Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Many people ask me a lot of the technical stuff about building a SciFi Channel movie (answer: Don't write one. The Channel is dead) including asking me about cameras and so forth. While I have a general producer's knowledge (just enough to make me dangerous and know whether or not I'm getting a bargain) here's an article by D2DVD mogul Fred Olen Ray (HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, CYCLONE, LOST EMPIRE and a dozen or so BIKINI movies) that will answer many of your questions better than I can:

In May of 2009, we began shooting Megaconda, another giant monster movie aimed squarely at the straight-to-DVD and television market.

My oldest son, Chris, would again direct, this time from a screenplay by SciFi Channel veteran Steve Latshaw (Stan Lee's Lightspeed, Curse of the Komodo). Under the SAG low-budget agreement we added TV’s Greg Evigan (BJ And the Bear, My Two Dads) and Stella Stevens (The Nutty Professor, The Poseidan Adventure) to the cast for star power.

We decided to shoot the entire feature in HD and felt that we needed a better camera that went beyond the limitations of an HDV camcorder like the HVR-V1U, but something a lot less pricey than hiring the Sony F900 Cine Alta we were normally using for our television work.

While the show was to be a very low-budget affair I wanted a better image quality than we had had on Reptisaurus and it still had to be affordable.

We also wanted to buy instead of rent.

Megaconda - 5

From left, director Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray and DoP Matt Freund with their EX1 rig while shooting Megaconda, featuring an onboard Ikan monitor, Cavision matte box and Hoodman viewfinder shade.

Enter the Sony XDCAM PMW-EX1.


Fred goes into greater detail in the article and it's one of those you want to bookmark, as he touches on issues that rarely enter the mind of the low budget filmmaker when it comes to delivering a movie - QC issues, production workflow, etc... Fred knows his stuff.

1 comment:

Christopher Sharpe said...

I really like this camera. It's the same model we used for The Spider Babies. Image quality is amazing.

You can check out some of our screenshots here.