Friday, February 10, 2012

The thinking battle...

As with any movie script there are lots of decisions to make. The director, producer and DP consider what they need to do and make decisions, and lists, and more lists. Then they arrive on set and BOOM!

I think the military phrase "No battle plan survives the first engagement" adequately describes it.

Then the director gets to make new decisions with input from the actors, camera operator, etc and the pressure is on to get it right even if others may not have the same vision as the director.

One early decision was to shoot all of the night scenes at night. This was a tough decision because most video cameras produce terrible images at night. Pixelization and noise creep in and make the image look like video.

That's where this new Sony F3 camera came in. The huge sensor drinks in light with photo receptors four times bigger than SLR photography cameras.

In theory it promised to do wondrous things in low light. Director Duke Marsh tested it extensively and came to the conclusion that it delivers the goods. It was worthwhile to risk a full production on new equipment.

(By now several other movies and TV shows have been and are shot on the F3, including Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and "The Layover", but at the time of planning it was a newly released camera with no camera operators experienced with it.)

Mr. Bourdain's camera operator, Zach Zamboni, has been generous with his time and suggestions when he hasn't been flying all over the world eating strange food and filming strange restaurants.

So every thing from Kip getting his butt kicked by Commander Jorie to Lisa's collapse in the doorway can be shot with very little light and still look great.

Not too long ago all these shots would have been shot in daylight to look good, and then special effects would have to be applied in post to make it look like it was shot in the night time.

That frees up some director time, which leads to other decisions 'Which costume should I wear, this one or that one?" "Hair up or down?" "Can I change this line?" "Where do you want the camera?" "Where can we get a different prop?"

This is a passionate group and this takes lots of thinking, but its all fun if you have the movie bug like they do.

Then again there are times when you want to pour on the light for a specific reason. Boom, its there.

The passion allowing them to take the risks is paying off handsomely.

Photos by Hannah Gweun.

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