Preparation

March 1, 2019, shot list for Slam Person

Lena is coming today to shoot a lone Tribal Archaic Revival preparing for the big blaze of the People's Poetry Slam. She's going to practice performing Arborealists, Fauna and Prelude, as well as read all the and green orange as a safety.

Shot list

  • medium to close - sawing off branches with a bag of old saws
  • medium to close - using the two woman saw with bungee chords for the other woman
  • go pro on head reverse - the branches dragging behind her
  • far shot - Lena dragging branches to the middle of the field
  • audio only - read all

Equipment and logistics

  • boom mic(s) for close recording √
  • windscreens √
  • fresh batteries all around √
  • camera powered, battery √
  • camera powered AC √
  • walkie talkies √
  • gopro with head mount √
  • extra gopro batteries √
  • review location, w/cameras - choose angles X
    (could be out in the field depending on the sun)
  • check camera settings - codecs √
  • food √
  • tea √
  • costumes √
  • extension cords out to far shot point X
  • print out Signals for reading √

Debrief from shoot

Overall this was a success, tho I haven't reviewed the footage for focus or audio levels, yet. Lena was prepared and had pre-processed the challenges, also having memorized 95% of her lines. Aside from the weekly podcast, this was the first live action shoot in some time, even though there was a bit of warmup, everything went pretty well.

Require actors to get plenty of rest the night before. Lena said she was a little sleep deprived, tho she seemed strong and present.

The conditions need to be fully considered and prepared for, actors informed. Lena had leaky boots that were easily modified with plastic bags, but this could have been handled before she arrived, had she known (been reminded) we were going to be snow trudging for most of the day. I checked in about this after she had already left her casa, and she reported having adequate boots, even so all was well.

Have more than enough shooting time (light, weather) and have flexibility about launching. A wider window allows for the warm up needed after a long hiatus from shooting live action by Dan, inexperienced crew and actors, unprepared tech.

Technology needs to be fully prepped a day before, so we can just grab and go. Other production people should have a chance to practice with their gear, if being assigned new jobs.

Work then eat feels is usually what's preferred, but this was backwards, mostly because feeding the talent was appropriate and there was A LOT of sun when she showed up, which would have been a little problematic with the contrast between edges of fields and tree shadows.

I left the headphones at the house, so the audio package was not complete when we launched.

We only had 300 feet of extension chord, which didn't reach to the farthest camera position. Also, only one battery for the camera. No external display for the camera as Canon's EOS Utility 3 crashes on the new laptop. I had installed the latest version of DragonFrame but in the rush about I forgot this 🙂 Plus I hadn't tested.

Later, Lena read all the selections from Signals. and for her first run through she did well. However, to harvest all of her potential gold, she would need more practice assimilating the material and practicing pronunciations.

Based on this, I've decided to do Signals myself, perhaps slightly altered.

Motorola walkies are SHITE. 2 of the 4 malfunctioned during the shoot, cut off during transmission. They've been on chargers since I bought them. This is the third set I've had. A letter to Motorola is in order, I'll never buy these again. Motorola walkies suck.

Melonie is a blessing. She's been full on and focused. Really encouraged by her contribution.

I'm more efficient and clear when I'm fully prepared. Helped a lot to feel fully prepared even when I wasn't quite.

Stunts and slapstick require skill and practice. Lena surprised me by adding a pratfall to her tree dragging. In real life it was convincing, (Melonie and I both thought she had tripped) but on screen it feels contrived. I might be able to cut around, or add a box that she gets tangled up in. Surprises can be fun, but not when there's no safety and with a deadline looming.

Reminiscent of Carmen and the red bra. That gag wasn't ready for prime time and I didn't shoot a clean take, so had to be fixed in post.

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