Sniffen DP's "Role Model" for Turner Classic Movies
Directed by Robert Trachtenberg, Role Model is a new pilot program for TCM. To separate Role Model from other celebrity interview programs, Trachtenberg an accomplished photographer and documentary director in Los Angeles chose to shoot the new one hour program in 24p HD. SniffenHD assembled the crew and equipment for the shoot in the countryside of Connecticut. In this episode, Alec Baldwin interviewed Gene Wilder on his long successful career in the film industry. Sniffen and Trachtenberg agreed to use 4 Sony F900 HD cameras for coverage. This episode was shot at Waveny Mansion in New Canaan, CT, a massive old manor style home which is now used for film, commercial and photography shoots. Along with two stationary cameras, Sniffen used a jib and a Steadicam to cover the two actors as they toured the grounds discussing the scope of Wilder's career. The program was shot in one day and is being posted in LA and mastered to HDCAM SR. TCM premiers, "Role Model" on April 15th, 2008.
Novem takes "Best Feature Film" at Bethel Film Festival
Novem, for which Scott was Director of Photography took the Best Feature Film, award at the Oct. 2005 Bethel Film Festival. The film was noted for it's realistic recreation of the 1973 era. The film appears as a documentary but is in fact a work of fiction. The film centers on a fictitious band, which came together for a week in 1973 to record some very special music. The band's fate is unknown until a group of present day college kids stumble upon the master recordings of the unmixed tracks and reels of 16mm film. Sniffen shot the present day footage in HD using Sony's CineAlta HDCAM format. 16mm was used for all the 1973 scenes.
Sniffen conducts Digital Filmmaking Workshop at the
Bethel Film Festival
Screening clips of recent films shot digitally, Sniffen talked about the brief history of digital cinema and discussed current technologies as well as the future of HD and digital filmmaking. With Panavision, Arriflex, Thomson and Dalsa all debuting new motion picture digital cameras over the last two years, Sniffen assured the attending group that digital filmmaking is here to stay and will only improve.
Sniffen also conducted a Q&A with many in attendance asking about the new HDV format. Scott gave the new format a fair review but cautioned filmmakers that HDV will not achieve the resolution of today's professional HD cameras. The significant compression of HDV along with insufficient latitude in the electronics, lenses, etc. makes the format a better choice for documentary work or student filmmakers. However, Sniffen did note that if a filmmaker is considering shooting a film in DV, he or she should look to HDV as a superior alternative.
Sniffen Judges HDFEST 2005
After judging the 2004 festival, Scott Sniffen was asked to judge again at the 2005 HDFEST. The festival showcases HD filmmaking and travels the world stopping in September in New York City. Films included shorts, features and animation.
Scott also sat on a panel which included other professionals in the field to talk about the state of Digital and HD filmmaking.
Sniffen DP's New Series For Speed Channel
Texas Hardtails Premiers June and July of 05
Scott Sniffen teams with Bradley David Productions once again to shoot a new reality program airing on the Speed Channel. After a great working relationship with Scott on the feature film "Novem", director Brad Kimmel wanted to push the envelope both in content and look of the new offbeat show based in Dallas, TX. The entire production is being shot in 24p HD with SniffenHD's Sony F-900/3. The footage is being down converted to Digibeta for air. Though Speed has not gone HD yet, Kimmel is thinking shelf life while delivering the preferred look of HD. Production on six more episodes picks up again in July and August of 2005 shooting at Strokers Dallas custom chopper shop in Dallas TX.
Sniffen DP's 30 sec. "Mt. Dew Pitch Black" Spot
When Pepsi came to Craig Dobson of Siberian Films and said they wanted to shoot a 30 second commercial for their new Mt. Dew brand Pitch Black, there was only one catch; it was to be shown in over 3000 theaters across the U.S. After several meetings, it was decided that the spot would be shot in 24p HD. The Pepsi people liked the instant on set approval of footage. Dobson liked the more fluid and efficient post process that HD offers over 35mm. Sniffen met with Dobson at Siberian in Greenwich, CT and scouted a few old Mansions in the state where the spot would shoot. With Halloween as the theme, Scott and his crew worked for 2 days shooting with Steadicam and a lot of smoke in an old mansion in Norwalk, CT.
Pepsi was very happy with the spot and the quality and versatility of shooting HD. The spot finished its run on Halloween night. Dobson is in talks with Pepsi on similar projects in the future shooting in HD. View this spot
SniffenHD Goes Voom
SniffenHD supplied equipment and services for Voom's new show titled "Guy TV". Shoots took place in NY and CT with The Production Farm in NY producing.
