Friday, May 25, 2007

Second Shoot

I should first apologize for the last posting. It was pathetic to say the least. Today we shot bowling. A relatively simple subject, I admit, but challenging nonetheless. How do you make bowling interesting to the viewer? That was the biggest challenge. I think we were successful, even though the lighting could have been a little better. Several of the more complex steadicam shots were abandoned in order to move the production along. I'd originally intended to get some tracking shots of the bowling ball as it glided down the lane. That ended up getting shelved.

We shot at the University of Utah's Student Union. Once again, they were very accommodating. Our talent: Todd and Scott were also very accommodating and did a fantastic job. Todd accidentally showed up with a Simpsons shirt, which we had to cover for copyright reasons. Todd also had to leave early so we finished all of his shots first. Scott waited patiently.

The Union gave us five lanes and we ended up having the entire alley to ourselves. It was an ideal location, despite the fact that it was very inaccessible. Luckily Melissa and Tanja were there to help.

Next week, we're heading down to Moab to shoot the river rafting sequence.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you film it, it is no dream

This Friday, we will shoot the bowling sequence of our adaptive sports project. This should be very interesting, given the fact that some of the shots will be very technical.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Production Begins!

Production began promptly at 6:30 in A.M. The crew met and setup the equipment in the basement of the Student Union. While unloading equipment, I accidentally rolled over a small nail. The sound of escaping air (a dreaded sound for anyone who uses a wheelchair) hit my ears and informed me that I was screwed. Luckily, I had my sports chair wheels in the car. They don't fit my daily chair very well, but at least they roll.

Our talent arrived at 7:45: Paul and Jake. Jake is related to Jack Kerouac. I went over the shooting schedule with our talent as Jeff (The DP/MD) balanced the steadicam. Melissa and Tanja assisted with the equipment setup, talent wrangling and organization. They also helped retrieve waivers, coffee and sandwhiches.

We started shooting an hour later than planned, which wasn't a huge deal. The workflow went as follows: I went over the proposed shot(s) with Jeff, using storyboards I'd created in advance. Jeff made a couple of practice runs using the steadicam and jib arm, while I coordinated with the talent. Melissa and Tanja turned on the lights and prepared for note-taking. As soon as Jeff and I were confident with the framing, lighting and camera movement, we rolled film. Actually, we didn't really shoot on film. Or video for that matter. All footage was recorded onto portable hard drives, which allowed Jeff and I to immediately review all shots before moving on. Once a shot was successfully captured, Melissa and Tanja jotted notes down on a shot list and turned off the production lights. This was the process throughout the day.

Jake and Paul (our talent) were very patient. Production involves a lot of waiting around.

At 2:00, an onslought of elementary school kids arrived for a day of bowling. Luckily we weren't capturing any sound. All sound will be recorded after-the-fact in a more tightly-controlled environment. The kids didn't really interfere with the production, although Melissa had to step in and do some crowd control.

The shoot wrapped at 4:45, putting us 3 and 1/2 hours behind schedule. Not bad considering Coppola's shooting schedule on Apocalypse Now. Overall, everything went really well. After puncturing my tire, I thought the bad luck would continue. Luckily, no one crossed paths with black cats or crows. It's nice to finally have footage in the can. A relief. Our next shoot is bowling and hopefully we'll encounter the same good fortune.

It was a pleasure working with everyone, especially Paul and Jake. I really hope they like the finished product.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

8 Ball, Corner Pocket

Tomorrow at 8:30 am, production commences on the adaptive sports project, tentatively titled "Take 2". The crew will meet at 6:30 am to unload equipment and get everything ready for setup. I'm taking the day off of work to work on the project. Some may say that this isn't a vacation and that's very true. Over the past two years, I've been saving up vacation hours to be used on this production.

As I write this update, I'm experiencing a combo of excitement and nervousness. This project has been a long time coming and I truly hope it turns out the way I've envisioned. I really think it has the potential to open a lot of eyes and minds. People need to understand that individuals with disabilities also have the capacity to actively live their lives.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Production Update: Less Than One Week

Next Friday, we will begin production on our adaptive sports video. Pool will be the first sequence that we shoot. As day one of production draws closer, we are making final arrangements with cast, crew and our location contacts. The Student Union ,at The University of Utah, has generously offered to let us shoot the pool sequence in their activities area. Because this is a video dedicated to adaptive sports/activities for individuals with disabilities, we will be utilizing a completely wheelchair accessible pool table for our shoot. The pool sequence will most likely be 25-30 seconds of the finished project, which means each shot must be carefully orchestrated and executed. Our entire pool sequence has been storyboarded, which will help both the DP and myself in constructing shots.

On a personal note, I'm excited to finally begin shooting. This project has been several years in the making. We have one year to shoot, edit, color correct, sound mix and score the entire production. So, I will have a lot of work ahead of me. As will the rest of my collaborators, whithout whom this project couldn't take flight.