planet5D and Deodand Entertainment present “Incident on Marmont Avenue” a Canon EOS 5D Mark III short film

by planetmitch28 Comments

On November 12, 2011 the police were called to an incident at 1701 Marmont Avenue. This film is the story of what happened that night.

This project is one of the first narrative films to showcase the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Still photographers and filmmakers can see the new features of the Mark III and Zeiss CP.2 lenses in action. The project was developed to highlight the features of the camera and DSLR tools. The film was shot in two days with a below the line budget of under $5,000 a day.

Barry Andersson, director and co-producer, said: “The film was designed to fit a budget that many filmmakers and still photographers can afford. My team tailored our shooting schedule, equipment and techniques to be accessible to all budget levels. My goal was to show that people can get absurdly good results with a DSLR camera with a smaller price tag than they realize.”

Get ready to watch our incredibly talented cast whose credits range from The Artist, Mad Men, 24, Lost, Scrubs, Sin City, Shawshank Redemption and more.

CAST

William Mapother

Jude Ciccolella

Sonal Shah

Adria Tennor

Greg Hain

William Mapother
Jude Ciccolella
Sonal Shah
Adria Tennor
Greg Hain
Michael Patrick McCaffrey
and introducing Hayden Croteau

CREATIVE TEAM
Director: Barry Andersson
Writer: Janie L Geyen
Producers: Mitch Aunger, Janie L Geyen and Barry Andersson
Director of Photography: Julien Lasseur


Incident on Marmont Avenue

So, what'd you think? Don't be afraid to let us know what you thought down in the comments… we can take constructive criticism and encouragement!

The Project

The intent for this short was to create one of the first narrative films showcasing the new 5D Mark III and its long-awaited features.  Our team also wanted to do a lower-end below the line budget. Many of the DSLR influencers have been using and promoting some of the latest higher end cameras (C300, Epic etc.) and they are shooting projects that are outside of the budget of most independent filmmakers. We know there is an entire group of filmmakers and DSLR users who don't have the budget for or access to a lot of high-end production equipment.

Additionally, it was important to us to shoot a narrative short film with constraints of time, budget and a script.  We wanted to do more than just show pretty shots set to music. While those shots highlight camera features it doesn't accurately reflect what a filmmaker deals with on set. We planned a production that mirrored what real world filmmakers deal with so that this project and information from this short film would be relevant to anyone shooting a DSLR film.

In Depth Behind the Scenes

We aren't just going to feed you funny clips of the cast and crew on set. In the coming days we are going to discuss all aspects of this production from concept to release. Some topics include:

Budget.

This film was produced for less than $5000 a day for the shooting budget (below the line costs).  We will break down our hard costs and how we were able to squeeze the high quality visuals out of the limited budget we had.

Camera tests and New camera features of the Canon 5D Mark III

We received the camera fresh off the truck. Our team spent a few nights during pre-production doing some camera tests. We wanted to make sure we were set going into the shoot with the proper settings, ISO ratings and picture styles. We needed to be aware of all the new features before walking on set.

Equipment

If you don't have the budget for a Technocrane then our budget will help you. We tried to limit the amount of gear we used to what would fit in the back of a mini van. We will detail our complete gear list and what we liked working with and what we didn't end up using.

Transcoding and Syncing the footage on set

Since we had a tight postproduction schedule we actually started the converting process and syncing the sound while on set. We started the rough edit of the film while still shooting and managed to hand off the entire project to a new editor without any down time.

Editing Workflow from dailies to final edit

See how we started from converting footage on set, to setting up the editing workflow to be able to allow different editors to access and work with the project and completed the edit before doing our color correction and sound mixing.

Color Correction

Everyone says DSLR footage falls apart quick in post. See how the 5D Mark III footage held up and what our colorist thought about any improvements (if any) to the new 5DMKIII footage.

Final Outputs (maintaining your image quality)

Sure it looks great in full resolution in the dark edit bay. We tried many different setups to try and maintain the best quality for the widest variety of viewers. See what we did, what we sacrificed and whether or not it all worked as planned.

Sponsors for this Film

We thank our sponsors! Without the help from them (and many others behind the scenes) we wouldn't have been able to complete this movie – THANKS!


Comments

  1. Rob

    Not really sure what it’s supposed to be. By three minutes in I was starting to get bored and wondered if it was going anywhere. I decided to push through since it’s only short, but then it suddenly ended without anything happening. The guy just left. I don’t know why he was going to pick her up, either, which seems like the only thing that particularly happens in this story. Kidnap? The sibilance of the whispering made it sound like the audio was peaking; it wasn’t clear dialogue to me at all. I’ll retry with different (bigger) speakers.

