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Blog: Filming 'Closing Escrow' in HD

Here's the latest blog in a periodic series on the production of the motion picture "Closing Escrow," a SAG Modified Low-Budget Feature that is now being shot in HD in the Los Angeles area. This week's blog again is from the movie's producer, Kristen Cox, president/CEO of 16X9 Productions:

Entry: Sept. 28
"Today is day five of our shoot. I'm sitting just off set, watching a crew try to keep from laughing so they won't spoil the take. It's happening. It's working. We're making a movie here!

"The system we devised for taking footage straight off the camera--through a Miranda into the Apple G4--is working. I was skeptical of its importance at first, but I will admit that it's amazing to see a rough edit of each scene very shortly after the scene has been shot. It's instant affirmation. Several scenes in our movie require more of an ENG-style of shooting. For those scenes, the G4 is sacrificed and we rely on Astro Monitors.

"I've been HD's biggest fan for a long time, but have fallen in love with it all over again over the last few days. The ease with which we are capturing footage and the incredible look and feel of the Sony Cine Alta cameras are making life easier. I wish the rest of the process was so smooth.

Entry: Oct. 3, 2005
"The past several days have reinforced certain truths about production. Despite meticulous planning and the luxuries of new technologies, I'll never be able to control all of the variables. Yesterday was a prime example. We shot on location in Los Angeles in a small neighborhood. Our UPM, Lisa Foley, 'permitted' the location and arranged for parking along the east-facing street next to the property.

"The city put 'No Parking' signs on the north-facing street instead--and residents parked on the street with total disregard for the signs! When we arrived at 7 on Sunday morning, there was absolutely no parking to be had in the entire neighborhood. Our crew of 25 was driving in circles like urban vultures, looking for places to leave their vehicles. We had to stage our trucks in the middle of the street to off-load.

"The Honeywagon full of actors and make-up artists was parked illegally in a fire zone. By 10 a.m., we'd finally gotten off-loaded and set the shot. As we began to roll tape on the exterior shot, the city authorities arrived on-scene and started towing the illegally parked cars. Here we were, finally ready to roll and bombarded by the sounds of tow trucks backing up and car alarms going off.

"Yeah, that was just the first three hours of the 12-hour day. Technology is vital, but still only part of the production equation."