Director's Chair: Day Two
(soft unsettled music) (zipper zipping)
All right, so welcome to day number two of production. Today we're gonna be going out into the forest, and we're gonna be mining for clay with Cathy. Pretty excited about this. The visuals are gonna be stunning in this scene. We're also gonna go back to the studio and get a few extra pieces that we didn't get before. Today I'll be directing a little bit more than I was during day one. Day one, I really wanted to just see her in her process naturally. I didn't wanna over-direct and and tell her to act very differently than she normally would. I wanted her to do her techniques as naturally as she normally would. So today we're gonna be in the forest and a few more shots that I want to specifically get. So today you'll probably see me just being a little bit more hands on with directing and guiding what I want her to do. So it should be an awesome day. The guys are all fired up. We're just getting packed up right now, and then we'll head on out to...
the forest. It's just about 10 minutes from the office here. So pretty, pretty cool. A couple things here, we're starting the day. We're gonna format our cards. Just get a fresh start to the day. Make sure after the end of any day that we're offloading all of our footage. We're gonna go over in the editing segment how to offload our footage properly, and how to ingest all that properly. And then make sure at the start of every day we're just initializing and formatting our cards. And then one little trick that I like to do as well, because you hear these horror stories of people getting out in the mountains or out on set and they don't have their media. So they don't have their SD cards, or they forget a battery or whatever that is. A little trick that I like to do, is on all your cameras that you're gonna be using, just hit record in the office. That'll ensure basically, "All right, the card is in there," if you have a battery that has some juice in it, and hopefully we have extras as well. And yeah, it'll ensure that we won't kinda get ourselves in a sticky situation like that. So just a quick tip. (footsteps thudding) (door clanking) So when we're coming up to shoot day, or even any specific scene, my mind is always going about how can I improve it, how can I take my plan that I have and make it better, take my shot list and expand on it. Just last night, you know, we've been planning this specific scene for, I guess a few weeks now. And even up to last night I was still, my brain was still moving. How can I make this better, what can I add to it? So as we're coming up to the scene, I have my game plan, I'm excited about it. If that's all we get, I know we're gonna get something amazing. But up until when we step on set and hit record for the first time, I'm constantly, constantly thinking of how can I keep expanding on all the ideas that we already have. And then, you know, by the time we wrap up, hopefully that those ideas would expand even further, just based on what we saw on set, how we set ourselves up for success with good weather and good light and all that stuff. Hopefully all that stuff panned in our favor, and then we come away with an incredible scene. And this is probably the parking lot. Wow, that's actually really nice in there. (soft gentle ambient music) Wow, yeah look at this, huh?
Exactly what I was thinking.
Wow. (soft gentle music) So instantly what I'm seeing here, it's always good to just look around and just stop for a bit and just see what you can find, 'cause there's this amazing, I mean it's just a puddle, but this could be a really cool opening shot as Cathy walks past, and just seeing this puddle, just super green trees. If we can get the reflection of Cathy kinda walking the path it could be a cool idea, but you don't know these things until you show up. I didn't know it. You know, you don't know that there's gonna be this massive, beautiful puddle, and right in front of a luscious green forest. Like, that stuff can't be planned. So yeah, it's good to just stop and analyze the forest, analyze your scene. Luckily we're shaded and the sun isn't super, super high. So I think we'll be able to get some really cool stuff. Yesterday you saw me using headphones. Today I probably won't use headphones. We're not doing any sort of talking, any dialogue, and I trust this microphone, and I'm keeping an eye on the levels, and I wanna be immersed in the scene as well. I don't wanna kinda be in my own world with headphones on, so I'm just gonna be monitoring the levels today, I won't be wearing headphones. For the whole shoot We'll be using the Black Pro-Mist quarter warm. It was on our camera yesterday, and it'll be on the camera for the rest of the shoot just to keep things consistent. And then for the most part yeah, you'll be seeing my settings just on the monitor, and the director's monitor here. And yeah, I might start with the 14-mil here, and start to get a little bit wider. Just really capture the the vastness of this beautiful green forest we have. So yeah, that's what we're starting with.
Isn't that so nice, these trees?
Oh, it's so stunning. How perfect is that pathway?
Oh no, I know this pathway's like the most beautiful path.
Yeah, I really like that.
