Feature shot on Red makes it to #1 at the Box Office

knowing-poster1This past weekend, a feature shot on the Red camera has made it to #1 at the box office. I couldn't care less about the actual film, but it's a good sign that HD and Digital Cinema technology is finally making it into the mainstream. A camera once (and still) embraced by low budget indie filmmakers is finally being seen as a tool to be reckoned with. In addition, it's even better news that I, and other filmmakers who don't always have access to big budgets, can use the same equipment used by Hollywood. The playing field has been leveled. From BoxOfficeMojo:

Leading up to the weekend, the numbers pointed to a first-place showing for Knowing, given its genre, marketing push and the scope of its release, and that's what happened. The picture didn't need stellar grosses to top the weekend as March business has been lagging behind recent years. Overall weekend ticket sales were off seven percent from the same time last year, and attendance was the lowest in eight years.

Knowing unearthed a solid $24.6 million on approximately 4,300 screens at 3,332 sites, which was soft by disaster movie standards but more competitive among fantastical thrillers. It handily outdrew The Mothman Prophecies, Premonition and Next among past similar movies, and its initial attendance was a touch higher than The Forgotten.

Check out the trailer on Apple.com.

"Today's Tomorrow" is a wrap!

After four nights of shooting and flipping my schedule completely, we have wrapped on "Today's Tomorrow", a short film directed by Gopal Mada. We started on Saturday night, and since then I've learned to sleep during the day and experience a sunset and sunrise each day. Being awake at the opposite time of day definitely has its pros and cons.


Production started out a bit bumpy, due to location issues, but problems are always to be expected when shooting something like this on no budget. The first day entailed setting up both indoor and outdoor shots, and getting everyone situated. The shoot was at our director's boss' house in Shrewsbury.


The next day was at Lesley University, where we shot some scenes in the bathroom. Above you'll see a nifty piece of equipment - the skater dolly. It's such a simple concept and makes for some really beautiful moving shots. The wheels also rotate a bit, so you can do dolly, tracking and circular shots.


Moving on to Quincy around 1am. The sun came up as we were on the last takes, making for a beauutiful, deep blue backdrop for the scene. I love sunset, but sunrise is the most beautiful in my opinion.


Here I am pulling focus for Jeff while he flies the steadicam. Jeff did a great job as DP, coming up with and pulling off some great shots. By this evening, most of us had become used to working in the cold, and bundled up appropriately. I was wearing about seven layers, in addition to scarves and a balaclava, and had to deal with the cold issues, specifically the lenses freezing. They would get so cold that the follow-focus could no longer focus without slipping out of the grooves, so we rigged a safety cable to the rods to get as much force against the gears as possible. In between takes, lenses were warmed up in the cars.


Luckily, the last day consisted of all indoor shots, with one amazing steadicam shot following the main character from the elevator, down a hallway, and all around an apartment. It took 11 takes to pull it off, but it was well worth it.

This shoot was a great experience, and I'm happy to say we had a wonderful crew. Everyone worked their asses off and pulled through in the end. Even Gopal, the director, made it through four days of no sleep. Several people actually went to work during the day and shot with us at night, and although there were some hiccups, I think we came away with some amazing footage and experience, and maybe even a few new friends.

Check out the rest of the production photos on Flickr.

Testing out the Red One for the shoot of "Today's Tomorrow"

Met with several crew members for the upcoming short film "Today's Tomorrow" to test out equipment, specifically the Red One camera and Zeiss lens kit.


Assembly was quite easy, especially with the stripped-down setup we used. This included rods, hard drive/battery cage, monitor, lens, mattebox and a wireless follow-focus system.

Joining me were Jeff Melanson, Elton James and Halyna Hutchins.

Overall, the Red camera is a surprisingly simple piece of equipment that let's a filmmaker worry about making a film and not spend time and energy fiddling with settings, knobs and buttons.

Unfortunately, the rental house was servicing their Zeiss Super-Speed lenses so we were only able to get a set of T/2.1 Planar glass, which are still just as good albeit a little slower. My favorite thing about these lenses - the bokeh. Lights bloom beautifully in the background, and focus on all but one was razor sharp.

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