Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creative Geography

So we shot our first nighttime scene, in Washington, using our new lights. The lighting looks great. But after reviewing the footage (and leaving the location) we realized that we were missing some close-ups that are necessary to give the scene the intensity to make it scary and believable. In Washington, we were shooting at a residential property wired with outdoor electricity. After some location scouting, we've decided to stage these new inserts at a parking lot that abuts some woods. The parking lot lights give us enough overhead light to see the action, and the sparse trees in the lot's median can be used in close-up, if we shoot in the direction of the nearby woods. This is called "Creative Geography" in the film world: cobbling together two locations that don't actually exist as one, into the same scene so as to appear as if they are the same place.

In the two videos below from our location scouting, you can see how we'll frame out the unusable elements of the parking lot to focus in on the tree and woods, and you'll see me demonstrating the tree-smacking technique we'll use to get a believable close-up of our actor's head hitting the tree. Thanks to Cody Yarbrough for teaching me this technique. You start filming from the point of contact between body and bludgeoning tool (the end point), and then quickly pull the actor and/or object away from the contact, toward the starting point. When you reverse the footage, you see a dramatic blow. The clip below goes forward with audio, and then I flip it - dropping the audio, so you can see this reversing effect.

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