Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pics from the set of Seven Cases

Today we shot a really gruesome scene with Saffron (of Republica). She's a trained and naturally talented actress with a great screen presence. Dave Vincent Philips and Paul Cooper play opposite her and the scene had the exact right amount of tension and emotion.... everyone took direction really well and having just watched the rushes, i'm really excited with how the project is progressing.

Tomorrow we move on to the green screen set which will bring a whole new set of challenges. Can't wait.

You can follow Saffron on twitter here: @SaffRepublica

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seven Cases - Day Two on set.. production stills.

Just some production stills from today. A mad busy day... lots of scenes.. indoors, outdoors, day, night...running, shooting, blowing up buildings (not exactly..but CGI will fix that)..

Very lucky to bump into a very generous Stevenage resident who invited us to film in the perfect location we were trying to find...  amazing.

More to follow in the days to come..

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Seven Cases Shoot Starts Tomorrow...

Tomorrow is the first day of the shoot for 'Seven Cases', my latest feature film. Myself and Jon Atkinson have been busy buying all the props, finding the locations and finalizing the schedule and now we're ready to start. (almost...)

We've got a Hague Double Suction Car Mount to mount the FS100 on the outside of the car for the 'through the windscreen' shots and also for shooting the rear facing 'plates' which we will use later for the car interior shots which we are shooting in a green screen studio.

We've also got a GoPro Hero3 Black edition as well as a Silver edition and Canon 550D shooting car exteriors. We're also using the Go Pros as POV cams and CCTV cams for some of the shoot. It's going to be a full-on job keeping a track on all the footage. We're keeping a DIT station with us at all times for on-set playback and transcoding to Pro Res HQ whenever we aren't able to capture directly to the Atomos Ninja2.

The 550D is being fed into another Atomos Ninja using the Magic Lantern hack to remove the on-screen focus box. This allows us to bypass the nasty H.264 nightmares.

We have a 21" monitor on-set which will be running live so that we can be 100% sure our framing and lighting is spot on. It'll make a change from just using a 4" or 7" monitor. (Not so portable though)

I'll post some behind the scenes pics next week.

Last minute advice for anyone else about to make a film? Start earlier... it always takes longer than you think. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Seven Cases - Feature Nears Start of Shoot...

As is always the case with my feature projects, principal photography has crept up pretty damn fast and now we're running around like crazy getting everything sorted. Casting is all there apart from the main protagonist, who we've planned to cast and shoot completely separately later in the summer. It might sound odd, but it'll all make sense when you see the film...

For the principal cast we've got:

Dave Phillips
Paul Cooper
Samantha Fox
Saffron Sprackling
Emily Heighway
Dan Peters

We've been busy testing a lot of the unique shots we intend to shoot and we've booked a studio to film all the car interiors. After testing we decided that green screen was the way to go as opposed to 'process' back projection. The green screen just looked a lot better and gave us more options in post.

The car modifications are happening next week to give it the required look and we've also been lucky enough to get support from Bucks University who are supplying a lot of the equipment we would usually have to hire. They have also put us in touch with some film/media students who are going to be getting involved as runners and assistants.

We had a production meeting this week with the main characters and went over the script discussing mood, performance and delivery of the very emotional screenplay. We also settled on the colour palette for the costumes. We're controlling the colour very carefully this time to allow a much more stylised grade.

We're welcoming some new partners on this production on the finance side of things, more of which we'll talk about at a later date, but as a result of which this film will be part of 'Psyco-Central Productions' and not 'Recoil Films'.  It's been interesting to see reactions to the project from people outside of the usual circle... i think we may have something really unique here. As with all features though, it all depends on how successfully i can capture what i've created in my head on 'film'...(hard disk actually...)

I've been studying specific shots to get the exact emotional feel that i need. I've been watching a lot of Spielberg films. He may be popcorn film creator, but no one can generate the waterworks as suddenly and as successfully as he can...and it's all about the faces of the performers. He concentrates on reactions rather than action and that's the key. I've arranged some useful tools to capture these shots including jibs, cranes and dollys... i just hope in the chaos of the shoot i can get the shots i really want rather than 'just enough coverage' as often happens when you're in a rush.

Anyway, we've got another few days of last minute arrangements and buying the various stuff we need before it all kicks off.

I'll blog midway through the shoot to keep you updated...

An another note, Digital Film Maker Magazine has an 8-Page article all about producing and directing a micro-budget movie which i wrote. It has lots of details and picture from behind the scenes of my last feature 'The Addicted'. It's available in WHSmiths now. Grab a copy... it's full of great content.