Sniffen Wraps Production On New Suspense Thriller
Director of Photography, Scott Sniffen DP's director Elke Blasi's thriller, Remember. The feature shot at locations in Long Island, NY and Pennsylvania. Fear has a new number in this story of paranoia, after-life, murder and a mysterious caller in the night. View the teaser, and see more clips in the screening room.
||Sniffen Wraps Production on the all HD
Feature "The 1000 Year Reich"
Time travel, fighter jets, Zeppelins, Nazi troops. Does this sound like elements commonly included in a low budget independent feature? Well when DP Scott Sniffen sat down with director Bret Stern to discuss his upcoming feature, "The 1000 Year Reich", Bret was preparing to shoot on Super 16. Stern had of course heard about the new HD 24p format but really hadn't given it much consideration. When reading the script, Sniffen had noticed many EFX shots, which included a number of "green screen" elements. Since HD is a digital format, the EFX team could skip a step and digitize the HD material right into their workstations and then out put right back to HDcam for the final edit saving a lot of time and money.
Since the script was quite ambitious to begin with and on a tight budget, Stern saw the benefits to the EFX team, but what about the rest of the shooting? Sniffen screened for Stern Sony's "Dreams" demo and some recent footage he had shot on the format. Stern was impressed with the format and liked the idea of increasing the resolution from Super 16 to HD for an eventual 35mm transfer. And, once the film stock and lab fee savings were considered, HD seemed like the right fit for Stern's feature.
Shooting wrapped in late 2002 and the project is now in post production with many EFX scenes yet to be finished. Some EFX shots include entire 3-D modeling and total cyber set creation. Selected scenes can be screened here on this site.
Yaffa Inc. Shoots HD for its Recent Commercial
Yaffa Inc., known for their famous Yaffa Blocks for more than 25 years, chose to shoot their most recent commercial on HD 24p. In the past, Yaffa would shoot 35mm, but with the cost of launching a new product, "Wrap N' Roll" being very costly in it's own right, the creative people at Yaffa Inc. wanted to explore some options to achieve the look and quality of 35mm but at the same time, lower the costs usually associated with shooting film. HD 24p turned out to be the perfect fit. The spot was shot by DP Scott Sniffen in NYC at CECO studios and post services were completed at ImageGroup. It is currently airing in regional markets all over the U.S.
Pfizer Goes HD 24p For It's Latest Training Vignettes
When it was time to produce another batch of training vignettes for the worlds top sales force this year, Pfizer chose to go with the HD 24p format. Tiring of the "video look" of their sales communications in the past which were usually shot in Betacam SP or Digital Betacam, Pfizer decided that since 95% of the material included actors appearing in dramatic scenarios, the HD 24p format would only add to the realism of each segment. DP, Scott Sniffen used Sony's HDW-F900 camera package for the entire production. Production took a week in December of 2002, and was shot entirely on location at various locations in CT. "Once the client saw for himself the "film-like" quality of 24p production, there was no looking back," Sniffen said.
ImageGroup in New York City down converted the HDcam camera masters to Digital Betacam. The final program was edited on an AVID Symphony and distributed on DVD. "I'm finding that clients love the look of this format especially when the content includes actors in dramatic scenes" Sniffen added. Sniffen also says that if the client prefers the look of 30-frame production, just flip a switch on the F-900 and you can go from 24p to 30p or even to 60i. He also said the client liked the idea of shooting in a format that can take advantage of future HD display technology.
||Sniffen Directed Program Receives National Recognition
on The Today Show and The New York Times
Award winning director Scott Sniffen received notoriety for the drug awareness program titled, "Dying High: Teens in the ER". The 26 min. video will be distributed on VHS and DVD to schools all over the US and Canada. Dying High is a follow-up to another of Sniffens award winning programs titled, "Club Drugs: The Real Deal".
After an article in the NY Times praised the video, which had been screened for teens in Westchester County, NY, the TODAY SHOW featured the video in a segment on underage drinking. Clips of the program where shown and Katie Couric remarked that when her daughter is old enough, she would show her the video.
The presentation included real doctors commenting on the horrors they see in ER's due to DWI and overdosing. Sniffen used recreations of actual ER events using real doctors and nurses to help show kids the deadly consequences from drinking and drugging. The program does not hold back visually and Sniffen took great care in recreating the ER events. He brought in a Special Effects Make Up artist to ensure that the scenes where as graphic as the doctors descriptions.