Reel World: 64 Bit Films shoots “Monitor” on the Canon 60D

64 Bit Films is a small production company founded by student filmmakers Jared Rosenthal, Luca Repola, Cosmo Scharf and Kai Demler. Cristina and I had a chance to meet Jared and Cosmo, at a Philip Bloom DSLR meet-up in Brooklyn, a year or two ago. We were instantly impressed by how passionate they were about filmmaking. I could tell after talking to Jared, for awhile, that 64 Bit Films was going places. Here is the trailer to their latest work a short film titled “Monitor”.

Monitor | Official Trailer from 64BitFilms on Vimeo.

I was so impressed with the quality of this trailer, I needed to know more. I caught up with the Director, Jared Rosenthal, via email and asked him some questions.

How long have you been interested in filmmaking?

When I was a little kid I had a fascination with animated movies. I started working with stop motion animation, and then jumped into live-action filmmaking with a DV camera when I was 12. I’m 17 now, and in my senior year of high school, but I’ve never really had a doubt in my mind about what I want to do as a career. For me, it’s always been film. I spent six weeks in 2009 and again in 2010 with a summer film conservatory, where I had a few incredible instructors who really taught me the ins and outs of filmmaking. Between those two years I also met two of my three partners in our production company, 64 Bit Films.

What was your role in this film?

I directed, co-wrote and edited Monitor, but the entire thing was really a collaborative effort. When it’s four teenagers all pouring their time and money into a project like this, everyone’s opinion needs to be heard. When we were on set we were careful not to step on each others’ toes, but in pre and post production we would debate plot points and review the rough cut as a group. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Luca Repola, our cinematographer, knew the script just as well as anyone else on set, and that was invaluable. I could leave the room for 10 minutes and have a long discussion with an actor, and trust him to move onto the next setup and create something not only aesthetically appealing — but something that served the story as well. The same held true for our co-writer and assistant director, Cosmo Scharf, and our producer, Kai Demler. It was incredibly comforting to know I could focus my attention on blocking the next scene while they grabbed great coverage from the next room.

Where did you come up with the idea for this?

My aunt had thrown around the idea for a book or something similar that involved a woman hearing a murder over a baby monitor. And the main character would hear some sort of motif that would eventually lead her back to the real murderer. That was about all there was to the story. We were bouncing ideas around for the “next big project” and I called up my aunt. I asked her if she would mind if we ran with the story, and she seemed to have no problem with it.

Who wrote the script?

I had pitched the idea to the original team in 2009. They liked the idea, so I wrote up a two-page treatment. Between the summer of 2009 all the way up to early 2011 I did a bunch of different versions of the script. Each one was a different length. At that point, we had no idea what we could afford or handle shooting, so we were toying with length and plot structure to try and gauge what worked. We knew we wanted to shoot in the summer of 2011, so we were moving full-steam ahead on the production and the elements that we knew we would need.

The characters remained pretty much the same throughout the entire process, so we cast our lead (Anne DeAcetis) really early on in the process and started locking down locations and the like. But then our 2011 shooting deadline kept coming at us faster and faster, and we still didn’t have a script that really worked. I contacted Cosmo, one of our friends from the film conservatory, and sent him the script. He’s got a fantastic creative mind, but what he does better than anything else is he can look at a piece of work for the first time and immediately identify where the problems are. With about two months remaining until the shoot, I went to his house every day for about a week and we tossed around a whiffle ball and talked through the major plot points in the script and re-wrote the entire thing from scratch. So the final thing that’s on the screen was really a collaborative effort.

What challenges did you face when making this film?

The biggest challenges we faced were probably due to our age. It’s really hard to gain peoples’ confidence when you have a fairly limited body of work and you’re 17 years old. Our biggest concern was funding the project. We wanted to pay for it as much as possible out of pocket, but the limited freelance work we were able to pick up could only earn us so much. Ultimately, we had to find donors to help back the film, and we had to figure out ways to trim the budget. We knew we absolutely needed to have professional actors in the film, and we were blessed with the cast we got. They were incredibly talented and generous. Most of them worked for free. We paid the leads, but not nearly enough for the time they put in and the risk they took by signing onto a short film made by teenagers. We had a lot of concerns about the casting process. We weren’t sure what adult actors were going to do when they walked into an audition held by kids, but to our surprise no one really had anything to say about it. We were incredibly grateful for that. The other big challenge had to do with securing gear. We spent the better part of two years hunting down film equipment companies (like Kessler Crane and Red Giant, and a handful of others) to sponsor the film, and their generosity was overwhelming. We ended up shooting a film for under $4,000 with equipment we never could have afforded otherwise. We save additional money by shooting on DSLRs (we used two Canon 60Ds), which really allowed us to maintain our shoestring budget. We toyed with the idea of renting lenses, but didn’t really have the time or budget to do screen tests with them or keep them for a week, so we used a Sigma that we already owned and really loved and the Canon “nifty/thrifty” 50mm f1.8. For a dirt cheap lens, the 50mm performed admirably, especially when working on night scenes.

