Quick and Dirty

Yesterday I shot a teaser trailer for my film, and it reminded me that production never goes how you expect.

We had four “scenes” to get. Three of them were single shots. One was about 10 shots, but they were all of the same thing and handheld, so they were easy. Easiest part of the day, actually.

First shot: an overhead pan, camera looking directly at the floor. I’ve done this before sans jib using a technique I won’t describe because you’d really just have to see a picture to get it. But it doesn’t matter, because this time, it didn’t work.

Apparently turning 30 makes you old and shaky or something, because I could not get a smooth shot. We ended up just taking a still shot from farther away, which we’ll pan in editing using keyframes.

Second shot: dolly of a still life. I actually knew this would be tricky, because I don’t have a dolly. I have a rolling mechanic’s stool I borrowed from a friend, on which I managed to mount the camera, but that’s not the same thing.

For one thing, dollies have tracks. Tracks keep you rolling straight. Rolling straight keeps your very carefully- and shallowly-focused shot from going out of focus.

I think you know where I’m going.

The solution was what I knew it would be: run the shot 20 or so times until it comes out right. So I’m pretty sure I got something usable.

The third shot is an effects shot, and since I’m not going to be rotoscoping anything on my schedule, the camera was locked. And it’s a shot of a wall. So that was easy.

The scene with 10 shots was great. Knocked it out in 20 minutes. Watch footage, wrap set, go home.

We’ll see how it comes out in post.

P.S. Special thanks to Chris and Evie Jones for the loan of their Nikon D7000, on which we shot all this footage.