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"The Last 3 Minutes" Canon 5D 24p Firmware Shines

When the rumors about the 24p update for the Canon 5D were swirling, I was perfectly happy with my cocktail that I had perfected on the Navy SEAL film; 30p and then Twixtor to frame blend. Then, commercial production companies and the ad agencies started to inquire about needing 24p because they could not deal with the rendering time of all the Twixtor files, the 7D started to rise as the premium capture.  That is when the aha moment happened for me.  I wondered, why is everyone asking for second best when the Canon 5D is king?  At that point,  I knew I had to be a proponent of the 24p upgrade and to shoot something with it that would bring people back into focus about the camera that started it all.

So Lydia Hurlbut negotiated with Canon to sponsor a visual short produced by Hurlbut Visuals and Bandito Brothers Productions that showcased the 24p firmware update in the 5D to remind everyone of the power of this amazing tool.  A tool that can inspire out of the box thinking.  I wanted to feature the Canon glass to show what I had learned over the last 13 months shooting one feature, 12 commercials, and 20 short films with this platform.

Director: Po Chan

“The day when Shane asked me to come up with “The Last 3 Minutes” treatment I was so excited. I knew that I did not have to limit my vision and could go wild because of what this camera can do.  I wanted to write a story which would enable us to showcase different kinds of lighting scenarios and extreme camera angles that will touch audiences hearts. Visuals without a story have no meaning. My own little philosophy about life is that life is like a BIG CIRCLE. We are all born INNOCENT. No matter how many wrong doings or right things we have done, at the last minutes before death we will again become innocent. This is the big circle of life and it is the inspiration behind “The Last 3 Minutes.” The main element in this film is the CRYSTAL that William carries with him, which represents the theme of INNOCENCE and William’s own conscience. A crystal refracts light, so when William looks inside it each refraction becomes a different memory in the course of his life. It is analogous to peeling back layers of an onion with the center layer being just at the moments before death. All of the elements in this film: casting, music, wardrobe style and color, make up (the lipstick color on the actress), hairstyle and color, set dress pieces and the texture of those pieces to the look of the crystal. Everything was carefully planned and considered to make sure every element worked in concert with the story, together in harmony.” For further questions about the concept please email Po at pchan731@yahoo.com.

Canon 5D First Person Perspective

Cinematographer and Executive Producer: Shane Hurlbut, ASC

“I asked Po to write this short and she delivered a phenomenally creative concept within a day. Po not only wrote a heartfelt story but a piece that took advantage of every unique possibility with the Canon 5D technology, especially because of her ideas with using a first person experience. A huge thank-you to Po for her tireless vision and leadership.

When Po and I discussed her creative concept, I believed that the Canon L series glass would be the perfect lens choice because of the close-focus ability and creamy quality.  The Canon glass shined on this project and I was so impressed with the 35, 50, 85, 100mm Macro L Series lenses.  Their contrast range and color knocked me out.

The main character in the short is William Turner, a janitor who’s life seems mundane and uninteresting on the surface but as it unfolds there are many layers. We shot his boring existence in the present day at 24p utilizing the new firmware.  The story then goes on a journey of William’s life over a time period of 67 years which we shot 30p and pulled it in at 24fps so that it would have a slightly dreamy feel. The creamy Canon glass delivered the period look that we were going for as we went back in time beginning in the 1980’s and moving backward to end in the 1940’s.

On the tech front, Doggicam came forth with an amazing new 5D helmet cam that put the 5D very close to the right eye and moved gracefully down the 3rd base line as well as crawling through the high grass in the Vietnam sequence. It uses Doggicam’s patented 5/8″ rod technology to put the camera wherever you would like.  It is extremely lightweight and stable.

HV Elite Team member Bodie Orman wearing the Doggiecam Helmet

Our shoot encompassed 17 different location over 4 1/2 days.  The project was a labor of love from the Hurlbut Visuals Elite Team Members and all the production staff from Bandito Brothers.  This would never have been possible without their time, expertise, willingness to donate gear and take on whatever roles the project demanded. Jacob Rosenberg and his post production Elite Team from Bandito Brothers knocked it out of the park!!  For specific post questions, please email Jacob at jacob@banditobrothers.com. A big thank you to Andrew Huebscher (andrew.huebscher@gmail.com) for his amazing color correction and Brett Novak for his beautiful crystal transitions. The biggest thank you goes to my wife and collaborator. She was the glue that held this little short together with countless hours on the phone connecting people, arranging the deal, coordinating the finances, working with the parents to schedule all of the children and watching over the kids on the set which was a daunting task.”