I’m a gear nerd. Did you have anything else in the arsenal ?

We used Kessler Crane’s KC-Lite as the “big gun” in our arsenal. It performed beautifully. It was incredibly lightweight, and by the end of the six-day shoot we could set it up and properly counterweight it in less than 90 seconds. The biggest urge with using the jib was to always do some kind of crazy, dynamic move with it — which it always did beautifully — but having the camera swoop around a room isn’t always what’s right for a scene. So I guess we figured we’d use the jib a few times for those epic trailer-type shots (there are a few of those in the actual trailer), but we ended up using it way more than we expected. We were able to get a whole ton of coverage out of the Lite. We’d put a wide-angle lens on it and position the jib where you could never really get a camera, and let it roll. So it ended up serving a much larger purpose than we initially expected.

What makes you want to make films?

I think there’s something magical about sitting down in a movie theater and watching the lights dim and escaping to a completely different universe for about two hours. If a story’s engaging enough, you can completely lose yourself — and that’s what I strive for. If I can glance over at someone viewing a film (whether it’s mine or someone else’s) and they’re completely slack-jawed and staring at the screen, I think that’s great. My mom consistently screams at certain points in Monitor even though she’s already seen it about 20 times. If I can get my mom to audibly react, then I know what I’ve made is good.

When can we expect the final film to be done?

We just completed the film this week and sent it off to the Tribeca Film Festival to be considered for the student film division. If it’s accepted, then we’ll have the honor of premiering it at Tribeca. If not, we’ll shop it around to other festivals as much as possible and maybe put it online. And we’ll probably do DVD sales at a later date.

For more info on Jared and the team check out 64 Bit Films.

Reel World: Table 7 – Short Film

Table 7 – short film from Marko Slavnic on Vimeo.

Thanks to @mariofeil for directing my attention to this short film shot on the Red One. I enjoyed the lighting, composition, camera movement and sound design on this. The story was simple but effective with a nice funny twist. I think the attention to the small details here added up to a very excellent finished product.

This was Written and Directed by Marko Slavnic.

Photo Credit: Screen Grab from Table 7- Short Film

Reel World: Ray Roman Shoots Concept Promo Film on Canon DSLR’s

Ray Roman crossed the line on this one. However, he did it in a good way. He took what could have been a pretty straightforward idea, filming a promo for a workshop, and instead decided to turn it into a short concept film. The resulting piece was visually stunning and looks like a Hollywood blockbuster. Besides the piece itself, we are always,always,always seeking out education and when we have the opportunity to spread the word about international workshops, where you can learn from someone as succesful,talented and inspiring as Ray Roman,it’s a no brainer. Want more info? Go here.So without any further ado here it is. Enjoy!

Reel World: Mercedes Commercial Shot on the Canon 60d & GoPro

Treetop is a small company based in Austria that were recently commissioned to film their first car commercial – an imageclip for Mercedes Benz featuring their SUV – the GLK. They were able to combine freeski action from two of the worlds best freeskiers, Stefan Häusl and Martin Misof, with some great driving shots of the Mercedes GLK. From their Vimeo site, Treetop says “For this project we used a Canon DSLR (60d) because of their small body, great image quality and aesthetics. The Skiing First Person shots are made with GoPro’s HD cam, which is an awesome gimmick for filming sports.”


Reel World: Eduard Schneider Produces Euro GSM Commercial with Canon 5D

We first met Eduard Schneider while working on the set of the Emmy-award winning Zacuto Great Camera Shootout. He is an extremely talented jack of all trades. He is a producer,director,editor, and filmmaker from Romania.

Eduard just wrapped shooting a commercial for Euro GSM on all Canon 5D’s with Australian director Stuart McBratney.
Here is a very cool BTS shoot and a sit down interview.

Reel World: Growing My Brave Teaser Shot on the 5d

I first met Kristen Turick from Artifact Documentaries about two years ago in Austin at Re:Frame. We instantly hit it off. She was completely inspiring to me. She was producing amazing films and was completely humble and, just like her films, totally sincere. Almost a year and a half passed until I got to see her again and during that time so much had changed for both of us. Her and her husband, Jeff Turick, who like her, is extremely talented, had just won The Story Beyond The Still with their short “Allison” and they were refocusing their energy to documentary work. I’m so glad they did…

From their blog:

“When Somatic Therapist, Fred Mitouer, first approached Jeff nearly eighteen months ago about filming the work he does as a Transformational Bodyworker, neither of us ever expected to be taken on a personal journey that would not only touch and affect our lives, but would also allow us to become part of the mental healing process for one special woman’s life.. before she dies of ovarian cancer. A remarkable story of survival, hope and enlightenment and the man who makes it all possible, this clip is a teaser for a documentary to be released later this year. Please note: the content is of a mature nature and may not be suitable for all viewers.”

