Monday, May 25, 2009

The Future of Digital CInema?

The death of SD is imminent. So many people, including myself, are selling their souls to HD. What many people don't realize is just because you have an "HD camera" does not necessarily mean you have the quality of HD. You simply have the resolution sizes of 720x1260 or 1080x1920. Why else would there be $200 HD cameras and then $30,000 HD cameras?

HD is slowly becoming the new SD. I look at HD footage now and sometimes think to myself... "Is that all?" I know HD cameras are capable of recording gorgeous images, but bigger and better resolution sizes are on the horizon. Just look at the RED One camera which records an image 2x that of 1080p HD, and this is only the beginning. RED is supposedly engineering a sensor that is capable of recording an image that is 15,750 pixels by 28,000 pixels. WOW! To see an image that high quality with that amount of detail would probably make our heads explode. Not to mention we currently have no way of projecting an image that high quality, but still, RED is working on it.

Just look at this comparison chart

It just blows my mind to think that there is something bigger and better than HD out there, and it's not film. In fact, RED's camera "The EPIC", appropriately named, has an even higher resolution than IMAX 70mm film. This means that in a few years, indie filmmakers will be able to afford and produce a film shot at the resolution of IMAX on a camera no bigger than a standard Panasonic HVX or Sony EX1 camera rig.

Here's a look at the different sensor's used to record your image

The 2/3" sensor on top is what is common in most high end HD camcorders. Now look at RED's Epic sensor on the bottom. Just the sheer magnitude of it blows my mind! Imagine getting dust on that bad boy. A sure fire way to ruin your day! Anyways, this is what we're dealing with. Every frame shot on the Epic camera at a resolution of 15,750x28,000 will be the equivalent to a 261 megapixel image taken on a still camera. It's questionable to say how practical it would be shooting an image with such high a resolution, but simply to say we can is a feat in itself.

Also, with the emerging market for video DSLR's (Digital SLR cameras capable of recording video), getting a film like image is now becoming increasingly easier/affordable. The huge success of video dSLR's such as Canon's 5D MKII, Nikon's D90, and Panasonic's soon to be released GH1 prove that an affordable digital video camera with a built in 35mm adapter is in high demand.

Film will always have the nostalgic look and feel that so many of us film geeks love, but digital is getting very close. I would love to shoot on a real 35mm film camera, but financially it doesn't make sense when the digital alternative is a fraction of the cost. So for now I am forced to shoot all digital, but that's not looking like such a bad option anymore. Digital is slowly catching up to the look of film, both in quality and resolution. It's hard to predict what will happen in the next few years, but I am most certain there will be changes.

Take a look for yourself! If someone told me">this was shot on film, I would believe them.

Is film dead? Of course not. I'm sure big budget Hollywood productions will continue to shoot on 35mm film for many years to come, but then again many big time film directors, like Steven Soderbergh, are switching to an all digital workflow. I am curious to see in the coming years if other directors will follow suit and abandon film altogether.

So the question is, why would you spend the money to shoot on film stock when you can get an identical or better image from a digital video camera? Only time will tell.

The future is looking very bright for Indie filmmakers like myself. I can't wait to see what's in store!

Monday, May 18, 2009


... is the name of our 2009 neo-noir film made by the Film Production Coalition. I was fortunate enough to be cast as the DP (Director of Photography) for the film, which means I got to use my HVX 35mm adapter setup!! Going into the film, my biggest concern was all the night shoots because my HVX does NOT like low light situations. With most night shoots the hardest thing is lighting for night. A number of shoots proved to be very difficult, but in the end we worked through them all.

We finished principal photography a few weeks ago and now the post team is hard at work. We have a rough cut done now, and our sound guy Ed is hard at work sound mixing the film. I sat in on a color correcting session with Ben Bunch to give my input on different color palettes. I'm really happy with the way things are going and I can't wait to watch it on the big screen on May 30th!

In the editing suite

Here's our 45 minute film in the FCP timeline (look at all the different clips!!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Paper or Plastic"

This is the first short film I have ever made for a class at UCSC. One of the assignments for Film 170B is to make a short narrative film. Because my first film treatment got rejected, I came up with a second film treatment as a joke. Once I started working on this project I realized that it was turning into a really fun short film. Filmed in the course of a week on my HVX 35mm adapter setup

HVX 35mm Rig

Here's a screen grab from the film I edited in Photoshop
"Paper or Plastic"

And without further adieu, here is my first serious short film

"Paper or Plastic" from KMPer02 on Vimeo.


The National Holiday for smoking marijuana. I decided to document the the historic event that attracted over 10,000 people.

April 20th (4-20)

April 20th (4-20)

April 20th (4-20)

April 20th (4-20)

My first claymation...

Haven't updated this in FOREVER! Figured I'd just do a massive update today.

Anyways, beginning of this year, Jenny and I made our first ever claymation (clay stop-frame animation) entitled "Sculpey the Slug." Let's just say the concept seemed a lot easier than actually doing it. What you may not realize is this film is about 5 minutes long at 12 frames per second. Almost every frame includes some sort of change to the clay. In total I think I took about 3500 images. The project spanned about 5 days and included many sleepless nights.

After the final edit, I was very happy with the finished product. So much so, I sent an email to the coordinator of the Santa Cruz Film Festival. I was almost certain it wouldn't make it but it was worth a shot. A few days later I received an email from Julian Soler (Santa Cruz Film Festival Coordinator) and he said he absolutely would love to show "Sculpey the Slug" at the festival free of charge.

Sculpey is now premiering in front a large audience on Thursday May 14th 6:30PM at the Regal Riverfront Theater. Very excited!!

Anyways, here's the short film if you haven't seen it already!

"Sculpey the Slug" a short claymation from KMPer02 on Vimeo.