Friday, September 11, 2009


Eric Escobar over at Prep Shoot Post has a great post up about two indie film tools you can use to make really cool looking movies:

The Canon 7D -- $1700 for the basic camera

Magic Bullet Mojo -- $99 bucks

And here are the results when you mix the two:

Perya Colored from PrepShootPost on Vimeo.

The ability to shoot and color correct a film for less than $2500?

That's the win.

Or as Eric put it:
Does this mean we're going to see a whole slew of films at festivals and on-line shot with Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 lenses with perfect skintones and greenish shadows?


Is that a bad thing?

Who cares?

I, for one, love shallow depth-of-field lensing with poppy color contrast processing that separates people from backgrounds.

The look I went for on the "Perya" footage was a 35mm slide film cross-processed type image. Punchy, vibrant colors with an emphasis on gorgeous skintones.

It's a great time to making images that move.

I, for one think that this is what's been needed in indie film for a long time - someone to put some color into it. Nothing sickens me more than when I see these grey blobs of meat puppetry moving across screen. I want some sharpness, some color, some sense of lighting design and sense of production value.

And at these prices there's no excuse not to color correct and enhance the storytelling capabilities of the images you are capturing in your camera. I talk to so many filmmakers every day who tell me they want their film to look indie , grainy and so forth.

They think it's edgy, experimental (emphasis on those last 2 syllables) or counterculture.

Do you know what are they really telling the buyers overseas who purchase these movies?

That their movie is cheap.


Phantom of Pulp said...

Great post, and spot on, Bill, about foreign buyers. That's exactly what they're saying.

Grunge is a tired, boring look.

Michael Szeles said...

The footage is beautiful and unbelieveable, considering he used the camera he is talking about.

But I have my doubts that it cost less than $2,500 to shoot the film. Maybe $2,500 to JUST SHOOT the film with the camera without sound and without the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 lense he mentions.

He had to have a computer-- that's $1,000 on the low end.

He used sound equipment.

And if he did use the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 lense that he mentions in his post, that lense costs $1,500.

That's like saying it costs $5,000 for Robert Rodriguez to make his first movie. It cost that JUST to shoot the movie on film. Then he had to have it developed. Then he had to edit it. Etc., etc.

I think it is important to be SPECIFIC and EXACTING about what it truly costs to make a film, to use the equipment that one wishes to use.

I think that this was a good post because it did make me aware about the camera, which I had no idea about before reading this post.

Thank you, again, for doing what you do. I love this website, and I will continue to read.

Eric Escobar said...


The filmmakers that made Perya used a kit of Canon EF lenses and a jib arm. They shot some workers at a rural carnival in the Philipines. So yes, the budget was probably higher than US$2500, but I don't know how much more.

But some perspective is in order, I think. The cost of those items, as a rental combined with the cost of a 7D is so astronomically low considering the image quality they got. Compare that to a RED rental, or shooting 35mm film. While the 7D image isn't as pristine as a higher res digital format, or film, obviously, it is still an unassailable low cost/ high quality choice for no-budget filmmakers.

You're correct, a 50mm f/1.2 lens costs some serious cash, about US$1500. But that can be rented for so much less, and it is such a superior piece of glass than what's on the front of almost every camcorder - low or high end - out there in the market.

Sure, production costs are more than just the camera, glass and audio package. But don't kid yourself, this is a game-changing moment in the development of filmmaking technology for independent filmmaking.

And doesn't everyone already have a computer? That's not really a cost factor anymore is it? And 99 bucks for Mojo is a serious steal for what you get.

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