When a much anticipated camera such as the Canon 5D Mark III makes its way to market it's inevitable that filmmakers will rush to be the first to shoot a fully formed story on it. While not officially the first, Barry Andersson's 'based on true events' short Incident on Marmont Ave is certainly among the vanguard of Canon 5D Mark III shorts to hit the web.
Shot over two days on Zeiss CP.2 lenses, Incident on Marmont Ave was a reaction from Andersson (co-author of The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook) and his independent crew to a perceived shift amongst DSLR influencers towards higher end, more expensive cameras beyond the reach of most indies:
Our project is directly aimed at DSLR filmmakers who are shooting on lower budgets frequently. We designed the entire project to meet the budget, time frame and actual considerations that lower budget filmmakers have for their projects. This is a group that is deeply committed to a high quality final image but wants the lower price tag and flexibility of a DSLR.
Although the full budget is yet to be revealed, below the line shoot costs came in at under $10,000, which didn't impede the securing of recognisable cast members such as William Mapother and Jude Ciccolella. Visually, Incident on Marmont Ave represents the Canon 5D Mark III well, with nighttime, bedroom interiors holding up next to their brightly lit/day light counterparts. My only reservation would be on a script, not technical level -- the film has what feels like an extremely long build up which resolves rather suddenly. Also, why doesn't the babysitter check on the kid?
Producer Mitch Aunger (who you may know as PlanetMitch from planet5D) promises that the behind the scenes of the production were fully documented and will be hitting the web within the next few weeks. For now though you can read about the genesis of the project in Day 1 of his production diary and hear the short discussed on the Digital Convergence Podcast.
Do you think the team put the Canon 5D Mark III through its paces? How well do you feel the narrative plays out?
I agree with your point on script, I think the first part of the short till the first check in the room is too long, gave me the feel to stop watching it. Visually doesn't look that good but maybe is just the compression for a 15minutes film.
May 18, 2012 at 7:29AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I didn't think this short was that great. I actually skipped through it a bit as I was getting a bit bored by the story. For me it would have been nicer if it had been cut down by a few minutes as I don't feel there is actually enough content to keep it going.
I've been watching quite a few shorts and Nuevo Mexico (https://vimeo.com/33852613) is one that has a very simple subject matter but IMO is the perfect length.
May 18, 2012 at 7:39AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
You're definitely right that Nuevo Mexico doesn't overstay its welcome, it's a terrific film . Given its kinetic nature and stylised look I'd say it's a different category of short to Incident on Marmont Ave.
May 18, 2012 at 8:16AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
How can you make a real opinion without watching the whole thing?
May 18, 2012 at 9:38AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Confession time! Sometimes I give up on a book before the end. If it ain't working, why waste time slogging through. First impressions matter. Is one supposed to hold out in hopes that it gets better? When there is no indication that it will? I'm guilty of fast forwarding through more than one movie. So spank me.
May 18, 2012 at 9:50AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I fully agree with you: if it's not good enough to hold you until the end, then it failed.
May 18, 2012 at 4:38PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Fantastic use of the camera, the story seemed a little...bland? But the lighting, composition, audio, and acting made up for it. At no point was I bored with the story...but I did expect a little more at the end. We need more short films like this...films with good audio and not over stylized visuals that draw to much attention to itself.
May 18, 2012 at 7:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Also something else to add that I liked about the film. It wasnt drawing attention to how shallow the DOF could be which is something to many short films lean on (mine included). It used DOF tastefully and I found it much more relaxing than say, crazy focus pulls and macros and super shallow DOF all the time. Also does anyone else feel like most content shot on DSLRs is over exposed?
May 18, 2012 at 7:51AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Most content shot on DSLR's feels overexposed because of the way that video deals with highlights. It's very difficult to properly expose an interior scene where there's a a natural light source (such as a window) due to the limited dynamic range of DSLR's.
May 18, 2012 at 9:19AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Weird: I had the opposite reaction. There's a lot of "unjustified" shallow DOF in the first minute, and it made (for me...) the movie feel very amateurish.