Director Po Chan and Shane with HV Elite Team Members in action

Carmela McCoy (Costume designer and Makeup) on right and Hether Breckrest (Makeup) on left

HV Elite Team Member Rudy Harbon and Shane viewing a shot

Producer: Greg Haggart

“My team and I knew that we had the task of making this project go off without a hitch. Our job is to anticipate potential problems so we can avoid them to stay on time and within the budget. I location scouted with Po and asked many favors from equipment vendors and the special effects team members from “Act of Valor.”  I believe that the Canon 5D encourages the essence of what film making is all about. Everyone giving it their all; whatever needs to be done for the love of the project with the end result of putting the highest quality image possible up on the screen.”  For further questions about production, please email Greg at greghaggart@mac.com

Vietnam scene with HV Elite Team Members Darin Necessary and Bodie Orman

Editor: Vashi Nedomansky

“Po asked me cut “The Last 3 Minutes” and then brought me super-detailed storyboards and the script that proceeded to act out every shot, angle and transition.  What I realized right away was this was to be no ordinary short film.  Once I received the footage, I had confirmation.  As an editor, I have seen the best and worst shot footage from every camera.  What Shane can do with the 5D mkii will make your jaw drop.  The images are so organic and pleasing that we spent most of the time looking at the reference monitors in disbelief.  The edit was a smooth one and with so many choices for each scene, I let the visuals do all the work.  I did hide a couple zero-cuts in the edit to blend two takes together but otherwise I tried to stay out of the story’s way.  It’s amazing how a cinematic image can instill more emotion into a scene.  That, along with the shallow depth of field, really gives you more tools to tell your stories in the most visually interesting way.” For further questions about editing, please email Vashi at vashikoo@yahoo.com.

Behind the Scenes of “The Last 3 Minutes”

Stay tuned for a sizzle reel of the Behind The Scenes video of “The Last 3 Minutes” directed and edited by Elite Team Member Tim Holtermann.  In the Behind The Scenes footage, we break down how different scenes were done and discuss how a particular scene was blocked, different camera angle choices and unique lighting set ups.  It will be released on the Canon’s Digital Learning Center usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=3409 as well as the Hurlbut Visuals website and the HurlBlog.

Author: Shane

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  1. Hi Shane love it simple story and beautifully executed.

    One question, how did you go about the in camera picture style?

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    • Bo Bilstrup, that picture style was one that I had finessed through the picture style editor, to get the most out of the image for color correction purposes. What I found was that in the color correction, I hardly did anything with the color it was mainly contrast control. Getting to my point you have to get it very close when you are shooting. Take the time to finesse your lighting, it make all the difference in the world.

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  2. Hi Shane,

    Really beautiful work, thank you. Coming from the Nikon side of the fence, it kind of has me wondering if I took the right bus! ;o)

    As for the music; I find it really haunting and frustrating that I can’t find it on iTunes, or elsewhere, for that matter. Do you know if Tim will be releasing it at any time?

    I can’t wait to see more of your work with these fascinating cameras.

    Post a Reply
    • Mike Le Gray, thank you so much for your kind words, yes I think Nikon’s hestitation to jump into the digital world was 2 years too late, they have been looking at Canon’s behind ever since unfortunately. Here is Tim Godwin’s music links:
      More work is coming, the behind the scenes went live today and more will follow.

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  3. Hi Shane,

    Thank you for the one-on-one time at the NAB with your advice on using the Canons. Congratulations on pulling huge crowds with your talk at Canon’s booth. “The Last 3 Minutes” looked great there, it’s a very powerful short and it was nice to see it on a good sized monitor. The clips from “3 Minutes” over in the Canon HD Theater on the big screen there were breathtaking.

    Hal from Edmond, OK (The short bearded older guy in the dark suit).

    Post a Reply
    • Hal Smith, it was so great to meet you also. Thank you so much for your kind words and I was so happy with the turn out and the questions to follow. I am also very happy with what we were able to accomplish. Po Chan wrote and directed an amazing piece and the Elite Team and Bandito Bros. production staff rocked it out. Check out the behind the scenes video it is up and ready to go.

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  4. Nice work as always. Also congrats on the Directing gig with Bandito Brothers, I read about it in Shoot Magazine. I hope this new venture works out for you.
    Is it possible to see some posts that go more into detail on your lighting approaches/techniques?

    All the best,


    Post a Reply
    • Shaun, Thank you so much for your kind words and I am looking forward to my new roost at Bandito. I have some more behind the scenes episodes where I will be going into more depth with voice over to what I am up to lighting wise. So yes they are coming. Stay tuned.

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  5. Hey Shane, do you find that 30fps converted through twixtor to 24p, on the 5D MK ii, gave less rolling shutter than the new 24p?


    Post a Reply
    • Leo, yes I do, because I had a more rolling shutter issues on “The Last 3 MInutes” than I had on the whole movie, which was the equivalent of 1.5 million feet of film.

