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 48 hour film II

We'd made a movie and even won, but we weren't terribly happy with the final result, so we had to do it again and more importantly, we had to do it again on a weekend which we both had free. This time we felt like we had a grasp on what we were doing. We had all the equipment we needed to make a good movie, we had no shortage of ideas and we had some more people interested (almost all of them ended up canceling). About the only thing we had planned was that I wanted to do something with split screen, since A. I had written a plugin in Blender which does it and B. I remain deeply enamored with the opening of grifters.

The subject was love, the only actor we knew we had was Marek and so within 5 minutes both Shanti and I had the exact same idea for a movie. This time we actually needed a script including an over the top monologue about love which took us several hours and some Scotch to finish.

There were three roles to play and we were prepared to step in and play them ourselves but fortunately at the last minute we were able to get Kaya and Lena and Jonas, who didn't appear but who became our one man production team and helped us a lot.

We had a long shot list but no real idea where to shoot them all, so we did a lot of excessive running around and every once in a while I'd yell stop and make Marek walk back and forth in front of the camera in different costumes. Fortunately Shanti kept a list so that we knew when we had enough material. We ended up shooting waaaaaay long, but at least we finished with enough shots to cut the movie together.

I think the idea we had was good and the movie works, but unfortunately we delivered it too late to be considered in the competition. So where did we go wrong? Let me count the ways: First, we shot in too many bloody locations. When you only have 48 hours to shoot, you either need to know exactly where you're shooting and what, or you need to scale back. One of the contest rules was that the piece has to unquestionably take place in the district of Berlin they specify, but we went a little overboard shooting all over the bloody place. As a result we didn't even have all the material on the computer until close to midnight. Second, we didn't think out our setups very well. Our actors were basically improving their lines based on directions we gave them, so to make it match we shot with two cameras. The cameras didn't match very well and we forgot to sync at the beginning which became a headache in post. Third, we didn't give enough instruction. I basically just let out actors read through our script, improv their own words and shot the result, only stopping them if they did something really wrong. I think they did a great job, but we ended up capturing their practice and several takes, all with slightly different dialog. This made editing a nightmare. Sometimes more is not better, especially when you have a tight deadline. Fourth, I messed up the settings. I tried to export at full HD in H.264. With all the effects and corrections I added, even for a short movie it took close to 2 hours to render.

So, the movie was shown out of contention, but I'm at least happy with the result. We still hope to clean it up, add music and hopefully it will become something quite good. At the very least though, I learned a lot from this film. I learned a lesson in organization and I also learned a lot about direction (mostly in the direction of "what I should have done differently"). Because we're still learning the process of making the film in the first place, we couldn't take as much time as we should have for our actors. We were fortunate that we ended up with some very naturally talented actors who were very patient with us.

Anyway, the final film as it was delivered (40 minutes late) can be downloaded here (1920x1080 305MB)

Comments (107) | Posted by Andrew on 2011-06-01 03:38:27

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