Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Last night was the shoot for DXARTS 451 Project 1 a.k.a. "Apparition" (bad title, I know). First shot was at about 2100, and last shot was at about 0630 the following morning. Chris, my lead actor, had to work at 8am, poor guy, and towards the end he was continually falling asleep during set-ups, especially when I was setting up the Camera Obscura shot. Other than the ridiculous filming hours, it went pretty smooth.

I would be remiss, if I didn't first acknowledge the massive amount of help I received from both Chris (who is usually much more comfortable behind the camera); and my brother, Ryan, who played the barely-there, titular apparition, as well as helped out with some grip-stuff for the dolly shot and the titles. There is no way in hell I could have made this without their help.

They are both cineastes however, and my girlfriend, Marie, is not. She enjoys the casual movie, but she doesn't quite comprehend our fascination with the construction of moving pictures; nor does she have any plans to pursue any sort of filmmaking-related career. So when I say that she spent hours on her day off, when she could have been doing much more relevent things (like homework), helping my ass create--nay, not helping: making--the title cards for the film, that should mean a hell of a lot. She worked meticulously and diligently to research the fonts, lay them out and construct the actual card that I merely taped to the aquarium and backlit before filming. And of course, since she was busy hibernating through most of the shoot making them, I'm sure I came off as unappreciative. Well Babe, thank you so much for your help. You know better than anyone that I couldn't have done this without your help (or your Visa). I know I get cranky and terse when I'm working, but I don't appreciate what you did for me any less.

As far as the finished product is concerned, I'm relatively happy with how many of the images look in their final form, but I'm not very satisified with how it plays from shot to shot. The montage is particularly rough, having only a few inserts and virtually no master shots. We were unable to use coverage to construct the scenes because of the assignment's constraints. I kept saying to myself, if only I could use Final Cut. In fact, there is one insert in particular that could benefit quite a bit with having about 10 frames sliced off the beginning--but that's neither here nor there. Fact is, I could edit only in my head and while I may not be entirely happy with the result, I did find the assignment's constraints intensely challenging--in the best way possible. It was remarkably refreshing to not be able to edit after the fact. It forced me to rehearse my actors, the blocking and photography, which is not something I have done in the past. I usually just let the camera roll and use bits from conversations, rehearsals, etc. in addition to the intended footage. While that has provided some fantastic material in the past, it is in some ways sloppy filmmaking, relying on countless takes, and makes for a heavily edited film. Apparition, on the other hand, is a bit breezier and more relaxed editorially. Is it better? Well if not, I hope that it is at least progressive; that is at least one more step toward the development of a more rigorous, cohesive visual aesthetic.

Forward motion: that's all that matters.

Anyhow, I fell in love with photographing things in the 30-gal aquarium I acquired for the project, so I hope to actually experiment some with it in less narrative-centric forms. Until then though, I only have to catch-up on three-plus days of Spanish homework and two days of Comp Lit. Oh well.

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