Project name: Floresta Vermelha (Red Forest)
The Red Forest project aims at shooting a short film using original soundtrack and original screenplay. The intention is to shoot using the standards of digital cinema of at least 2k resolution (but hopefully CIMAX) and RAW recording. To get there, we aim to shoot it with Elphel, use only free software and document on the process.
Current status of the project
We have started! Our project has started in May-2012 and is currently running. Last update on the project status (this section): September the 19th, 2012.
News - The most up-to-date news, news on the production of the film and on this research can be found at the posts in our blog (in Portuguese): florestavermelha.org. You can also check the technical stuff at our other blog.
Articles - For those interested in how to use Elphel cameras to shoot movies, an extensive article on the theme in English is nearly ready and can be viewed in this link. There is also a Portuguese-written article, aimed to be more didatic and less technical.
Workshops - To be able to shoot our movie in an open way, we are also running a couple of workshops, in which we introduce the Elphel camera and the whole editing workflow for it in Linux. You can see some pictures of the first one here and in a blog post here. These workshops included a mini short movie (2 1/2 min), to test how to use Elphel for recording in the field, in conditions similar to those we will have in our production. The picture below shows Cinelerra's editing project, before going to post-production:
Videos - Currently, there are three videos we made in order to test and/or exemplify the use of Elphel cameras for movies - the first two (no audio) exemplify the RAW workflow for video in linux and the latter (Portuguese-spoken) is a minishort movie we shot for testing the setup on the field (Elphel's footage occuring after the girl enters the house until the end). There is also a very good movie made by the Centre of Spanish Culture (English subtitles) on our project.
Automation scripts - The automation scripts to improve video editing in linux, using Elphel's RAW files as material, are nearly ready and fully functional. The only things that are missing are (1) using the original footage dimensions to update Cinelerra's XML at the very last step - this is being made manually; (2) polishing the code and comments on the scripts; and (3) licensing the scripts for publishing. The last improvements are bound to occur on the editing phase of our project, scheduled to happen in November-2012.
A somewhat updated schedule for our project can be seen below:
You should notice that there is a somewhat large period before the actual shooting takes place. This period is dedicated to research and documentation on the process, especially about everything that relates to the use of the camera for the shooting.
Return to community
The research should focus on the incertain terrains of:
1. How to record sound with the camera or using external devices;
2. Establish the editing workflow in linux and the image post-production workflow in linux. This project considers working only with free software. This step is the continuation of the research presented here and here;
3. Automate via scripts the steps of:
- (a) files convertion prior to editing (piped scripting);
- (b) creation of a human-readable list of files for post-production from Cinelerra's editing XML file; and
- (c) replacement of final TIF files in theis original folders for final render.
The last item (3) is exemplified by this workflow:
The results of the research will be published as articles under a GNU Free Documentation License and following the formats of the previous articles.
The scripts resulting from the 3rd item above will also be published under a GPL license and be freely available for the community.
Shooting and editing (free software)
It must be pondered that how we are going to shoot depends on the results we may or may not have achieved on financing the movie. Basically, we should consider something between all-voluntary work and a complete professional environment, with everyone getting paid and with more time to dedicate to the movie. We have to be prepared to both scenarios.
Editing, post editing and everything else that relates to the movie (except, possibly already recorded soundtrack) will be done using free software.
To help drawing attention to the project, spreading the word and help making contacts, we consider running some production workshops to talk about the movie and the production process to anyone who might be interested, but with especial attention to the linux community. Those workshops will be technical-based and, without being too optimistic, there is good chance of finding partners to them.
About the movie and the screenplay
The movie will be Portuguese-spoken. The screenplay, written in Celtix (GPL), focus on inside environments so that we have better control over scenario and shooting situations. Since the script is simple, we may consider asking someone to write an alternative screenplay while at research phase, but it must be noted that the existent one was written simple due to the nature of the project. It would be dramatic to discover we would have to shoot a scene without means of doing so.
Once finished, the movie will be available online. It must be said that all the documentation for the project will be under open licenses as stated in the agreement. The movie, however, is bound to a complex mixture of copyrights and will probably be released under a Creative Commons license. If everything goes fine, we should be able to write some press releases and distribute a few copies of the final version to the media in DVD format.