VIOLENT TRUE BELIEVER was shot on 4K and 6K cameras and finished in "cinemascope" widescreen at an aspect ratio of 2,048 x 858 pixels, otherwise known as full 2K. This format is one of the few accepted by major film festivals around the world so writer-director Arlin Godwin decided to make life simpler by keeping the project in that format right from the start. There would not need to be any downscaling later on. The final film would already be set for festival screenings.

Work on the film began with experimental special effects tests as far back 2013. At that point, Arlin, who also shot the film, only had a basic idea for a movie. And he needed to find out if he could convincingly pull off the effects work before spending more money or committing to a long shooting schedule. The first things done were camera and digital compositing tests for various special effects shots that would have to be accomplished if the rest of the film was going to work.  After completing those tests it was clear that the effects work could be done by Arlin himself---who after all had a decades-long background in broadcast television editing and design work.

Early photography on the movie started on a Panasonic Lumix GH4 in full 4K Cinema mode. Much of the "cooking" sequence was shot with this camera several years before filming with an actor began.

After many delays and one worldwide pandemic, Arlin decided in 2021 to go ahead with attempting to complete VTB. With that in mind, he cast actor Jennifer Hoffman and began shooting all her scenes with the Blackmagic PCC 6K Pro. He also used a Peter McKinnon Variable ND filter that gave the photography a gauzier, softer look while the camera's 6K resolution supplied more than enough sharpness. All lighting was done using standard LED panel lights which give off a bright, soft and accurate light spectrum.

Both the cameras worked great but the GH4 employs an 8bit color space, necessitating great care in handling the images and particularly in color grading them.

The Blackmagic on the other hand shoots in Apple Prores and Blackmagic raw formats. Arlin chose to shoot all of Ms. Hoffman's scenes in 12 bit Braw to allow for maximum adjustment of color and levels in post-production.  And in fact, most of the movie was shot in the 12 bit 6K raw format.

On-set audio was recorded through a RODE NTG mic attached to the Blackmagic camera itself, and it worked surprisingly well. A lavalier mic was used for a few scenes but none of the lav sound was ever used in the edit. All the live sound is coming from the RODE. 

Editing for the film is being done on one of the world's top film and video post-production applications---Adobe Premiere Pro CC22. Arlin is editing the movie himself---a long painstaking process that will take several months minimum. Then there is sound and color work to do. 

BELOW the desktop of the Premiere Pro editor with the rough assembly of the movie spread out over the timeline. The brighter parts are shots and the greener sections are the accompanying audio.

Below are some screengrabs of a shot where actor J.C. Hoffman, who stars in the film, is sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich. We shot her part of this in my apartment with J.C. actually sitting on a stool against a green screen. The background is a moving shot of trees in the Fall with beams of light filtering through.   The bench she's sitting on came from an online stock company and took me maybe an hour to cut out as a separate element.

Below that is another screengrab showing the masking process that allowed me to make the camera side of her face just a little darker than we had shot it. This little adjustment makes her look a bit more like she's really in that environment with the light coming from the upper left side.