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Morris On Cutting Edge with Gutter King
By Douglas Lorah
Keith Alan Morris is not your average film student. He is attending UCF, but along the fine arts track. He's already made a couple films, but nowadays, many film students have hard drives full of them. He's not in his late teens or early 20's either. That still isn't what sets him apart from the other film students.
No, what sets him apart is what he's using to shoot his current project, Gutter King. He is using the hottest camera on the market today. The RED One. Not just one, but Keith has managed to score two for his movie.
Recently, the RED One has been shown off at two Orlando events in as many months. The first was a presentation at Adrenaline Films and just this past week Best Friend Films was showing a couple RED Ones at the Garden Theatre.
I made an on set visit while Keith and his crew were shooting in downtown Orlando on Saturday, July 19th. They were shooting scenes along the sidewalk and then in the alley behind The Celt pub.
It was low light, but that is one of the advantages to this new HD cam. They were recording directly to hard drive with one camera and using 8GB Compact Flash memory cards on the other. Both were shooting in RAW, which is another benefit of this camera over conventional video. Keith will now have the ability to correct white balance in post. The drawback being larger file sizes.
I asked Director of Photography Matt Hutchens how long those 8 gigs lasted and he said about 5 minutes of record time. They also had to swap out batteries, but not nearly as often as memory cards.
During a rehearsal, I asked the B Camera Operator how the camera felt. He said he has worked with Sony's and Panasonic DVX series cameras and that the RED was much heavier, but the controls were comfortable.
From the film's website gutterking.tv, this is how the story is described:
The feature film is an urban coming-of-age fight drama about a tough street kid just released from the Juvenile Department of Corrections. His new foster father tries to channel the boy's rage into the world of bare-knuckle brawling, but his jealous brother wants him dead.
On set that night, they shot scenes of the lead character Will, played by Zeb Halsell, pay to fight. It starts out with Will approaching a bookie on the street in front of the bar. The bookie takes his money to fight and they go around back. Once there, Will takes on a huge fighter played by Darryl Baldwin. He is a local stuntman that has played the Terminator at Universal and as he put it, "the guy who beats up Indiana Jones" at the Stunt Spectacular show at Disney. Darryl is literally twice the size of Zeb.
They moved through the fight sequence one to two punches at a time with short rehearsals in between. Both cameras were handheld, which made for quick setups of shots.
Photos from that night's shoot are in the PhotoSeen.
You can also see some footage from a previously shot scene at gutterking.tv.