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Old 04-16-2016, 12:02 PM   #1
Jimmy Jib
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Caution Putting things in perspective...

I just watched a 1998 Film called " The Celebration ".



I must admit I did watch it out of curiosity because someone else posted a link to it on a different thread on this forum. The film managed to hold my attention beginning to end ( a rare feat ) even though I watched a translated version of it which was distracting because of the accents. Technically, a lot of the scenes look a far cry from what most of us would deem acceptable today... blown highlights, noise in dim lit scenes, soft and painfully low res wide shots... but overall it was a fairly decent effort considering it was filmed on a Sony DCR-PC3 DV camcorder!
Granted, this was 1998... and the release of the first Panasonic DVX100 was still a few years away, but the more logical choices at the time were 16mm Film or maybe a digital alternative like the Sony VX1000. Instead, the production team opted for something closer to the digital low end at the time, a 1/4" CCD camcorder that you can pick up on ebay today for under $100. A surprising choice considering:

The budget for this Film was $1,300,000
The film was released in a number of countries
Won several awards at some of the most famous Film Festivals, including Cannes !
They actually made a profit!

Putting things in perspective... this really shows you don't need the best camera to make a real film, in fact, the camera they used for this Film is closer to "the worst" ever used as far as I know. The bad news is that you still need a budget EVEN IF you are using the cheapest camera on ebay. $1,300,000 would have been substantial for 1998, not sure if that included marketing and distribution. From what I saw, the location did look grand, the actors were brilliant, and the story worked very well even without a soundtrack. All of these did not come cheap I'm sure... but IT WORKED. So bitter dose of reality for us Filmmakers in 2016... get a budget high enough so that you can use professional actors, good locations, costumes , a decent crew, a good script, etc. and don't worry so much about what camera you will use...

Last edited by Jimmy Jib; 04-16-2016 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:39 PM   #2
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Jib View Post
Putting things in perspective... this really shows you don't need the best camera to make a real film, in fact, the camera they used for this Film is closer to "the worst" ever used as far as I know. The bad news is that you still need a budget EVEN IF you are using the cheapest camera on ebay. $1,300,000 would have been substantial for 1998, not sure if that included marketing and distribution.
I agree with you on the camera - I disagree on budget.

What interests ME is story and characters. And that can be done
with an iPhone and $100,000 (Tangerine). And it can be done
for even less.

Not all ULB movies are interesting but that rarely has anything to
do with budget or what camera was used. I agree that you do need
a budget but that budget doesn't need to be a million or even a
hundred thousand. Here in indietalk we get lots and lots of questions
about the "best" camera; that's an easier question than questions
about making a movie that will hold the interest of movie goers. THAT
is far more difficult. Of course the tech end is important (especially
audio) but far more important is story and characters. All writers believe
they have that great story - very few do.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:43 PM   #3
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LOL, you mean Festen!
That is a great movie!
I was thinking 'the celebration'? Never heard of that one, lol

As one of the first Dogma 95 movies they imposed technical limits on the production:
- no 'artificial' lighting: only available light and lights (they cheated a bit with the candles)
- adding no score: all sounds must come from the set
- no tripods, no dollies, no cranes
(and no credit for the director)

This movie shows that a great story and great acting survive low image quality.
The camera might have been not top of the bill, the framing and edit are really good.

(Using Dogma 95 as a style to shoot is really interesting: as a student I made 1 short that way and it was pretty intense on an emotional level: we had a great cast.)


So, yes, I second your perspective on cameras.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:32 PM   #4
Jimmy Jib
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The original title was indeed " Festen " but IMDb does list it as " The Celebration ". What you end up watching on YouTube is an entirely different matter depending on what language it was translated to. I watched in Spanish so go figure!

Last edited by Jimmy Jib; 04-16-2016 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:43 PM   #5
Jimmy Jib
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The script is actually quite simple, almost everything happens on the one location... I was actually a bit shocked to learn their budget was so high. Would not be surprised if most of the budget went to marketing and distribution. A big chunk for the cast as well.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:47 PM   #6
Jimmy Jib
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It's interesting how the actors gave it a certain intensity and realism that simply drew you in. I still think name actors are overpaid... but good actors certainly make all the difference.
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