Monthly Archives: March 2010

Resolution 101

This is the first “totally geek” post on this site.  It’s relevant because it’s about the RED camera, the camera that we shot “Sheol” with.  I would love to just link to the forum post, but I can’t figure out how to get you to the specific post.  So, here it is, duplicated in all of it’s nerdy glory.

This was written by the president and “leader” of the RED Camera team, Jim Jannard.  You can find the forum thread here:

Resolution 101

In the very near future we will see 4K delivery. No doubt about it. But who gets to play?

It seems obvious that Standard Definition is not High Definition. But is High Definition (720P and 1080P) able to scale to 4K? Not from where I sit. Pushing less than 2K up over 400% to “fit” a 4K delivery is exactly the same as pretending that SD is HD. It just isn’t.

We will attempt to demonstrate exactly what we mean. I will add other cameras performance as we do the testing. But to begin with… let’s start with the Canon 5D, which promises a 1080P output. While the file size is 1080P, the actual measured resolution is quite a bit less. So too is Bayer pattern resolution lower than the file size. RED 4K actually measures about 3.2K and 4.5K actually measures about 3.7K. The new EPIC 5K will measure a full 4K. For comparison, 35mm Film measures about 2.8K for ASA 500 stock and about 3.2K for ASA 100 stock… both from a 4K scan. Film resolves much less from a 2K scan… less than 2K.

Graeme has shot Zone Plates of the 5D, along with the new M-X sensor upgraded RED ONE. Here are the results.

M-X sensor (in red) and the Canon 5D (in black). The grey area is where the 5D2 provides either NO detail or corruption caused by aliasing. It really measures a “ragged” 1.4K horizontal resolution vs. about 3.7 for the Mysterium-X at 4.5K.

Explanation after the jump… read more »

We’ve Submitted to Palm Springs!

Big news!

We just sent in our application for the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest, the biggest exhibition, competition, and marketplace devoted to the short film!  This marks a huge milestone in “The Sheol Express”.  After hearing people say, for several months, that we’ve got a good movie on our hands, it’s nerve-racking to send it off to someone else to evaluate it!

Palm Springs is a very important festival for us because it’s not only the largest exhibition of short films, but also has attached to it one of the largest short film markets attached to it.  Markets are where buyers – people who are looking for content – come to find that content.  We’d love to sell “The Sheol Express” to a cable network or someone similar, in order to gain exposure for the film, and possibly pave the way for a feature film.  Getting into Palm Springs and attending the filmmaket will be an important part of that!

We submitted an in-progress version of the film, something that’s common for film festivals to receive for applications, because films want to exhibit as soon as possible after they’ve finished – meaning that even though we will complete the film in April or May, we’ve submitted in in March, so we can premiere in June.  Hopefully.

Perry and Bryce have been working feverishly on the visual effects, and we’ve got about half of the matte paintings in the film done.  We focused on the ones that were integral for the story.  Vlad has done the first pass of coloring, and we have Joy’s rough sound mix, paired with the almost-final mixes of the score!  Everything is so close… but seems so far at the same time!

Here’s a little taste of the work that they’ve been doing…

Araboth Ferry

You may remember the other “evolution of a shot” images that we posted during production for this shot… perhaps it’s a good time to bring those back!

Pretty cool, huh?

Also, for the festival submission, we updated the synopsis, which you can find updated under the links at the top of the site, or below.

Now we begin the wonderful waiting game, as we approacah “around or about May 25th”.  Cheers!

Our new synopsis:

Tired of traveling the underworld, Owen Turner boards The Sheol Express, a fantastical train that ferries souls to their final resting place at the End of the Line. En route, Owen meets Rachael, a visionary who proclaims the existence of Araboth, an alleged paradise near the second-to-last stop before the End of the Line. Contesting her claim is the charismatic peddler Diggory Venn, who is as critical of Rachael’s radicalism as he is devoted to sensory pleasures. Scoffing at Rachael’s outlandish beliefs, Diggory encourages Owen to kick back, forget about Araboth, and enjoy the ride to the End of the Line. As The Sheol Express plows through the night, Owen wavers between the guarantee of a final resting place and the possibility of a better life: if he leaves the train before the End of the Line and Araboth is no more than Rachael’s wishful fantasy, Owen risks wandering the world alone. But if Araboth is more than a delusion, he stands to reclaim a hope he lost long ago.