    Ok, I hear him talking about taking a trip and practicing being quiet, so I’m assuming kidnap. That whispering still makes for horrible audio though, even in larger speakers.

    But story is conflict, and the sudden ending without any apparent climax to pay off the tension-building was jarring and confusing. His entrance into the house was then explained, but that was already obvious several minutes before. What about his identity, his motivations, his intentions? I kept waiting for a post-credits scene which explained things but none came.

    The cinematography was good though, very pretty images and good job on keeping the camera moving to maintain the momentum of the tension. I’m just alightly disappointed that it wasn’t paid off. Even if the real life version of events never solved anything, that doesn’t really make for an interesting, fulfilling screenplay.

    To me, anyway. YMMV, of course.

    1. Author
      planetMitch

      As Barry stated on the vimeo page, the audio was one of the hardest things about this movie. Getting a good mix that would work on laptops and crappy PC speakers vs. good sound systems was a pain! We went thru quite a few different mixes and depending on your setup, the results were mixed.

      I’ll disagree with you on the ending tho… what is there to explain? He was there to abduct the child and was fearful he’d get caught once Charlie came over – so he left… to possibly do it in someone else’s house. Plenty of tension and suspense for me.

      But thank you for taking time to comment. Not everyone is going to like it… we tried our best with the timeframe we had.

      Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the behind the scenes posts coming soon

      1. Rob

        Yeah, I saw that comment when I clicked over there. Sounds like a pain. I hope audio goes better when my first short is in post (next year sometime, I’d guess. Currently writing it), but I’m not holding out too much hope, haha.

        As for the ending, I felt like it was leading up to a confrontation, and then none came. All of the build-up of tension suggested that there was to be imminent conflict, but then the sudden ending hits and it’s a big “woah wtf where did the rest of the movie go?” moment. It’s like it stops in the middle of act two. While what you say was obvious as far as his immediate intent, it doesn’t explain who he was, his reasons for taking that specific girl, nor his end goal once he had her. To me it’s absolutely vital to establish clearly defined protagonist/antagonist goals as early as possible so that the audience knows what they’re rooting for. Otherwise, they’re just casually observing events on a screen and not as emotionally invested as they could be.

        Now don’t get me wrong there, you nailed the feeling of mounting dread, especially after it became clear that he wasn’t family after the sitter’s phone call (which I’d argue should have been the opening scene, or close to it). I’d be shocked if anyone didn’t feel it. But that’s only one element of a complete story. There wasn’t a clearly defined protagonist with an emotional investment in the situation (unless you count the parents, but they don’t turn up until the very end so I don’t), just a housesitter/childminder who we don’t know very much about except that she’s extremely forgetful, very easily spooked, and rather careless, really. Hardly a protag I have any particular personal interest or investment in.

        I’m sort-of ok with him leaving without the kid, but in that case, that’s the end of the film- the bad guy has slunk away, perhaps to try another day. Alternatively you could end just after the parents returning and the mother discovering the source of the lollipop. The ensuing omg-drama scene after that, though, is unnecessary exposition, also leading to a heightened expectation of the climax we’ve been expecting since about 5-7 minutes in. Maybe a search on the hillside, or something. Which is a very unfortunate place to hit FADE OUT, since it becomes sort of a betrayal of the promise to the audience of the genre. If you see what I mean.

        All that’s really here is just a “slice of real life,” and if there’s one thing that people don’t watch movies to see, it’s real life. Maybe some would disagree, and they can watch French auteur films to their heart’s content, but to me that’s also the reason why indie has never really gotten very far. Lots of good ideas, poor execution. Like the opposite of Hollywood!

        No, they aren’t, and you can’t try to please everybody. And just shooting a movie in and of itself is still a pretty damn good achievment, I’m not trying to take that away at all.

        I’ll definitely be checking them out, I love BTS. I usually watch it more than movies themselves, actually! :D

  2. Paul Antico

    Rob I agree with you completely, and is what I basically wrote on the Vimeo page. Looked wonderful, acted well, nice movement, composition, etc. etc. etc. but the story was a let down. It felt like a build up to something huge that was totally glossed over.

    The whispers seemed off to me too, but that was a minor thing next to the story issue. Just seemed to me that so much talent and energy was spent here on an ending that flopped for the very reasons you mentioned. We have no idea why it happened.

  3. Director Bob

    Good first attempt. What was the total budget including all costs (real and traded)? I think there’s a bit of an issue with saying a production cost X amount if most of the work consisted of trade-outs, free gear and donated services. What would the total line item budget be if ALL the time and gear had been paid for? Thanks!

