Thursday, June 09, 2011

Shooting An Affair: Day Five (nothing bad happened!)

Just wanted to start this blog off with the reassurance that all went well on tonight's shoot, given how many negative occurrences we've had thus far.

No, tonight yielded some good results. We started out shooting a walk-and-talk scene on 6th Street in Waco. We had gotten permission to block off several blocks of 6th, just adjacent to the downtown area (so you can see downtown in the distance).

So we had the entire street to ourselves, which is really very nice when you're shooting. You don't have to worry about cars messing up your shot, or even about having people work from the middle of the street. We can't close down streets every day, so this was nice.

We were using the Steadicam on the shoot for the first time today. Several of us on faculty had trained on it with Dan Ikeda, Tiffen's terrific trainer. He got us up to speed, but we all needed a lot of practice to become experts. I felt all along that Brian Elliott, my colleague and producer, would be best suited to shoot the Steadicam shot, and my faith was not unfounded. He is very particular and exacting, and he did a terrific job. Our Steadicam walk-and-talk scene looks great.

After wrapping on 6th Street and having a late night meal (fajitas), we headed over to Lake Shore Drive in Waco to shoot scenes of the two lead characters driving a motorcycle. I won't go into the plot or script specifics, but I was a bit worried about how well these shots would come off. The city wouldn't let us close the streets (though they did tell the Asst. Producer that we could shoot there without closing them). Not having it blocked off didn't matter much - we started shooting at about 3 or 4am, so there was virtually no traffic. The motorcycle stuff involved the DP (with a handheld rig) and sound recordist (with a boom mic) in the back of a pickup truck, with me in the front seat watching a monitor.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster, I know - but it went off without a hitch. We got really great footage, and everyone stayed safe.

So now I'm home and it's 5:40am. We have a short turnaround tomorrow - we start at 4pm, but we're on the main set, so things should go easier.

I was joking around with the students about pulling all-nighters, since we've been doing so for several nights now, and it occurred to me that, though I am tired, I don't feel like I'm about to succumb to sleep at any moment. Making films puts me on full alert. When I'm directing, I feel like I have this laser focus. It's as though, no matter the hour, I will be able to make it through. I'll be exhausted later, no doubt, but while we're doing it, I just love it.

And now some pictures from the set. First, me in my new production hat:

This one is of Matt and Cora (the lead actors) - with the production crew facing them. In this shot you can see Brian Elliott (Producer) on Steadicam and Taylor Rudd (Director of Photography) holding a lantern on a boom pole to provide light for the scene. This was a really complicated set up for us.

Here you can see a still from the footage we shot of Matt and Cora on the motorcycle. I shot this image of the monitor as it was sitting in my lap in the front of the truck.

This next photo shows several of the students where they had camped out, waiting for it to get completely dark so we could start shooting. The building to the left behind them is actually illuminated with one of our HMI lights from more than 100 yards away.

Another long day, but I feel less exhausted when we get such good results.

Well, the birds are starting to chirp and the sun is starting to rise. I guess I should get some sleep!


Blogger Jonathan said...

This is fantastic stuff, Chris! So glad it went well. And I enjoyed seeing the photos.

How can you get good sound on the back of a motorcycle? Did the dialogue actually come out well?

Keep up the posts; no doubt writing these after long and exhausting days of shooting must feel like an extra and unnecessary duty to you, but really they are appreciated by your fans who really enjoy reading about you overcoming your production challenges.

6/09/2011 9:42 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

So glad you're enjoying them!

We actually didn't have any dialogue on the motorcycle. If we did, we would have needed to record it separately!

6/09/2011 11:49 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Okay; I admit I don't know anything about filmmaking, so please excuse how elementary this question sounds. But if there was no dialogue, why did you need a sound guy with a boom mic?

6/09/2011 4:11 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

Technically we didn't need to. We recorded sound so we could potentially use the motorcycle sound effects. But we can always use a sound effects track.

6/09/2011 4:16 PM  

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