Throughout the day I have this idea where, when we're seeing the whole process of the plate coming to life in the studio, I want to be cutting back to nature, and I wanna keep reminding the audience that that's what she's working with. That's what her hands are touching, is this piece of nature. So throughout the day today I'm gonna be trying to capture wide establishers and lots of closeups as well, just of leaves, and well, I know I wanna get some stuff with Cathy interacting with it as well. Maybe running her hand through some moss, or whatever that looks like, we'll see. But yeah, I've got some really fun ideas I wanna play around with today. So in this one, I don't have anyone pulling focus for me. So what I'll do is, I'll compose my shot, I'll gather focus, and then I will make sure I'm keeping the same distance away from Cathy. Even though she's moving, I'll move beside her in the same distance. And action. (soft ethereal music) (metal clanking) (soft ethereal music continues) Okay Cathy, ready? And action. So quick tip on movement here. A lot of our movements are coming in with her, gives the impression that we're coming into the scene. So we definitely don't want to be moving backwards as she's moving forwards, 'cause that would give the impression that we're leaving. But as we're coming in, we want our movements being pushed forward. I'm wanting to keep this piece pretty timeless. I want the audience to watch this and feel like it could've been 50 years ago, or you know, it could be 50 years earlier and doesn't make a difference. So I try not to show things like vehicles, 'cause any sorta new vehicle would date it a little bit. So we're not doing any sort of driving scene of Cathy driving in, we're just only starting it at her walking in. Okay Cathy, I'm gonna get you to take your buckets and shovel out, and then just walk up to the wheelbarrow, toss it in and then start making your way. Okay ready, and action. So just for continuity purposes, like she's walking up to the ravine, but she had to pick up a wheelbarrow. So we didn't want a wheelbarrow to randomly be in the scene. So found a interesting shot through all the foliage here and made sure we established that she was kinda picking up a wheelbarrow, so it just didn't randomly pop up in our story. Keep going. Okay, let's try right here, it's perfect. I'm gonna get you to hold this.
Keep going a little further. Right there is perfect, and action. (metal clattering) If you've seen any of my work, you know I love to mix mediums and have some film, and mix it with digital. I've been struggling to find a good reason to have any sort of film, any 16=mil or eight-mil or whatever, within this film. And to be honest with you, I haven't found a good reason. So I probably won't even use this 16-mil footage, but I'm doing it for my own archives. I think it'll be fun to have. And maybe we will find a place for it that fits the story, that's not too pushy, once we get to the edit, but you know for now we just do it for the archives, and yeah, just have fun and enjoy it. We're shooting Kodak 250D film right now. Okay Cathy, you ready?
And action. (film whirring) (metal clattering) That's a good feeling.
So did it look like it was just a dense field?
Oh yeah, you're just making your way through a-
Yeah, charging through a very dense field. So for this shot, it's nice. We have beautiful overcast, it's making soft light. But the sky is still very bright, so I don't, try not to fill the screen or fill the composition with much of the sky. So in this shot one option, at first I was looking this way. It's not very appealing, just 'cause the sky is very bright. And then I composed it, so we're just getting a little bit of the sky, and we're just filling the frame with the green. I think it looks much better. So it's kind of composing our shot based on our circumstances here. And action. (metal clattering) (water splashing) Okay Cathy, you ready to make your way up?
And action. (film clicking) Awesome, and action. (objects clattering) (water rushing) Just get a shot of you. You're not like overly happy, you're not like sad. Just kinda like neutral, just like embracing the forest. Yeah, yeah, just like that kinda. Yeah, the light's hitting your face really nicely here. So let's even put your buckets down. You don't have to move your feet, but just as if you just put your buckets down, and kinda just look up and embrace the trees. Okay ready?
And action. (soft ethereal music) (water rushing) Wow, that's awesome.
Super good, and the light's like so perfect right now.
And then I just normally knock it down like this, and then I pick it up and I put it in the bucket.
But- Let's just do, let's try to shovel it in for now and see how that goes.
