Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Story boarding and inspirations

After many, many iterations, I finalized the script for Thicker Than Blood recently and those that have read it have urged me to get this made.  And so it begins...

I began story boarding it about a week ago and I have the first scene completed (about 2 minutes and 40 seconds total).  It takes me a while to do this as I do not do it in the traditional fashion.  I do it with a 3D application called Lightwave 3D.  Basically it's a competitor to Maya or 3DS Max.  In this process, I have to build all of the sets and props, set the scene and animate all of it.  I create a VO of the dialog in the film and bring the final animations into FCP and edit it all together, adding the VO and sound effects.

This allows me to create every setup that will be in the film, to pre-visualize all of it and basically create the entire film on the computer.  This is really a wonderful way to do this since I get to see everything before I ever roll the camera.  I know what each setup will be.  I know how long each shot will be.  I can experiment with multiple camera angles on a scene to see which of these best serves the story.

Then, once we are on set, we have already shot the film in the storyboard.  We have every aspect of it planned out to the most minute detail.  This makes for a fast paced shoot and minimizes wasted time on the set.  It does not, however, preclude changing it at the last minute.  If some improvement presents itself on the day of the shoot, it will be explored.  But, when all else fails, we have the plan to fall back on.  To quote the old addage: Plan the shoot and shoot the plan.

One thing that Nancy excels at is over-preparation.  Invariably when we do a gig, we are prepared for every contingency.  But this makes for a very organized and fast shoot.  When noon hits and people are getting hungry, we are ready for it and we are on schedule.  Hitchcock always story-boarded every shot in his films.  When he got on the set, the film was already shot.  He just had the mechanics of putting it on film to deal with...

OK, enough rambling about story-boards.  Now for the inspiration...

I have not really spoken about the new DSLRs that are being used for video.  However, that does not mean that I have been stuck in a dark room with my head in the sand.  Nancy and I have been tracking these developments with great interest.  We watched the season closer of House M.D. last night that was shot on the Canon 5D MkII and it was very impressive.  These cameras are amazing.  And SO small that you can really get them into a very tight situation with ease.  I love that idea.

With all of that being said, and with no further ado, I offer to you a short film shot on the 5D MKII by Shane Hurlbut ASC.  It's called The last 3 Minutes and it is just stunning.  This, my friends, is truly inspiring work:

The Last 3 Minutes

Making of part 1

Making of part 2

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