When the rumors about the 24p update for the Canon 5D were swirling, I was perfectly happy with my cocktail that I had perfected on the Navy SEAL film; 30p and then Twixtor to frame blend. Then, commercial production companies and the ad agencies started to inquire about needing 24p because they could not deal with the rendering time of all the Twixtor files, the 7D started to rise as the premium capture. That is when the aha moment happened for me. I wondered, why is everyone asking for second best when the Canon 5D is king? At that point, I knew I had to be a proponent of the 24p upgrade and to shoot something with it that would bring people back into focus about the camera that started it all.
So Lydia Hurlbut negotiated with Canon to sponsor a visual short produced by Hurlbut Visuals and Bandito Brothers Productions that showcased the 24p firmware update in the 5D to remind everyone of the power of this amazing tool. A tool that can inspire out of the box thinking. I wanted to feature the Canon glass to show what I had learned over the last 13 months shooting one feature, 12 commercials, and 20 short films with this platform.
Director: Po Chan
“The day when Shane asked me to come up with “The Last 3 Minutes” treatment I was so excited. I knew that I did not have to limit my vision and could go wild because of what this camera can do. I wanted to write a story which would enable us to showcase different kinds of lighting scenarios and extreme camera angles that will touch audiences hearts. Visuals without a story have no meaning. My own little philosophy about life is that life is like a BIG CIRCLE. We are all born INNOCENT. No matter how many wrong doings or right things we have done, at the last minutes before death we will again become innocent. This is the big circle of life and it is the inspiration behind “The Last 3 Minutes.” The main element in this film is the CRYSTAL that William carries with him, which represents the theme of INNOCENCE and William’s own conscience. A crystal refracts light, so when William looks inside it each refraction becomes a different memory in the course of his life. It is analogous to peeling back layers of an onion with the center layer being just at the moments before death. All of the elements in this film: casting, music, wardrobe style and color, make up (the lipstick color on the actress), hairstyle and color, set dress pieces and the texture of those pieces to the look of the crystal. Everything was carefully planned and considered to make sure every element worked in concert with the story, together in harmony.” For further questions about the concept please email Po at [email protected].
Cinematographer and Executive Producer: Shane Hurlbut, ASC
“I asked Po to write this short and she delivered a phenomenally creative concept within a day. Po not only wrote a heartfelt story but a piece that took advantage of every unique possibility with the Canon 5D technology, especially because of her ideas with using a first person experience. A huge thank-you to Po for her tireless vision and leadership.
When Po and I discussed her creative concept, I believed that the Canon L series glass would be the perfect lens choice because of the close-focus ability and creamy quality. The Canon glass shined on this project and I was so impressed with the 35, 50, 85, 100mm Macro L Series lenses. Their contrast range and color knocked me out.
The main character in the short is William Turner, a janitor who’s life seems mundane and uninteresting on the surface but as it unfolds there are many layers. We shot his boring existence in the present day at 24p utilizing the new firmware. The story then goes on a journey of William’s life over a time period of 67 years which we shot 30p and pulled it in at 24fps so that it would have a slightly dreamy feel. The creamy Canon glass delivered the period look that we were going for as we went back in time beginning in the 1980’s and moving backward to end in the 1940’s.
On the tech front, Doggicam came forth with an amazing new 5D helmet cam that put the 5D very close to the right eye and moved gracefully down the 3rd base line as well as crawling through the high grass in the Vietnam sequence. It uses Doggicam’s patented 5/8” rod technology to put the camera wherever you would like. It is extremely lightweight and stable.
Our shoot encompassed 17 different location over 4 1/2 days. The project was a labor of love from the Hurlbut Visuals Elite Team Members and all the production staff from Bandito Brothers. This would never have been possible without their time, expertise, willingness to donate gear and take on whatever roles the project demanded. Jacob Rosenberg and his post production Elite Team from Bandito Brothers knocked it out of the park!! For specific post questions, please email Jacob at [email protected] A big thank you to Andrew Huebscher ([email protected]) for his amazing color correction and Brett Novak for his beautiful crystal transitions. The biggest thank you goes to my wife and collaborator. She was the glue that held this little short together with countless hours on the phone connecting people, arranging the deal, coordinating the finances, working with the parents to schedule all of the children and watching over the kids on the set which was a daunting task.”
Producer: Greg Haggart
“My team and I knew that we had the task of making this project go off without a hitch. Our job is to anticipate potential problems so we can avoid them to stay on time and within the budget. I location scouted with Po and asked many favors from equipment vendors and the special effects team members from “Act of Valor.” I believe that the Canon 5D encourages the essence of what film making is all about. Everyone giving it their all; whatever needs to be done for the love of the project with the end result of putting the highest quality image possible up on the screen.” For further questions about production, please email Greg at [email protected]
Editor: Vashi Nedomansky
“Po asked me cut “The Last 3 Minutes” and then brought me super-detailed storyboards and the script that proceeded to act out every shot, angle and transition. What I realized right away was this was to be no ordinary short film. Once I received the footage, I had confirmation. As an editor, I have seen the best and worst shot footage from every camera. What Shane can do with the 5D mkii will make your jaw drop. The images are so organic and pleasing that we spent most of the time looking at the reference monitors in disbelief. The edit was a smooth one and with so many choices for each scene, I let the visuals do all the work. I did hide a couple zero-cuts in the edit to blend two takes together but otherwise I tried to stay out of the story’s way. It’s amazing how a cinematic image can instill more emotion into a scene. That, along with the shallow depth of field, really gives you more tools to tell your stories in the most visually interesting way.” For further questions about editing, please email Vashi at [email protected].
Behind the Scenes of “The Last 3 Minutes”
Stay tuned for a sizzle reel of the Behind The Scenes video of “The Last 3 Minutes” directed and edited by Elite Team Member Tim Holtermann. In the Behind The Scenes footage, we break down how different scenes were done and discuss how a particular scene was blocked, different camera angle choices and unique lighting set ups. It will be released on the Canon’s Digital Learning Center usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=3409 as well as the Hurlbut Visuals website and the HurlBlog.