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James Chressanthis uses Max 8 in TNT’s Mystery Movie Night: HIDE

Last night I watched in awe the remarkable use of Super 8 film in the TNT made for TV movie HIDE. Based on a thriller mystery novel by Lisa Gardner, the film was directed by James Gray and beautifully shot by cinematographer James Chressanthis, ASC. Hide marks their reunion, as they have collaborated on other projects such as Ghost Whispers and Brian’s Song.

The deliberate choice by Chressanthis to shoot full Max 8 to punctuate the numerous flashback scenes by different characters in the story had a strong aesthetic punch. Never did you feel as if you were watching a home movie, but rather a vivid porthole into the memory of painful events that these characters were being asked to retell investigators.

Chressanthis chose our MAX 8 1014 XLS camera with crystal for the Super 8 sequences. Shooting was done with  Pro8/19, a Kodak Vision 3 200T film stock that is highly versatile for both bright and low light conditions. The film has 13 stops of latitude, extremely fine grain, and an ultra wide exposure range. It captured both the shadows and highlight details so well that  in some shots you could actually see the skeletons of the mummified bodies inside the hanging body bags down in a low lit  underground pit.

We scanned the film in native 1080 to ProRes 4:4:4 HQ with 3 separate passes at different frame rates. “We shot mostly at 9FPS on the Max 8 camera. Editorially they used all the frame rate transfers:  24, 12, 6 fps. I shot the various frame rates to speed up, slow down and blur the image and also to increase the grain. That’s because normal Super 8 is so clean that it can look like good 16mm but we wanted an edgy, grittier  look in representing the deep memories of the characters. It looks fantastic!” says Chressanthis.

Plot Summary: Carla Gugino (Californication, Entourage) plays Boston Police Detective D.D. Warren, who is called to the grounds of an abandoned mental hospital where a buried chamber is discovered. Inside are the mummified remains of six young women, who have all been missing for years. The case leads D.D. to Annabelle, played by Bridget Regan (Legend of the Seeker). Annabelle is a young woman who spent her childhood moving from city to city, from identity to identity, hiding from someone or something totally unknown to her. D.D. uses clues from Annabelle’s secret past to unravel the mystery behind her twisted family history. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (TNT’s Franklin & Bash, NYPD Blue) and Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, TNT’s Southland) also star. Hide is written by Janet Brownell (Eloise at the Plaza), directed by John Gray (Ghost Whisperer, Helter Skelter) and executive-produced by Stephanie Germain (The Day After Tomorrow)  (summary from TNT website)

Chressanthis has used Pro8mm workflows is such projects as No Subtitles Necessary (2008)and Brian’s Song (2001). He is a three time Emmy Award Nominee, and has been a member of the ASC since 2002.
If you missed last nights premier, check for an opportunity to stream it  directly from TNT’s website

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