GV Viper Camera Captures Mood of Indy Film “Sibling”

The camera’s uncompressed imagery and low-light capabilities played an important role in establishing the characters’ personalities and environmental surroundings.
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A Thomson Grass Valley digital Viper FilmStream camera was recently used to shoot Matt Farnsworth’s second independent feature film, “Sibling.”

The camera’s uncompressed imagery and low-light capabilities played an important role in establishing the characters’ personalities and environmental surroundings. It also provided a streamlined digital cinematography workflow for the production that helped bring the picture in on budget and save time in post.

“I shot my first feature [“Iowa”] on Kodak Vision Super 35mm stock,” said Matt Farnsworth. “Now that we are in post production, I can easily say the Viper stacks up and even surpasses film on multiple levels. I was also able to shoot 2:37 aspect ratio easier than I could on film. The image is so clean, I feel like I am really inside the film.”

Farnsworth said the Viper saved the crew a considerable time during production because they were able to immediately see what they were getting in real time on set.

Director of Photography Aaron Medick had used the Viper on a previous project and insisted on using it for the “Sibling” shoot, Farnsworth said. During production, film engineer Dave Satin from the New York-based post house Mega Playground created a series of look up tables (LUTs) to create specifically defined looks for each period in the characters’ turbulent lives. During post, these LUTs allowed the project’s colorist to recognize the vision of the director and DP to maintain a consistent look across the entire picture.

The production was shot in FilmStream 4:4:4 mode with a single Viper camera and recorded to tape using a Sony HDCAM SR VTR. Much of the principal photography in a public school and municipal buildings was completed in Union, N.J., over 35 days. Other scenes were shot in and around NYC as well.

Farnsworth owns an edit facility in Phoenix, Ariz., where the film is currently being cut with plans for a late 2008 release. The film will also be color-corrected using Apple’s Final Cut Pro software.