First scene in the can

We had a blast shooting the final third of scene 10 or as we have come to call it, scene 10 sex. It was a fun little shoot. We had a couple of shots that were a challenge due to the AnC crew being composed of only Trisha and Charlie. Barnaby was being tapped for his outstanding acting abilities so managing the boom, doing dolly shots and pulling focus were all in T and C's hands. We managed. We learned a few things and like always some of our fears were unfounded and some other things were a little harder to realize than we thought. It really is pretty impossible to pull a dolly and pan at the same time, but we were able to do a few things to make it easier on us. We had Jeremy walk a pretty straight line keeping the distance from camera to him pretty even and we closed down to open up our depth of field. It worked out. We thought booming might be a little difficult with just us two, but we were able to set our levels and go. It worked out very well.

Jake Fritz stopped by to help out on the set. He was only able to stay for a few hours because he got called in to work. But he helped unload and set up the first shot. It would have been nice to have him to help Dolly later on but I'm sure we'll have another chance.

Rosalind, our hairdresser, really stepped up to help us out. She covered make up and she operated the scissor lift to bring Barnaby in and out of the shot. She slated and started and stopped the audio recorder. She basically did all the little things that we would have slowed us down to a crawl if Trisha and Charlie had been covering it themselves.

This is Barnaby chilling on the scissor lift between shots. He's cutting a good figure here.

Here's Jeremy Grimmer, Curtis Cole, and Lisa Smith taking a little direction from Trisha. Barnaby would be just to their right about 4 feet off the ground in the scissor lift. We lit the whole shot with tons of light from the top and we blew out the white background. We were running so much light we started to blow fuses so we're gonna have to be a little more economical in our light setups in the future, but for this shot having all that light was really great.

Here's Lisa and Curtis. Rosalind did a fantastic job on Lisa's hair. She was on all day making sure it had the proper frizz for each shot. We're weren't able to focus on Curtis and Lisa as much as we would have liked because of our small crew but they really sold their parts well. After looking through the shots we're finding a lot of little gems these two were doing. Good little looks and some real fun subtle things.

Here's a close up of those two just chillin. They worked really well together, and even though it was an eight hour day they always had great energy when the camera was rolling.

This is our man Jake Fritz. He knows what he's doing and he's always fun to have around.

We set up a couple of hardhats but ended up only using one. It just didn't look right on Jeremy. Trisha seems very satisfied here but I'm not sure why. Jake knew how to put the hats together which we couldn't figure out.

Here's Barnaby and Jake working as a team. We took the Control box off the scissors lift so that it could be operated off screen. It worked better than having Barnaby lean over and do it on camera. Wearing the hard hats really makes us look like we know what were doing and we like that. In the background you can see our Lantern Lock Paper lantern. It works great. I would highly recommend them to any other shooters. They work as advertised and make setting up a "china ball" a real breeze.

Barnaby didn't slate all day but somehow he gets his picture taken with the slate? We have to thank Rosalind again for taking a bunch of shots of us in action. Being a two man team it was hard to get still shots. In the background you can see our 1k which Charlie just got working. It was great to have a powerful light that still has a lot of kick after being diffused.

Now on to this week. Charlie and Barnaby have been building our set for the "Porn Conference" Scene. We know what you're thinking but sorry there's no porn in the scene. It's a fictitious conference debating porn standards. Its gonna be more interesting than it sounds. We're hanging Paper Lanterns to get a nice overall light with subtle shadows, and we are really digging the effect. We're gonna be using more and more paper lanterns as this production goes on.

Here's a before and after (f2.8 1/60th) to see what the Paper Lanterns are doing. I thought they would be hard to hang but it turned out to be pretty easy. They're also easier to manipulate once they're hanging than other lights, because they're already soft and they're so light.

That's all for now. We'll have more shots next week!


Thinking about Styling and Roots

We shot the final of 3 parts for scene 10 this past Sunday. It had a strange set that included a scissor lift, a bed with satin sheets, and of course, a hard hat. Looking at the footage later, I could really tell that this movie is the child of another movie we did about 4 years back - Ladies and Gentlemen We Assume (you can find this on http://www.ancmovies.com/) . This was a short movie, about 16 minutes long, that we premiered at Movie Prom (an event we put together in Oct. 2005 - you can see about it here http://www.movieprom.com/). It was literally made as a stylistic test for what would become this movie. The content of this short has a different focus, the whole production value is much more raw and less professional, and the info is there, but not always built into the movie in a way that really allows the viewer to to take it all in. It is informationally cluttered. There are times when the visual and auditory aspects of the movie enhance and inform the information that is being presented, and then there were many times where the visual and auditory elements compete with the information being presented. We want to avoid that cluttering and competition in this movie. We actually learned a lot about how to handle this style of non-fiction movie effectively - mostly from seeing how we did it wrong. However, there was a certain strangeness to the style that I really wanted to carry into this movie.

