 7266 stock. The raw results appeared very bleached or over-developed but I am almost certain that I got my developer formula wrong with too much KSCN clearing agent. The good news is that on scanning into the computer and applying digital contrast and brightness corrections the results look great. We discover we can get an enormous improvement on the raw image.

"Circle Dance" is the classic experimental Super-8mm genre that EVERYONE did, of dancing and spinning while holding a camera at arm's length pointed back at one's face. Performed here by Linda Whitcombe playing the part of "Glenis".

"Love Song to Super-8" - blog02

This is a "silent" movie and we were expecting that shooting would be fast and easy compared to shoots where we need to worry about sound recording. Not quite true! Our 2 previous drama movies for the "48 hours" competitions were done in 1 room in front of blue and green sheets. "Love Song.." is reminding us that it is hard work to go for a visually rich movie largely done in real locations with the lining up and setting up of many camera angles!

First up was a Courtroom scene where our tragic film-making couple, "Mike" and "Glenis" are having a "custody battle" case over their films. We travelled 50km north to the Helensville Museum and used the 1864 vintage Courtroom there.

First look from the shoot ...


Going for visual jokes involving attention to detail takes a lot of time. We had surreal miniature policemen played by children wearing false beards achieved partly with crepe hair and spirit gum. Looks great but takes time to get them ready, and with heavily-dressed children on a hot day we had to work very fast with the filming eg raising the percentage of hand-held camera work.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

How best to use YouTube?

Do we show vid clips on YouTube, hopefully for public recognition reward, but maybe hurt commercial opportunities? Lots of indies are commenting on this as a big issue! I'm going for selecting clips and making clips especially for the iafilm YouTube channel.
The big issue to me trying to "build a profile" or should that say "indulge my ego by showing off" is that after the excitement and nervousness of setting up a YouTube channel comes the anticlimax of only getting a small audience. Max views so far is about 200 for the quickie alternative-news "Raurimu Spiral". I want audiences to love our more-crafted work!

Experiment. My latest made-especially-for-YouTube is "The cheekygirl10 Guide to Len Lye". In 4 days it has collected 20 views. So now I have submitted it as a "response" to the lonelygirl15 clip "Poor Pluto" and I am curious to find out if this response approach boosts the audience ratings by kinda hitching a ride on a famous clip. This experiment now depends on the "lonelygirl15" film-makers accepting "cheekygirl10" as a response. Watch this blog for progress reports.

With "cheekygirl10" we try for a general satirical take on "lonelygirl15" by filming genuine spontaneous responses from a cheeky and articulate 10-year-old host in contrast to the set up of lonelygirl15. It was a difficult decision as to which LG15 clip to respond to. "Poor Pluto" is in my opinion the best of LG15. It shows "Bree" commenting on something apart from her personal world and visually the mobile is a little like the kinetic sculpture in our vid.

"Love Song to Super-8" - blog01

The "push" to get blogging is the latest iafilm movie: "Love Song to Super-8". For this short film we are experimenting with an open show and tell of ideas as we make it rather than the usual big secret until the ta da! premiere. A little bit restricted though because we want to enter it in a film festival that likes to do exclusive premieres, so it's not much video on show but we'll cut loose with ideas, script elements, photos and share the results of the tech experiments.

Starting with what it's about:
"Mike and Glenis are the king and queen of Super-8 art film-making until Mike falls in love with a video camera. Glenis, feeling betrayed, is driven to passionate and furious revenge using Super-8 film-making equipment as tools and weapons."

Comedy Parody, especially taking the mickey out of "Fatal Obsession"(1987). We also aim to poke fun at any passionate obsession with technical points of difference eg the Film vs Video rivalry, the PC vs Mac rivalry, the Ford vs Holden rivalry.

The Tech Experiment:
Earlier experiments (see - the iafilm home website) that John's old Super-8mm cameras may well have a new life shooting Super-8mm film which we then scan directly into a computer. A love-match of the best of the old and the new? How to find out? Make a movie this way! We are aiming to shoot everything in Super-8mm so that it will be possible to play the result in the original Super-8mm on special occasions - AFTER it has been safely digitised.