GINOSAJI - THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON - FEATURE FILM

Created by Richard Gale

Epic horror comedy feature based on the viral short about the legendary Spoonkiller, with award-winning cast featuring Jeffrey Combs!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

The Steadicam + Paul in Training
about 2 years ago – Sat, May 26, 2018 at 11:11:14 PM

Hello Friends of the Spoon!

Thought I'd give you some background on my experience with one of my favorite moviemaking tools...

The Steadicam

Ever since I was a teenager, I've had a serious fascination for the Steadicam -- the camera stabilizer invented by Garrett Brown (for which he won an Academy Award -- here's the clip from the 1978 Oscars).  Something about the magical smoothness, and the ability of the camera to glide almost anywhere was something I loved and wanted to do in my own work.  

Above: The third film Garrett Brown used his invention on was Rocky -- for the training sequence, the shot of Rocky running up the museum steps, and the big fight. That's Garrett with an early version of the Steadicam, with Sylvester Stallone.
Above: The third film Garrett Brown used his invention on was Rocky -- for the training sequence, the shot of Rocky running up the museum steps, and the big fight. That's Garrett with an early version of the Steadicam, with Sylvester Stallone.
Above: Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown (right) with Stanley Kubrick (left) during the filming of The Shining, one of my all-time favorites. It was Garrett chasing Danny and Jack Torrance through the Overlook Hotel and the hedge maze.
Above: Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown (right) with Stanley Kubrick (left) during the filming of The Shining, one of my all-time favorites. It was Garrett chasing Danny and Jack Torrance through the Overlook Hotel and the hedge maze.

Meeting Garrett Brown

I had the great fortune to meet Garrett Brown at an industry event some years ago -- he let me try out a few different Steadicam models, including what was at that time the smallest camera ever to fly on a steadicam (below)

Richard Gale and Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown
Richard Gale and Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown
Richard Gale and Garrett Brown
Richard Gale and Garrett Brown

I also wore a larger Steadicam rig, and Garrett was having me run in place to demonstrate his invention to some other people at the event.  At one point, I took my hands off the post and allowed the camera to float freely as I ran in place -- something which requires a good deal of practice.  Garrett smiled and said, "oh, you're dangerous!"  For a cinema / techie geek like me, I was in Heaven.

Some years later, I took the official Steadicam training workshop taught by Tiffen / Steadicam in Burbank, and learned to fly larger rigs.

Richard Gale operating a Steadicam Zephyr
Richard Gale operating a Steadicam Zephyr

Steadicam on the short film

I used a Steadicam Merlin for many shots of The Horribly Slow Murderer short film, and it really added to the excitement to have those fast tracking shots for the chase scenes.

Richard Gale shooting the Horribly Slow Murderer short film
Richard Gale shooting the Horribly Slow Murderer short film
Filming the library chase for the Horribly Slow Murderer short film with the Steadicam
Filming the library chase for the Horribly Slow Murderer short film with the Steadicam

Preparing for the Feature Film

For the GINOSAJI feature, I plan to use a steadicam to fly the RED Epic camera, to capture a number of cool shots.  One of the advantages of the Steadicam is that sometimes you can save time by not having to lay down dolly tracks, which can be very limiting depending on the location.  (However you do have to take the time to clear the path of any trip hazards! Also, the steadicam operator usually has an assistant walk with them as they operate to make sure they don't run into anything.)

Richard Gale flying a RED Epic camera on the Steadicam Solo
Richard Gale flying a RED Epic camera on the Steadicam Solo

It's All About Quality

If there's a single primary objective for this project, it's quality.  It has to be great quality, and the Steadicam is one of the tools that will help us achieve shots that look like a million.  

Paul in Training

Paul Clemens (Jack Cucchiaio) has been working to get into shape for what will be a physically difficult shoot, due to so much running and action.  In addition to having a membership at a local gym, Paul and I meet up regularly to go for extended hikes / jogging. 

Above: Paul Clemens after a two hour brisk hike in LaCienega Park, across the street from the Motion Picture Academy Library.
Above: Paul Clemens after a two hour brisk hike in LaCienega Park, across the street from the Motion Picture Academy Library.

More to come!  Stay Spooned!

-Richard---o

Location Scout + CGI Special Effects! ...and a Cool Project to Check Out
about 2 years ago – Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 01:16:52 AM

Hello Friends of the Spoon!

