Severus Snape and the Marauders...A Harry Potter Fan Film

April 6, 2016
Created with ShareGrid
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If you're ever needing a Harry Potter fix, look no further. ShareGrid member, John Hafner, constructed this beautiful and eerily accurate short with ShareGrid gear. Some gear includes a RED Epic Dragon, DJI remote focus and a 5-ton grip package...all while on a low budget.

Click Above To Watch

When asked how they managed to work on a tight budget, Hafner said, "Marauders was all done on donations from a Kickstarter budget. We actually were told by Warner Bros that we couldn't raise any more money at one point, so, much of the VFX were done as favors. Luckily, we had an amazing fan base of crew, fans, people passionate enough to work for 'almost free' who put in tons of time in post to finish this off."

In pre-production I met with the director, Justin Zagri, and we sat down and broke down the script to a line budget of exactly what equipment and crew and number of shoot days was the bare minimum to pull it off. Many productions do this backwards, where they decide how much money they want to spend first, and then hire someone who claims they can do it for that amount. With a detailed line budget written up and a plan of how to light and do all the practical VFX, we set up a Kickstarter to raise just that amount."

Hafner continues, "Severus Snape was my second collaboration with director Justin Zagri. We did a Batman fan film the year before shooting one day on an small budget budget and he had done a previous Harry Potter fan film before I had met him, that had gone viral on Youtube. Justin is extremely passionate about Harry Potter and after I read the script I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It was ambitious enough in production value to be interesting but also logistically could be done very well with a limited budget. When the studios have production budgets literally 1000x larger than any indie, it's really an uneven playing field, because people are gonna just say oh, that's a cute fan film but obviously you guys aren't at 'that level'. So I think for both of us it was a chance to show what we can do."

What amazes me these days is how well special effects can be rendered on such small budgets. Marauders being no exception. Hafner and his team seemed to have a pretty solid plan: 

"VFX Supervisor Jake Akuna and his team put it all together and created a solid plan going in. They did some outright wizardry! They used both Nuke and After Effects, The VFX shots were delivered in 2K RedlogFilm 2:35 prores4444 and we did the final conform and color grade on my Davinci Resolve 12 workstation.

We rendered the final output literally the day of the premiere. We had tracking markers placed all around the forest so we weren't limited to locked off VFX shots and we tried to incorporate as much practical lighting to help sell the VFX. I actually drew up plans for an overhead DMX connected RGB light source to bathe the forest in various spell effects colors but that got scrapped due to budget. Zagri had every shot memorized going in, and we had planned ahead of time exactly how to frame everything to leave room for VFX elements. 

We didn't have time to go consult the storyboard, we were shooting two cameras non stop, at night (in the rain all one night) and there were so many shots and angles I'm not sure how he kept it all straight in his head but we got it done."

The best thing about ShareGrid is it allows me to focus more on the creative aspects of DP work. With ShareGrid handling the logistics of rentals, I save a lot of time, so I can focus more on what really excites me which is planning and creating great content.

If you have work you'd like featured in our blog, please let us know!

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Brent Barbano

I have been a freelance Cinematographer in Los Angeles for over 12 years. Hailing from Syracuse, NY, I also studied at Syracuse University’s film program. I am a proud member of IATSE Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild.

I am the Co-Founder of ShareGrid and I happily contribute my findings, ideas and news on ShareGrid with all of you.

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