Film: " The Promised Land "
The 1st Full-length HD feature film in South Africa.
NEWS UPDATE APRIL 2003.
'Promised Land' received special mention at the 13th Festival Cinema Africano (Milano 24-30 Marzo 2003).
Visual Impact UK and Magus Visual South Africa provided a High Definition kit for the Film "The Promised land".
The film was shot on location in the Karoo and Cape Town.
The Camera (HDW F900) only gave us one problem. On reading the memory stick one very cold morning the camera said come back when you have had a cup of coffee. so we did and the card was fine. (leave camera on for 5-10 mins on cold days for Memory stick access)
The Director, Jason Xenopoulos, had such a clear vision of what he was looking for in terms of picture texture and how it weaved together with the story that it made the grade infinitely easier.
The DOP Giulio Biccari embraced the camera and treated it as a new tool. Merging his extensive film experience with his Video knowledge to bring the best out of this new Digital film camera.
We shot various tests on different size lenses and with the menu bent around.
We then sent the pics off to 'HOKUS BOGUS' Digital Imaging in Denmark where they shot to 35mm and returned the print to us in record time.
The reason for the 35mm was not only to see the quality and lens tests and insurance, but also to see if we change the look of the pictures extensively (to the point where any engineer will haemorrhage!)
What would we get back? Well we were blown away, in short, 'Hokus Bogus' gave us our pictures we had seen on our field monitor, back on 35mm! This was where DOP, Director, production design, wardrobe could have a sneak preview of what the film will look like. These tests are imperative when using any digital format to shoot to film. It gave confidence to all the crew members who saw it and dispelled any myths about the new format.
Production Designer Mike Berg saw the detail that the HD camera sees and that it is unforgiving.
When doing set design, one must keep a keen eye on detail. What you can see with your eye, the camera can see.maybe more in some situations.
When he looked at the monitor he was able to adjust without waiting for rushes!
Colours and tonal texture were manipulated in camera, this made set dressing and props adjusted from time to time. The Wardrobe department also had to make adjustments in colours as some would freak out because of our "LOOK". Overall the whole experience was wonderful, the speed at which we could work and the pictures we were getting were inspiring.
Basic looks were:
Camera set-ups range from 50 asa to 1000 asa (not true "film" rating +/-)
Day Ext dynamic range about 1.5/2 stops (200 asa)
Day Int dynamic range about 1.5/2 stops (400 asa)
Night Int dynamic range about 3.5 stops (600 asa)
All of the settings were manipulated depending on time of day and scene.
Shutter degree angles were used on various scenes to create a feel.
Angles used were 120º to 45º although we had 3 º to 340 º available.
Camera Grading...if you dare!
The Visual Description.
This made clear the motif for the grade. Jason took us through the feel of the characters the landscape and the mood of the Film, an inspiring chat to say the least. This gave us a clear understanding of the "look"
HDW F-900 resolution.
The Resolution of the camera was something we had not yet seen from a "video" camera. The crew had worked video before but never used this one, they were impressed and thought it looked wonderful part electronic, part organic texture. We had shot some super 16 for high speed (75 fps) I hope the resolution matches up to HD.
AfterThe Day EXT Grade we were dealing with was unforgiving on highlights! DOP Giulio Biccari and Director Jason Xenopoulos decided on a bleach-bypass come Reversal look with a twist of lemon and a side order of. this had the most fantastic feel for the Environment we were in and for the story we were making.
The Interior Night Scenes.
The Interior night scenes were shot clean with less shadow detail. Having the lab built into the camera is a great advantage. The HD camera is less forgiving than film when it comes to exposure. The colour monitor is the light and colour meter, one cannot begin to grade without it.
The Cow Scene.
Jason & Maureen watching the COW scene.what a day.what a COW! At this moment I was wondering what this scene would have cost if we were shooting on celluloid. I think the scene alone would have cost the entire film in terms of stock if we were shooting on 35mm.
Temperatures ranged from -3 to +35C.
On very cold mornings we found that the Camera memory stick would not read. We left the Camera for 10 to 15 mins, enough time for coffee.and it was fine. All in all the camera performed well under various temperatures. -3 to +35 C. We recorded audio onto DAT as well as the F900. Standard clapper was also used. We locked the DAT machine to the camera using the camera as the Master, we shot 25 FPS. (25 PsF)
We used a 25 to 250mm Angenieux HR lens for the longer/c-up shots. The quality was good however, avoid shooting wide open f-3.5 and at the very end of the lens. Other than that it's a sharp lens. The support equipment came from Arri media South Africa and the HD equipment from Magus Visual who imported the equipment from Visual Impact UK for the Job.
! The peanut gallery !
Our all important peanut gallery, the local farmers very supportive of the production.
DOP - Giulio Biccari.
Film Afrika Producers: David Wicht / Moonyeenn Lee. Line Pr: Vlokkie Kuhne. Dir: Jason Xenopoulos. DOP: Giulio Biccari. PM: Greig Buckle. Wr: Jason Xenopoulos. 1st AD: Leigh Tanchel. Cast Dir: Moonyeenn Lee. Prod Desig: Michael Berg. UMr: Clint Gordon. Props: Egbert Kruger. Grip: Johannes Mokomyama. Gaff: Elliot Sewape. SFX: Roly Jansen. Ward: Diana Cilliers. Cam Hire: Magus Visual. Light Hire: AFM. Key Cast: Nick Boraine / Yvonne V D Berg / Grant Swanby / Daniel Browde / Ian Roberts / Tobie Cronje / Louis Van Niekerk. Loc: O.F.S.
Magus Visual Technical crew: Julian Guillaume / Marius Van Straaten.Have a look at our article about Digitally Grading your shot.
Visuals Group Technical Department.