Shooting Day 6 I was unable to attend due to a last minute change of date so that my schedule was already committed to other projects. Having spoken to Jack (DP) and Kurt (Director) before and after the shoot it seems like everything turned out really well. Being a small unit composing simple shots it made the process a quick turnover.
Today was the first of an important shoot, this weekend was also what I have been looking forward to the most as it features the big shootout sequences and I have had the opportunity to do some Steadicam operating. I’m not heading into the direction of camera operating as a career, but Steadicam is something I thoroughly enjoy so I really flourished during todays shoot. I love the ability to move around freely and follow the action, I am also a great one for making suggestions to the shot to add more to the frame to truly utilise this piece of equipment.
Jack had compiled a shot list so I operated under his guidance. When filming both of us would chat through and block through the shots to see how we could build upon them in consideration to our environment. The main element for both of us was keeping the shot interested and well composed, due to the nature of the location and 360 filming I used cars as a strong horizontal into the distance for good composition, but at the same time acting as a point of reference for the audience so continuity of cutting could remain consistent.
The exciting element today was taking out the Odyssey 7Q+ enabling 4K filming from the Sony FS700, this was a vital element to the film in order to match the quality of the RED. Jack chose to shooting the entire scene on this device for continuity in quality whilst cutting. I did find the rigid BNC cable running from camera to Odyssey difficult as it restricted movement and would throw off the cameras balance at times. This is definitely something that needs to be investigated for anyone filming with Steadicam and Odyssey in the future, possibly running a cable down the length of the arm or using a thinner/durable cable?
With filming taking place outside there was little I could do in terms of lighting. LED panels had little effect and the dramatic movement in most shots made dotting lights outside obsolete. I found sunlight to change dramatically, but the flat nature of the logarithmic filming on the Sony should remove that issue. During close up shots I introduced reflectors to highlight details, this was especially noticeable for dark items to distinguish items such as black handguns sliding into black holsters.
Once filming had got going it ran relatively smooth, the main problem on the shoot was the time it took to get going. It hadn’t been greatly organised so Jack and I were limited on the shots we could film, in the end we said to Sam that everyone had to be around for us to freely filming, shooting the odd extreme close up out of sequence really wasn’t practical.
Sam had been fantastic in getting all the weapons for the shoot, they were fantastic props and the guys providing them were so accommodating for our shoot. The realism of these airsoft guns added so much in production value, ranging from shotguns to machine guns and rifles, a great track down by him! As a result the suppliers also starred in the film as extras for the day. Unfortunately the rest of the extras Sam had promised from the UWE airsoft society had dropped out, with him unable to find backups I found myself acting in a producer style role once again on this project as I made some phone calls and managed to get 6 more onto the set creating an entire small army so filming could go ahead.
Jack was great at finding all of the shots on the list, operating everything other than Steadicam (i.e. jibs) where I would assist. Jesse did really well at sound, especially having to catering to running alongside my movements on the Steadicam. All of the actors knew what they were doing and produced strong performances lead by Kurt, however at times the extras were left in the dark. Despite the problem with extras and issues with scheduling Sam managed to pull this vital element of filming together, not many people could find a quiet street where we could film gun fights all day to nobodies complaints.
One shot I have to mention is the long Steadicam establishing all of the villains shooting at Jack. Kurt liked the idea of having the shot of everyone behind cars, I then happily took the lead and blocked through all of the movements with the actors to play up to the Steadicam. To keep it dynamic I had extras run across the frame so I could follow their movement. Kurt and Jack were both happy to leave me to my own devices on this shot and I love how it turned out. I’d like to see this as a one-shot in the edit, I can argue the case but it’s up to Joe and Kurt at the end of the day.
We are pretty much on track looking ahead to tomorrow. We covering a lot of the scene so as long as everything goes to plan and we get a quick start we should have this wrapped up by tomorrow, I do anticipate having to get pickups at a later date due to the complicated nature of the scene.