And action. (water rushing) (shovel thudding) So we're shooting the scene here. Pretty important scene, we had a lot of build up. We had all this anticipation of her walking through the forest. We got one really cool shot of her just embracing the forest, looking up with the trees. And we got the light on her, on her eyes, and it was just it was stunning. And then the first stroke in, wanted to get a nice close up of the shovel. And then this is when she's gonna start to talk about a flashback to her time in Australia, gold mining there. And that was an important shot. I wanted to get it close up, but I also wanted to make sure I held it, just so we had enough time to start to transition ourselves into those flashbacks, into those photos. So yeah, usually when a scene like this, when I know it's not a fast-paced scene, I wanna get the moments, I wanna get the details and the sounds, usually I hold my shots for quite a long time. If I know it's a fast-paced scene, I will cut my shots a little bit quicker, but right now I'm just trying to immerse the audience here. So I'm holding my shots for sometimes 10, sometimes 15 seconds, even though I'm gonna use it for a little bit less, so. Just wanna get both hands is cool, and just kinda feeling it out. (soft ethereal music) A couple things, this is one of the few scenarios where I have a zoom lens on. I have the 18 to 35 lens. It's tight in here, it's hard to change lenses. We're literally in a creek. So this is kinda one of the few times where it's just handy. This is a great lens, 'cause it goes to 1.8. So I'm not actually losing that much flexibility on being able to open up my aperture. And yeah, normally I do shoot on primes, but this is a scenario where it's very, very difficult and time consuming to change lenses. Another thing too I wanna talk about is, you know, this is a messy spot. I'm getting some little water on the lens as we're just hiking up. Sometimes I don't clean that off, and I'm totally okay with that. It adds to the scene, it adds to the ruggedness if we have some imperfections on our lens. It's on our diffuser in front of the lens, so it's not as important as getting our lens all muddy. We're trying to keep our, obviously our gear clean, but if we get some specks of water, usually I'll wait till later it clean it off 'cause it adds some really cool texture, especially when you get some flares coming in. Dig something there, let it fall into the water, and then dig it out with your hands, okay? And action. (shovel chopping) (soft gentle music) So beautiful. I'm trying to get the last shot of the film here. You know, last shot we want it to be a good one. Had this idea of after we've seen the plates, after we've have had a meal, I want it to all come back around. I want to be back at Cathy where it all started, digging the clay. So we're trying to get one last powerful shot of her just standing in the rain, alone in the forest, digging the clay. So we'll start with your head kinda down. You can put your shovel in. (shovel thudding) Yeah. And then just kinda look around, like look up and look around a little bit, as if you're just kinda taking a break and enjoying the forest, okay?
And action. (shovel thudding) (water rushing) Awesome, really cool. We got the ending. We got all the shots we're thinking of mostly, now we're gonna switch lenses and get a bunch of closeups. We're gonna use these shots later when we're in the studio and we're cutting back to all these nature shots. We're gonna get some really cool closeups while it's raining here. It's got a good feeling to it, so. (shovel thudding) (water rushing) Okay just, you're gonna look right at the lens for this one. Yeah, just that expression is great. (water rushing) Awesome. So we wrapped up at the harvesting of the clay. Went super well. As you can hear it started raining, and that was a bit of a challenge. Gear was getting a little bit wet and muddy, but we got some awesome footage. That's kinda one of the challenges of filmmaking, is you're gonna find yourself in some interesting situations where the weather might not be going quite as planned, 'cause it started raining pretty good. But if you persevere, you can get some incredible footage. Like we got some really cool footage as it was raining. Obviously we're always wanting to keep our gear in good shape. So at the end of any shoot make sure you're cleaning off her gear. But we went, got reset. We changed our clothes that were all muddy, and now we're back at Cathy's studio, and we're gonna keep going here. We have a few more shots that we need to get of her processing the clay, and then we should be wrapped for today. (rain pounding)
This is kinda cool.
Will they bring their freaking wet suits or what?
Yeah, this is crazy. Noel, can you gimme the-35 mil? So I'm gonna try to get a couple scenes of like even Cathy just poking her head out as it's just pouring. You know, this is not something that we were anticipating but, is it hailing now? (laughing) Wow, oh.
This is crazy.
