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September 2014
Issue: February 1, 2013

Post Script: Resourceful filmmaking

By: Marc Loftus
Post has long covered affordable technologies that can improve workflows, lower production costs and expand the user base. This month, we have a feature on Visual Effects Plug-Ins (page 26), which do much of the aforementioned. Companies like Digieffects and Red Giant see the industry expanding thanks to new digital cameras and apps like FCP, and are releasing plug-ins geared toward those very users. 

Director Kevin Arbouet (Last Day of Summer) is a good example of a filmmaker who is trying to get as much bang for his buck as possible. Arbouet was in New York recently shooting the independent feature Police State for The Vladar Company. He wrote the action/adventure, sci-fi/thriller, which stars actress Sean Young, and had an aggressive production schedule in place, shooting as many as 11 pages each day over the 16-day shoot. The feature was being shot with just a single Sony F3 and many of the effects were being shot in-camera. The decision was driven in part by budget and by Arbouet’s own dissatisfaction with the look of CG smoke, fire and water. “Those are the three things that look the worst,” he feels.

During a break from production, Arbouet told me about shooting spray-can fireballs in slow motion, using leaf blowers for explosion blasts, building miniatures for set destruction, and using lighting dimmers for flash effects. The film was being edited at the production company on Final Cut Pro. “Because of where technology is at, and it’s so consumer friendly, they have an editing suite in their office.” 



Arbouet (Left, with Young and producers Vlad Yudin and Edwin Mejia) drew inspiration for Police State from films like Back to the Future, with its detail, great acting and a big score. He’s hoping to get Police State in front of festival audiences and then into more widespread theatrical release.