So, back to looking at the footage. I had worried, as we were getting this footage, that it would cut together badly, that the look and the tone would not give me what I had hoped for. I was more than a little pleasantly surprised. The tone was exactly on, and that strangeness from the short we had made carried through to this scene in ways I had not expected. Unfortunately, though, a problem I was not as worried about in this scene popped up. There were a few places where the information presented to the viewer was cluttered and unfocused. I think this will be an ongoing issue that we must battle throughout this movie. I guess the important thing, though is that we're aware of it. However, with a few different cuts, some additional on-sreeen text, and some audio tweeking, we were able to unclutter it quite a bit, and I feel really good about it. Charlie should be getting some of the pics for this scene off his camera and on here very soon.


GreenScreen Test

So here's a little something I cooked up just to see how easy/hard it was going to be to key the footage we shot last weekend on the greenscreen. It worked very well. I've been a little nervous about how much work I was going to have to put in to pull a good key, and I am very pleased. It looks like all my testing paid off. This isn't the final background its just a temp pic (from our location scouting) that I threw in. That's all for now I just wanted to share my excitement for good Chroma Keying!


Adventures in Production

So, like I said, we had a great shoot last sunday, but lets talk a little about getting there. We had a few issues, one we've tamed and one that's ongoing. We wanted to get the water turned on so we could do hair and make-up on location. Our plan B was to do Hair and Make-Up off site at another building and truck the Actors back and forth. Fortunately for us Trish and Charlie's brother in law is a first class plumber and he is always very, very giving of his time for our special needs. We had a few leaks in the building when the water company turned on the water for us so we had to shut it off to do the repairs. When we shut it off, Jason (our brother in law) said the only thing he was worried about was turning it back on since the building is so old. Well, his instincts were correct and the valves for the building were so old they were stuck off. He ended up replacing a huge section of the main inputs after having the water company come back to turn off the street level on/off. Then when we went to turn it back on this valve was also broken. So they're gonna be digging up the access to replace it on Friday. So for the shoot we were on to plan B.

This is the problem we solved. Echo and Reverberation in a warehouse is not your friend. We had to insulate the building for sound absorbtion. After a bit of research and 7 hours going up and down on our scissor lift and tying various materials to the raftors, we have a much less reverberant room - an absolute requirement and something we were glad worked out so well.

This is the actual first thing we shot. It was Friday night and it took us way too long. Barnaby and Charlie had already put in a 12 hour day at the set and Trisha had been up for work since 5:30, and then we spent 5 more shooting. We were all a little frazzled. But the shots were good and the audio sounded nice. Samantha did a great job.

Here's us shooting. This was one of our simpler setups. Just a headshot and speaking. Nothing real fancy. We were hitting the backdrop with 2 500 watt 3" fresenels both spotted down. Alicia was lit with a 500 watt diffused through a pop up diffuser as a key and filled with our lowel caselight. She had a small diffused kicker in front of her too although I don't know if it was really doing much.

This is the final light. This is a still from my 30d not a framegrab. I'm trying to take shots for our Hair and Make-up artists.

This is Rosalind, Our Hair Stylist working her touchup magic before we take a shot. The actress she is working on is Katie Sheets.

Here's Katie in final light. Her setup is the same as I described above for Alicia.

Here's Katie all "Blossomed" out. These are from a series in the movie where we see a group of senior portraits that speak. They're all era specific. She is lit on her back by 2 500 watt fresnels one coming from each side out of frame. She has a 500 watt kicker at her side that is lighting the wall and giving her hip an edge. I might have been able to flag it a bit more. Her key is the same diffused 500 watt fresnel and her fill is the caselight.

This is Abigail Wright. This is a still from the Senior portraits scene. I think this portrait might be my favorite. It all came together so well. Hair, Makeup and set. Rosalind spent about 4 hours crimping her hair into this perm look. It turned out awesome, and the sweet wholesome 80's make-up that Lauren did was perfect. I lit her with a 2 500 watts thru a 36 inch difuser from the right with our caselight on the left for fill. The background is 2 500 watts from 45 angles and two 250 watts hanging from above.

This is Lisa Marie Smith. This is going to be composited into a Magazine cover. Its going to have fun movie text. We even had her "push" some text out of the actual shot. It should look really cool when its done. The interesting thing here is that the 30d rendered the greenscreen as Cyan. Whats with that canon?
Here is the first shot of the day. I saved it for last because it is so killer! The actors are Brandi Payton, and Christopher West, but in the script they are called Euphoric Couple. I think we might have made Brandi laugh a little in this picture, but for the actual shot it was oh so Euphoric - and there's nothing funny about that. We weren't sure how easy of a shot this would be. We tracked to the right and pushed in, and the actors met each other for the first time that day. But it went super smooth. I basically threw all my light I could on them and got a 1:2 ratio. I diffused their keys with some muslin and it worked really well. It was a little off color so it gave them a bit of warmth. This was a great way to start out the day.


