Soderbergh Chooses Canon For Film "Full Frontal"
Steven Soderbergh, Academy Award®-winning director of "Traffic," and other box office hits including "Erin Brockovich" and "Oceans Eleven," has just completed shooting his latest feature length motion picture, "Full Frontal" -- a contemporary comedy set in Los Angeles and described as a movie about movies for people who love movies. His desire to create a film that had the look and feel of "sex, lies, and videotape" -- a film that won him top honors at the Sundance Film Festival -- is what prompted Mr. Soderbergh to shoot "Full Frontal" with the Canon XL1S digital camcorder. The film, which stars David Duchovny, Nicky Katt, Catherine Keener, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Blair Underwood opens at select theaters nationwide on August 2.
After reviewing several high-end DV camcorders, Mr. Soderbergh selected the Canon XL1S for a number of reasons, the most notable being its open architecture and modular design, which allows users to build their ideal camcorder system by changing lenses, viewfinders and shoulder mounts and combining multiple audio sources. Since his intent was to shoot "Full Frontal" completely handheld, the use of Canon's XL 16x II zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilization was an essential piece of equipment. The image stabilizer influenced the way Steven staged and shot scenes. His intention was to fully utilize camera movement in the production, which required an image stabilizer that would achieve a smooth, steady image throughout the entire zoom range of the lens and counteract any sudden body movement.
Another feature that became an important element in Mr. Soderbergh's selection process was the camera's Gain Control feature. It allowed him to adjust the camera's sensitivity to the natural light of the shooting locations, which was especially important with the production of "Full Frontal" because all scenes were shot with available light. Adjustments in Gain Control could be made in several degrees, allowing a drastic or subtle change in any scene -- a measure of control Steven needed to create the look he desired. This feature, along with the camcorder's multiple White Balance settings also provided tremendous production efficiencies when moving between shooting locations, especially with available light.
The camera's ability to generate 16:9 aspect ratio guidelines was also favored by Mr. Soderbergh, allowing him to easily frame shots for the wide screen common to movie theaters. At all times, he was keenly aware of exactly what his composition would be long before the image would hit the silver screen.
By utilizing the features and functions of the XL1S, and the elimination of any "technical downtime" made possible by shooting video rather than film, the production was completed in just 18 days, an astounding feat for any major motion picture.
In addition to using the Canon XL1S digital camcorder to make "Full Frontal," the cast members and crew "got digital" by documenting their individual experiences with Canon PowerShot S110 Digital ELPH cameras. The 2.1 megapixel compact digital camera was used both as a prop in the film and to capture the behind-the-scenes action on the set. The photos seen here and many more digital photos from behind-the-scenes, which you can catch sight of at the Full Frontal website, were created using the PowerShot S110 Digital Elph and the PowerShot G2 digital cameras.