We’ve had a ton of questions via Twitter, Facebook and the hurlblog about shooting Act of Valor, so I thought I would share them in a Q&A format. Thanks so much to everyone for your support and kind words about the film!
Q: How much of the film was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II?
A: 70% 5D, 20% film, and 5% F950 for aerials.
Q: How much of the film was lit with natural lighting?
A: 60% natural light.
Q: How did you light that scene at night when they are in the jungle/forest on their first mission?
A: One 12 lite Maxi brute on 80′ condor. One mini nine light with FCX globes bouncing into 12x ultra bounce.
Q: What picture style was used on Act of Valor?
Q: Was that you holding the gun with the camera mounted to you at times?
A: No, that was one of the SEALs.
Q: How in the world did you get the scenes in the dark without noise?
A: Dark Energy by Cinnafilm is a tool that strips all 5D compression off of footage and then layers 35mm grain.
Q: Did they let you fire a weapon?
Q: Did you jump with the SEALs?
Q: What lens did you use for the helmet mounted shots?
A: 18mm Zeiss ZF with a Fotodiox adapter.
Q: What camera did you use for the HALO jumps?
A: Canon 5D
Q: In Act of Valor, was the out of focus shots during dialog scenes intentional or a result of the 5D’s shallow depth of field?
A: This was intentional. I wanted to use the shallow DOF to illustrate Christo’s world closing in on him.
Q: Was the live fire just for that scene with the mini gun?
A: No, we did live fire on San Clemente Island as well. 50 cals in H860 helo’s and on the ground.
Q: Is the visual quality difference between full-frame sensors and APS-C sensors noticeable on the big screen?
A: Full-frame looks best, but APS-C holds up well if you use good lenses. Check out this post for more info: http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/02/06/still-lenses/
Q: The new 5D announcement is days after Act of Valor drops. Did you have access to new body?
A: No. Just great Canon marketing.
Q: The CU on Keith Urban in the music video – that was the Alexa, right?
A: Yes, the CU was Alexa. The CU shots of the drummer were C300. We also used 5D and 7D.
Q: Any chance of a solid BTS on the Blu-ray down the line?
A: Yes, there will be tons.
Q: How was the sound synced, since there were multiple cameras?
A: We used the 5D mics as a scratch to sync with our double system sound.
Q: Panavision is hyping the 435 and Primo’s on Act of Valor. I thought just the funeral scene was film. Is the movie 50% DSLR, 50% film?
A: Only 8 shots were film in the funeral. 70% 5D, 20% film. Primo primes on both platforms.
Q: Did you ever get to reuse any of the 5Ds shooting Act of Valor, or were they all obliterated?
A: We only lost 6.
Q: Was Act of Valor pretty fun to make?
A: Difficult but an amazing life experience. I always have fun.
Q: When is Act of Valor opening internationally?
A: Here are the dates we have so far:
Canada – February 24
Singapore – March 1
Kuwait – March 1
Italy – March 16
Ireland – March 23
UK – March 23
Spain – April 27
Australia – May 3
Netherlands – May 10
Q: Are there any books you suggest for students of cinematography?
A: Writing with Light by Vittorio Storaro, Painting with Light by John Alton, and Cinematography by Blain Brown.
Q: Are there going to be any more BootCamps?
A: Another boot camp is in the works for later this year. Keep checking the hurlblog for updates.
Q: Are you going to be at NAB?
A: Yes, we will.
Thanks again everyone!