    1. planetBarry

      We will be posting the exact costs for our daily shoot in the upcoming weeks so you can see line by line what we spent. As for the sponsors you are correct that not everyone can secure sponsorship deals. With that said I had no particular ties to the companies that sponsored us and I just called them up and gave them a pitch. No reason other people can’t do the same.

  4. Chris

    Compelling story. I did find it a bit confusing and had to rewind to figure out what was going on. I know you had only 2 days of footage + 1 location and maybe the edit is limited by that.

    1. planetBarry

      We choose to show some of the scenes out of sequential time. The rewind was to connect the dots in case anyone was confused or missed something. Had we just shown the story as a sequential story then we feel there would have been no real reason to watch. It’s a choice we made and understand not everyone will like it. Thanks for watching and giving some feedback.

  5. Pingback: Incident on Marmont Ave Premier! » Carrie Vines, Lifestyle Art Photographer, International Wedding, Family and Baby Photography

  6. Ken

    I agree about the story/plot/screenplay. Also characters such as Charlie weren’t developed/introduced very well. When the phone rang after the smoke alarm, I figured it was a security service. Then the transition between the babysitter’s lack of concern on that phone call to being paranoid seemed rather abrupt; it probably would have worked better if she (we) heard some sort of clear sound first that caused her to start getting paranoid. When Charlie and the sitter turn down the hallway downstairs, they look grim like they’re about to face a known/expected evil; it just felt implausible.

    Julien did a great job on the cinematography. The low-light scenes looked great. Good job on coloring too.

    The only technical glitch I found very distracting was the audio. Most of the dialog sounded like the actors were speaking right into my ear. The whispering in particular was jarring. But even the early scenes in the driveway weren’t mixed properly; the dialogue was too loud/close for the shots.

    Music was good & closing credits score was beautiful, though it felt a little too grand-cinematic for this particular short.

    On an unrelated note, I was impressed to see recognizable actors.

    Ultimately, though, the purpose of this seems to be to provide a good ‘real-world’ test and analysis for the Mark III. My only critiques were on plot/screenplay and audio. I’d say the camera held up well, and I really look forward to the BTS footage!

  7. ChristopherK

    I like challenging narrative structures where perceptions of characters shift. Up until Mom came into the bedroom, I thought Mapother was an angry father who planned to kidnap his own kid.

    Did the filmmakers show the opening credits in full-frame, then the actual short in letterboxed scope as a style choice or was there something more behind that?

  8. N.K.Osborne

    Shot really well.

    My only concern is passing this off as a low budget film. Sure it’s low budget compared to hollywood and some Indie projects, but you have sponsors etc. Most of us don’t have that luxury. Most of us shoot on simply nothing and just use what we have.

    With that being said, good job. I agree with others about the story but it wasn’t horrible.

    1. Daniel M

      N.K. Osborne

      there is a difference between low budget and “no budget” film making. I have worked on both. Making a short for under $10 grand is a pretty low budget. I have seen plenty of “no budget” films which were actually better than this but the challenge is always in how creative you can be with the tools at your disposal, not the amount of money you can raise. That is why Hollywood isn’t really coming out with any great stories anymore. It’s all about CGI work and pyrotechnics, having all those funds at your disposal leads to laziness. Working with what you have forces you to stay creative.

  9. Steve Daniels

    Beautifully shot and acted, and I enjoyed the story as well. It’s sadly a very topical subject these days. As a parent, this filled me with mounting dread, and the twist paid off nicely. I did feel the “baby sitter settling in” dragged just a tad in the edit.
    The ending totally works and perplexed and why so many are thrown by it. I guess some folks need to be spoon fed every step of a story and can’t proactively fill in any the blanks on their own. Congratulations on a effective short film.

  10. Jay

    I guess this video depends on what you were trying to achieve. If you were attempting to display the quality and capabilities of a 5D III, then you succeeded. It looked wonderful. Really good job on cinematography and look of the film. If this was meant to be a camera test, but creating a narrative for that, then it was good. If it was meant to be a short that can stand on it’s own, then I think it could have definitely turned out better.

    As far as shooting on a budget that most people can afford… I am not sure if that was realistic. As it has been mentioned before, yes you had much donated, but even at around $5,000 a day, that is quite a bit of money. It might be the amount of money expected to shoot a short like this, but at least for someone like me, a young student filmmaker, that is certainly out of my price range. Maybe a lot of people can afford a budget like that, but there are just as many who can’t. So it would have been nice to see what you could do with a barebones type budget, but that is more wishful thinking.

