Thursday, June 09, 2011

"Ten": The First Shot

So, here we are: The first shot. And, true to form, I didn't pick an easy one.

The very first shot of the film after the opening credits will be a slow zoom up the skyscraper. That shot will dissolve into another slow zoom up to the window of the Office. That's the shot we're working on today.

Originally, I thought we might be able to pull this off with stop motion. I even created a dolly platform to measure out each shot as the camera moved forward. This didn't turn out so well, however, and I decided to go with straight video.

This would involve mounting the camera and rig on wheels and slowly moving in to the Governor. At the same time, the elevator doors would open behind him. The gears I had previously shown didn't work too smoothly, so I had to redo this setup so that it worked at the push of a button (or rather, a LEGO axle).

After a number of tries and a rearranging of lights, I finally got my shot. I haven't the video to show you, but enjoy these behind-the-scenes shots of the set.

Next time: The Meeting

Saturday, June 04, 2011

"Ten": The Gamechanger

The title of this week's update has two meanings. First off, I am going to depart my rigid weekly schedule of postings. Things get bust and sometimes I don't have the time to make a Saturday update every week, so I'll instead be posting whenever I have something to post (whatever that might be). Rest assured, the next post really will be the First Shot.

The second is a discovery I made just last night. I had just done some test shots and processed them in Power Director with some unsatisfactory results. Whenever I converted the video to Black and White by lowering the color saturation, the video turned splotchy and wholly unacceptable. Then I started playing around with the camera and found, lo and behold, an option to shoot in Black and White. I'm pretty sure I had already checked before for this option and didn't find it. For whatever reason, it was easier to find this time around.

So, things are looking up. Stay tuned for info on the First Shot any day now... except Saturday.

Next time: The First Shot

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chiwetel Ejiofor Quote of the Month: June 2011

This month, we once again return to the realm of David Mamet. What I have stated previously about Mamet remains true: Mamet dialogue is not natural dialogue. It may be catchy and it may be memorable, but it is not what I would call natural.

The degree of how his style makes an imprint on a script varies from film to film. Back in 2007, I highlighted the film Heist for February's Delroy Lindo quote. Of that film, I only have good memories of an exciting and clever crime film. And as evidenced by the use of the film for Delroy, it had it's share of great dialogue too.

But then there are films like Redbelt, where the style goes to ridiculous levels and impedes any enjoyment of the film itself. Now normally, these monthly posts are to highlight a great line of dialogue by the actor chosen for the given year. In Ejiofor's case, who stars in the film, I'm sure he's given some great lines. I wouldn't know as I stopped watching 20 minutes in.

So instead of showcasing a great line, I'm going to show how Mamet's style can border on the ridiculous. First, let me present a skit from the MST3K episode "Prince of Space" that will put a smile on any science fiction fan's face.

Clever, huh? I can't imagine what a pain in the ass it was to write that scene. Now let's look at an early dialogue scene from Redbelt between Mike (Ejiofor) and Gini (played by Cathy Cahlin Ryan):

Gini: "Joe still inside?"

Mike: "No, he just left."

Gini: "Left?"

Mike: "Yeah, maybe he went to the club."

Gini: "What happened to the window?"

Mike: "Isn't he on at the club?"

Gini: "Um, that's funny."

Mike: "Weren't you going to the mountains?"

Gini: "Why would he go to the club?"

Mike: "Isn't he working tonight?"

Gini: "The club? No. No, no, no. He hasn't worked at the club in months. Listen, uh, I have to tell him something. Okay? Tell him."

Mike: "Why?"

Gini: "Why what?"

Mike: "Why hasn't he been working there?"

Gini: "Yeah, I know. Listen, I gotta get home."
Ack! Unfortunately for Mamet, he can't blame such conversations as this on Time/Space distortions. Too bad. It would have made for a more interesting film.

That is two bad Ejiofor films in a row. For July, I promise a good one. Until then.