White Lightning

Although 4K-shot productions are heating up, we’re still in purgatory in terms of 4K distribution into living rooms. As you probably know, movie and television studios move at a slower pace than camera manufacturers, and at the moment, typical delivery specifications for VFX and theatrical exhibition are currently at 2K while deliverables for television and the web are 1080 or 720. Luckily, we have the Internet, with online streaming taking the first 4K baby steps.

One feature that’s receiving a lot of attention in the independent film world is Moonshine Kingdom. Written and directed by Milton Horowitz and shot and edited by 21-year-old Ryan Forte, Moonshine Kingdom is the first natively shot 4K feature film available to stream in 4K on the Nuvola NP-1 media player platform.

After making a few commercials for the local Ohio market, Horowitz, along with Forte and business partner Aviv Avraham, was looking to do something bigger with a larger profit margin. Knowing that feature-length movies typically have great cinematography and well-known actors, Horowitz wanted to find an unusual, yet familiar topic and felt moonshine and the Amish lifestyle would be original subject matter. The story is based on the real-life events of an Amish man who leaves his community to serve his country as a medic in the Vietnam War. Upon returning, he’s rejected by his own community and is then introduced to the dangerous world of "shining" by an old friend.

Selecting one of the most uninhabited places in Huntsburg, Ohio, the production team found beautiful vistas near an Amish farm community. As for casting, Horowitz and team found talent using the local theater district in Cleveland. The production shot for 18 straight days in Huntsburg, with two alternate weekends in Cleveland and a handful of pickup days. Some scenes were shot in downtown Cleveland, and they were also able to capture great aerial footage with the help of Vector Aviation and Lost Nation Airport.

"Cleveland and Huntsburg were both great to work in, and we got a lot of help from both communities," reveals Horowitz. "From airplane pilots to Amish people, everyone involved was dedicated to the project. Just from watching the film, you can see how much work and love went into the story and production."

After deciding to shoot on digital, Horowitz and Forte wanted a camera with a "résumé" and felt the RED ONE had already captured a number of great features. Working with Fletcher Detroit, they assembled two full RED camera packages, capturing 4K REDCODE RAW files.

"When it comes to a RAW 4K workflow, Adobe’s Creative Cloud is going to be your best friend," explains Forte. "Everything except audio was processed and handled in the CC Suite, including a 4K DI with SpeedGrade CC. Previous users of the system are very familiar with complex workflow involving multiple third-party programs, transcoding and XML files, but thanks to NVIDIA’s CUDA system, Seiki UHD displays and lots of RAM, we saw everything in real time, as we edited the film without a RED ROCKET."