Sheol is a wasteland without water, inhabited by souls condemned to travel from town to town along the railroad servicing The Sheol Express, a mysterious train bound for the End of the Line. The End of the Line, they say, is the final resting place for souls weary of wandering the parched frontier. To board, passengers must forfeit their citizenship and are never heard from again. This closure is precisely what Diggory, the train’s charismatic peddler of luxury wares, purportedly longs to embrace. He entices Owen with promises of material pleasures at the End of the Line, endeavoring to make the best of an otherwise meaningless afterlife. He’ll have nothing to do with Rachael and her zealous belief in Araboth, an alleged paradise teeming with everything that Sheol lacks: water, light, and green. Although Owen wants to believe Rachael’s radical claims, he can’t shake his suspicion that she might be making it up. As Diggory is eager to point out, Rachael has no real proof of Araboth. Can Owen leap into the unknown, sacrificing comfort and stability for the hope of a better life? Should he?

Hope is a human phenomenon, as necessary as it is absurd. In “The Sheol Express”, writers and directors Michael Koehler and Ryan Patch explore the connection between hope and intellectual integrity. Hope is found where certainty is not: it dwells in the most unlikely of places, in the hearts of people who are themselves confused, in the folds of hypocrisy and doubt that pervade postmodernity. Raised in religious families but educated at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Koehler and Patch approach the possibility of truth from a unique perspective. Their encounters with other cultures and deep, personal struggles with faith inform what is not just a social question, but a spiritual one: what place does truth have in our relative world? In 27 minutes, they bring audiences face-to-face with the same question that faces Owen: what, if anything, is Araboth? Where is it today? And finally, what are we – as individuals weary of our endless routine – willing to risk to find out?

What Does All Art Have in Common?

So, we’ve been having a conversation at my house lately, and I wanted to open it up to y’all (or yous, if you’re from the BX) on the blog to think about and comment on.

My friends Dave Chalk of The Northern, Jared Mark Smith (yes, the actor), Whittney Clair Kesslar, and Charlie Callahan (yes, aka’d as Rayman Demure) all got in a rollicking discussion on the subway last night, so much so that the ladies in the next section over got in on the convo.  So, without further ado: please, consider and respond:

1) Is all good art controversial?

2) Is all good art (at least subliminally) sexual?

Please use examples to back up your answers… we will chime in as people respond!

Why You Must Vote for Us NOW

Hello and welcome!

To the March edition of “help us finish up The Sheol Express!”  Yes, that’s right, we’re still trying to wrangle up enough votes to win $5,000 through Pepsi’s Refresh Everything contest.  And wait… I know what you’re thinking!  Please see below as I read your mind, and respond to your questions:

But wait, I thought that contest ended in February?

It did.  However, Pepsi has set this up to let the projects that *almost* made it into the top 10 (to receive funding) in Feburary – but didn’t – roll over into the next month’s contest.

Pepsi's Refresh Everything

Pepsi's Refresh Everything in NYC Bilboards

Okay, so, what’s that mean?

It means that The Sheol Express has a very real chance of securing some serious funding that will help us get this film finished and onto the film festival circuit.

But I don’t want to get all excited again… and then have the film end up at #34 again this month.

Yes, this is a concern, but here’s the deal: as you may have seen, the top 10 “ideas” are displayed on the home page.  If we can break into this top 10 in the first few days of the month – when every project has a lot of mobility – we feel confident that “one time”, casual visitors to the Pepsi site will see it and vote for us.  They may not be loyal, but the overall effect is staggering – that those projects that start in the lead stay in the lead.

So, this means that we need YOU to TODAY – and especially for the next week – to give this site a voting blitz.  We’re going to try to get in the top 15 in the next 48 hours, and I really think that we can do it!

The outpouring of support, Facebook posts, tweets, mouth-to-mouth buzz, random connections, comments, and people that have contacted us about how this movie has already affected their lives is a huge encouragement.  We’ve had people all over the world discover the film and contact us, though this grant and blog, and it’s awesome to speak with all of you.

Thank you all for your support so far, and I would be eternally grateful if that support continued through the next week as we ROCKET this project to the top of Pepsi’s “refreshing ideas”.

“Filming Is Like Sex”

Thought of the Day:

“I’m happiest when I’m shooting the movie. Filming is like sex. Writing the script is like seduction, then shooting is like sex because you’re doing the movie with other people. Editing is like being pregnant, and then you give birth and they take your baby away.” -Jim Jarmusch