Sorry about the delay...here's the progress (June 10 - Present):
I learned that Murphy's law is a very real thing.
My sound guy ended up trapped in his parking lot by a parade that my kids were in.
My Cinematographer fell off a ladder painting.
My leading man had the pipes in his house explode.
Needless to say, we got started late. We hadn't fully tested the microphone I got, but found out it's quite sensitive. This is going to have pretty good sound. I found the thing in the clearance bin at the back of the local best buy store for $25!
We finally got to shooting, the scene we shot was comedic. Great fun to shoot, but it totally kills productivity...plan longer for comedy shoots.
It's very nice to have a crew. The Cinematographer pointed out that I had tons of shadows thrown by the lights in the frame...he fixed that. Always have a cinematographer who is good!
Drama goes more quickly, but is harder to get it right. We shot masters today, but most of the fine-tuning will happen when we shoot the individual actors (singles). We were much more productive today.
We shot some singles today with Andy, the main character's best friend. Singles are really cool to shoot. If the actor doesn't like the delivery, they can just pause and redo that line. If the director wants a different delivery, they can just stop and have the actor redo that line. It also doesn't require scheduling as many actors all at once (which is hard to do with unpaid actors).
The writer showed up on site and made on the fly changes to the dialog which made the scenes so much better than what he had written originally. He actually got to hear the dialog outside of his head. It sounded very different when spoken and surprised him slightly. That was creative and fun!
Today was really neat. We shot at our first location. It felt like a real movie! There were people all over working toward getting the scene in the can.
Roo, the guy playing Andy, was working as the production assistant today. He was making sure every one's needs were taken care of.
The day worked this way:
I block the scene and determine where the actors and cameras will be.
I confer with my Director of Photography (DP) about the frames and the purpose of the shot.
DP sets up the cameras and determines lighting.
PA runs the lines for the shot with the actors (I've previously discussed the whole scene and the purpose of every line so he knows what I want).
I check frames on the cameras.
I listen to the final run through of the lines as the sound guy practices his mike moves.
I make suggestions or corrections to the actors.
We call for focus and camera recording and sound up and quiet.
We run the scene a couple of times.
Lather rinse repeat
The day was pretty hot...PA kept everyone watered. The actors were very uncomfortable in the chairs as they were metal with no cushions. Each reset, we had them run lines standing or elsewhere to get off the chairs.
The day was very hectic as it progressed, we had to quickly get the action sequence done...I had tons of cool camera moves all planned out for it. We threw all of those out and went hand held as the light waned in the sky.
I would have liked to be able to feed the cast, but there was no budget for it...everyone trooped on fabulously. We did start at 4pm, but supper would have been a nice touch.
The action sequence was really fun to shoot and we started to attract a crowd...that was neat.
We moved inside and I blocked the next scene too quickly. We ended up with a camera on the wrong side of the line of action :(
I'm going to have to flip the footage in post to get the people on the right sides of the frame...DOH!
This was one of the flashback scenes. This location was quite fun to shoot. We found out that we needed to move from one cubicle to another so we'd have enough room for the cameras to get the frame we needed.
I've switched to all flourescent lights. Phillips Marathon soft light flourescents give a nice warm light that fit in a brooder lamp (clamp light). Each light ends up costing about $15...I have 4. Get the hefty clamps rather than the little chincy ones...You'll be much happier.
I found another benefit to the flourescents...I needed light put in an area and didn't have another stand...so I hand held the lamp as it didn't get very hot at all. You can also plug more of them into a circuit before you blow it!
I started the logging and capturing of the footage. It is very tedious and I wish I would have been doing this as I finished each day. I now have 10 hours of footage to sift through to find the shots. This could take a while.
No actors are available to day, so I'm going to go get establishing shots
They turned out awesome...everybody needs a polarizer (circular if you plan to use auto focus at all).
Tomorrow (July 4) we were supposed to be done with the photography, but scheduling this many people with day jobs and families has proven problematic. We'll have a party anyway.
More andy's apt work...
Voice work is really neat! We're getting to do singles without worrying about having the script in frame. No forgotten or blown lines.
Location 3 (Park) - Fabulous footage on the "A" camera. The "B" camera was really grainy and blown out. I found the problem later...we had the gain dial turned up to +18. It went past 11 and all the footage from that camera was noisy. We won't be reshooting...it's our first production...we can make mistakes on this one.
The park was really crowded, but the microphone took everybody out of the scene...it's very cool to have a shotgun mike. This was also the first real test of the blimp we constructed for it. A gutter grille for a roof gutter, cut in half and wired into a tube. Mounted to a microphone clamp. Wrapped in costume fur which has been sewn shut. Stick it on the end of a boom stand for a microphone and extend everything out. The sound guy holds the mike just off frame and turns it back and forth between the two actors. Biggest expense was the mike stand. The blimp was $5, the mike $25, the stand $30. There was almost no wind noise at all from that mike. The on camera mike had nothing but wind on it!
Ducks are evil! And a guy parked his boat in our shot for a bit while he tried to figure out what we were doing. He got the picture when I called cut and had every one take 5 'til he left the frame. I was nice about it.
Very productive day! We shot angela's singles and pounded them all out! I learned that you will save yourself stress by determining wardrobe before you have the actors show up. grr. Write it in the script by scene...take pictures, number them, put that number on the first page of the scene. I spent lots of time trying to figure out what costume was for what scene, what had already been worn, what look for each scene...madness!
We had a location yanked from us today. Ends up that anything that happens at our writer's apartment complex has to be ratified by the co-op board. Their next meeting is August 27th. We'll be very done with Principal Photography by then. We need to find another location for the exterior of Andy's apt. Quickly as our leading lady is getter her hair cut in 2 days and we have to shoot her coming out of the apt! We'll get that tomorrow along with the other 2 exterior shots we have to do with her yet...the attack and the Finale.
It rained all day today. We can't shoot outside. Aparently the Murphy thing is still acting up. We shot some of the cop's office stuff today over lunch. That went really well and I used some really neat camera moves...I had a cart and a tripod.
After work, I shot footage of Angela entering and exiting interior andy's apt putting on and taking off a hat so we can show her outside with a hat on to hide her hair after she gets it cut. The show must go on!
OK. We're nearly done with principal photography, only scenes 4,5 & 6 to go.
Will Vincent has signed on as editor on the project. I recieved his release form this morning when I got into work and this should make the film get finished much more quickly :)
We have begun figuring out he schedule overlap for finishing up the final shoot on this project, I meet with Will this Saturday to go over the script and review footage.
You may have noticed some of the site going backwards, we suffered a hard drive failure on our server and noticed that although remote file editing is a cool feature, it doesn't leave you with an inherent backup of the site :(
I've recovered most of what You see here from Google's Cache (thank you Google).
I'll up date you all on the next stages as we come to them. I apologize for the delay in updating this site/finishing this project, but life is in the way again. We'll work through it.
I will be adding to this as I do more on the project. I will also be adding informational links/demonstrations that are pertinent as I come across them.