Technical notes:

Shot on the Canon 5d with the 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, and the Zacuto Z-Finder.

Kristen + Jeff, thank you for the inspiration.


Concept Film Shot Entirely on the 5d: “The Key”

“The Key” was written by Adam Forgione, Bobby Shortle, and RJ Weyant. This concept film began as a vision from the moment Adam met with his wedding client Linda and Mark Spencer. They were up for something different and the light bulb went off for Adam after recently watching his friend Kevin Shahinian’s feature film “Sno.” The screenplay was written from scratch three times. The last one (this one) was conceptualized and finished days before the first scheduled shoot which was a good way to start off the stressful adventure. Everyone involved was amazing and inspirational. We hope you enjoy!

Starring : Linda DeNoia, Mark Spencer, Russ Camarda, Ben Hyland, Lisa Fiore, and Doug Catoggio

Directed By Adam Forgione

Written By Adam Forgione, Bobby Shortle, RJ Weyant

Cinematography by Adam Forgione, RJ Weyant, Bobby Shortle

Equipment used : Canon 5dMK2′sCanon L-series lensesCinevate AtlasGlidecamKessler Cranes,Edirol/Roland R44 & R09Pluraleyes

Opening logo graphic design by Video Copilot

Color Grading by NewBlueFX

Reel World: First Look at Tom Lowe’s Feature Film TimeScapes

Absolutely beautiful short film shot by Tom Lowe, which will be part of a feature film, titled TimeScapes, he is currently working on .

From Tom Lowe’s Vimeo page:

This is production footage I shot over the summer for my debut film, “TimeScapes,” a modern portrait of the American Southwest. I used Canon and Red MX cameras.

Follow the production of the film at:​timescapes

Also here: and here​blog

A huge thank you to my assistants/Associate Producers who helped me film this, Dustin Kukuk (​drkanab), Nilo Recalde (​nilomr) and Chris M (​visceralway). And, as always, my most sincere and humble respect goes to Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson, Terrence Malick and Godfrey Reggio.

Thank you to my sponsors: Canon USA, Kessler Crane, camBLOCK, Vinten & KATA.

Music is by the film’s composer Nigel “John” Stanford: Make sure to turn the volume and bass way up!

Reel World: “The Drop” shot on the T2i

We met Erik Parise from Arise Productions at the Vimeo Festival and got to talk to him a little bit about one of his recent projects, “The Drop.” When we first watched it we were totally impressed by the quality so decided to do a little q+a.

q. Can you tell me a little bit more about how this was shot?

a. It was shot with a Rebel T2i using a 50mm F1.8 for the close up shots and 18-55mm IS for full body shots. We used blue screen, lowel lighting kit and a 5 in 1 reflector.

q. Was this all done in After Effects?

a. About 85% was done in AE CS3 and 15% in Final Cut Pro. The audio was already mixed so I used the audio during the shoot and synced up all blue screen footage in Final Cut with pluraleyes. Then, I placed it in After Effects and created everything in there from the planet to the interior of the ship. The interior of the ship really bogged down the memory. I need CS5 🙂 I used Digital Juice’s Motion Designers Toolkit 2 for the interfaces and then enhanced the look making it a fiery glowing orange since the characters were part of the “Flame.” I also used Video Copilot’s Optical Flares and integrated multiple flares at the same time to give it a different look. Once I had each shot completed I pieced them all together in FCP.

q. How long did it take to finalize the piece?

a. 3 Hours for Storyboarding, 6 Hours on the set, 45+ hours in post. It was shot on Sunday 9/12 starting at 3pm and it was completed on 9/16 at 2:45am. I didn’t get much sleep that week.

q. In the vimeo description it says they are beginning their journey so is there more in the works?

a. Yes there is more! It’s part of an interactive drama that was done at a youth conference in New Albany/Johnstown, Ohio called Fire&Ice on 9/17-18. It went over so well that the encore for the drama is on Oct. 29th at 7:30pm at the Now Center 2407 Beech Rd. Johnstown, OH 43031. When the drop video ends there is a loud boom, the lights come up and the characters are on the stage with dry ice underneath their feet. There are four chapters to the drama and each chapter has some video in them. In Chapter Two, (On Stage) one grey catalyst finds another catalyst locked in the “freeze.” In order to help he must get into their mind. He then places his hand on their head and the scene then fades to black a video then fades up of what he sees inside her mind. That video will release on vimeo after Oct. 29th since we didn’t want it to take away from a first time experience for someone coming to the performance. I have been talking with the writer Tom Keesee and there is a very good possibility of turning the four chapters into a film.