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  6. shane,
    i shot with both the 5d and the 7 at 30fps and found that when objects moved parallel with the
    lens, like a car going across screen, it would have some jagged pixels on the tail of the car as it moved across screen.
    Also when we shot out a car window with scenery going by there was a lack of focus, very soft.
    Both time images were moving parallel with image plae. Have run into this or any issues with motion?

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  7. I thank you very much sir. The “The Last 3 Minutes” made me understand more my midlife 30 crisis. For some reason, I know what I have to do the rest of my life. and it all thanks to you… God bless you!

    Post a Reply
    • German, when my wife negotiated the deal with Canon I brought this to this very talented director Po Chan and asked her to write a short that would showcase the power of the Canon 5D, she wrote that in one day. When I got the treatment I said OMG, this is it. Po felt that this would strike a nerve with the viewer and I think she has been right on the money. I am glad you enjoyed it. If you want to email her and tell her your thoughts I know she would appreciate it. pchan731@yahoo.com

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  8. Hey Shane, if you had to choose from a 30p to 42p conversion via twixtor vs the native 24p which one would you go for?

    I heard that the frame blending looked artificial in twixtor and thus needs a lot of time spent altering the image to get it looking good. I don’t know whether sorting out rolling shutter takes as long as sorting out the twixtor conversion? If it does then I guess the 24p wins?


    Post a Reply
    • Leo, Having testing the new 24p firmware, I would say that the pros in shooting native 24p out way the cons of shooting 30p and then Twixtoring it. There is a ton of management that goes with altering the footage and finding the right cocktail in Twixtor. Go for 24P. You are welcome.

      Post a Reply
  9. 3 minutes of total emotion involvement-wonderful and better than a lot of 2 hr length films !!!!
    I arrived here via a link on a Flickr photo group and I’m very glad I did
    Thank You

    Post a Reply
    • Carole, well I thank you for those kind words, I will pass those on to the director Po Chan, she will love to hear that. I am glad you landed here too. Welcome!!

      Post a Reply
  10. Shane im from Turkey and i love all of your works.especially Crazy/Beautiful watched more than 5 times.i know its out of subject in here but i would like to ask which camera and stock did you use on crazy/beautiful

    Post a Reply
    • Kemalettin Sert, Thank you so much, I am glad you like Crazy/Beautiful, I loved shooting that film. I shot that on Panavision cameras with Primo lenses on 5277 Kodak fimstock, which they do not make any more. But it was rated at 320 ISO and I rated it at 80 ISO to get that look.

      Post a Reply
  11. Thanks Shane for the very quick reply !!!
    now im going to watch it again ;) Exterior night shots simply outstanding..Thanks for your effort ! i have t2i and trying to learn something from you.Keep it up Mr Hurlbut
    i admire you

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  12. sorry forgot ask which 8mm camera did you use on opening?

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  13. Very nice work! Has this been released anywhere in its full resolution? I’d love to have something like this on hand to show friends just what my camera can do. Don’t get me wrong it looks great on vimeo but I think it would look even better on my HD TV at 1080P ;)

    Any info would be great.

    The paradigm shift has begun eh? ;)

    Post a Reply
    • James, Thank you so much. This week has been very busy and I just projected “The Last 3 Minutes” at Mann’s Chinese on a 60′ screen and there were only jaws on the floor. They could not believe it. Yes the paradigm has shifted.

      Post a Reply
  14. This is wow!! I am thinking to switch Nikon to Canon now….

    BTW, what was the title of the b/g music?

    Post a Reply
    • Ken, thank you for your kind words and support. The music was Across the Wide Missouri.

      Post a Reply
  15. wow, the film was excellent,the imagery first class,i have been using cannon now for 5 years and it is without doubt the best camera and imaging device there is, keep up the great work

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  16. This was an excellent short film. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was amazed watching such beastly cinematography. I am happy that I saw it.

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  17. This short film was by far one of the most creative films I have seen. Such amazing depth and imagination along with real life moments. I am truly touched and amazed at your work. Inspiring!

    Post a Reply
    • Serg, thank you so much for your kind words and support. Po Chan is am amazing writer/director. I just helped bring her amazing story to life. I have worked with many directors in my years as a cinematographer but none delivered the vision and emotion as well as she did. It was a pleasure working along side of her.

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  18. Hello Shane

    First, thank you very much for this website and blog where you share your knowledge and experience with filmakers all around the world.
    The last 3 minutes is amazing film. The emoitional impact, story, visuals, everything is just beautiful. congratulations to all the artists involved in making this film.
    I am director and i was thinking to shot my next feature film on Canon 5D M2 and after seeing “the last 3 days” i am not thinking anymore but i am sure. Now my remaining question is, how does color graded 5D M2 film looks when you do a transfer to 35mm film and do a projection in cinema. What is your knowledge or experience in this area. I have none thats why ia am asking.