1st day of shooting more to come

We shot our first full day of shooting this Sunday. It was really fun getting back into the swing of things and there is nothing like seeing all your ideas turn into reality. We have plenty of pics more soon. But I'm gonna leave you with just two shots of what our fantastic Hairstylist, Rosalind Shamblin and our Awesome Makeup Artist, Lauren Bertelson produced for us. We are spoiled forever with this type of talent helping us out. I'll write more tomorrow, and post plenty more pics!


Sound, Schedule and Women's Pro Football

It's fun to have a big huge warehouse to shoot in, but it's less fun figuring out how to record good sound in a big huge warehouse. Charlie's been on the search for absorbing and deflecting materials to deaden those wild sound waves. Quite a few blankets, ceiling tiles, various forms of insulation, and strangely placed walls later, Charlie and Barnaby feel pretty good about what they've built. With the sound preparations pretty much figured out, the first sets built, and the costumes steamed and hung neatly on hangers, we should be ready for our first shoots this weekend....

The schedule is ready and up on a wiki. If you are reading this and you are a cast member in this movie, please remember to give us a yea or nay on all your scheduled days. Having this schedule done and actor approved will be like a sweet, sweet back massage for Trisha.

One of our super awesome cast is a member of The Indiana Speed, Indiananpolis' own Women's Pro Football Team, and their opening game is this Saturday the 18th at Broad Ripple High School football field. Since we didn't scheduled a shoot for this day, it would be a good time to go see this hard working team and support one of our SSL cast. Here's an article that was just written about the Indiana Speed in case you want to learn more.


Barney and Charlie have been hard at work in the Anderson warehouse getting ready for our first shoot on the 19th. They've been experimenting with creative uses for wallpaper - since we have an almost unlimited amount of that (Thanks Aaron family...). You can do more with it than you might think. They've also been painting, figuring out how to hang things, aquiring props, sweeping a floor, and listening to an ecclectic mix of music. Thursday they got the water turned on in the building, but unfortunately they found a pipe was busted, so Trisha's bro is coming Saturday to work on it. It's awesome having a plumber in the family, but it's probably not awesome being a plumber in a family.


This week was eventful - messing with costumes, driving a big truck, seeing old friends, playing with industrial machinery and listening to a marching band at the Indianapolis Library.

**Mondy and Tuesday we inventoried all the costumes and created the shopping list for what we still need and alterations that need to be made. We have a bit over half the costumes figured out, but they are the hardest half, so the rest is cake.

**Wednesday, Barnaby and Charlie went and moved a scissor lift from Central Cabinet to the warehouse where we will be shooting most of the movie. Thanks to Central Cabinet for that. The ceilings at the warehouse are filled with strong beams that we can hang lights, sets and anything else from. The scissor lift will give us the ability to get up to the ceilings easily and without killing ourselves. That means set creating can begin and that we won't die in the process.

They borrowed a big truck for this - which Barnaby enjoyed driving, and they also picked up some flats that we were able to very cheaply rent for the next three months.

During their joyride in the Budget truck, they passed the home that is being remodeled for Extreme Home Makeover and got some distant pics of it.

**Friday Barnaby and Charlie met with one of our Chicago cast members to rehearse and discuss. He was in town because his alter ego, Lord of the Yum-Yum, had a show at the Indianapolis Downtown Library that night. Trisha joined everyone after work, and went to check out the fun free library show. Lord of the Yum-Yum put on awesome wild show as always. check him out here http://www.lordoftheyumyum.com/Then we stayed to hear Mucca Pazza http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mucca_Pazza play. Glad we stayed because they were fun as hell - a funky chaotic marching band in old marching band outfits.

**Saturday we scheduled our first shoot. That's right, shooting officially begins on April 19th. We have a full tentative schedule, but we are still moving things around and testing set designs, so for now, we'll be sending out shoot schedules 3 weeks in advance (although this 1st shoot was scheduled only 2 weeks in advance). We are pretty excited to be moving forward. The weeks ahead will be pretty busy...


Costuming Excitement

So we had a blast on the 29th. We layed out all our clothing (it filled two rooms) and had the cast rummage through with great direction from Pat Eberle and Cathy Quinn helping to get period pieces right. We think we found a lot of gems. Check em out below.

Pat and Cathy made a great spread for us. Thanks

Rosalind Our Hairdresser was in attendance giving us a lot of great ideas. She's posing her with Barnaby

This is a rack of our clothes.

and just a few extras