Scouting the cliffs at Point Dume - © Ginosaji Pictures
Scouting the cliffs at Point Dume - © Ginosaji Pictures

Location Scout

We did a location scout recently for a scene that requires a steep cliff overlooking a beautiful view of the ocean.  We went to Point Dume, located in Malibu just off the Pacific Coast Highway.  There's a cliff that overlooks the beach location where the final scene in the original Planet of the Apes was filmed, with Charlton Heston screaming "damn you!" before a half-buried Statue of Liberty.

Overlooking Point Dume Beach - where Planet of the Apes was filmed - © Ginosaji Pictures
Overlooking Point Dume Beach - where Planet of the Apes was filmed - © Ginosaji Pictures
Exec. Producer Chris Vick checking out the steep cliffs - © Ginosaji Pictures
Exec. Producer Chris Vick checking out the steep cliffs - © Ginosaji Pictures
Checking the shots in the storyboard for the cliff scene (blurred to protect you from spoilers!) - © Ginosaji Pictures
Checking the shots in the storyboard for the cliff scene (blurred to protect you from spoilers!) - © Ginosaji Pictures

We took a lot of photos and videos, and it seems like a solid contender for our location. Only issue is some graffiti on the rocks in a few spots, which would need to be removed (either before or digitally in post-production). All in all it was a beautiful location.

The location at sunset - © 2018 Ginosaji Pictures
The location at sunset - © 2018 Ginosaji Pictures

CGI Special Effects!

It has come to our attention that even on a very tight budget, we might be able to include some Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) special visual effects in the movie -- thanks to developments in affordable 3D software -- namely, Blender is a free program for modeling, texturing, rendering, and animating 3D characters or objects, and it's capable of very professional results. It could be used to add objects into a scene via motion tracking, or use to create set pieces or enhance a location in ways that would otherwise be impossible, or beyond our budget. 

In learning how to use it, of course this was one of the first objects I created:

Spoon Wireframe in Blender - ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures
Spoon Wireframe in Blender - ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures

Though this will not be in the movie, I wanted to show you this CGI test involving a very unique Ginosaji dark chocolate doughnut.  The scene was made as part of a basic tutorial...

All objects created from scratch in Blender.  ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures
All objects created from scratch in Blender. ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures
Spoon Doughnut scene wireframe view - ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures
Spoon Doughnut scene wireframe view - ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures
Test render - ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures
Test render - ©2018 Ginosaji Pictures

CGI vs. Practical Effects

I'm not a fan of obvious CGI effects in movies -- visual FX work best when you don't even notice they are happening -- and I generally prefer practical effects whenever possible.  But access to some CGI opens up possibilities to add certain elements to a scene that we otherwise might not afford.

Lawrie Brewster's awesome looking Gothic Horror movie
Lawrie Brewster's awesome looking Gothic Horror movie

A Cool Project to Check Out!

There's a great looking project underway by our friend and talented filmmaker Lawrie Brewster -- the Gothic Horror movie Automata.  He's made several wild and excellent indie thriller / horror films with a Lovecraftian feel.  Lawrie is a real artist, and does an amazing job with his gorgeously designed dvd/bluray sets.  You can check out his project here.

Stay Spooned... there's much more to come!

-Richard---o

Jack Cucchiaio Camera Tests + High Dynamic Range Cinematography
over 2 years ago – Sun, Mar 25, 2018 at 10:03:07 PM

Hello Friends of the Spoon!

Richard Gale and Paul Clemens - © Ginosaji Pictures
Richard Gale and Paul Clemens - © Ginosaji Pictures

Recently we shot some Interior and Exterior camera tests with Paul Clemens (Jack Cucchiaio) and Chris Vick standing-in for Brian Rohan as the Ginosaji, with the help of a Ginosaji mask.

Shot on RED Epic in 5K

We shot the tests on a RED Epic camera in 5K Ultra HD, in the cinemascope (widescreen) aspect ratio.  The Epic has been used to shoot many Hollywood movies -- including ones by Peter Jackson, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, and James Cameron (he's using the newest RED cameras to shoot his Avatar sequels).  

You can explore the huge list of movies shot on RED on their official site.  

