End of November 2012 I’ve been asked if it would be possible to film a short movie and deliver a dvd until December 20, 2012. So basicly this would be a a very quick Canon c300 project for me.
The dvd would be used as part of an corporate invitation for a business event, which would be held in January 2013 in Istanbul. Until then no story or what so ever was defined. They just had the idea of sending out a dvd as a cool invitation item.
I was told I would film, light, record sound etc. So basically a one man Show as far as recording, edit and final production goes.
After a quick meeting I told them I would need to know what kind of story, location, film length etc. the product would contain of, to see if i could put this product in my schedule and deliver in time.
A couple of days later, I’ve been presented a story draft. A Bond like movie it should be. Our employer got its 50th anniversary next year, just like Bond. Also the event location Istanbul would some kind of fit, as the intro of the recent James Bond Movie Skyfall was also shoot in Istanbul.
The idea was to not use any real actors, but only CEO, board members, managers, and some other workers to join along. I knew, it would not be easy to get them for any long shoots. It also would be getting difficult to work with them as actors in a very tight shooting schedule.
So I had a story, knew who should “act” and a delivery date for a final dvd.
Enough information to plan and setup the project. So I decided to go for it.
I got rather pessimistic as i got the information that I would get my “Actors” only for two evenings after work for a couple of hours, plus some of them for a additional shoot for 2h on another afternoon.
The project owner is a real sound nerd and front man of a band. He already started to produce a music score, which now also included a song for a title score in the middle of the film.. Ok, lets just add a Title sequence to the already thigh project… The “black mailer” sequence was also already done by him, using his own webcam. So I decided to use his footage instead of doing a separate shot and adding effects.
As I knew I would be a one man show for this project, I spent a lot of time thinking on how I could produce a decent clip and still deliver on time with the whole story covered.
The help of a lightning guy and a sound guy would have been great, but there was no budget for it. All I got promised was a few helping hands to act as runners and carry some stuff around for me.
I knew I had to slice of some image quality in order to finish the needed shots in the very limited time.
One of my main decision was to use only available light where ever possible. So mainly everything inside was shot without setting any additional lights. Thanks due of the great Canon C300 this was a option to run for, and still expect some decent pictures out of the camera.
The only places where I used one single 1×1 LED was a shot of breaking the door open and moving trough the lasers. These places were just to dark without any additional light. For the outdoor scenes I decided to run with cheap halogen work spot lights, which we could borrow from some friends or could buy for very little money.
I ended up with 8x 500W, 2x 1000W and 1x 2000W work lights. This sounds like a lot of light. But if you need to light up a entire building in the middle of a night with no street light surrounding it it could get tricky.
As I didn’t got a dolly or steady cam I needed to work out a way to get some moving shots. A friend got me a tip of using some kind of char with wheels. Hmm.. OK… So I ended up with a $60 wheel chair, bought online on a auction platform ^^
This worked out better then expected. Just be aware of full running speed.. the small wiggling front wheels can kick you off in the sprint runs and flip the chair over… Not real fun if you knee reverse on the chair filming the person who pushes the chair over the shoulder. Luckily the camera didn’t get any damage. My feet got better in the upcoming days again. But wheel chair works out pretty well for slower shots.
The weather forecast looked not promising at all for both shooting nights, but seemed to be better on the second day.
So I decided to shoot all indoor scenes, except the ones of the parking lot, on night one and shoot all the outdoor scenes on night two.
Night one worked out pretty well and all “Actors” and runners were doing a great job. Especially as most of them never been part on any film project before.
We previously informed the house owner, police etc. about our project, where black dressed people would run around with guns and a pupped falling of the roof. So we did not end up with any bigger problems.
Hint to my self: Next time we should not forget to inform the cleaning crew too… The ladies where pretty shocked when a fully armed storm troop crossed them on a test run ^^
Night two was a complete different game.
I needed to setup the light on the roof and on the side of the building and also needed enough power out of some wall plugs from various places without draining to much power and shutting the power off.
The weather was also getting worse, snow being promised for later in the night.
Just when I stared shooting outdoors, it started to snow pretty strong. So I decided to shoot the parking lot scene first in the hope it would stop snowing.
Well it didn’t stop fully, but at least it was getting better.
Not so later on the roof- and final hunt scene… I think I never shoot outdoors with such strong snowing… So there are some scenes with more and some less snow not being consistent in the story. But hey, I only had a couple of hours to get all takes into the camera. Big thanks go to the guy who was protecting me with a large sunshade umbrella which was getting very heavy quickly.
After all I think the snow actually helped the film in some points. The view from top of the building would not have been so great without the white floor on the ground.
Day three consisted of just about 2h shooting.
In this very little time I needed to shoot “part 3″ plus also get some green screen footage for the title scene “part2″ I planed to use for the main score song.
This very limited time frame was like entering a Kamikaze plane and go for it. No chance for many different takes, camera angles or what so ever.
I think this reflects pretty much in the film. Too bad I did not have more time for it, as i think the quality is far behind the rest of the movie.
How ever, this is what I had on the end of December 6th and needed to be edited and finished as a DVD to be sent out by December 20th.
I also had some other corporate video work in between, so time was a critical factor.
Editing was as usual (Premiere Pro/AfterEffects CS6) except for the fact that I handed over a finalized cut (without any effects, grading etc.) to my music Score guy. A first in my career, giving away sound work to someone else.
He played, mixed and edited the audio plus mastered the soundtrack for the whole Clip in his own studio.
I think he did a really great Job ! The crappy sound quality of the voice recordings still comes trough, but hey, I did not have any audio guy on set. A lady holding a microphone pole for the first time in her life was all I got. Well there was also the ceiling helping her from swinging the mic all over the place… ;o)
That’s all about this “little” project and 2012.
Looking forward to get some feedback of the event attendees.
PS: Some of the Film credits in the Title Score are kind of fake and include everybody involved in this Clip or in involved in the upcoming main Event in Istanbul. We just needed enough text to fill over 2 Min. We didn’t want to show to many titles with the name of René (music) and mine (film production) ;o)