Filmmaker interview: Gami Orbegoso (creator of Musgo)

This film is a game changer. DSLR shooters have been talking about it for years, a truly micro-budget film that looks better than some of the mammoths in Hollywood.

Gami Orbegoso pulled it off with seven days with the Panasonic GH2 and a budget of approximately 3,500€! Yes, you read that right, he shot the whole feature film with about $4,700 American dollars.

He self-financed it and the location was given to them by a extremely generous friend.

Disclaimer: English isn’t Gami Orbegoso’s first language so please forgive any grammatical oddities.

What was the inspiration behind the story?

Musgo was born as a personal project after discovering the Catalan Pyrenees area that inspired the script.
Musgo is a psychologist thriller involving four characters whose relationships between them are taken to the ultimate consequences. I wanted to make a movie of sensations and feelings.
Visual processing also make intimate with many close-ups and cuts very dry. I also wanted to give much importance to the sounds that accompany the characters doing a soundtrack intimate and disturbing.

What was your role? Director, cinematographer, writer, etc etc?

Musgo was shot in seven days, may sound a bit Kamikaze, but the only way to match all we participated in the film. The technical team were, my wife as Production chief , my daughter as soundman and my friend Cesar as my right hand. All accompanied by four great actors.
Director, cinematographer and writer was me.

From some of the pictures there’s a blocky attachment on the front of the lenses, is this a matte box of sorts?

No is a Modular Hood Coupling Ring.

In the other pictures you have a rope tied to the actor, was this for maintaining focus?

Yes, is effective for keeping focus distance so that I don’t have to pull focus on the stabilizer.

What settings/picture style did you use for most of the production? Did you keep the ISO levels below a certain number?

Record it, in preset smooth (all -2), don`t pass level 800iso accompanied with lens tokina 11-16mmm 2.8, Nikkor 28mm 2.8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4 and the old (hacked) patch 42 mbps. Apart from these tools seek to maximize natural light.

What was the post-workflow and what tools did you use? 

I used Premiere cs5.5, I`m really impressed by its stability,about the colour the Red giant Colorista II plugin, and twixtor for slow motion

Did you use HDR for any of the shots?

No, it seems to, but the truth is that this effect is part of the color correction.

What was the most difficult aspect of the production?

The biggest difficulty was that we have only seven days, and the weather was not always appropriate, so we have to use almost military planning,it was hard but in the team we had very good feeling so that was rewarding.

What gear did you use? Lighting? Rig? Audio?

I used CowboyStudio Shoulder Support, leds Z96, the Zoom H4N for audio. Hague mini motion cam , Konova slider and DIY travelling like rigwheels.

How long did editing/color grading take you?

About three months

For the closing question, what advice do you have for all the filmmakers reading this?

Make a movie or short is not easy. always be based on an idea and must go with it until the end. It has to be clear that media accounts and team will accompany you to the end and especially the commitment that is going to take on your project. The camera is only a tool, what counts is the story and how the accounts. At the end are the viewers that judgments can be for better or for worse, though, if we are lucky, for this must not lower arms ever, fight always!!

Is very important to see lots of movies from all the world, you will find many answers then. Especially dont forget to see the great masters.

Thanks Austin for your support.

Gami Orbegoso

****update: new behind the scenes short*****

That should be our new motto, fight always! 

Seriously though, if this was shot for under 5k what’s holding us back? Let’s take a cue from this pioneer and produce a thing of beauty. Thanks for your time Gami, can’t wait to see the film!

If anyone has follow up questions or comments simply email Gami or message him on Vimeo. 

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20 comments on “Filmmaker interview: Gami Orbegoso (creator of Musgo)

  1. Great inerview! That answers everything I didn’t know about the production.

    Fight Always!

  2. Magnifico! Can’t wait to see the finished film!
    I have the same equipment and this is very inspiring, to say the least!

  3. Richard on said:

    Awesome piece of work! The tip of using a rope to maintain critical focus distance is just a phenomenal example of how you can achieve things by being crea tive and smart at the same time…

    I agree that thanks to technology you can substantially lower the costs of a production. However, if you were to budget everything at market prices, this production would easily run north of 25k. For example, the time it took to for editing and grading the piece (2-3 months).

    Nonetheless, lots of respect for what you have achieved…

    • Agreed, you can cut the cost of production so much by using your creativity and intellect.

      I’ll be reviewing both cheap and moderately priced gear for like-minded filmmakers starting out that don’t want limited funds to hurt the production value.

      Also just added the first behind the scenes video, enjoy.

  4. Pingback: Inspirations-Fundstelle « Blog

  5. brad batchelor on said:

    Very nice trailer!!!! from the Actors to composition to cinematography it looks so far like a work of art. Have you done others!!
    Good luck with everything.
    Brad Batchelor

  6. Pingback: Inspiration from a low-budget project « annenieannenou film

  7. Good job, the images have a very professional appearance. I wonder how you managed to keep so much detail in the faces. Is it just a sharp lens, the hack, or correct lighting and exposure of the faces?

    • Austin on said:


      I would say that it’s a combo of sharp lenses and correct exposure but more so the lighting.

      My latest short film had much more professional lighting than my other projects and it really shows, link is below-

  8. Oliver on said:

    Looks great!

    In terms of kit – what is the viewfinder on the back of the camera? Can’t see it mentioned in the interview…


  9. steven ritt on said:

    How can I contact Mr.Orbegoso about his services?

  10. Very nice !!!
    Can you talk about use format records?mjpeg? full hd 24P?
    Thank you

  11. Pingback: The ultimate cinema camera buyer’s guide for 2012 | Art Of The Story

  12. Pingback: Panasonic GH2 Overview

  13. Arts on said:

    Musgo look like a great film. I wanted to know if this GH2 movie will get in some major film festivals.

  14. Pingback: First 5 minutes of Musago. | Art Of The Story

  15. Awesome story again.. Thumbs up=)

  16. Alan Austin on said:

    Very Nice work….I have a GH3 and am continually amazed at the quality of the images it produces….you did a great job…the grade was wonderful…What kind of viewfinder/magnifier did you use on the back of the GH2?

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