Sample test shot

Still from the test footage in 2.40:1 widescreen, shot on the RED Epic Digital Cinema camera -- © Ginosaji Pictures
Still from the test footage in 2.40:1 widescreen, shot on the RED Epic Digital Cinema camera -- © Ginosaji Pictures

REDCINE-X test

Once we get the shot, that's only the beginning of the creative post-production process... the first step is loading the shots into REDCINE-X PRO, software designed to adjust and transcode the footage.

The main control panel in Redcine-X Pro -  © Ginosaji Pictures
The main control panel in Redcine-X Pro - © Ginosaji Pictures

When shooting in Ultra HD, it is possible to vary the look tremendously in post-production by altering many parameters -- in addition to color balance, exposure, etc. you can change a lot by adjusting the sharpness (the resolution is so high that you can see every pore of a person's skin, if desired.  Great for adding intensity!) 

extreme closeup with different color balance - © Ginosaji Pictures
extreme closeup with different color balance - © Ginosaji Pictures

What We Learned

Shooting in this format often creates a more shallow focus -- and I love the way the Ginosaji appears in soft focus, creeping up behind Jack (as seen above) -- very phantasmagorical!  It's an effect we'll likely utilize in the movie.

Also, unlike the many projects we've shot in the 16:9 format, shooting in widescreen requires a different way of thinking about composition -- foreground, mid, and background objects and elements must be arranged differently to fit the widescreen format.  It requires specific blocking (positioning of the actors and camera) for each scene.

Behind the Spoons

Preparing to shoot, Ginosaji Stand-In Chris Vick puts on the mask in the background. (A rare sighting of a Ginosaji's bald head!) -  © Ginosaji Pictures
Preparing to shoot, Ginosaji Stand-In Chris Vick puts on the mask in the background. (A rare sighting of a Ginosaji's bald head!) - © Ginosaji Pictures

The Ginosaji's Stand-In

For the purposes of our tests, Chris Vick acts as the Ginosaji's Stand-In, with the help of the realistic mask created by Larry Torro -  © Ginosaji Pictures
For the purposes of our tests, Chris Vick acts as the Ginosaji's Stand-In, with the help of the realistic mask created by Larry Torro - © Ginosaji Pictures

The Ginosaji mask will only be used for stand-in purposes -- Brian Rohan will be in full make-up for the film.

Interiors and Exteriors 

We needed to test how several different types of lighting will affect Paul's appearance and the camera's results -- outdoors in direct sunlight and in the shade, and indoors in brighter, more even diffuse lighting, and in darker nighttime settings.

Richard Gale shooting an Interior test with Paul Clemens -  © Ginosaji Pictures
Richard Gale shooting an Interior test with Paul Clemens - © Ginosaji Pictures

High Dynamic Range Cinematography Test #1

We also conducted our first rough "extreme" camera test to try out an interesting capability of the RED Epic -- shooting in HDR-X mode, or High Dynamic Range, which enables the camera to capture up to three to six stops of additional exposure range, so it can capture very bright highlights and dark shadows in the same frame.

A-Track: background overexposed

Background overexposed - © Ginosaji Pictures
Background overexposed - © Ginosaji Pictures

Lighting Difficulty Setting: Nightmare

For this test, we filmed under the worst possible lighting conditions: Paul's in dark shade, while the white building behind him is lit by direct sunlight. Normally, a shot like this would be nearly impossible to get. Either Paul would be lost in shadow (as in the image below), or the building behind him would be overexposed (as seen above), with details lost in the bright wall.

X-Track: 3-stops darker

Foreground underexposed - © Ginosaji Pictures
Foreground underexposed - © Ginosaji Pictures

Shooting Two Video Tracks at the Same Time -- with One Camera! 

When shooting HDR, the camera simultaneously captures a second "X" track, exposed at three stops darker than the first track (in photography, this is called exposure bracketing).

In post production, we then combine the two tracks using HDR software, which blends the properly exposed parts of each track...

Both Tracks Combined to Create HDR Image  

Our first test HDR composite image - © Ginosaji Pictures
Our first test HDR composite image - © Ginosaji Pictures

This was our very first rough experiment with HDR, but it was a nice result: we were able to create a useable image from super difficult conditions.  As we refine the process, this should open up opportunities to shoot in available light and capture some scenes that would not have been possible previously.  

We were happy with the results of these tests, and plan to do several more in various locations and conditions to better prepare for the shoot.

