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?
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?
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!
My name is Mike McCarthy, and as the production engineer for Act of Valor, I worked with Shane and...
Shooting in Puerto Rico has tested the Canon 5D Mark II with intense humidity and rain. Yet, every...
Understanding the characteristics of the microphones you own, and therefore knowing their strengths and limitations, is invaluable information used...
When Shane told me he wanted to shoot behind the scenes footage of “The Last 3 Minutes” I was...
As the pressure from commercial production companies and the ad agencies started to inquire about needing 24p and that...
I am on the road again directing for Bandito Brothers www.banditobrothers.com/ and loving it. As a filmmaker, I...
When Canon and Hurlbut Visuals teamed up on this joint venture, we wanted to put together a trilogy of...
When Scotty Waugh and Mike “Mouse” McCoy, the incredible directing team at Bandito Brothers, asked me to shoot Act...