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    How Olivia Became a Boat
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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Okay, so this was shot with three Arri Amiras, but one shot in the movie is from a C300 Mark II, so that totally justifies it being posted in this forum (plus the short film forum isn't that active and why don't they have an Arri forum here?). I'm not going to tell you which shot is from the C300 Mark II, so you will have to use intensive deductive reasoning to figure out which shot it is.

    This is my first time acting in a leading role in a movie. I took on many hats for this production - lead actor, writer, producer, co-director, co-DP, and co-editor.

    As the intro to the movie states, it's a two part movie, so if you stop watching after the first part, you'll miss a lot of the point of the movie.


    Genre: Comedy-drama
    Synopsis: A man recollects love at first sight, a behind the scenes video ensures...but is there more than meets the eye?



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    Was gonna guess the opening shot was C300 II because whites & skintones were magenta, then saw the same pattern in later shots, including BTS where Amiras were visible. An issue with green environment reflection and limited post time?

    The interviews inside looked good, what camera(s) were used for those shots?

    Congrats on those 1sts; keep creating your own content!


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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Everything was Amira except for the handheld shot of the three Amiras which was a C300 Mark II. A lot of it certainly didn't make them shine as we had some less experienced operators, over-exposed shots which look a bit washed out, etc. I had a couple more experienced operators lined up to help out but then they got booked on paid shoots at the last minute so some of the PAs got promoted. The interviews I lit in a hurry with a single light since we started filming the interviews at midnight and finished around 3 or 4am, but the single person interviews actually came out looking pretty decent given the basic lighting setup. The three camera interview has the key light coming from the incorrect side which always bothers me, but we didn't have enough time to boom key lights.

    I color graded most of the shots but I'm not seeing that much magenta; perhaps our monitors are set differently. In any case, I've always said I'm no color grading expert. As this is documentary style I'm more okay with things not looking 100% polished as its more about content, and I wasn't the camera op/DP for a good amount of it. I was tweaking color yesterday until I got to a point I was satisfied with. I shot the slow motion B-roll shots of the producer and that footage does look more polished.


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    Shooting on grass surrounded by trees throws green everywhere. It can be a challenge to get skin tones looking good and preserving white as white. Perhaps use less magenta and more orange in CC (that works most of the time for 1DX II, EOS R, and the C300 II when I used it). Shouldn't be necessary to use secondary corrections or masks to get both skin and whites looking right.

    I only brought up the color as part of guessing the camera. I use calibrated monitors, and check graded footage on MBP and iPhone (good factory calibrations)- did notice same magenta-whites on iPhone X. Again the indoor footage looked spot on good- lighting didn't bother me. Whenever I see white not looking white, it creates a sense of intention for emotional effect- if it's not intentional, best to keep white close to white IMO (and calibrate monitor(s) if necessary, along with checking scopes/waveform etc.). Where white is e.g. ~2000-6000K depending on the kind of scene (orange to blue vs. other colors).

    Folks used to ding my work for non-white whites when I was just starting out + I've spent most time grading for skin tones being accurate vs. moods/emotions. Not too much work once you get the hang of it.


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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Okay, jcs, I made some color adjustments, for better or worse, so you're welcome to skim to see how I did. Mostly just adding in more orange/yellow to the shots in the greenery.



    I'm going to give away spoilers and background to the movie to encourage people to watch it. It starts out as a five minute one-take film.

    We did perhaps around 12 or so takes to get it right, along with various rehearsals. I hadn't fully memorized the script I wrote, though I had it down decently well, but I got better and better through rehearsal and was making it all the way through after the first couple takes. But there would often be parts where I'd have pauses, sometimes forget a line, etc. It was also a true story about a date I'd gone on, so I was able to ad-lib parts from memory, but most of it was memorization. Though I did help with choosing the angles, camera movement, and blocking, it's funny how as an actor I was suddenly mainly concerned with my performance and not with the camerawork. I'd have a good take, the camera op would say the camera side of the take wasn't the best, and I'd just feel like, "But it's really about acting performance!" Which is the opposite of how I'd typically feel when DPing, when I'd pull off some complex Steadicam move that had flat acting, and be thinking, "Who cares about the acting?! It's really about camera performance!"

    So after the first 5 minute one-take short film is done, it transitions into a fake and scripted behind-the-scenes video, where the director/DP acts like a self-important douche, and everyone exaggerates the importance of the movie, as is typical of BTS videos, so we're basically parodying the BTS genre. Then after three minutes of BTS, there's a twist where the BTS producer starts questioning the reason the original movie was made, and it transitions into a melodramatic documentary, using slow-motion b-roll in a way that is meant to make fun of docs and corporate videos that use meaningless melodramatic slow-motion b-roll to "tell a story."

    While the first movie is a true story, the mockumentary is fictitious, but based on some real things, such as people I know who have been or still are stuck in dead end long term relationships with people they don't feel passionate about, so I wanted the ending to be a message of encouraging people to not give up on finding someone they truly love and really want to be with.


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    Where's the updated video?

    Since the humor for the mokumentary is so dry, I think you need to go more over the top to ring the funny bone: e.g. like Best In Show, This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Gufman, A Mighty Wind, Borat, The Life Aquatic (parts) etc.


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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Same link as originally posted. On Vimeo you can “Replace file” for a new upload.

    Guess I was going for a Nathan for You approach, where things are played very straight but are a bit absurd. Perhaps I overplayed the dryness or it wasn’t absurd enough. I wanted to maintain a level of plausibility, and as I consider it a comedy-drama with a message, I didn’t want it to just be a straight-up comedy.

    I used to work with a director in some of the previous work I’ve posted here who likes over-the-top comedy, and I got tired of that. Though, over-the-top is not really how I’d describe the two I saw of above, Best in Show and Life Aquatic. When I think of over the top I think more like Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber, which completely lack subtlety.


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    I tried adjusting a frame in PS (opening shot): once you boost saturation, it's clear that more advanced CC is needed as the shadows go green (so a global adjustment to pull magenta = strong green shadows).

    Again, shooting in green grass and trees is like shooting on a green screen: lots of green spill on skin; a bit of work to fully fix and also preserve whites, grays, blacks.

    Dry humor: as you may have noticed, some people here don't get your dry humor. Suggestion was't to go over the top, just more obvious humor and/or cues (can be done with camera movement, framing, timing).

    Keep shooting, refining based on feedback, you'll get there.
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    Keep up the dry humour!
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