May 18, 2012 at 4:40PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
The edit seemed loose to me. I was watching it thinking I'd have cut quite a few of the shots because they didn't pass the 'does this shot move the story on?' test. That said, it didn't drag that badly and built tension, but I suspect that a tighter edit would have done more. I'm not sure about the score either, it didn't quite sit right for me -- I suspect that this could have been responsible for the 'bland' comment made above much more than the visuals. The sound was OK, but nothing special, a lot of it sounded more splashy than I'd like -- I was wondering how much if any of it was foley work because of that. It didn't sit that well with the music. Presumably (given the Rode sponsorship) they used an NTG-3 -- if so, they probably needed to get in closer to the talent because that microphone usually gives a much more solid signal. I am way more picky about sound than most people, probably because I did that for a living years ago, but I suspect that this is really what's going on here.
Basically I'd caution against judging the image harshly -- I think any limitations here are really editing, sound recording, score and final mix related. I thought the image looked fine, definitely in what I'd call the 'good enough' category. I particularly liked the scenes that showed the city lights through the window in perfect balance with the interior lighting (assuming of course that it wasn't just green screen work, which I might have been tempted to go for!). An extra week on the post might have made all the difference, but I can see why someone might want to step on the gas to be one of the first shorts out there on the Mk III.
May 18, 2012 at 9:31AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Yeah because you have Zeiss, Rode, Kino Flow, and Witronix beating down your door for your tight editing abilities. I'm pretty sure the average person (you know the real audience) would think that was more than just "good enough". I however do parallel your opinions about the audio... some of the dialogue felt empty and really hurt the performance but, a free mic is a free mic.
May 18, 2012 at 9:46AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Many apologies for not being famous enough to have an opinion. *wink*
Actually, more seriously, having reread my previous post, I think it sounded more harsh than I intended it to. I am genuinely very sorry if that caused offense.
May 18, 2012 at 10:04AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I don't think you're post was harsh at all dude.
I think it's a good effort for such a low budget (which I guess is the point) but somebody needs to watch this:
It's not the worst audio in the world but it's so top-end heavy, the whispering dialogue and smoke alarm made me feel like my ears were going to explode.
May 18, 2012 at 1:24PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
*your - not you're.
May 18, 2012 at 1:26PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
same based-on story, but far inferior to "the red balloon":
5d3 looks good. pretty marginal storytelling though.
May 18, 2012 at 1:48PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
The dialogue audio was off felt very replaced
The camera looks good but for a 10,000 budget I'd invest in something else and work on a better script
May 18, 2012 at 2:00PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
all these dslr short films that get vimeo hype and camera blog backing are really bland. speaking of bad movies, my friend made this with his 5d, i think its fairly entertaining
May 18, 2012 at 2:43PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
this short kind of reminds me of a lifetime movie, idk if its just me but my immediate impression i felt that it just didn't have that film like wow factor the 5d mark 2 had, not sure if its the color grading or the codec.
May 18, 2012 at 8:57PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Same boring old sh*te. How come all indie film looks the same pretentious nonescence, low light and city scene at night. Asise from that the 5DIII is a capable video camera.
May 19, 2012 at 9:00AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
You might like the short film we did with the 5D Mark III. I believe we were actually the first people to have a dramatic short film up. Didn't get much attention since we weren't sponsored or anything like that but the feedback has been great.
May 19, 2012 at 8:56PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
One with a thumbnail might be better.
May 19, 2012 at 8:57PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
it's a comedy right?
May 21, 2012 at 9:17AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Trippy! Like the deranged-ness of the characters. Wish you would have leaned into that more. Looks like it was fun to make. Wish each individual cut could have been glued to the next better. Some of the shots remind me of the inspired camera work in Raising Fargo. Hope you stay hungry.
May 22, 2012 at 8:21AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Wow. Meant Raising Arizona. Not sure how I let Fargo slip into that.
May 22, 2012 at 8:22AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I will excuse the fact one of the guns was'nt even close to the same period as the others because he was tripping so hard on the shrooms until that part I just thought he was mentaly impaired fairly original or at least I have not seen a simular piece not bad image quality good perhaps a bit over exposed in parts but not bad at all is it fully color graded and corrected that is where my failing is iI take good images but have not aquired those skills yet.
August 2, 2012 at 2:19PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM