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PREY: day 1

First night of production last night at Casa de Bruno. I don't think I've seen that many people at the house at one time since the Halloween party.

Started off my evening by setting up lighting. Since I had already made the faux fire rig, that was set up in place as the key light, with a fill coming from a "moonlight" set way up high, which was intended to be primarily a big diffuse source from the tent itself. Inside the tent was a little greenie to act as a point fill; there will be an establishing shot of some glowsticks to make it look like a practical.
Now this is a little over 2500 watts of lighting. Diffused and gelled, certainly. But the camera evidently has some pretty poor low-light characteristics, and that amount of light just wasn't cutting it. So there was fiddling.

And then the rains came.

Bear in mind that this set is a tent, theoretically a German army surplus tent from the late 80's/early 90's. So it was set up outdoors. And we had scads of people in makeup ready to shoot.

So we quickly took down the lights and moved the electrical stuff into shelter, got the actors back inside, and bummed. And it rained.

Tony ran rehearsals in the basement.

Trees mentioned that the tent would fit in the garage.

I went to Menards and picked up 16 concrete blocks (I'm getting used to concrete blocks now) at the very last minute, and Rick and Josh moved the tent into the garage. Tony called it for the actors, we proceeded to set up the tent with the concrete blocks taking the place of tent stakes, and I proceeded to try and recreate the same lighting inside the garage.

This also involved setting up some blackout screens through the openings in the tent. It's a nighttime setting, so having it look like it's dark outside is a good thing. Certainly much better than "hey, look, is that a garage door?".

And you know, I think it will work. I need to fiddle with one more light for the fire, but beyond that it looks pretty decent. And eventually we will move the tent back outside for some outdoor establishing shots, which should make it fairly seamless in the final edit.

The bonus is that we can shoot the nighttime sequences early by just shutting the garage door.

Now this also serves to drive home even more the need for a studio/soundstage space to work in. Not that I didn't know this before, but it's the difference between intellectual knowledge and practical application. I know that I can't build one on my tiny city lot, though I keep hoping that I can convince T & K that a 40-by-60-foot pole barn with 24-foot ceilings would be a perfect addition to their yard.

I do feel a bit like I was set upon by midgets with hammers, though I think that's more from the weather change than any serious physical labor (other than the concrete blocks).

Tonight, there will be actual shooting.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 17th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
More like today, too.

Sarah and I did some more camera tests and adjustments. Bumping down the iris helped clean up the grain, too. It's going to be a touch dark, but what we have now is moody and pretty.

Thing is, I'm losing the boys (short of Alex) after about four. So we're going to shoot with the kids here starting in about an hour, and get their stuff done. We'll have the kids run into the "not in frame" corner of the tent for the fight scene, which will give us a practical excuse for losing them in shot for those scenes. In short, it's improvisation time to make way with our actors.

Sarah is making up the actors right now. Kate first, so I can do some of her closeups in the tent while the boys are being prepared.

Gotta say it: Having an improvised studio does not suck.
Aug. 17th, 2005 05:19 pm (UTC)
Well, I guess get what you can in the can.

<spirit voice>
Toooooony... a 40 by 60 foot pole barn with 24-foot ceilings would be perfect in your backyaaaaaaard... Wooooooooooooo... and Rob could do all the electrical work and interior carpentry as needed... Woooooooo...
</spirit voice>
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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