    Thank you for all inspiration :)

    Have a nice time and keep up with great work

    Post a Reply
    • Dejan, I have projected Last 3 Minutes on a 60′ Screen at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I did a 2K digital cinema as well as a 35mm film out. Both looked incredible. The studio execs had their jaws on the floor. This was going through Adobe CS5 and then converting those files to DPX files for the Davinci Resolve. Thank you so much for your kind words about L3M. Po Chan the director knocked it out of the park on this one. She has the Last 5 Minutes ready to go but we have no funding for it. Looking for the funding for the next chapter.

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      • Shane, thank you very much for the quick answer on this issue. You really made my day very happy, cause now i know exactly how to proceed.
        I wish you and Po get the funding for Last 5 minutes as soon as possible, so we all can enjoy another great emotional film.

        Post a Reply
        • Dejan, Thank you so much. We will be finding a way.

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  19. Great story concept, great Cinematography regardless of which platform, but at this stage it’s still remarkable that it was shot on the 5D M2, and those point of view shots are otherwise tough to get, if at all possible without as much effort to shoot so many POV shots. Watching the making of the film for example, with the man tossing the camera in the air, simulating tossing the baby, I cant imagine tossing a Red or an Arri Flex.

    Post a Reply
    • Avi B. Romanovich, that is exactly right. The DLSR’s get you thinking out of the box. You start to move camera in ways we never thought possible.

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  20. Hi Shane,

    I recently had a chance to watch The Last 3 Minutes and it was wonderful! The story and emotions you and the rest of the team were able to capture in that short amount of time is amazing (checked out the “Making of” too). I have a 40D but after seeing this I want to upgrad to the 5D and try shooting video. Thanks so much to you and your team for the inspiration!

    Post a Reply
    • Mark Webb, Thank you so much for those kind words and I will pass your wonderful words onto Po Chan the writer/director of the piece. Canon came to me to shoot a short film to showcase the new 24p firmware update on the Canon 5D and I went to my close friend Po and asked her to write a story that would show the power of this HDSLR platform. 24 hours later she came back to us with “The Last 3 Minutes.” Blew are minds. You are very welcome.

      Post a Reply
  21. Your work is inspiring. No doubt you’re surrounded by a great team that really understands your vision and purpose in every project. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience. You’re my new hero, I want to shoot like you shoot!_

    Post a Reply
    • Dante Lara, WOW, these are the comments that inspire me. Thank you so much and welcome to the HURLBLOG.

      Post a Reply
  22. Hi Shane. Fantastic job showcasing the quality of the HDSLR camera. I have had my T2i for about 7 months now and the more I learn, the more I realize I haven’t even scratched the surface. I was once a communications major about 15 years ago and for some crazy reason I dropped out. I thought I would never get a chance to get back behind a camera or edit footage again until this swing to digital came about. Thank you so much for all you have shared with us. It might just make this veteran paramedic one day have a film career!

    Post a Reply
  23. Hi Shane,

    Amazing work… mind blowing for a total new concept on film shooting!
    I’m a cinematographer (AIC) myself… gonna start a new project with 5D ! He’s definitly your fault!
    Just wondering what it is the right workflow to go for Hd tv as final media?


    Post a Reply
  24. Hi Shane , Great work from you & Po . I am a director from India, I am force to shot in 5D &7D ,it bothers me lot but it is encouraging me after seeing your work. I have lot of chasing shots in nights(outdoor),Pl advice me how it looks and how we can avoid shakiness of the camera , Because i didn’t find any proper rigging for 5D camera .And generally how it looks in Day outdoors in sunny country like India .Pl tell right tool for final Color correction to go on film stoke. Thanks & Regards

    Post a Reply
    • Krish, the camera holds up incredibly well. You need to make the camera heavy. Mine is about 8 to 10lbs. That will take the shake out. Day exteriors look amazing. Don’t be scared. You need some good Tiffen WW ND’s to give you the shallow DOF. Never shoot over a1/50 of a second on your shutter.

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  25. Thanks for putting out a great short film. I am an actor but have recently directed and filmed my first short using a 5D. It is an amazing camera and can’t wait to work with one again, on both sides of the camera! I’ll definitely be checking back to your blog for for information and hints. Also, maybe one day our paths will cross and I’ll get a chance to work with you or a project!

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  26. Hi Shane, I’m a DOP from india, very soon going to shoot a movie in Canon 5D. saw ur short film ” The Last 3 Minutes”. it will be great help if you could give some tips on camera setting that you used in your film because i really loved the look of “The Last 3 Minutes”. looking forward to your reply.

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