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    Released
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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Short film I just finished which I was the DP, writer, co-director, and editor for.

    Shot on Arri Amira with Canon CN-e zooms.

    Story, two girls aging out of a group home (orphanage) go through the struggles of adulthood, one with support of adult foster parents, one without.

    This was made as an unpaid project for a non-profit organization, Connections Homes, which provides volunteer foster parents for young adults aging out of foster care or group homes. It played last night to an audience of a couple hundred at their fundraising gala.

    I was approached by a producer friend of mine who wanted to do the project for this organization, he gave me a rough outline of the story, I wrote the script and made several changes to the outline, and went from there.

    Last edited by Eric Coughlin; 11-04-2019 at 01:56 PM.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Heavy...

    Seeing lots more color being used since RGB style LED's have been streaming out into the market. Makes it way easier(mostly) than gelling lights.

    Good job. Curious though, why the credit roll appears to say "Captured with Alexa Mini", when you said you shot it with your Amira. Trying to give it a little more, you know...


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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Yeah, RGB lights are great for being able to add color quickly to a scene. I wanted to give the girl with the foster parents a happier warmer orange look and the girl out on her own a more sullen bluer look, so for the opening when they're in their blanket fort I put orange light on the one girl and blue light on the other girl, and then maintained that lighting scheme on them for a lot of the film when they're off on their own. The opening setup was inspired by Euphoria's RGB blanket tent scene. I also find I can do cool things simply by changing the white balance on the camera without RGB lights.

    Most of the shots in the movie are untouched as far as color grading; I like shooting in-camera as close as possible to what I'd want the final shot to look like. I did try experimenting on this shoot with exposing my dark shots brighter, and then bringing down the exposure in post, to see if that would yield a cleaner image than exposing on-set how I wanted it to look in post. Based on my rudimentary test, I did not conclude any real advantage and found it was just an extra step of work to do in post, but my conclusion is not conclusive.

    The producer said he has a good colorist and wants to give it a pass; I don't know how good of a colorist so I'd be curious to see how that would come out.

    Eurphoria frame grab.





    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    Good job. Curious though, why the credit roll appears to say "Captured with Alexa Mini", when you said you shot it with your Amira. Trying to give it a little more, you know...
    The producer made the credit roll in a hurry yesterday before the showing and sent them to me, I saw it list that, I didn't bother to point out the difference. We may redo the credits. The producer wanted long credits with lots of names of those involved to make the production feel big and also give the audience time to think about the movie while the credits played. We talked about doing a shorter credits version for the online version of the movie as people are more likely to watch a six minute movie than a seven minute movie, and the credits right now last over a minute which I feel is a long time for a 5 min 45 sec film.

    We may adjust a few other things as well and there are talks of filming some pickups with the girl with the foster parents as we had a few more shots in the script that didn't have time to get filmed, but we may also just not film any more and call it a day.
    Last edited by Eric Coughlin; 11-04-2019 at 04:39 PM.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Yeah, lot's of tricks we used to do in the olden days, like balancing on something slightly blue to warm-up the shot(remember warm balance cards, anyone?) or external filters. I used to shoot on a show with a certain look and we shot the cameras preset daylight(5600k), lit with tungsten and used about 1/2-Full CTB gel on the key to bring the subject back closer to normal AND used warm soft filtration in front of the lens on top of that. I think it was 2003(?) before I owned a camera that you could "dial in" a white balance, outside of a camera hooked to an RCP with someone manually painting it. So many tools at our disposal, now, but that doesn't make the old tricks any less effective or useful(or sometimes even easier/quicker). Lot's of people love shooting in a log format, and it does have its uses, but I'm with you, for the most part, I like shooting with a baked-in look and seeing what I want as I shoot. I also think it's a little more rewarding/motivating to see something that looks good on the monitor, as opposed to a flat log image. But I also come from a time when "fix it in post" was said tongue-in-cheek. You had to shoot it "correctly" in-camera.

    Honestly, if you had said you shot it on an Alexa/Alexa Mini instead of the Amira, no one outside of your production that saw the physical camera would have known.


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    Senior Member Eric Coughlin's Avatar
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    Well one of my favorite things about the newer (Mini and Amira) Arri camera is that they put the LUT into the metadata, so it's automatically applied in Premiere. Basically, I always shoot Log on the Amira, always, but I never have to view the log footage, because it's there on playback on set both on the cameras and on the monitors, and it's already on the footage in post, and 99% of the time, the LUT looks great, at least to me. The opening RGB shots in this film were a rare case of the Amira LUT not working, the colors were very crunchy and the gradients were not good, so I turned the LUT off and graded it manually, but for the rest of it the camera LUT worked fine.

    Now contrast that with the C300 Mark II, and the LUTs I have to manually find and download (or take the time to point others to if others are editing), and then those LUTs only work like 50% of the time in my experience, which is an abysmally low percentage, and when they don't work the images look terrible with the LUT on, so then comes the pains of manually grading it from scratch. Another big downside for the C300 shooting log is that if you have the LUT turned on on set, it still does playback without the LUT, so playback is always showing that cruddy log image, which then means explaining to anyone on set (producer, director, client, etc.) that old line, "This is the log image, it will look better once graded," which I hate having to deal with. I just about always shoot Wide DR (Rec 709 look) on my C300 unless the client specifically asks for log.

    I wonder if the C500 Mark II or C700 fixed this playback issue such that playback can keep the LUT applied. I'm guessing not.


    Yeah, Alexa has more brand name recognition than Amira, but for small productions which often don't want RAW (which the Amira can now do anyway with a license, just at 2.8K instead of 3.4K of the Alexa), and aren't shooting anamorphic, the differences between Alexa and Amira are just ergonomic, and the Amira's ergonomics are superior for shoulder mount work, which I did a lot of on this short film and others. I'm planning to get the Alexa Mini LF some time next year, but I'll be curious if I end up preferring the ergonomics or not.

    I also get producers hiring me sometimes who say things like they want to hire me with my "Alexa Amira," which doesn't exist, but I typcally don't find a need to correct them as I find the Amira is close enough to Alexa that it's really just semantics in most cases.
    Last edited by Eric Coughlin; 11-04-2019 at 03:23 PM.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Funny that the Arri's work like shooting RAW on Canon still cams. When you review in-cam or when you import them and look at the images(at least with Canon's software), they show with the picture profile settings that you shot in already loaded on them and they will "develop" that way when you convert them for output, unless you make changes, but the Canon C series would diverge that much. But if you play back in-camera, footage that was shot in log on an F5/55, it plays back without a LUT, too.


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