Two filmmakers chasing the dream of producing their first feature film...
...and financing it solely through winning video contests.

I directed a short film the other night tentatively called, "Come Back." It's been awhile since I attempted doing narrative work, but being on set I realized how much I've missed it.

The scene involved two actors and a crew of three. Will was the cinematographer, Lily was the script girl, I was the director, and all three of us were PA's. Eight pages in eight hours, with three arri 650's, a rented shotgun/boom pole, and the hvx200. It went pretty smoothly as far as shoots go, and everyone got on really well.

What this post is really about is cataloging all the information I learned from this shoot so I can refer back to it before doing the next one.

1) Rehearse your actors, and lock their blocking DOWN.

Too many times I come back from a shoot to find my shots won't cut together because I wasn't as strict as I should have been about blocking. For example, my actress picks up a wine glass takes a sip and puts it down. It should be easy to cut between shots, but when she picks it up and sets it down at different times, it can become an editing nightmare.

2) Make sure you know how much wattage the location can handle before you arrive.

A couple times during the shoot the entire lighting set up would go dark. My actress, who was kind enough to let us use her house to shoot, had to go into her laundry room every time it happened and hit the breaker. The last time the breaker just stopped working. Luckily, we had finished, but it was close.

3) Always bring an external monitor.

I should know this one, but being poor I thought I could do without. Pretty much all cameras have bad on-board monitors, the HVX included. We learned this the hard way when we got back home only to find that all our footage was dark. Light enough to be salvageable, but still dark.

4) Lenses are a must. Especially when doing any medium shot or close shot for drama.

A movie only looks like a movie when you can direct your audiences focus away from the drab background and onto your subject. With the HVX, this is not possible without a lens adapter and lenses. Lenses basically make a so-so shot into pure gold. (Note the use of lenses in our Careerbuilder spot.) Lenses can always save the day, and are even more necessary in small spaces when you don't have a set designer.

Expect to see the short soon. Feedback will be greatly appreciated.



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