Grass Valley Viper Jumpstarts Independent Feature “Freezerburn”

July 29, 2021


“Freezerburn” is a new independent feature that mixes digital data shot with the Grass Valley™ Viper FilmStream™ camera and high-definition video shot with an F900 HDCam video camera. The movie is unique, for a micro-budget project, and is the first to use all digital acquisition technology that combines the FilmStream workflow with multiple video formats.

Shot over 21 days on location in Los Angeles on a budget of $350,000, the film is a dark comedy that takes place on the set of a reunion for a fictionalized famous television show called “Freezerburn”. There’s a quadruple homicide and an alien-worshipping cult called “Children of Earth” that add intrigue and comic relief to the plot.

The opening title sequence (approx. 3 minutes), starring Rachel Hunter as reporter Holly Hardin, and several interstitial fx elements of an alien were shot with the Viper camera in FilmStream mode. The rest of the film was shot with the HDCam camera and the footage is being conformed to match the color of the adjacent scenes.
Melissa Balin, director/co-producer for the movie, said she enjoys working with cutting edge technology, and the Viper provided the right contrast between what audiences expect to see from film and the starker video images that make up the bulk of the film.

“I knew that I had to use the Viper--with its deep, rich colors--to bring the audience into the movie, right from the first frame they see,” Balin said. “There simply is nothing else like the Viper and the potential applications of a camera system that can seamlessly bridge the existing gap between film and HD are limitless. I have definitely been spoiled.”

The film, Balin’s first directorial effort, will be posting through the summer and will blaze a workflow trail for both studio and independent filmmakers alike. Balin’s younger brother, Brandon Balin, executive produced and edited the film on an Apple Final Cut Pro system. Director of photography was Philip D. Schwartz; co-producer was Tosca Musk. The Viper data was color-timed at Fotokem, in Burbank, Calif. Digital FilmWorks worked closely with Fotokem to develop the workflow and conform the data for the title sequence.
With three 9.2 million pixel Frame Transfer CCDs capturing 1920x1080 resolution, the Grass Valley Viper FilmStream camera system delivers an RGB 4:4:4 10-bit log output, uncompromised by electronic camera signal processing.

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