Last November, I had an idea – I wanted to write and direct a character-driven drama centered around a single protagonist who would drive the film. The character would be played by best friend and roommate Nick Clifford, with whom I’d long talked about collaborating. Nick is a good-looking guy who a books a lot of all-American roles, but I had in mind something a little darker. So I started writing. The result was “The Opportunist,” my first short as a writer/director. The film tells the story of a night in the life of a social shape-shifter addicted to the visceral thrill of invading the lives of others. I’ve always been fascinated by the hyper-social, people who just seem to know how to effortlessly work a room, but I became increasing fixated on the idea of someone who had that skill, but who used it for less than pure ends… We started pre-production in December and were shooting in February.
From the outset, it was clear that we would try to shoot Scarlet – it’s small, versatile camera perfect for our all-handheld shoot. I’m a big fan of the 16mm character-driven dramas by European filmmakers like the Dardenne brothers and Jacques Audiard and I wanted the film to feel like we were hovering over our protagonists shoulder for the whole film, watching him work, hanging on his every move. Early on we talked about shooting with RED Pro Primes, but when 3GR’s Adam Bricker mentioned a project that was shooting 2K with old 16mm primes, the idea simply stuck – 2K made the world of the film feel smaller, grainer, and more intimate – just what we were looking for. We shot tests to feel out the limits of the sensor – 2K is definitely noisier, especially in the shadows, so we wanted to make sure we were shooting the cleanest possible image given the decreased resolution. Our DP Mike Fuchs flew out from New York and we shot and projected a series of tests to make sure the image would hold up on the big screen. We were pleasantly surprised at how good the image looked at 3:1 compression and 800 ISO. Also, by shooting on 16mm primes, we were able to shoot extremely low-light environments wide open without losing all of our depth of field.
2K really helped out our data-management and post work-flow as well, especially given the relatively small file sizes – a 128GB card suddenly held almost 90 minutes of footage! Working at Final Cut in Santa Monica, our editor Chris Amos turned out our first assembly edit 7 days after we wrapped. From there, we edited for another six weeks before turning the project over to our dear friend Tyler Roth at Company 3 in Chicago for final color. And then, just as the end was coming into view, we got some really unexpected news: the work-in-progress cut we’d sent overseas at the beginning of March had been accepted to Critics’ Week at the Cannes film festival, one of 10 shorts selected from over 1,700 submissions – and not only that, we were selected as the only American short in competition at Cannes…!
The last few weeks have been chaotic to say the least as we burn through the final stages of post: VFX, sound mix, conform, and DCP authoring. I’m pleased to report that after screening our DCP at Technicolor in Hollywood, the Scarlet’s 2K image holds up beautifully on the big-screen. We shot a few scenes a little brighter than we intended so that we could time them down for the final version and minimize noise, but even the lowest-light scenes showed very little sign of unwanted noise. The image just sort of “sizzles” in the way old 16mm film does. I’m obviously a little biased, but I think this is the most “16mm” feeling footage I’ve ever seen come from a RED.
A huge thanks to Adam, Brett and Charlie at 3GR and Tims Johnson at Blacklist for helping us put this package together – we were a very modest production and they made it happen for us for at a great price. Thanks also to Mike, Chris, and Tyler for shepherding the image from start to finish. This has been a remarkable six months, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. If you happen to be in Cannes next week, look us up – we have our world premiere at Espace Miramar at 2PM on May 18th!
This project was brought to me as part of a 4-part campaign put on by Cornetto, an Italy-based ice cream company. By the time I was reached, they had already chosen three London based RSA directors and were looking for a fourth director in the US. The stories all had the common theme of a [...]
Written + Directed by Neill Blomkamp. Shot on RED Epic by cinematographer Trent Opaloch.
Lovely website revamp by cinematographer + 3GR featured filmmaker Sean Conaty. Peruse the website here: http://sean.conaty.net. Checkout the new reel below.
CNBC Prime spot shot by 3GR Featured Filmmaker Sean Conaty on 3GR’s RED Epic + RED Pro Primes + Canon Tilt-Shift. Directed by Elaine Cantwell. 1st AC: Chloe Weaver Gaffer: Benny Alvarado Key Grip: Paul Meehan
Check out the super trippy new video from music legend, David Bowie. Director Floria Sigismondi & DP Jeff Cronenweth pit Bowie and his modern day doppelgänger, Tilda Swinton, in the same frame. Not sure how the world didn’t implode after this mash-up of forces although I wouldn’t complain if these were the last images I saw before time stopped. Shot [...]
College Humor spoofs Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers with the original Disney Princess’. Directed by Paul Briganti Shot By Matt Garrett on RED M-X + RED Pro Primes Camera Crew: Gaffer: Justen Hernandez 1st AC: Charlie Panian 2nd AC: Ryan P. O’Hara Best Boy Electric: Cody Banks Swing: Cate Smierciak Swing: Chris Walters BTS & 2nd [...]
We’re proud to add a pair of Angenieux Optimo DP Zooms to our glass collection. The Optimo DP 16-42mm and 30-80mm are extremely lightweight and compact PL mount zooms. Each lens weighs only 4.2lbs, making them an ideal choice for handheld and Steadicam operation. The aperture is fast at a T2.8 without any ramping. The optics are designed to fully cover RED Epic’s [...]
House of Cards is a political drama series created by Beau Willimon and David Fincher for Netflix. The entire first season is available to stream. The series was shot by Danish cinematographer Eigil Bryld on RED Epic + Arri/Zeiss Master Prime lenses. Bryld shot the first 11 episodes and cinematographer Tim Ives, of HBO’s Girls, the [...]
“The We And The I”, directed by Michel Gondry. Shot on RED Epic + iPhone + Nokia by DP, and 3GR Featured Filmmaker, Alex Disenhof. Watch the trailer: And, a very interesting Indiewire behind the scenes article. Plus, a scene from the film:
Trailer for director Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Shot on RED Epic + Canon 5D Mark II by DP Jay Hunter. Produced and edited by 3GR-Roommate Daniel Sol Kaminsky. Much Ado About Nothing will have its’ U.S. Premiere at this week’s South by Southwest Film Festival.