    Now, as far as the narrative, it was a bit weak. For the first portion of it, I felt like noting was really happening. She was sewing, making popcorn, cleaning dishes, it was just kind of boring. Then there were some things that just didn’t make sense to me, but it could just be me. I feel like a child wouldn’t just welcome a stranger into her bedroom and not question who he is at all. Then once the two came into the bedroom to check on the little girl and left, why would he just leave without taking her? He could have accomplished what he had intended to do anyway. But maybe that was part of the problem, I really didn’t have a good sense of what the motivation was for the characters. I think because of this I had a hard time feeling any sort of emotional connection to them because they didn’t seem like real people. They seemed like characters created to serve a plot. Then, at least for me, there was something that I didn’t feel was necessary about the montage at the end. What had been taking place had seemed pretty self explanatory, and I am just not sure if it really served the story all that much.

    But all in all, it’s easy for me to critique all of your hard work from behind a computer screen. I don’t mean to belittle all of the hard work that was put into this. Thank you for doing it, and I am sure a lot of us will learn from your experience once the BTS comes up, so thank you.

  11. Steve M.

    First, I’ll say this is the best image i’ve seen shot with this camera, the image looked awesome! True life events are difficult if you don’t add a little fiction. why? because live depicted, for the most part, is boring. I’m not saying this was boring, I think it needed some fiction added to heighten the over all effect. I did notice two actors from the “24” series fame, very cool! I applaud the effort, I think you did a great job!

  12. Steve Oakley

    I think the camera looks fine, but a bit soft. not a bad thing if thats part of the look. perhaps for this sort of piece its ok.

    as for the actual short it needed to be cut down. I kept watching shots go by and ask myself why it was there. what was it doing to tell the story. its not like I’m saying it needed to to cut super fast or anything, just that it needed some trimming and reduction.

    I wasn’t thrilled with the over compressed mic’d too close dialog either… but at least you could hear it on little computer speakers ok. if thats the target, then maybe on the mix… but I think it could of been a bit less squashed.

    over all I think pretty good effort. it’ll be interesting to see some BTS on this… and good that people got paid to work on it !

  13. Austin

    Great imagery here. Looking through the comments it sounds like the film might have had a stronger impact if it ended the same way the real life story did… with the child telling the parents the man gave her the lollypop.

    Looking forward to the next project and got a 5d mark 3 short I did myself coming online as soon the soundtrack is finished.

  14. Luke Malanga

    I thought the film was amazing. The 5D image looked great also. A lot of people are saying the film did not have a good story and that it was boring, but I disagree. The film is very intriguing and the story is very well thought out. The fact that it was based off of real events makes it even more amazing. Also, the music was great, it set a great mood and was perfect. I really love everything about this film and I can’t wait for the BTS footage.

  15. Rick Macomber

    By now everyone else in this thread has covered pretty much everything I was going to say. I can only add that I knew the first actor, “the other man” seemed creepy from the start. I knew he was plotting something that would not be in the best interest of the little girl. For me the tension began right from the start and began to build. The soundtrack was a perfect fit. I kept hoping the babysitter would open that door each time she went down to check on the noise she heard in the house. So the film did it’s job of effective storytelling for me. The obvious alternative ending could have been very gruesome and hard to swallow. It was nice to a happy ending. For now. Perhaps he comes back to take her in Part two?

  16. BestExposures.com

    Too subtle for me – but well done. just because I didn’t like the story didn’t mean that I didn’t like the video production quality.

    To me, more important that equipment, quality, audio – is story. That is why some old black and white movies with distortion are classics.

    Same people with a good story would have been fantastic!

  17. amband

    looks fine, sure, but what is the difference in the audio from mk II? Still bad news

  18. HeersJohn

    I thought the story was great. As an indie, it really should entertain in a manner which Hollywood doesn’t. All the confusion about who is who, who is what, and the contradictory thinking/feelings about an event- after the event, totally parallels life. Probably to a greater extent than we often like to admit. I think, life like this film is leaves us with questions. Often times in our lives we are never really able to nail down the uncertain aspects of event we live. That is until we inject an absolutes to it. Who the male in the end was idk. Who the woman was in the beginning was idk. But I do know that dude in the beginning was creepy. And, the woman was delightful. The feeling when the woman turned after the daughter pointed absolutely fearful. And in the aftermath we are left with piecing together based on the information we have. The film really did deliver entertainment I have seen experienced before. This film was positively unique, especially due to the cinematography, and story line. Not in spite of it.

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