Meanwhile... In Taiwan

Cosplayer Iris Chang at Comic World Taiwan 2018
Cosplayer Iris Chang at Comic World Taiwan 2018
Cosplayer Iris Chang at Comic World Taiwan 2018
Cosplayer Iris Chang at Comic World Taiwan 2018

More to come... Stay Spooned!

-Richard---o

Anamorphic Widescreen Camera Tests
over 2 years ago – Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 12:03:55 AM

All photos © 2018 Ginosaji Pictures
All photos © 2018 Ginosaji Pictures

 

Hello Friends of the Spoon!

We're planning to shoot GINOSAJI using a RED Epic Digital Cinema camera, in 5K Ultra HD resolution.  We'll learn more about this amazing camera later, and today we'll take an in-depth look at an important (and cool!) aspect of the visual style planned for GINOSAJI.

Anamorphic = Epic

In order to give the GINOSAJI movie a truly epic look, the plan is to create an authentic widescreen anamorphic look (originally known as CinemaScope).  Many of my all-time favorite movies (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Apocalypse Now, Alien) used anamorphic lenses which squeezed the picture horizontally and then unsqueezed it in post or when projected in the theater.  This method of widescreen cinematography results in a very specific look...

Spoon-Shaped Bokeh

Notice the bokeh (I pronounce it BOH-kə, others say BOH-kay) -- Bokeh is the quality of the out-of-focus background -- notice below how the lights in the background blur into spoon-shaped ovals...

...this effect is unique to the anamorphic format.  When objects go out of focus, they stretch vertically, while all objects in focus appear normal.

SPHERICAL: Below is a shot of a tripod taken with a standard (spherical) lens, cropped to match a widescreen format... notice the round or octagonal-shaped lights.  Pretty ordinary looking:

 

ANAMORPHIC: The image below was shot with an anamorphic lens setup -- notice the spoon-shaped bokeh, and the pointed blur / vertical stretch on the little Ginosaji automaton in the background just to the left of the tripod head:

It gives the image a cool, badass quality in the same visual tradition as some of my favorite films.  It's more obvious when seen in motion -- When a rack focus occurs in an anamorphic movie, you can see objects expand and contract vertically as they move in and out of focus.  

 

Night Exterior Anamorphic Test

Here are some anamorphic shots from a recent night test shoot near the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles...

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Exterior Anamorphic Test

In these Daytime outdoor test shots, filmed on Tuesday in Los Angeles, you can see the vertical stretch in the out-of-focus backgrounds...

 

 

Shallow depth-of-field is another common trait of anamorphic cinema.  Video cameras in bright daylight usually display almost everything in sharp focus, especially in wide angle shots.  Shooting anamorphic cinema, it is common to see a narrower plane of focus, which is used to direct the viewer's attention to a specific part of the frame.  

 

 

 

We're excited with the results of these tests... and there's a lot more to come!  

All photos © 2018 Ginosaji Pictures
All photos © 2018 Ginosaji Pictures

 

Stay Spooned,

-Richard---o

  

Happy Holidays! -- EPIC things ahead in 2018
over 2 years ago – Sat, Dec 23, 2017 at 11:33:00 PM

Hello Friends of the Spoon!

Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukkah and Happy New Year!  

2018 is going to be an exciting year for everyone involved with GINOSAJI!

SCHEDULE UPDATE: EPIC THINGS AHEAD IN 2018

Big news is coming about the increased size and scope of the production*, but we can't go into detail until everything is finalized.  Additional resources are being put together to make it happen, but as can be expected these things take time.

As stated before, the production has developed and grown much larger and more ambitious (and a lot BETTER) than when the campaign began, and that's a very good thing!   GINOSAJI was always meant to be epic -- it's an essential part of what makes this project special.

The production has been pushed into 2018 to allow more time to put things together.  We would rather take longer and make a higher quality production than compromise on quality.  You will be glad we did!

*WILL IT HAVE A RUNNING TIME OF "OVER NINE HOURS?" 

No, this will not be a nine hour-plus movie (as stated as a joke in the original faux trailer/short film), but we are aiming at something larger than standard feature length...  details to come.

REWARDS

The delivery of the GINOSAJI movie scripts, soundtracks, special edition blurays, movie downloads and signed posters has also been pushed until the movie is released.

THANK YOU!

We thank you for your patience as we continue to put things together... once you hear the details about the scope of this project, you will understand why things are taking more time than originally expected!

Have a great Holiday and an amazing new year!  More to come!

-Richard---o