De Leon Shoots Ebb and Flow

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Wed, 01/27/2010 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

Filmmaker Marcus De Leon recently finished shooting Ebb and Flow a 90-minute documentary about heavy metal band Misery Signals and its 2009 worldwide concert tour. 
Inspired by 1970s era rock tour documentaries Ebb and Flow captures the struggles and triumphs of the up-and-coming band. Armed with only a GY-HM100 camcorder Sennheiser shotgun microphone MacBook Pro laptop tripod and a few small lights De Leon shot footage of the band’s tour throughout Europe Asia and North America. 
“This camcorder is perfect for shooting in the midst of chaos action and live performance ” says De Leon who is based in Los Angeles. “My goal was to let viewers experience the energy dynamism and violence of a hardcore metal show and this JVC camcorder allowed me to do that. I shot the band’s performances while being pushed and kicked in mosh pits knocked to the floor by stage divers and shoved by people drinking beer at rowdy parties.”
 Interviews with the five band members were shot using a tripod and lit with portable 60-watt clamp lights. For concert footage however De Leon often held the camcorder high overhead by its handle and with his other hand pointed a small rechargeable light and shotgun mic toward his subjects. Since he didn’t have any backup gear he was relieved that the camcorder always worked flawlessly despite being banged around and knocked to the floor by aggressive fans.  
“Because of its compact size I could shoot in very tight spaces like a concert in the hull of a ship on Paris’ Seine River or inside a van full of passengers. It was very unobtrusive when shooting in spontaneous social situations like backstage parties where a bigger camcorder might have inhibited people’s natural behavior ” De Leon says. “This type of action could never have been captured with a larger camera or a two-man crew or anything that required a bigger footprint to operate.”
 During production De Leon would find a place to set up an ad-hoc edit suite daily. He would transfer his recorded files from two 16 GB SDHC memory cards each holding almost an hour of 1080/24p footage to Final Cut Pro 6 on his MacBook. He also stored video files on three external LaCie hard drives. 
With shooting complete editing is underway at Pivotal Post in North Hollywood California. Deluxe New York will transfer the video to 35mm prints for film festival release. “I’m extremely pleased with the exceptional picture quality clarity and colors this camcorder captured ” De Leon says “especially considering the challenging logistics low light conditions and fast-paced shooting.”