Indie Film Nation – Real Life Superheroes to the Rescue

Michael Barnett (director) and Zimmer (superhero) of Superheroes (USA)

For our Sundance & Slamdance coverage for the Indie Film Nation podcast, one of the films that was on my must see list was this independent documentary film called “Superheroes”.

On this episode, I interview Michael Barnett, Co-Writer/Director and Director of Photography of Superheroes (USA) during the film’s world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition of the festival.

Michael Barnett is joined by Zimmer, real life superhero, as they discuss this incredibly engaging and enjoyable documentary that takes into the world of those people who patrol the streets of USA cities dressed in homemade costumes. The names of Mr. Xtreme, Master Legend, Thanatos, Zetaman, Life, Dark Guardian, The New York Initiative and Xtreme Justice League may not be as iconic as the fictional superheroes created by Stan Lee but it’s worthy of spending 90 minutes with on this adventure on the mean streets. They have no special powers but strong sense of justice, at times misguided but at least their honest and genuine souls.

Superheroes was shot on Canon 5D which Michael Barnett demonstrates what powerful camera can be in the hands of very clever and brilliant cinematography.

Behind the Scenes
For the interview, we set up in the green room/party room at the Slamdance Film Festival for the interview. After moving some chairs around to take advantage of the Slamdance background, we discovered that the area needed lighting. Since we were doing the interview with both the director, Michael Barnett and one of the featured superheroes from the film, Zimmer, we needed more light than the small LED light could supply. We spied a floodlight on the far end of the room. Unable to move it, we ended up just pointing towards our set-up. Sue Lawson and I swapped our usual roles, putting me in the position of interviewer and her as camera person on the Panasonic HVX-200A. Our director/co-host, Mike Smith provided his unique perspective as 2nd camera with his Sony NEX-VG10.

Back in the studio, we had very little trouble working with the radically different formats. Since I am from the US, the HVX-200A P2 camera was set to DVCPRO HD 720/30PN NTSC and since Mike is from Australia, the Sony NEX-VG10 was set to 1080/25i PAL and recorded in AVCHD. We knew that the AVCHD footage had to be transcoded in order to work with it at all. So we chose to correct the difference on frame rate and size during the transcode. Although there was still a difference in the look of the two cameras, a little color correction helped to close the gap. Also, because the two cameras were recording in different frame rates, the audio was off a bit as well. I used the audio from the 200A and used short segments from the VG10, so the audio didn’t drift more than a few frames per segment.


  1. Congratulations to “Superheroes”. Premieres on HBO August 2011.

  2. “Clearly if you want an audience for your short film, YouTube is the way to go. To try to make real cghane you need a good website, the power of social media and YouTube.” I agree that Google is the real deal and offers serious technologies ~ they’re cutting edge. To put Facebook in the same or even a similar league is a concept that’s hard for me to embrace. There’s a time for everything and everything in its time ~~ FB had its 15 Warhol minutes but Mark blew it because of his abrasive method. I don’t know if he’s a megalomaniac, but he sure seems like one. If he were as shrewd as he postulates, he might’ve embraced talent that challenged his limitations. Just my 2 cents.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *