No sleep til' Orlando

24hr Film Challenge- Sponsored by CV

You may know me, you may not, my name is Brian French, and no I'm not of French descent. I'm a senior studying film at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Over the past 4 years I've learned so much from my classes and film projects, but there's something else that has challenged and pushed me even more throughout university. Since sophomore year I've been going with a team from Bob Jones University to the NRB convention and competing in a 24 hr film challenge.

So every year, 4 students and two professors have to become self-sacrificing and give up a week of school (sarcasm) to make a film, watch pre-releases of films and listen to Christian Directors, actors and producers speak at the film summit. Rough right? 

The National Religious Broadcasters convention is an annual gathering of over 3,000 professionals in Christian film, radio and news.

2017 makes 4 years that Bob Jones University has sent a film team to compete in the NRB's 24hr film challenge, and this year we're more excited than ever. Competing has taught us so much about working on a small team, under pressure and without any sleep. Let's just say, we've all bonded a lot over the past few years. (just ask Ryan Holmes). 

Yeah, we're dorks and take the same photo every year

The sponsor

When we found out who the sponsor for this year's 24 hr Film challenge was, our team went to work learning as much as we could about CV. After a little bit of digging Will and I found that Christian Vision was doing something no one else was pushing to do: Sharing the Gospel through media held up to professional standards. A few more minutes into our research, we found that CV had actually produced the short film "Unto Us", a modern day re-telling of the virgin birth of Christ, that we had watched and drooled over years before! Check out their website

The Team

Will Craven- Director

Brian French- Director of Photography

Luke Brubaker- Story genius #1, Editor

Caleb Murphy- Story genius #2, Gaffer

As soon as the competition launched, Luke, Caleb and Will hopped into story mode. Ideas were flowing through their brains like.... Something that flows? Anyway, within an hour, there was a story that we were confident in, our actors had arrived on set and Caleb and I were set up for the first shot. 

Camera Set-up

We're spoiled. Yeah, we could have shot with a 5D or a Black magic cinema camera like previous years, but when there's an Epic-W at your disposal, why not? The Epic-W's workflow was a huge help. After talking it over with Will and our editor, Luke, we decided to shoot 4k Pro-res HQ. Pro-res is extremely workable, takes up much less space than shooting 8K 8:1 R3Ds (go figure) and we ran tests on our Mac pro tower that put us at about 10minute exports with 4k files. In the end, we shot about 400gb of footage for a 2 1/2 minute film. Worth it. 

We used Will's set of Duclos Cine-modifed Nikon zooms (17-35mm, 28-70mm, and 80-200mm). Great glass, and a solid alternative to primes for the sake of time. Per usual, had to run with a SmallHD monitor, there's just nothing better. In this case we used the 702 Bright, a daylight viewable monitor that lasted all day one two sony NP-F batteries! Throughout the day the Red was powered off 3x Anton Bauer Digital 150 batteries. 


Gear Set-up

Vi-tech Group hooked us up!! If you're unfamiliar, Vi-tech group owns just about all of your favorite film gear companies. (SmallHD, OConnor, Teradek, LitePanels etc.) So, Vi-tech sent us the new Litepanels Astra 1x1 Soft Bi-color with a Gold Mount and a kit of the new Manfrotto LYKOS Bi-Color LED panels. Let me tell you, we loved them.

For the first scene,  I decided to blast the K5600 400w Jokerbug through the window with a doubled 1/2 CTO to scrape some warm sunlight across the room, the Matthews butterfly was brought in to flag off as much of the daylight spill as possible and inside we boomed the Astra Soft as a key on Josh. We kept the LYKOS panels up for little accents throughout the scene, as well as a boomed kicker with the included softbox. 

Before coming down to Orlando, we talked to Abby Cole, a Florida native and a senior Cinema major at Bob Jones University if she had any acting friends we could link up with. Joshua Goodridge and Jessica LaVigne were everything we hoped for! We couldn't have asked for any better strangers, soon to be friends, to hang out with us for the day! They hit continuity and pacing like professionals which made editing a breeze. 

The Edit

We pulled all 460gbs from the Red Mini-mags and got to work. Armed with a beast of a computer, energy drinks and food, Luke killed it! We never had a slow moment during editing.

At the beginning, Luke and I were getting the story together, while Caleb and Will wrote and recorded the additional audio. By about 4 am we had our first rough cut! Around that time we all knew what the ending was suppose to be, but no one had decided who was doing the After effects work. We all sort of looked around until Caleb nobly accepted the peer pressure. With the "officially" least amount of experience in After Effects, Caleb knocked it out in an hour!

By 6am we had our picture locked!
and by 8:15am we finished color and our quick 16 minute export!

The Awards

Thanks to Luke, our theme song for the week was Scoreboard

You’re gonna battle, you’re gonna fight
Win or lose, you’re gonna be alright
Regardless of the scoreboard
You can do anything that you work for!

Win or lose, we did the absolute best that we could and we are very proud of what we accomplished together. We placed second over all, but what was worth it, was the reactions we heard from the audience. 

Other Awards!

Rachel (Madeira) Ledbetter placed 1st place in narrative for her short film, Going back
Ryan Holmes placed 2nd in narrative for his short film, Silence
Danielle Wunker placed 3rd in documentary for her film, A Girl Like Me

Its not over!

We placed second for the film challenge, but there's another part of this competitions still going! Through April 29th, our film is competing for the most views over on CV's Facebook page! That being said, Will, Luke and Caleb wrote this film for social media. As of Friday, March 17 we are at 45,000 views! We need you to push this out! 

Check out the films website,! (yes the views over there count as well!) Share the website and share the link to the film!


BTS stills

I'm seriously impressed if you read all my blabbing because I totally would just scroll through for the photos. We had Ryan Holmes a 2016 Bob Jones Cinema grad come along with us throughout the day day to act and take some sick BTS!