CLICK HERE to watch “Burial Site”.
I have finally started to use my new Canon 5DmkII Digital SLR camera. This is my first DSLR and the only reason I bought it was because of the 1080 30p recording option. This camera works incredibly well in low light and I can attach fast prime lenses to the front to archive amazing shallow depth of field. Plus, it is very small and easy to move around!
I called my friend, Adam Gotsens, and asked him if he wanted to act in a film that I had though up the night before. I had worked with Adam in the past (on “The Warehouse”) and he was a student film maker and actor from a local college near Boston. I though he would be perfect for the role that I had come up with.
The idea for the film was to have an old married couple sitting at a dinning room table slurping soup. It would be present day and the husband would be asked to explain a difficult time in his past.
The film would then use the “LOST” rumble flashback sound to get us back into the 1960s. The location was the old decrepit home where the husband had grown up. We learn that there was a accident and now the farm house was empty, and the man never wanted to return. But he did several years later, for some reason. And the house was a disaster, left exposed to nature and void of human life.
The young man enters the house with a pick and sparks an oil lamp. He moves to a mound of dirt where he places a hand and we get the feeling that something must be buried there.
He then moves upstairs into the paint-peeling walls of the decaying house. He enters a dark room and finds a picture of his mother. A supernatural event occurs, and then angers the young man.
He runs back down into the basement and begins to dig frantically in the soft dirt cellar floor. His pick finally hits something metal and he stops abruptly. The man drops to his knees and digs with his hands until he finds an old tin. He removes the tin from the cold earth, but does not open the container.
We then flashback to present day, back at the dining room table where only the older wife sits alone with her nearly empty soup bowl. The husband arrives with the very same tin and places it on the table. He slides the tin to his wife and she opens the busted up metal container to find her answers.
This film was fun to shoot. Adam and I were the only two people at the old farm house. We used nothing other than the camera, dolly, h4, and tripod to make this film. We shot it all in six hours with no electricity. We did not even stop to eat (or even drink!).
I used only two lenses for the entire short film: the Nikon 55mm f1.2 and a Canon EF 24mm f2.8. I had to use an EOS to Nikon adapter to make the old manual 55mm to work with the 5DmkII.
I was simply amazed by this Digital SLR. I wish I had bough it when it first came out! The low light capabilities are unlike anything I have ever seen in ANY camera I have ever used. I have used television cameras that cost over $300,000.00 with the lens and my mind was blown by this little $2700.00 camera. Even with the ISO up to 6400, there was very little noise in the blacks. In fact, when using the Nikon f1.2, the 5DmkII seemed to “make light” somehow. Not really sure what was happening, I just though it was a spirit in the house helping me out!
The photo above shows how we got the match to strike and spark when Adam first enters the basement. We had a lot of trouble with the matches and the oil lamps because the air was so think with moisture.
Audio was a very important part of this film for me since I had no plans to use any music. All sounds would be recorded on site and used to make the eerie atmosphere. I used the Zoom h4 stereo sound recorder and captured noises like footsteps, the moth and water dripping with the built in stereo microphone pair. I love this recorder and I plan on buying the newer model, the Zoom h4n in the near future.
I love Vinten tripods and I use them almost everyday to make a living in sports television. I was concerned that the light weight of the Canon 5DmkII camera would not bode well for the Vision 3 tripod head. I purchased the smallest spring (#1) and installed it for use with the DSLR. The small light-weight spring was perfect and I was able to get the balance dialed in for controlled pans and tilts.
I also got to use my Vinten baby legs with the Vision 3 pan head. Baby legs are just really short tripod legs. By using baby legs, you can get the camera just about a foot off the ground or dolly and still have the perfect fluid panning and tilting thanks to the Vinten Vision 3 pan head.
I want to thank Matt Johnson (and his family) for the old farm house shooting location. Also, I must thank Chris Nicini and Joe Francazio for listening to my crazy story ideas and offering some ideas of their own to help make this film happen.
Finally, I must thank for parents, for allowing me to enter their house with camera equipment (very little camera equipment!) and shoot the beginning and end of this film. Yes, they were the older married couple! And as you can tell, if you have seen the film, I have no problem asking them to help market my website! The film title, “Burial Site” has a double meaning you know…
Still have not seen this film? CLICK HERE to watch “Burial Site”.
I have added more pictures from behind the scenes of “Burial Site”. You can find them by clicking here.