I have Internet!!! The crew house finally got hooked up today and everyone is tucked away doing work, watching TV shows they've missed or just browsing.
We've had a great past week on set, everyday presents new challenges, exciting new locations and problems as well as solutions.
Yesterday was a very light day leading into having today off, our 1 day off of the week.
We did a number of traveling shots, three actors in a car driving along back roads and such, we rented a Uhaul trailer, loaded the picture car on it and towed it around some farm country. I was given the task of rigging the car for the camera. I've never done a car rig before, though I've seen some built. Basically a large, heavy case was given to me, inside it contained a number of metal and steal parts that can be assembled in a number of ways to build different styles of rigs. We just neede to mount the camera on the hood to do a three shot of all the actors. Simple. So, I rigged it, with the help of my grips. Then, since I rigged it, I got to test it, meaning I sat in the car, and got driven around to see if the camera was safely secured. It was! Hazzah! The camera stayed on the car hood, didn't fly off, and apparently we got the shots we needed. I'll try to post some pictures of the rig so you can see what we were up to.
We broke for lunch, and while I was eating he DP told me some bad news, the Par Cans we ordered to mount on the front of the picture car, to augment the headlights for a night scene didn't arrive. He asked me to improvise something. So, I couldn't use normal movie lights, since the lowest wattage I had on the truck was 650 watts, and the battery pack we ordered to power the Par Cans was only 400 watts (200 Watts each Par). So I dug around in my Diddi Kit and found some bare bulb sockets, sent a PA to Home Depot and had him buy a couple of Indoor/Outdoor Spot Lights. We rigged them to the front bumper with some clamps, ran a simple extension cord to the battery pack and blamo! The DP loved it, and it was just enough to get the shot done and looking correct. I got a kick out of seeing the car leave with my rig mounted on the front and when it returned, they were powered and looking real cool from off in the distance in the dark. I got to improvise a lot yesterday, and had a blast doing so.
The night before was my biggest responsibility on this film yet. We were running two units, the main unit was shooting with actors, and the second unit was left to me to design and light a Poor Man's Process Driving Car sequence. What this means is we couldn't afford the car towing rig we used the following day, and I had to rig up a number of lighting gags to simulate late night driving conditions while the car itself remains static. This is a common effect, but is tricky to pull off effectively and not make it look ultra fake.
I've done a few of these in the past and had solid success. The DP knew this and just left it to me to figure out and execute. We lit the interioir of the car from the dash with one 3inch by 12 inch LED light Pad, to simulate a dash board radio/stereo light. I then set up a couple shiney boards and mirror boards that are roughly 4foot by 4 foot along the sides of the car and pointed very intense yet small HMI fixtures at them. An operator was stationed at each board and when cued during the take would pan the reflective board past the window of the car hitting the actors withe moving lights. I also added a high intensity HMI far behind the back of the car on the ground that could be panned to simulate cars passing and turning in the distance. It looked good, and both the DP and Director loved the way it looked and apparently the rest of the crew were really impressed considering I have limited amounts of equipment and needed to used what was at hand. I can't wait to see the dailies of this scene to see if it in fact worked. I think it will play fairly well.
Tomorrow is a very light day of work. The morning is being spent with the camera operator shooting inserts and B-Roll material, then in the afternoon we'll be prerigging Wednesday's location.
Apparently the film is incredibly funny. I can't tell because I'm often far from set setting up the next scene or location or prepping equipment for new rigs once the main set is fully rigged and lit. Can't wait to see it all.