Documentary filmmaker David Marks approaches each new project with a genuine intent to improve the world and inspire human benevolence. Continuing this tradition, Marks' latest observational documentary, "In the Cobbler's Shoes," follows the workday of Misak Pirinjian - a hardworking shoemaker and owner of a reputable family business in Mill Valley, CA. Highlighting Pirinjian's daily interactions with customers and repairs on seemingly dilapidated shoes, the modern fable illustrates how one man's compassion can impact an entire community. To accurately depict Pirinjian's story, Marks relied extensively on an AJA Ki Pro file-based recording device to capture hundreds of hours of footage in Pirinjian’s shop over the course of a year.
From the documentary’s inception, Marks recognized an intriguing story, but wasn’t quite sure how it would all coalesce. Using a Panasonic HDC-TM900 prosumer 3-chip camera with a Leica lens outputting at 1080 29.97i, he began unobtrusively capturing Pirinjian dispensing advice and encouragement to shop customers on a regular basis – making note of any magical moments. Sending an uncompressed HD signal out of the HDMI camera port directly into the AJA Ki Pro, Marks recorded these interactions in Apple ProRes 422 HQ on AJA KiStor modules to garner a high-quality picture. He also used a Zoom H4n Handy recorder mounted on the ceiling to gather additional audio.
“The Ki Pro performed flawlessly throughout the entire production,” explained Marks. “I could easily hit play, stop, pause and record directly from the Ki Pro and even remotely from my laptop and iPhone. It operates like an old fashioned tape deck, but with the convenience of hard drives instead of tape.”
After each day of shooting, Marks transferred footage from the KiStor modules to Hitachi G-Tech drives – eventually filling four 1-TB drives for editing on a personal Mac computer. Editing in the latest version of Adobe® Premiere Pro®, Marks began to shape the film by reviewing footage and selecting material that would complement the separate audio interviews he completed with Pirinjian. Using Ki Pro, he was able to edit in the same format with which he recorded – a capability that proved to be a tremendous asset.
“Ki Pro helped drive the level of quality for the film, because I could record and edit at much higher resolution than I normally would have. I also didn’t realize just how much it would help me in editorial; I could easily get a close up on medium-wide shots without any degradation because of the density of information,” he shared. “It’s an excellent, well-designed unit that I would use again. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to record directly in a secure and stable manner.”
Using LookLabs' SpeedLooks plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro, Marks was able to complete his own color correction on the film. Once complete, he exported the final sequence from Premiere Pro in the same format as it was shot - a 29.97i QuickTime ProRes 422 HQ file - and brought it to DXD Productions in West Los Angeles, where it was converted to a 23.98p file. From there, it was sent to Simple DCP in Hollywood for digital cinema conversion. “I couldn't have been happier with the final result,” Marks said. “The quality of the film on the big screen rivals features shot for millions of dollars.”
“In the Cobbler’s Shoes” opened at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Saturday, October 5, 2013, and has received rave reviews from film critics, documentary enthusiasts and the Mill Valley community since its debut. Marks concluded, “People came up to me on the street and thanked me for reminding them why they live in Mill Valley. I couldn’t ask for a better response to a film than that.”
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