Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cloverfield Article on Variety

Variety has an new article about Cloverfield (and some other movie).

Her summary is a little off:
The initial scenes set up the premise: The camera's hunky owner Rob is in love with a beauty named Beth. He doesn't want to shoot a testimonial video at his brother's going-away party, so he passes the camera to a guy named Hud, who keeps shooting through the long night as New York is attacked by something gonzo, loud and very scary. "I saw it, it's alive!" cries one onlooker.

However, there is some great new information about how the film was made:
The filmmakers coaxed Paramount into letting them use no-name actors who could improvise, low-key natural night light, herky-jerky HandyCams (as opposed to SteadiCams, which can be artificially jerked around later; "People would smell that in a second," says Reeves), and no musical score at all -- just source music and well-orchestrated ambient sound.

Somehow, with smart advice from "Zodiac" director David Fincher, the filmmakers persuaded the studio to let them blow up digital footage to 35mm; early tests came out looking almost "too good," says Reeves. (The digital "Cloverfield" will screen in a few hundred situations.)

"Cloverfield" thesp T. J. Miller's handling of a lightweight Panasonic HD HandyCam accounts for about an eighth of the final film.

"The little camera establishes a feel -- its grace notes; you see the reflections of the actor holding the camera," says Reeves, who reserved the minicam for intimate scenes among the actors. He kept tweaking those scenes, shooting as many as 60 takes.

The film starts out with the Panasonic, then moves into transitional sequences shot with a 3-lb. Canon for about a third of the film.

For the widescreen scenes with visual effects, which require higher resolution, a cameraman dressed like Hud sports the much-heavier hi-res Sony F23 or Thomson Viper."The cameraman was creating the illusion that huge cameras are very light," says Reeves. "It was grueling. People fell."

The filmmakers seamlessly melded all the shots, including continuous masters with massive effects added by VFX houses and stop-motion master Phil Tippet. One five-minute shot incorporates 20 VFX elements.

"People think you use the 'Blair Witch' aesthetic to avoid seeing things," says Reeves. "I didn't want to have all that anticipation and not reveal him. The fun thing is you do see everything over the course of the movie in several different ways, but it's filmed heavily from one point-of-view. You move quickly. By the end you have intimate contact."
* Thanks to dalphx from Unfiction for finding this!


  1. Dennis man you got the best blog overall better then any website or anything.

  2. Intimate contact!!! Whoa! What are they talking about Rob's brother's going away party? Interesting!!! Can't wait!

  3. "Cloverfield" thesp T. J. Miller's handling of a lightweight Panasonic HD HandyCam accounts for about an eighth of the final film.

    What the hell does that mean?
    That not all of the film is shot handheld camera style? Or they used lots and lots of handheld cameras?

    Very interesting indeed....

  4. i'm not one thats good with words but

    in response to dan

    i think that means that only 1/8 of the film is filmed by the actual actor with one of those small handheld cameras most people thing of as personal.
    the other 7/8 is filmed by a professional that is dressed like the actor and is using a real, HD film camera which is needed for the special effects (which require fairly high resolution)

    iono if thats right, but i like to hope that the whole movie is in handheld camera STYLE (style, not literally. some cams dun film that great in reality)

  5. btw, if you have a facebook, be sure to put yourself down as attending the cloverfield movie weekend that was made by the cloverfield fan creator

  6. i wonder if the difference will be noticable.
    Thats the worst article about cloverfield ive read so far.
    O, and on my msn homepage, Cloverfield is the number 1 popular search.
    Very nice.

  7. Dennis where did you find this?

    monkey outrage is right it does say Rob's brother or they just arent that good with words..

  8. I was happy while reading this article until I hit the comments, where I went into "Oh, no" mode. I hope people don't start thinking, "Is it really Jason's party?!" "So it's not all handheld?!" and so on.

    The entire film is handheld, Matt confirmed that. T.J. Miller only films an eighth of the final film. That means the actor is holding the camcorder for that amount of time while filming. And after that, a professional takes his place and films the rest but with the same (or heavier for the specific widescreen action shots) handheld.

    The woman just made a mistake with the storyline and assumed it was Jason's party. No big. It's obviously Rob's, we've known that from day 1.

    I'm very happy that film is absent of a musical score, and I love that they plan on using only source music, and especially 'orchestrated ambient sound', made me all the more happy.

    Great, great article. Can't wait for the 18th!

  9. O NO NEVER Gab we will never say that its Jason's party we will just say Variey sucks.

  10. i mean i would assume the same thing being that im pretty sure it says rob on the banner...but you never know? hahaha

  11. it cant be for jason the girl goes who is this for he says its for ROB not jason ROB and then the other chic is like GODD luck ROB in japan

  12. Anyone concerned by the mention of stop motion?

  13. there's new development over at Tag..

    ..there's been an issue at chuai station

  14. I checked out Tagruato, ian is right, there's something new there, but I don't know if it's a new "altercation" or if it's talking about the "altercations" from the last few weeks.

  15. One of the interesting things this article reveals is that there is going to be a near constant presence of MULTIPLE people filming the events of the movie. Otherwise, the professional cameramen wouldn't have had to dress like Hud the entire time. At least one other person with a camera has to be involved for that to make sense. Or maybe they will do tricks like use fake security camera footage from surrounding buildings to give wide shots.

  16. By "person with a camera" above, I didn't clarify that I meant at least one other character in the movie is going to be using a camera. Maybe the military or TV news crews.

  17. Dennis' YouTube account is dead. Damn.

  18. Regarding the "altercation at Chuai" posting that appeared at today -- anyone notice this info contained in the OTHER new post today:

    "In their latest gesture to reach out to fellow man, Tagruato used the Hatsui satellite to try to identify a rogue piece that is thought to have fallen off of the Japanese government's 'ChimpanzIII' satellite. Although Hatsui’s work has not yet been able to confirm the identity of the fallen piece, Tagruato scientists and engineers are busily trying to track and recover the fragment. According to Hatsui data, it disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean late last week."

    You know what's also in the Atlantic Ocean? The Chuai Station.

  19. anyone call the number to see if anything changed yet?

  20. "ChimpanzIII' satellite"... there is a chimpanzee at the very end of the Slusho! commercial. I hope they aren't going to tie everything on together with references like that.

  21. ive tried calling the tagruato number since it first appeared but all i get is an invalid number message. i think im dialing it wrong. what does the + sign in the beginning mean?

  22. Pinkhamster - where did you see that post on tagruato? i cant find it.

  23. Guys im feeling we are getting closee to our question, keith i really really think that they are tied together its just to similar but what could it mean??

  24. Vernon heres the URL

    What do you guys think that this piece of the satellite does?
    could it have radiation on it from being through the Atmosphere?

    do satellites go pass the atmosphere i dont really know.

  25. The cause of the problem is currently being investigated, although it is suspected that an eco-terror cell is responsible for the disturbance.

    Sounds like TIDO Wave to me. As of yet no updates on the TIDO Wave site, but then there was the Dec. 10th "Tip for the Field" about being stuck outdoors or trapped for long periods of time. So we may have to wait to hear what they have to say about this.

  26. I like the idea that there could be more than one person handling the handycam. Get different people's perspective.

  27. Yeah, they only used an actual handicam for stuff like "My name is Robert Hawkins" lines. For stuff like the explosion, they broke out some weightlifter to hold a huge camera.

    At least that's what it sounds like. It is NOT Jason's party, Rob ISN'T the cameraman, one of his lines is "What is this" and "Rob have fun in Japan" is self explanatory.