Shooting my first short film

I my began my project by shooting the last scenes for my first movie assignment.  My first shots were made on location at Hampton Court, outside their cafe on the site of Henry’s VIII’s Tilt Yard.  I am using my Nikon D800e with a 24-120 f/4 zoom, ISO 125, Mode to manual and focus to manual set to infinity.  Camera was mounted on to a video-rig in order to try to keep the camera reasonably steady, I also attached a DIY small builder’s spirit-level in order to try and keep the camera level. I used an aperture to obtain a deep-focus effect so to avoid falling out of focus or using the auto-focus that will make the lens hunts for a sharp picture.  I shot the end scene of my movie which is when Sarah meets her friend as arranged with the last shot which is the Gag / Punchline to the story when she discovers she is wearing odd shoes.  To try to keep a consistent image quality throughout the film I am going to keep my camera set to manual and maintain the optimal ISO for this camera which is ISO-125.  I am also white-balancing my camera from a grey-card.   On this day I made x5 takes total filming time 00:02:59 for my first day shooting.

My next scenes that I shot were a couple of scenes that will make the set-up for my story, illustrating her diary appointment on her phone and a pan of her bedroom with some motifs linking to the theme of clothes.  Again, I kept the camera to manual, using the same lens and ISO-125.  Light was a problem, I do not have any video / film lights and having to rely on natural light and reflectors.  I have to wait until the sun was in the right positions in the sky to provide enough light fortunately I waited for a sunny day and my patients paid off.  It is tempting to switch to Auto but I know that by doing that my ISO will go through the roof and my image quality will fall through the floor.  The camera for the shots I made today were filmed using a tripod, in fact I had an old video tripod perfect for this purpose as it has a long handle for panning.  On this day I shot x24 takes mainly due to the panning across the wall and getting the focus correct.  Total filming time 00:20:31.

For my next scenes shot, the day was a very sunny, perfect for my filming as I am totally reliant on available light only and I want to work using low ISO for quality.  I also decided to use some of my prime lenses as they may offer better flexibility for exposure both in ability to open the lens wider and also as they have less glass to reduce the light in the first place.  I used my 50mm f/1.8 and my 85mm F/1.4 lenses.  These scenes were the bathtub, choosing clothes and shoes to wear, leaving the house and driving to her appointment.  To keep my camera as steady as possible, I mounted the camera on a tripod for the bathtub, clothes and shoe selection scenes and switched to a monopod for the leaving the house and driving scenes.  I shot only x9 takes, just one each for the bathtub and driving scene; with two takes for the leaving the house scene and the remainder six shots were for the shoes and clothes.  Total filming time 00:09:22.

The last filming session was for finishing off the opening panning section at the beginning of the film where the pan has moved across the bedroom wall on to the floor and dissolved then focused back up to pan across Sarah’s discarded clothes to her bed were we find her asleep and awakened by the alarm clock.  I then need a shot of Sarah reading her diary entry on her phone to discover that she has forgotten her date with her friend.  I made x21 takes, four takes for Sarah at the dressing table when she discovers her forgotten appointment and seventeen takes of the finishing pan with Sarah waking up.  Total filming time 00:12:59.

Total filming time 00:45:51.


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