Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mellencamp Super 8 doc called "It's About You"... on Twitpic

Mellencamp Super 8 doc called "It's About You"... on Twitpic

Shot entirely on Pro8mm film with two Beaulieu cameras that we modified for MAX 8 and Crystal Sync, scanned in native 1080 HD to Pro Res.  Looks amazing!

MPI Media Group Presents


Directed by renowned photographer Kurt Markus and his son, Ian Markus

Opens January 4th in NY at the IFC Center
Opens January 6th in LA at the Music Hall

It's About You is a new musical documentary that offers a rare and intimate look at the life and music of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp. The film premiered at this year’s SXSW festival and follows Mellencamp on his summer 2009 concert tour and during the recording of his most recent album, 2010’s universally acclaimed No Better Than This, the sessions for which took place at American musical and historical landmarks, including Sun Studios in Memphis and the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA. We see Mellencamp recording – with a single mike and mono tape recorder more than half a century old – in the same hotel room where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson created some of his most memorable work. Along the way, Mellencamp reveals a side not often seen by the public, in a film that becomes a soulful, highly personal meditation on small-town America.

Kurt Markus’ photography has appeared in such leading publications as Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, GQ and The New York Times Magazine, and he has shot cutting-edge ad campaigns for BMW, Armani, Nike and other companies. His unique vision has been brought to bear on It's About You, which was shot on Super 8 and whose vintage Americana look is the cinematic equivalent of a well-worn pair of jeans.
RT: 80 Minutes
Rated: NR


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life is Super Gr8

Last month Phil and Rhonda attended the second annual Super Gr8 Film Festival in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a charming little town in the Shenandoah Valley, and home to James Madison University.

Organized by two local residents and incredibly wonderful guys, Paul Somers (artist, poet, filmmaker and educator) and Tim Estep, (TimeStepFilms), The Super Gr8 Film Festival is a community-organized event that featured 48 super 8 short films (shown over two nights) made by local filmmakers. Many of the filmmakers had never made a short film before this event.

In August of this year, Tim and Paul asked Pro8mm if we could sponsor the event and attend the festival. We were thrilled and honored to do so, as this festival is one of the first to used Pro8mm workflows entirely. Paul and Tim bought 48 rolls of film ½ Super8/66 Tri-X and ½ Pro8/13 Tungsten for the festival participants, all processed and scanned on the M2 at Pro8. As a sponsor we also added The Power of Super 8 Film Seminar to the agenda the day before the festival. This pre- event was held on campus at J.M.U. where we were joined by award winning wedding super 8 filmmaker and photographer Kate Headley who drove down from Washington D.C. to speak to an enthusiastic and engaging audience.

All the short films, approximately 3.5 minutes in length were edited in-camera, with-out sound. Each filmmaker then created an original soundtrack for his or her short film. This in some cases included live performances during the screening. This festival is unique in that none of the filmmakers get to see their finished films until the night of the festival screenings.

The screening was held over two nights at the Court Square Theatre to a packed, sold-out house. The topics covered in the films were as diverse as you could possibly imagine and they were absolutely fantastic! The panel of judges voted, and then the audience also voted for an audience favorite. The first night featured the black and white films and the second evening color negative super 8 film. An after party and awards ceremony will follow the screenings each night.

Super Gr8’s mission is to bring the community together through film. It was amazing to me how in this small Shenandoah Valley college town, everyone, everywhere we went stepped right in and got totally behind Super Gr8. Actors, filmmakers, crew and fan club were all a part of the festival is some way. This was a community labor of love unlike I have seen before. Tim and Paul spent endless hours finding cameras, getting them repaired, lending them out to contestants, and training them how to use them. They contacted local merchants to sponsor the event and local artists to raffle off their work as a fund raising effort. Even the trophies were unique, one of kind objects of art hand made out of old super 8 cameras, mounted on a stand. It was clear to us that Tim and Paul were very well respected King Pins of the community.

For me, I have to say with absolutely honest, this Super Gr8 festival was the high light of my year. Never have I met people more appreciative, warm, and friendly as I did in Harrisonburg. It affirms what I have always believed. Give people a creative opportunity, make it affordable, accessible, and add in a chance to collaborate with others without competing for anything other than a chance to totally immerse themselves in something enjoyable and enhance a sense of community pride, and you have the perfect recipe for a life that is Super Gr8!
Photos by Josh Gooden
Festival Organized by Tim Estep and Paul Somers

Kate Headley speaking at The Power of Super 8

The Super Gr8 Film Festival 2011 in Harrisonburg, VA

Phil Vigeant talking about the tiny Super 8 format

Tim Estep and Paul Somers, Super Gr8 Festival organizers

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

James Chressanthis uses Max 8 in TNT's Mystery Movie Night: HIDE

Last night I watched in awe the remarkable use of Super 8 film in the TNT made for TV movie HIDE. Based on a thriller mystery novel by Lisa Gardner, the film was directed by James Gray and beautifully shot by cinematographer James Chressanthis, ASC. Hide marks their reunion, as they have collaborated on other projects such as Ghost Whispers and Brian’s Song.

The deliberate choice by Chressanthis to shoot full Max 8 to punctuate the numerous flashback scenes by different characters in the story had a strong aesthetic punch. Never did you feel as if you were watching a home movie, but rather a vivid porthole into the memory of painful events that these characters were being asked to retell investigators. 

Chressanthis chose our MAX 8 1014 XLS camera with crystal for the Super 8 sequences. Shooting was done with  Pro8/19, a Kodak Vision 3 200T film stock that is highly versatile for both bright and low light conditions. The film has 13 stops of latitude, extremely fine grain, and an ultra wide exposure range. It captured both the shadows and highlight details so well that  in some shots you could actually see the skeletons of the mummified bodies inside the hanging body bags down in a low lit  underground pit.

We scanned the film in native 1080 to ProRes 4:4:4 HQ with 3 separate passes at different frame rates. "We shot mostly at 9FPS on the Max 8 camera. Editorially they used all the frame rate transfers:  24, 12, 6 fps.
I shot the various frame rates to speed up, slow down and blur the image and also to increase the grain.
That's because normal Super 8 is so clean that it can look like good 16mm but we wanted an edgy, grittier 
look in representing the deep memories of the characters. It looks fantastic! " says Chressanthis.

Plot Summary: Carla Gugino (Californication, Entourage) plays Boston Police Detective D.D. Warren, who is called to the grounds of an abandoned mental hospital where a buried chamber is discovered. Inside are the mummified remains of six young women, who have all been missing for years. The case leads D.D. to Annabelle, played by Bridget Regan (Legend of the Seeker). Annabelle is a young woman who spent her childhood moving from city to city, from identity to identity, hiding from someone or something totally unknown to her. D.D. uses clues from Annabelle's secret past to unravel the mystery behind her twisted family history. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (TNT's Franklin & Bash, NYPD Blue) and Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, TNT's Southland) also star. Hide is written by Janet Brownell (Eloise at the Plaza), directed by John Gray (Ghost Whisperer, Helter Skelter) and executive-produced by Stephanie Germain (The Day After Tomorrow)  (summary from TNT website)

Chressanthis has used Pro8mm workflows is such projects as No Subtitles Necessary (2008)and Brian's Song (2001). He is a three time Emmy Award Nominee, and has been a member of the ASC since 2002.

If you missed last nights premier, check for an opportunity to stream it  directly from TNT’s website