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5min Short film "Pacific Radio Fire" shot with hacked GH2

    Short film I just finished using hacked GH2. Lit with the 312-Bi LEDs i got from here. Comments/feedback/questions welcomed ; ) I've been a quiet lurker here for awhile and learned a lot. Thanks everyone for the rad community! Especially VK! -nate

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  • I liked it. Question, was the v/o written by you? I hope so because as it is, you rely a lot on some iconic copy written music from Elvis and the Stones. You can only go so far with a project that depends so heavily on other artists -- it becomes an homage or tribute video at a certain point. Some tech issues, the INT car shots had micro jitters and jello. And that early shot of the girl walking out of the house has major focus issues, a shot like that has to be right, get a follow focus and/or assistant or just keep doing takes til you get it right. It's a nice shot, but do it right. You owe us that and you especially owe it to yourself. Film lives on after you. I've shot scenes at night on the beach and it ain't easy. What was your lens? vintage 50mm 1.4 I'll guess. I like the actresses but you kept us 100' away from them with the v/o, I like to see actors act. Overall pretty good, especially in that it's only your first film. It's hard to tell a story.

  • nice work! where did you get your 312 bi-color led ?

  • Some really nice shots in there but I concur with the comments by brianluce and the comments in vimeo.. I would have liked to have some more wide shots to establish the scenes. I realize you propably kept it close to use the same lens but you could have shot the beach scene wide in lighter conditions (twilight) and darkened it down in post. Same would go for the scene when they are leaving the house... (if you didn't have a lot of lighting gear available). It seems like you didn't have enough coverage to make the edit as well as it could be (for that duration).

  • Thanks, for the feedback guys! Ya I agree with your comments and it def was a good learning experience.

    The voice over was taken almost directly from the short story it's based on "Pacific Radio Fire" by Richard Brautigan. I just switched the roles from male to female. I do agree though that there is too much reliance on the music as you said. Oh well, learn from it right?

    The actors were just friends who agreed to do it kinda last minute so it was all very "no budget" and no time really except in post.

    I def agree the car shots were too jittery and rolling shutter, and the doorway scene I should have kept doing till I got it right. (It just got rushed as is often the case right?)

    You are right I only had a 2 canon FD lenses, the 50mm 1.4 and the 24mm 2.8 and since most of it was so dark, I did end up using the 50.

    The biggest problem I had was that the main actor was leaving the next day to go back to school so I couldn't re-shoot/voiceover any more with her after that. (I know, casting blunder). We tried to shoot everything that night (again the only time they were available) and right before we got to the lighting the radio on fire part, we got kicked off the beach due to curfew, so I had to shoot the shot of the blonde girl getting the paper out/lighting paper on fire, and the radio burning on a different night. I tried to match the lighting but it's a little darker than the previous shots. I def wanted to get some wide shots of them with the fire (or at least close ups of both of them with the fire) but because the main actor left, had to try and cheat it.

    The 312bi leds I got from this site on one of the deals.
    I used both of them to light the beach scene and had one in the car for the car shots.

    This was made purely for a learning experience since I don't own the rights to the story or the music, but I wanted to see if I could pull it together.

    I'm very grateful to all who took the time to watch it and offer feedback! It really does help, and makes me wanna try and do more (hopefully an original script)! Thank you very much.


  • Hey Nate, why did you feel the v/o and actress had to be the same person? No reason to since it was all v/o. Try and make things easier on yourself for the next film, don't shoot the whole thing at night!

    btw, 200 views and only a few people commented. Aren't we supposed to pivot towards filmmaking here? Or is the only way to get comments to film a bush?

  • Just a couple questions. I know it was last minute and you tried to crunch as much as you could before your talent left, but how much planning went into the shoot (shot sheet/breakdowns ets)? And what kind of mic did you use to record the VO?

  • One of my friends is a hair stylist and asked me if I wanted to do a short for him to show a "beach" style hair he does for girls. I read this story a few years ago and wanted to do a short on it then but never did, so this came to mind while we were talking. He mentioned one of the girls would be home from school for a week and her, and her sister, were able to do it. Neither one has acting experience and I didn't talk with either until we shot although I've known them as mutual friends for awhile. (In retrospect I obviously should have spent more time with them). The next couple days I storyboarded all the shots and showed him and we talked a bit about it. Then the following night we scouted some beaches and found the one we ended up using. That was a Monday and we shot most of it Wed night. I had also done some testing with the leds in a car prior to the shoot although we shot those last and everyone was getting tired and rainy so I just tried to get some shots I figured I could use (I would've liked to have stabalized those for sure but just ran out of time. I recorded the voice over with the talent in a car while my friend was doing her sister's hair and used a Audio Technica AT3035 Cardioid Condensor mic into a Tascam DP0008. (Did it sound bad?).

    Also BTW the only color correction/grading I did was on the shots of the blonde lighting the fire, since it was shot on a different night/beach and ended up a little darker. I pretty much planned out the look I wanted before and then just tried to add a little of the leds when needed (i think the beach scene may be a little to hard of a key than I wanted)

    Does anyone have any tips on noise reduction? I didn't use any and wondering if that might clean up some of the lowlight noise? I used Final Cut X (I know many people don't like it but it's what I've got for now)

    Thanks again you guys for tips/feedback. I've done a new edit with less of the elvis song and the stones starting just before she lights the fire, like some of you have suggested, and I think I like it a lot more. I'll replace it on vimeo soon.

  • What ISO did you use? and for the handheld, were you just holding the camera body? No shoulder or gunstock type mount? I like adapting other writers too. I'm dying to adapt my hero Anton Chekhov and would also like to do some VS Naipaul adaptations. Here's a scene from a short I wrote that's an adaptation of The Tell Tale Heart.

    [size=+2]ALLAN[/size][url=] [img][/img] [/url]

  • @surfgypsy No no, the VO sounded real clean and I was very impressed. And as far as the noise goes, there are some fantastic denoiser applications that can clean up footage rather well. But, the best way to keep the noise out of your low-light shots is use fast glass with high-quality a patch (Anything Quantum v9b or later) and try to light the scene to produce the look you want without moving the iso up to far. With the higher quality patches you can move the iso up to and passed 1600 with a little denoise work to produce a beautiful image.

    But, it all depends on the look you want, and personal preference. Also, if you're interested in color correction or grading check out @shian and his ColoGhears tutorials. You may only have FCPX, but you can take a lot what he mentions and apply the concepts to your post work.

  • @brianluce For all the night stuff and car interior I used ISO 640 and tried to fill in with the leds if needed. For the beach day establishing/intro shot was prob 160. For the handheld, I just used the tripos with the arm over my shoulder. Interior car shots were all just camera handheld. I watched your Tell Tale Heart short, it looks really good! well lit, the punch-in close ups as she gets more emotional... I like it. Cool.

    @Philldaagony thanks for the noise reduction info!