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Shooting Act of Valor Q & A

  • March 5, 2012
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Shooting Act of Valor Q & A
Shooting Nestor Serrano and Roselyn Sánchez in Act of Valor
Shooting Nestor Serrano and Roselyn Sánchez in Act of Valor

We’ve had a ton of questions via Twitter, Facebook and the hurlblog about shooting Act of Valor, so I thought I would share them in a Q&A format. Thanks so much to everyone for your support and kind words about the film!

Q: How much of the film was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II?

A: 70% 5D, 20% film, and 5% F950 for aerials.

Q: How much of the film was lit with natural lighting?

A: 60% natural light.

Q: How did you light that scene at night when they are in the jungle/forest on their first mission?

A: One 12 lite Maxi brute on 80′ condor. One mini nine light with FCX globes bouncing into 12x ultra bounce.

Q: What picture style was used on Act of Valor?

A: Neutral.

Q: Was that you holding the gun with the camera mounted to you at times?

A: No, that was one of the SEALs.

Q: How in the world did you get the scenes in the dark without noise?

A: Dark Energy by Cinnafilm is a tool that strips all 5D compression off of footage and then layers 35mm grain.

Q: Did they let you fire a weapon?

A: Yes!

Q: Did you jump with the SEALs?

A: No!

Q: What lens did you use for the helmet mounted shots?

A: 18mm Zeiss ZF with a Fotodiox adapter.

Q: What camera did you use for the HALO jumps?

A: Canon 5D

Q: In Act of Valor, was the out of focus shots during dialog scenes intentional or a result of the 5D’s shallow depth of field?

A: This was intentional. I wanted to use the shallow DOF to illustrate Christo’s world closing in on him.

Q: Was the live fire just for that scene with the mini gun?

A: No, we did live fire on San Clemente Island as well.  50 cals in H860 helo’s and on the ground.

Q: Is the visual quality difference between full-frame sensors and APS-C sensors noticeable on the big screen?

A: Full-frame looks best, but APS-C holds up well if you use good lenses. Check out this post for more info:  http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/02/06/still-lenses/

Q: The new 5D announcement is days after Act of Valor drops. Did you have access to new body?

A: No. Just great Canon marketing.

Q: The CU on Keith Urban in the music video – that was the Alexa, right?

A:  Yes, the CU was Alexa. The CU shots of the drummer were Canon C300. We also used 5D and 7D.

Q: Any chance of a solid BTS on the Blu-ray down the line?

A: Yes, there will be tons.

Q: How was the sound synced, since there were multiple cameras?

A: We used the 5D mics as a scratch to sync with our double system sound.

Q: Panavision is hyping the 435 and Primo’s on Act of Valor. I thought just the funeral scene was film. Is the movie 50% DSLR, 50% film?

A: Only 8 shots were film in the funeral.  70% 5D, 20% film. Primo primes on both platforms.

Q: Did you ever get to reuse any of the 5Ds shooting Act of Valor, or were they all obliterated?

A: We only lost 6.

Q: Was Act of Valor pretty fun to make?

A: Difficult but an amazing life experience. I always have fun.

Q: When is Act of Valor opening internationally?

A: Here are the dates we have so far:

Canada – February 24
Singapore – March 1
Kuwait – March 1
Italy – March 16
Ireland – March 23
UK – March 23
Spain – April 27
Australia – May 3
Netherlands – May 10

Q: Are there any books you suggest for students of cinematography?

A: Writing with Light by Vittorio Storaro, Painting with Light by John Alton, and Cinematography by Blain Brown.

Q: Are there going to be any more BootCamps?

A: Another boot camp is in the works for later this year. Keep checking the hurlblog for updates.

Q: Are you going to be at NAB?

A: Yes, we will.

 

Thanks again everyone!

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