It's running like insane. (rain drumming) Maybe go get a cloth if you can. Holy, it looks like it's snowing. (rain drumming) (soft gentle music) Awesome, cool. Man, I get wet very quickly. (soft gentle music) (hands slapping) (soft gentle music continues) Sometimes on set it can get noisy and hectic, people are doing different things and moving around. Sometimes it's nice just to have everyone just be quiet and step back, especially with a moment like this when we're on the wheel, it's very peaceful. And to really capture that piece, we want all of our surroundings to be very peaceful. So I asked everyone to just be quiet and just enjoy the scene, and sit back for a little bit. So I was able to just feel that peace myself. Cathy was able to feel that you know, herself as well. And then when we were done, I feel like we got a really authentic feeling that was actually happening in the room. And then when we can kinda just sit back and follow an artist do their thing, it's really, there's something really satisfying about that, so. So I'm just getting, while my film camera's set up, sometimes it's nice just to, when we got what we want for video, just to take a step back, shoot some film stills. And what I find as well, is usually I find different unique angles that I might have not gotten with my video camera when I just change my medium. I don't know what it is, but when we change the mediums up, our minds just start to think differently, and we start to think of different angles. And then we can go back to the video camera, and from there get that shot that we found with the other mediums, so that's kind of a unique tip that I like to use. This camera is the Elan 7, so it's like an SLR, it's got all the fun goodies, and just a super 35 film camera. But yeah, there's not a lot of character in it, but usually on something like this where I wanna make sure I get everything pretty dialed in, this is a good camera to use. (camera clicking) (camera whirring) There we go. (soft gentle music) (film whirring) Oh, feel like that. (laughing) Did you feel that too?
I felt that connection. I feel that we connected on a deeper level, because of that one right there. (film whirring) (soft gentle music)
And, you ready?
And action. (soft gentle music continues) (birds tweeting) And action. So we're gonna try to get this shot in the corner here. It's a pretty dark tight area in here, but light is coming through in the corner and we have a few of Cathy's finished products in the corner, so I wanna get just closeups. But Noel has the atmospheric spray, and we're just gonna see if we load it up here, if it softens the light, and we could possibly get a few light rays, and just soften the whole image over there. So we'll see if it works. Might not, but worth a shot. (soft gentle music continues) And action. (soft gentle music continues) (birds tweeting) (paper rustling) I love that, it looks sweet. We just wrapped up the whole process of making the plate, and basically the whole ceramic process today, up from harvesting the clay to finished product. We just finally wrapped that. Pretty happy with how it all turned out. We got tons of different steps, tons of details. And that scene, we have the option to build it a little bit faster, have some flashes to nature and all that stuff that we wanted to have in there. So I'm pretty excited how that one's gonna turn out. I think we did a good job. We executed our plan pretty much to the tee, plus we got lots more. We got some 16-millimeter stuff, lots of really good options. And now we're just gonna roam around the property. I just want to capture a few more details around the property that sell the story of how magical this place is. Like we're just enjoying shooting here, and being on her property, and it's just beautiful area, some donkeys and stuff. And I think I just wanna shoot some establishing shots that we can throw in maybe at the beginning of a scene, (sheep bleating) so we'll do that right now. So there's this guy over here, and he's being a bit of an ass. So someone's being an ass on set, just kinda leave him alone and yeah, shoot away from him, but. (sheep bleating) Hey sheep, (mimics bleating), get over here. (mouth clicking) Sheep, baa, get over here.
No, he does not like you, eh?
This guy likes me.
He's the fricking jam.
Yeah, he's a beauty and a half, that's why. Hey donkey. (animals calling) (soft gentle music) Today went super well. Cathy was super easy to work with, basically because we did so much pre-production with her beforehand. She knew exactly what we were doing. She knew the pacing. She knew everything from wardrobe, the colors. She added her own little flares into the wardrobe too. She showed up even with this little green bandana, 'cause she knew one of our colors in our color palettes was green, so it's really, that just shows you how important it is to not only do pre-production for yourself, but it's for everyone on sets. It's for your talent. It's for your producer. It's for someone shooting behind the scenes. Doing that pre-production can help everyone be on the same page, and it made my job as a director way easier. I didn't have to explain every single minute detail, 'cause Cathy essentially already knew what we were looking for beforehand. For now, it was all about being clear with what shot I was getting, what I wanted her to do, how fast I wanted her to move, and just making that process as clear as possible. As far as the feeling, as far as the mood, the pacing, we followed all of that to the tee. We got more than we anticipated. So now we're gonna have tons of awesome options as we go into the edit, but we still have one more day of shooting. (soft gentle music)