I recently participated in the Bloodshots 48 hour film challenge working at the DP on Team Sunshine. We had a great time and a great team and made a pretty amazing film in a short 48 hours.
The work really started about a week before the contest started, we had a meeting with all the Key crew members and started roughing out a plan for what we would be shooting, locations, crew, gear, food, schedules, transportation, budget, insurance, ect. ect. Luckily we had Kevin Rigney producing and he made sure all the logistics got handled, location was secured and insurance was taken care of. Production Manager Marielle Vroom worked out the crew schedules and transport as well as a million other things and 1st AD Eudora Chu kept us on schedule on the day.
So the 48 hours started at 7pm Friday when Writer/Directors Izaiah Kane and Pan Yannitsos picked up the secret envelope containing the four mandatory components of out film.
- Sub-genre: Reincarnation Horror
- Weapon: Hypodermic Needle
- Item: Stitches
- Dialogue: “You Haven’t Been Yourself Lately”
We then all converged onto Sim Digital who had graciously sponsored our team for our camera package, editing stations, and some petty cash for expenses. We also made our selves at home in there building during preproduction.
So Izaiah and Pan got down to writing along with Kevin Rigney, and Marielle and Eudora kept them on schedule while I got my camera package in order and started doing some testing with my first camera assistant Curtis Nicholls.
Curtis and myself had a pretty smooth prep building up our Red Epic X camera with Arri MB-20 mattebox and FF-4 follow focus, TV Logic 5″ onboard monitor, on an O’Connor 2575 head. For lenses we selected a set of Uniqoptics Kenji Suematsu Signature Series prime lenses as well as an Arri Zeiss Tilt Shift set, we then added a set of ND, soft grad ND and polariser filters to the kit. We also rigged up a wireless video transmitter and PLC f-stop wireless follow focus for the handheld work. For camera movement we selected a Ronford Baker over keeper and a Porta Jib.
After the easy camera prep I had to select and organize our grip and light package since my gaffer and grips would not be starting untill the next morning. So I had to get all our lights, stands, sandbags, c stands, flags, and everything else loaded onto carts and ready to load up in the morning. For our lighting kit I kept it pretty simple with a good selection of Arri 650w and 300w tungsten Fresnels, 600w and 1k open face fixtures, 1.2k HMI Fresnel and a propane flame bar for our fire lit scene. I got home from prep at a civilised 11pm and got some shut eye before the 6am call time the next morning.
Bright and early Saturday morning we met up at Sim digital to load up our gear and head to our locations in Langley. Due to the extra time we spent prepping and organising the night before we were able to load up in no time and stay on schedule.
We had a fantastic farm location for our whole shoot and we were able to find enough variety of looks to keep the whole production on the property saving us from time wasting moves. The “barn” was quickly dubber the horse mansion and we moved in and made it home base for the day and a location for the night.
My camera crew consisted of myself DPing/opperating, Curtis Nicholls 1st AC, Lena Vinogradova 2nd AC, Thomas Walker as camera trainee and Galiber Agustin backing up our cards as the DMT. I can say with out a doubt this was the best camera team I have worked with and I was able to concentrate on communicating and developing the vision of the directors and I was able to leave the details of building the camera to my ACs. We had a few delays in the morning but quickly got back on track and started checking shots of the list.
We shot late into the night and took full advantage of all the lights we brought with my gaffer Jeff Zwicker sculpting the light and wrangling his wild crew of grips. One of my favourite scenes of the film was lit by fire light from the flame bar with a hint of rim light from the 1.2k HMI light. We wrapped up around 1am Sunday morning making it a 19 hour day, and by the time we unloaded the gear back at Sim and I dropped off the cargo van I didn’t get back home until 4am. But the directors and editor were still at it working right through the night and all day Sunday in order to make the 7pm deadline. I got into the editing suite around 5pm Sunday afternoon to sit in for the final colour grade. We put a fairly extreme cold bleach bypass look onto the footage but it was just what we needed to make the story come alive on screen. Due to the time constraints we edited and finished in 2k Prores but we plan to recut the film for future festival showing and can’t wait to take advantage of the full 5K RAW footage for finishing the festival release. I want to thank Matt Wells and his crew for the fantastic edit and colour grade and Raymond Fryer for the photos.
I think everyone had a great time and our film turned out pretty damn good. We recently showed the film at the Bloodshots event to great review and walked away with a best art direction award. We were hoping for more but hey it’s not about the awards right? Unfortunately because we we are planning to submit the film to some festivals I can’t link to the actual finished film right now but I will post it up as soon as I can.