for anyone who has read my threads on this forum you already know who I am, for those of you who dont i am a crazy AMATEUR filmmaker (former pro photog) who loves to push the limits. For the past two solid weeks I have been an absolute sponge in soaking up all the knowledge I can to help me become better at this before the big TV Series shoot. i have had a lot of fun and even in only two weeks I can look back on my previous films and say stuff like "that did not need to be in there" or "we should have put that scene together different"
I have learned everything from blocking a scene with talent, to marking a scene, to boom operation, external sound, timecode, separate system sound, gaffing, using things like Dolly and cranes to add a bit of production value to a set. I know I still have lots to learn, but the fun thing is when you make a mistake after you have the knowledge you can see it right away, and then immediately choose to change it or leave it in to add some color or originality.
I have also learned that when you prepare a set properly that takes time, for this movie we filmed in a kitchen. So to dress the set we had to remove all personal items, set up lighting, and remove the ceiling tiles for the sound equipment to be in place. I attached a pic of that as well.
i have read lots about people using cliches and not convention, not being original, and also about what to really leave out of a movie. obviously I have not gotten into cars blowing up or people flying and really do not want to go to that side of the filmmaking process. I prefer to shoot what I see and edit them produce. Ill save the special effects for other people. I found that one of the biggest weapons as a "1 man crew" is to EDIT WHILE YOU SHOOT, there is no sense in shooting 30 minutes of a waterfall when you only need 30 seconds. if you edit as you go in your head the process after is so much less painless.
To give an example in my last two adult films I shot and directed the first one took a week to shoot, and 8 hours to edit, this second one after learning the stuff I did took 2 hours to shoot, and 12 to edit, so the shoots are quicker now that I do not linger on shots that do not need to be there, but the editing becomes longer (to be fair the last film was using DSS so that was a PAIN IN THE ASS to sync up properly)
I am also learning that almost anything in my reach can be used in a film, I have started seeing contraptions everywhere. I am going to share a couple I made, please do not laugh, i know how ghetto they look, but I am telling you they worked!
The first one up is the dolly, In this film i wanted to have a tracking shot across the kitchen for the opening scene, with the camera in a dream like focus, so I used 2 long pieces of PVC (which we normally use for the greenscreen in the studio) and put them on two chairs, I then clamped them down and taped them off. I had my track but no wheels, what to do. I used a baking pan as well as some pvc sheeting to make the dolly slide, I then took a bucket and a small towel to avoid any loud echos, I then taped the camera to the bucket. Believe it or not overall I felt like this added a nice touch. attached is a picture of my dolly, as well as one of one of the actresses at the end of filming next to the dolly
The second addition I made was creating a jib crane for a shot that started at the actresses waist and slid down as she stepped out of her underwear. the problem with this shot was I wanted it to be a smooth lowering, and not handheld. For the "jib" I used a grocery cart (which had the large wheels for smooth rolling motion) an arm you use to hold mics (from a radio studio we own) a lot of tape, and some foam.
I cannot show you the resulting shot but I talked with the actress and got permission to show you the opening dolly shot (THIS CLIP MAY CONTAIN MATERIAL FOUND OFFENSIVE), I know its not perfect but when the adult actress looks at my edit and says "your getting better at this" as opposed to the first film, well i guess it gives me hope for the TV series!
Oh btw, i shot this all on ISO 200 with 24 fps, to give it the real look, Probably could have done better on lighting but I am still working on that. It seems to me hollywood lights up a set like the fourth of july when they do it. I will work on the three point lighting setup!
Opening Dolly shot attached
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