Checkpoint Shoot Completed

Posted Friday, June 13, 2008, 2:45 AM

Over the long weekend my friend Rob's short film, Checkpoint, was shot. I came along, partly because I am the Visual Effects Supervisor, and partly because it's just cool fun to be on set of a film as it's being made.

When you're involved in no-budget filmmaking, it's always good etiquette to dig in and participate enthusiastically - it's all part of the fun. I volunteered myself as being in charge of the boom mike, and it took up a considerable amount of the shoot, as I had to be there to record all dialogue and sound effects in most of the shots. I also did a few general dogsbody kinds of jobs, alongside most of the other crew.

The good part with a job like that is being right in the thick of the shoot, and seeing it all up close. Witnessing, and perhaps contributing, to the decisions being made, as they come up, is a very exciting part of the creative process, and it's a joy to be so close to it as it happens. I can really believe it would be equally cool fun for the professionals in that kind of close quarters position; getting to be there on some big Hollywood blockbuster, next to the actors, Director, and DoP when they make their on-the-spot creative decisions.

It was exhausting, though. Partly due to the early starts and the cold weather; but we were also on our feet all day, sometimes walking back and forth a lot between crew area and shooting area, helping out with the set and prop relocating, etc. Plus there's a mental exhaustion that comes from being alert all the time for every shot. And I was far from suffering the worst of the hardships: Dave the DoP had to lug a shoulder-mounted camera everywhere, sometimes handheld; Matty was on sound with a heavy piece of machinery hanging around his neck all day non-stop; Ads was in charge of set wrangling; MPS was Producer; Dags was 1st AD; and they all were a lot more active than me a lot of the time, especially mentally.

But strangely enough, the tiring exhaustion of it is part of the joy. Somehow doing that kind of hard work is like a holiday away from an ordinary day, and can be quite exhilarating. In fact, in retrospect the most annoying parts become another story to tell the new guys who come to each subsequent shoot - indeed we often regaled each of the newbies and actors with the tales of the Reality Check and Jedi Heritage shoots.

The film came together really well. The performances were exceptional, the costumes were impressively authentic, and some of the shots will look just beautiful. I can't wait to see it when it is put together.

The next step is post-production. As Visual Effects Supervisor, I will have a few shots to finish up, but Rob the Director/Creator/Editor is also an effects compositor, so he'll be taking on quite a few of the needed shots himself. I've already made the 3D train model, and know how to do all the other shots required of me, including some bullet hits and matte paintings, but there may also be an additional scene shot, to be used as a credits sequence epilogue, and that will be partially composited with suitable WWII era backgrounds. I hope it will be done, as it's also something I'm excited to try.

So my job on this one is far from over yet! Bring it on, I say.

0 Reasoned Responses:

Post a Comment