review

100 Bloody Acres by David Mackenzie

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100 Bloody Acres Shot Gun
100 Bloody Acres Shot Gun

Occasionally I feel the need to watch a horror flick and it just so happened I had recently read about a film called 100 Bloody Acres so I decided to check it out. After watching I was VERY happy that I did, a great blend of horror and comedy that was executed really well.

Check out the trailer below

 

Heads up, there's a rant below!

When I was doing some Googling for this post I found a very disheartening article on Sydney Morning Herald which really hit home on a number of thoughts I have about both the content industry and the software industry. The article highlights how piracy does actually hurt people. The usual excuse of "Its made by some XYZ Hollywood studio so who cares" does not fly in this case.This small independent film was being downloaded (illegally) ~2000 times a day. I really fear that films like this will not be made in the future. I also share the same thoughts on software, in any case people still have to sit down and write code or shoot a film and it all costs money and creators should be paid for efforts. I only mention it because in my experience 3d artists are prolific pirates even though we are generally employed in some way to create content.. Go figure. It's one thing to pirate 3d software when you are a starving student artist but when you start working, you should pay for your tools the same way a mechanic does, this goes for studios as well. How many studios are under licensed? Which is immensely frustrating to studios that are trying to do everything by the book.

End rant now.

I encourage you to go buy the film as it really is a great little film, plus you get to support small independent film makers. You can check it out here on iTunes. I think this review on rotten tomatoes sums it up:

A highly amusing little horror movie, elevated by uncommonly layered performances, not to mention the voluminous amount of fake blood spewed, limbs torn apart, oddball sex scenes, and one particularly amusing drug trip.

Simon Miraudo

 

Shooting - The Sony FS700 by David Mackenzie

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FS700
FS700

The Sony FS700 - A bit of beast

So as many of you might have seen I recently shot a music clip. I shot the clip on a Sony FS700 primarily because of its ability to shoot slow motion, slow-mo aside though, I really enjoyed shooting on it. Not having having used the camera before I was little bit worried about getting up to speed and being able to start shooting quickly. Luckily though I felt at home almost straight away having shot with a number XDCams in the past. The menus and pretty much everything about the camera just felt familiar. One of my only complaints would be the form factor I found the camera a little large but this is mainly due me being so accustomed to shooting with DSLRs these days.

The adapter worked flawlessly
The adapter worked flawlessly

Metabones EF Adapter - Must Have

I really liked the metabones adapter I used with the camera, all of the EF lenses I chucked on the end worked perfectly including the Zeiss 50 F1.4 which has a electric aperture which I was a little worried about working correctly with the adapter. It did however work perfectly and I ended up shooting most of the spot on it. I have to confess I have never been a big fan of using adapters, for no real reason to be honest. Now that I have used one I am completely on board. The adapters build quality was outstanding and work perfectly.

I also REALLY love the Zeiss 50mm. I love the metal construction, I love that the focus ring has hard stops and I love that it all feels like a well oiled gun when you use it. Everything about it is very slick. The image that comes out of it is excellent with a really nice level of contrast. I highly recommend it.

I hate this logo on anything camera related.
I hate this logo on anything camera related.

AVCHD - For Fuck Sake...

My only complaint is a big one and from what I understand a pretty universal complaint. It is the bloody the AVCHD codec. It is just painful to work with, cumbersome and just annoying. It reminds of a video codec from 1995... I know there is the raw recorder for the camera which solves this problem but to be honest it is EXPENSIVE and as a rental usually rents for the same cost of the camera or more. Did I mention it makes the setup and footprint of the camera MASSIVE and rails a requirement. Go figure. I wish the camera manufactures would just leave it behind. I really like the idea of the A7R but again AVCHD...

Other, probably important stuff I liked! 

  • The image of the camera, it was pretty good despite the hassle of recording AVCHD  I was pretty happy with what we got. Although if it had a slightly higher bitrate and 4:2:2 instead 4:2:0 that would have been awesome. Again you can chuck an external recorder on it and get this but if it was in the camera it would be great.
  • I liked the EVF. Some reviews I have read online have not been that keen on the it as someone who is normally shooting on a DSLR it was pretty nice and very usable. It was nice to not have to hook an after market EVF.
  • E - Mount. I like it, Is there a lens  you can't get an adapter for? As I said earlier the Metabones adapter worked flawlessly.

Anyways that mostly sums up my thoughts, for a ~$7k(AUD) this camera really is good, the slow motion features make it unbeatable in its price range. We rented the camera for $300(AUD) a day including the adapter and really you are not going to get a better deal than that especially if you want to shoot high speed. If you get a chance to shoot with it I highly recommend it.

Here is the clip I shot on the FS700:

Here is a shot straight of the camera:


Here is a shot of the camera on set, notice the metabones and the zeiss on the end:

FS700 On Set. Photo By Peter Drew
FS700 On Set. Photo By Peter Drew

 If you want a more in depth review, Philip Bloom has a pretty good review. You can check it out here:


Wolf of Wall Street, my Scorsese obsession by David Mackenzie

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wolf-of-wall-street-banner
wolf-of-wall-street-banner

So, I recently went to see The Wolf of Wall Street and thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hours of debauchery that took place. I thought both Leonardo Dicaprio and Jonah Hill's performance were outstanding but for me it was Martin Scorsese's effort as director that stood out for me.  It was at this point I had the idea to watch all of Scorsese's films that he has directed in chronological order as a bit of master class in storytelling but really just an excuse to watch a bunch of great films. So below is the list I compiled after quick trip to wikipedia. 

Who's That Knocking at My Door

1967

Boxcar Bertha

1972

Mean Streets

1973

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

1974

Taxi Driver

1976

New York, New York

1977

Raging Bull

1980

The King of Comedy

1983

After Hours

1985

The Color of Money

1986

The Last Temptation of Christ

1988

Goodfellas

1990

Cape Fear

1991

The Age of Innocence

1993

Casino

1995

Kundun

1997

Bringing Out the Dead

1999

Gangs of New York

2002

The Aviator

2004

The Departed

2006

Shutter Island

2010

Hugo

2011

The Wolf of Wall Street

2013

As you can imagine I have seen quite a few of these films already, many of which I count amongst my favorite films (Hugo, Goodfellas, Casino, Departed, Shutter Island).  I think it will be interesting to watch an entire body of work in the order it was created, who knows what, if anything it will reveal. I will report back here about progress and how I get on.

Shifting gears slightly. Below are some great VFX breakdowns from the film. I really like the first breakdown as it showcases mainly invisible effects. I always find it amazing how many effects shots there are these days in films that are "not" effects films.

 

And some not so invisible effects from Scanline. Who as usual, smashed it out.

I also really wanted to single out two shots from the film which I thought were amazing. Both shots are from the bachelor party sequence . The first one which is set on the plane out to Vegas is a great shot and not strictly because of the all the naked women and sex going on (although that does not hurt). I really love the moment when the turbulence light comes on and we get that great slo mo shot of the coke in the air. I am assuming it was shot on a Phantom with a lot of light, great stuff in any case. The very next shot I love is the tracking shot along the ceiling in the hotel room in the aftermath of the party. I love the light and the movement. Such a nice shot. I did find them on the Youtube below but bewarned they are probably not safe for work.

If you have not seen the film or have a chance to go see it I highly recommend it.