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    Am I nuts? Indie feature on hmc40
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    Hello everyone!

    Am I nuts for thinking about shooting an indie feature (micro budget - out of pocket, shot on weekends type film) on the HMC40? Film would be for straight to dvd / bluray market. Possible film fests (digital projection)

    I own the camera. I own a light kit (three 500 w lights with stands, 3 home depot tin-lights, bag of gels) libec tripod, shotgun mic with adapter. Edit - FCP 7 on a late 2009 imac.

    Most of the feature takes place in apartments and 1 house. Other scenes take place in a park (where the hmc40 really shines)

    I don't have a 35mm adatper. Been looking into these as well.

    Was also thinking about selling the hmc40 with audio adapter for a used hmc150 or an hvx200a. Hmmmm.

    Anyone have any experience with this cam (hmc40) and feature use?


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    As long as your not after shallow depth of field then you will be fine. It wasn't long ago the indie norm was an hv20 and there is no shallow depth of field there.

    You have lighting and a shotgun mic, get creative.

    It's the content not the camera. If its creatively shot/has good narrative content I couldn't care less what it's shot on..


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    #3
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    True Will. Story and creativity are a must!
    On the subject of DOF, I was looking at 35mm adapters for this cam (Letus mini, Jag, Cam35, GT35Pro, ect...) but ready many horrible reviews since this cam already is not so good in low light... Adding an adpater + lens will just make it worse. On the flip side, most of the story is in an apartment / house, and I have adequate lighting, so not sure if it would be an issue. I'm looking to get my hands on one (borrow) to do some tests.
    Color correction is another issue. I know 4:2:0 can handle light color correction, and I've done some tests in FCP 7. Most footage looks pretty good, some falls apart (blocky-artifacts) in other scenes.


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    #4
    Steak Knife Member David G. Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneC View Post
    True Will. Story and creativity are a must!
    On the subject of DOF, I was looking at 35mm adapters for this cam (Letus mini, Jag, Cam35, GT35Pro, ect...) but ready many horrible reviews since this cam already is not so good in low light... Adding an adpater + lens will just make it worse. On the flip side, most of the story is in an apartment / house, and I have adequate lighting, so not sure if it would be an issue. I'm looking to get my hands on one (borrow) to do some tests.
    Color correction is another issue. I know 4:2:0 can handle light color correction, and I've done some tests in FCP 7. Most footage looks pretty good, some falls apart (blocky-artifacts) in other scenes.
    I shoot some low budget features on pro-sumer standard def DV camcorders... While I have never shoot with a HMC-40, from the specs, I think if it is the camera you have, then take that "Mo-Fo" and make a movie.

    Just some more $0.02.... As for 35mm adaptors, I used a Mini-35 set up once and did not like it at all. It is my understanding that they eat a lot of light, and on a low budget feature, I see that as nothing but a problem. I am not in love with an uber shallow depth of field, and think that the current fetishization of it in a lot of filmmaking circles is kind of silly. You can get images very suited to the telling of a fictional narrative story (I refuse to use the "C"* or the "F" word **) with the smaller chip camcorders. Part of that aethetic, for me, means working, "Down at the bottom end". By that, I mean usually shooting as close to wide open I can with a constant fight with underexposure. I also make sure that I am not always at the wide end of the lens all of the time. I like to stay somewhere just before the middle of the zoom range for most "Normal" shoots, go a little north of the middle of the zoom range for portraiture and save the wide end for action or expansive shoots. Shooting at a wider aperture and longer focal length will give you some more shallow depth of field, not as much as a wide aperture on a larger sensor, but the shoot will look better than shooting the scene at wide angle and at f5.6 or more. You will also need to watch your shutter speed. When shooting 24P, you should have your shutter speed at 1/48th of a second. Faster than that is, IMHO, not conducive to making images suited to the telling of a fictional narrative story... ok, shoot, I will use the "V" word... faster shutter speeds makes an image, IMHO, more "Videoy" looking.

    Now, that is just my $0.02 based on my personal aesthetic. I would suggested taking you HMC-40 and push it to the limits. Shoot and shoot and shoot, changing the shutter speed, cranking the color, and manipulating all of the image controls the camera has and see what you like, and what you think looks cool. Then go and shoot your movie as creatively as you can. Like the above posts say, if you have a cool story, with interesting characters and you shoot it the most creatively you can with the camera you have, then you can make a great movie!

    Make sure you post a link to where we can watch it when you are done!!


    * Cinematic.
    ** Film like.
    "The enemy of art is the absence of limitations"
    -Orson Wells.

    "To me the great hope is... people that normally wouldn't be making movies will make them and suddenly some little fat girl in Ohio will be the new Mozart and will make a beautiful film using her father's camera-corder and the "Professionalism" of movie making will be destroyed forever and it will finally become an art form."
    -Francis Ford Coppola.


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    #5
    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    Honestly, I'd highly recommend against it (if you're making the film for any reasons other than 'love').

    With the newfound access to 'cinematic', large-sensor cameras that the DSLR revolution has brought us. I think larger-sensor aesthetics have simply become expected now (as there's no real barrier to not having it) for any kind of narrative material.

    Personally, I'd advise you to stick with 2/3" sensors or larger, I just see too many people cringe at the sight of 1/3" video footage at film screenings these days.


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    There are two types of people. Some care for the video aesthetics, some care for narrative content. It just depends on who you want to impress.

    35mm adaptors are a thing of the past, stay well clear. Buy a GH1/GH2 (or other DSLR if your mad) if you want the shallow depth of field potential, you could potentially sell your HMC40 and buy a GH2.

    I use HMC80's for documentary type work and I find myself more often than not using my hacked GF1 as it's always in my coat pocket and just using the HMC80 for sound. Shallow depth of field is the in thing, wether you like it or not. It looks contemporary in docu/corporate work.

    In the independent narrative film world it's really up to you. Thats what it's all about, using what you got to produce something you are happy with and enjoyed producing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Grug View Post
    Honestly, I'd highly recommend against it (if you're making the film for any reasons other than 'love').

    With the newfound access to 'cinematic', large-sensor cameras that the DSLR revolution has brought us. I think larger-sensor aesthetics have simply become expected now (as there's no real barrier to not having it) for any kind of narrative material.

    Personally, I'd advise you to stick with 2/3" sensors or larger, I just see too many people cringe at the sight of 1/3" video footage at film screenings these days.
    I tend to cringe at canon moire/aliasing considerably more than I cringe at 1/3" footage. Just sayin'.


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    Senior Member BLahey's Avatar
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    Content is king, If the story is engaging, no one will care what it was shot on. ....unless your audience is film students....


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    #9
    Senior Member maranfilms's Avatar
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    It's very easy to get a shallow dof from a 1/3rds inch sensor. You need to zoom in and move the cam back. And of course try to keep your iris as open as possible. You will need to plan your shots, but doable.


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    #10
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    This project will be out of 'love' because I love shooting. Everyone working on this (the cast/crew 6 people) just want to get together and make something. I've done it before on my dvx100a (but had to sell it) for past projects. I was just looking to see if anyone in the hmc cam forum had attempted something like this, with this camera.
    Lots of planning will have to go into the shots, you can count on that!
    Content is king, for sure. I agree that people are def getting use to seeing cinematic footage everywhere from the larger sensor cams and dslrs. I also know (from attending many film fests) that people will sit through something shot on VHC cam if the story is good and the characters fun / engaging.


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