Friday, April 28, 2017

The White Room

A couple of weeks ago, i shot a new feature. Called 'The White Room', it's a psychological drama starring Emily Wyatt as a soldier suffering from PTSD who becomes agoraphobic.

We shot 90% of the project in 6 days. How?

Well, i used 2 cameras...and i only used one lens on each. Both zooms. No changing lenses, no messing with camera rigs... 2 rigs, pick one for each shot and get on with it. Also, we had no sound man, no boom and no crew... just me and the actors. The cast comprises of just 4 actors with only 2 on screen at any one time. Also, the whole thing was shot in one location - which was indoors and had been pre-lit with mostly practical lights and daylight. Nothing to move between shots apart from the camera.

Which cameras?

The Sony A7S combined with the Atomos Shogun, shooting 4K Pro Res HQ.

The Lumix GH4 combined with the Atomos Shogun, also shooting 4K Pro Res HQ.

The GH4 was on my Came-TV Mini2 Gimbal and the A7S was mounted in my Movofilms Rig.

One tripod. A Came-TV slider (only used in one scene) and a AKG C568 attached to both rigs picking up what little dialogue there was.

I'm really pleased with the footage. We're in the process of putting the edit together at the moment.

There's one more day of shooting to come and then some extensive work by Jon Atkinson to compose and record the score once we're happy with the edit.

We used the Shotlist App to keep us on track during the shoot. It's so easy to know what's left to do when you're working on indie projects using this app. Due to the availability of the actors we had to shoot out of sequence and there were several scenes where shooting in order would have been very tricky for Emily who had to really experience some pretty harrowing and dark moments. We found getting these done as soon as possible worked best so that we could be sure we had the energy they needed.

Shooting 4K Pro Res HQ swallowed up a lot of HD space, but as we had my edit rig there the whole time, we regularly backed up during each shoot day. But - we did have one disaster. For reasons i still don't understand, one of the SSD drives from the Shogun corrupted all the files on it! We could see it had Pro Res files on it, but nothing could read them. We ended up re-shooting everything that we lost, which in hindsight was pretty easy. Once you've already decided on camera placement and how the lines should be delivered and blocking etc, it's actually really fast just to re-shoot. Massive props to Emily and Sadie for their help on that... i was pretty close to losing my shit...  hate hardware fuck-ups!  Anyway...  it all ended up fine. I have a feeling that maybe the drive was removed from the Shogun at a bad time or maybe it was fried by the caddy when i connected it to the Mac? No idea... i'll have to keep an eye on this.

Check out some stills from the shoot....

Emily Wyatt

Emily Wyatt - and some lovely vertical lens flare from the window

Liam Thomas

Sadie Tonks and Emily Wyatt