Beyond HD

“You know......I read a lot.”
Clifford Worley, TRUE ROMANCE, 1993

I read a lot too. And there’s a lot to read nowadays (what with all those FaceTweets) which makes it hard to separate fact from fiction occasionally or to know how credible the source of news is. Like the recently deceased man who didn’t know he’d died until he read his Facebook tribute page. Ok, so that wasn’t true - it was a tweet I read the other day.

So sometimes it’s good to get out there and see things for yourself and hear from people who can actually profess to be experts because they are telling you to your face and you can see their earnest expressions. In high resolution as it turned out. Today I attended the first of a two day event called Beyond HD which was organised by and held at Ravensbourne College next to the O2 Arena in Greenwich.

The event aimed to collate and share information about the latest HD camera and workflow technologies and explain how they are being used in the real world (or the world of film and TV anyway). There was a good mix of conference keynote sessions, workshops and exhibition with a distinguished array of speakers and tutors who work with this technology every day.

We kicked off with a fascinating talk from Cinematographer Gavin Finney who demonstrated how he was able to shoot digital images ‘log’ which means the camera does not apply its own set of image corrections, and be able to monitor the images with a range of colour grades to choose from so that the production team can get an accurate view of how the shots will look and more importantly, be able to send the post-production team a set of files called Look Up Tables or LUTs to communicate the DoP’s vision. The most impressive gadget was a waveform monitor from Astro that could sit on your camera and display your image with a histogram underneath so you can see whether your whites are peaking or your blacks are crushed. He used an Arri Alexa and a Canon 7D camera to compare between and it was interesting to see how much more dynamic range there was with the Arri, ensuring that every detail of the image was captured ready for enhancing in post. It highlighted to me just how critical the grading process is in the modern digital film workflow, making locking the video of a film an important collaboration between the editor, the colourist and the DoP.

There was a great panel discussion where it was heartening to see that the film industry is actively embracing the new camera technology as it gives them a whole new set of tools, with many professionals such as director Danny Boyle choosing to use a range of cameras on any one project, mixing film formats with digital acquisition like he did on Slumdog Millionaire. There will always be a love of film and for the moment there is still a definite need for it - as they said, if you want the ‘film look’, shoot on film!

Understandably there was a grudging respect for filmmakers like Gareth Edwards (Monsters) who was able to gain worldwide distribution for a film which he wrote, shot, directed, edited and did the visual effects using high definition pro-sumer video formats. Not everybody on the panel was as complimentary - there must be a certain insecurity in knowing that almost anybody can gain access to equipment to make a film and get it seen in cinemas around the world, for someone that has trained their whole life to become an expert in one discipline. The point that some of the best films are the result of a team effort is a valid one.

But ultimately I guess it comes down to the story. Millions of us will watch a tiny, grainy image on our mobiles if it is engaging and entertaining. And that is the most interesting aspect of how technology is changing the way we obtain our programming. Cameras today are simply computers with a lens on the front of them able to record massive amounts of picture information for sending down a pipe. My only hope is that we don’t get too used to watching the miniature window at the other end of the pipe so that we can do justice to these glorious images.

The truth is out there - and it looks amazing.

Scars is going Viral!

As you read this blog, we are busy programming a movie-specific website for Scars to start to generate some viral interest.

The site will appear to be that of Brenner Research, the fictional drug company at the heart of our story. As you explore the site it will become obvious that we are promoting a film and not saving mankind - there will be notes, plot synopses, photos and eventually a trailer for the film itself. The Brenner Research site will also offer an insight into the back story of our main character, Susan Brenner which is only hinted at in the film.

We are using RapidWeaver to upload both this site and the new one for Scars and it is meeting our needs very well - it's cheap, easy to use and has a range of templates that do a lot of the hard work for you. Although there are limitations, I would recommend it if you want a web presence without the hassle of learning the code as it were.

We will also be adding ways for you to contact us for both sites (other than Facebook and Twitter - what do you mean you haven't added us yet?!) so that the flow of information changes from a stream to a river. In fact, there should now be a way of adding comments to this blog page if we have clicked on the right button so feel free to start right away.

The next and final shoot days for Scars are fast approaching which means in a few weeks time we will start the post-production process. Cue blogs covering editing, grading and computer effects as well as a day in the life of a foley artist or "How to Make a Living Hammering Melons".

Until the next time, take care.


Write on...

A wise man once told me that you can’t call yourself a screenwriter if you don’t actually write anything.

Just having a story rattling around in your head is no good unless it falls out. A good tip is to try and write down thoughts and ideas as they come to you (or shortly afterwards if, as in my case, you have most of your ideas in the shower). The process of writing down your ideas really helps when you come to pull them all together because it is a valuable preliminary editing process. It can be quite encouraging to look at something again and think; “wow, that wasn’t bad for me” or “I can’t even remember how I came up with that”. Even saying to yourself: “what the hell were you on when you wrote that?!” is as important as the little nuggets when it comes to working out what makes the final draft.

So this weekend I sat down and wrote the first couple of pages of “Hey Presto”. It will be the second short film from Jellymash which we hope to shoot early next year. It deals with peoples’ first impressions of others and how we can all tend to pigeon-hole sometimes. With a few magic tricks thrown in for good measure.

Now.....when do I start on that elusive first feature film......?

Have a fantastic week,


Welcome to our new website

Hello and welcome to our new website. It’s a work in progress but aren’t most things in life?

Jellymash Films is an independent film company set up and run by professionals in the corporate filmmaking industry who love making films. Our aim is to take great scripts and turn them into films that people love to watch.

So keep checking back to see what we have been getting up to and where and when you can see the fruits of our labours.

Jellymash. Independent films for independent minds.