The Shoot

So, this week we started our shoot. After weeks of planning and endless meetings, we were finally there. We would actually get to shoot. I was ready, I knew what I wanted and I knew, or at least I thought, this is going to be easy.

Day 1:

I walked from the tram stop to Alex’s on day one and it was pouring. I wasn’t worried because this was expected. Our project manager had already warned us, having done her homework. Having said that, I had done my homework too. On paper, I had put down exactly what I would do with the lighting, having seen the location before. I felt prepared. But, as I mentioned how how different theory is from reality! Sure I had drawn up my lighting structure but it didn’t always work and I had to improvise a lot. Thank god for Harrison, Alex’s friend who had done this a few times and knew what to do. Working together I learnt a world of things.

The biggest problem I had was getting the details with every frame. I would light it up like how I would want the final image to be, instead of trying to get as much light as possible for our editor to work in post. Harrison kept trying to remind me of that as he was to be editor and sometimes I found how difficult it was to be happy with the shot. This really made me look at the whole picture, thinking of post-production during the production stage. I learnt so much on my first day in, that thought I was more theoretically prepared on day 1, I was much more practically prepared on the other days of the shoot.

Another thing that I had a lot of doubt over was the pale to warm – blue to red arc. How would this transition really look ? What about continuity? Was I really going to pull this off? I felt like I had dug myself a whole and Harrison laughed about how difficult I was going to make his life. We did have a blast though, learning is so much fun when you forget theory and start experimenting and have a group of beautiful people to share it with. That, and of course the beautiful lunch and endless stream of coffee Alex provided us. The only problem, Aaron and I getting on each other’s last nerve because neither of us knew where one’s job ended and the other’s started. Stepping on each other’s toe, we were forced to come to the decision of having meetings and discussions within just ourselves before the next shoot.

All in all, a beautiful day, with beautiful shots and great team work.

Day 2:

Lo and behold, another rainy day and another day spent in the confines of Alex’s house. Now, today we were shooting the couple and man, was it fun. Quiet a few things changed for us as compared to day 1. The first and most obvious, the actors. On day 1, we worked with Mitch, a dedicated actor training to be a professional someday. While we had our moments of fun (especially in the bathtub), the shoot was much more serious than day 2. Day 2 was working with Kaitlyn and Ekatrina, who both while having done an amazing job and giving us everything we wanted, were really fun. Fun to a point where I had to remind them to get on with it as we were limited on time. That’s never a fun thing to point out. It was so difficult to ask them to stay still till we got the shot right.

The other thing that changed was that there was one location none of us had seen – we had needed an extra room. Early on in the planning stage we had decided that it would have to be at my house. But, due to the distance and time constraints, we decided to just use our production designer’s house which was just down the street. We got there and we just didn’t have the space we needed. There was no way we could light it to match, the room was way to small and it was crowded with things. The scene required a semi empty place which looked like someone had just moved in and we just didn’t have that. It was three shots, so we definitely didn’t want to change locations and I was on my own here because Aaron was getting another shot at the park. We had decided to split up due to the small weather window we had and the limited time as we were running pretty behind. I made a last minute decision and changed the entire scene, which was then shot in her backyard. Thank god for the fact that we didn’t have to worry about sound, because she lived right next very busy  train tracks.

Day 3:

The last day, the one I was most excited about. The lady was being shot at my house and the universe was finally listening to me! It was a bright sunny day.  We had originally thought that this would be our longest shoot yet, but because of the amazing natural light, we could do most of it without time consuming light set ups. We got beautiful shots and I was really pleased with it.

My favourite part of all the silhouette shots I created. I did this by putting two lights outside my house window, making them look like street lamps. This created a beautiful effect and I immediately fell in love with it.

The only thing that happened on that day that wasn’t to be expected was that Aaron and I were at log heads again. We hadn’t spoken about this shoot in much detail and I had a very particular vision for it, having written the script. I need her against this wall, I said but Aaron wanted to use another wall. We argued about various shots but somehow managed to find middle points every time.

The shoot days were the most fun I have had this semester. This, I feel was my introduction into working in the real world, with real sets, real set ups, and just plain old reality and I loved it! It was the experience of the course, the highlight for me.

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