First day of shooting

Using a line up movie to judge increments

I decided that I had to begin shooting today. Even if I wasn’t ready it would get some momentum going at least. I spent most of the day trying to get the position of the lights in the right place.  I am starting with the flashback to the alcohol abuse scene so I wanted a sinister type lighting. I played around with various setups and too about 50 test shots in Dragon Stop Motion. This handy feature records all the relevant information about the shot and allows you to access certain data like the histogram and view over/under exposed areas. I also took some time to create nice labels for the bottles. I don’t have a printer so that meant a trek to the university to print a page.

Test Shots:


The trouble I had was with how to balance the lights and diffusers. The images and videos I have seen online of people doing these all use clamps and rigs to achieve this. I don’t have these things and have to make to with leaning things on top of other things and praying they don’t move! Also the lights get really how so I have to be careful not to touch them off anything. I have burned many fingers in the past few days.

I created a line up movie in After Effects last night which is basically a spinning circle with a white line for a radius. I timed how long it took for one revolution of the reel to rotate which came in at about 4 seconds and translated this to the circle rotation speed. I then loaded this into Dragon as an overlay so I could move the reels to the same speed.

While the tape plays on the machine, a bunch of other wheels spin internally and I tried to move these as well when I shot 8 seconds of a test video. These 8 seconds came in at exactly 192 frames as I shot it at 24 fps. When I played it back I was shocked to see the amount of mistakes contained in these 8 seconds. Firstly the light in the background is inconsistent. I think this is down to the fact that I am sitting beside the tape machine with my back to the wall and the monitor glowing in my face. Each time I took a shot I would be positioned slightly different and contributing to a difference in light being cast in the room.

The tape reels didn’t flow either and seemed to stutter along at an unnatural speed. I think this is down to the fact that I’m shooting on Ones and the movement between each frame is too small for my hands to move the reel along at exactly the same increment each time. Finally the other wheels internally moved horribly and didn’t work at all. Also, with the Play button depressed and manually feeding the tape through the heads the tape has a tendency to fall out of the heads. This is quite a big problem.

I rethought these dilemmas and decided that in the interest of getting this project moving at a faster pace I would have to use artistic licence. I will shoot this scene (and possibly most others) on Two’s. I will only move the reels and not the internal wheels (though I may decide to move them in the hospital scenes). Instead of having the Play button pressed, I will have to pause button pressed. That are virtually identical to the casual observer only the tape has more freedom to pass beneath the play and erase heads and will not become ‘derailed’.

I began shooting under thees new conditions. I paused after 8 seconds and exported a quicktime movie to check the progress. It was certainly a cleaner take that the previous one. Still some light inconsistency but as I tried to assume the exact same position between shots I can’t do any more here. Anyway, in the better lit shots this will be less of an issue. The only problem I have with this take is that it has more of a ‘stop motion’ look to it. It may sound stupid but I wanted to try and achieve a more realistic, or film-y look but I’ll have to notch this one up to experience.

Things were going okay until about 20 minutes ago when my camera batter died! Taking the battery out of the camera disturbed the camera position and I will need to reshoot tonight’s work tomorrow as I’m just too exhausted to wait the time for the battery to charge. It’s starting to feel like the more work I put in the more problems I’m getting in return!

I may have to take a break from this project for the next couple of days as I have an essay to write for another module.

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