So this shoot was 4 days after hurricane Irma and hadn’t rained since the storm. Well, the night of the shoot it decided to pour! That put us about 1.5 hours behind as the actors were scheduled to show at 8:30p and we were just setting up. Talk about frustrating but we pushed forward.
Once the rain cleared it was time to explore the space. Since we have never shot this location before some of my shot list just didn’t translate to the space completely. So there is an element of just making it up as you go when it comes to shooting low/no budget films.
I rented a 135mm Rokinon lens and the Atomos Shogun 4k Monitor. What I learned is that the Atomos eats batteries incredibly fast. Also, my SDI cable wouldn’t handle the 4k signal from my Blackmagic to the monitor so I had to run an HD signal instead. Not the end of the world but good to know next time. I had a v-mount battery for my camera but since I wasn’t sure about voltage regulation I didn’t plug the monitor directly into it via d-tap.
One other thing I keep hearing from filmmakers is money doesn’t solve everything and I can attest that is helps but there is no shame in low budget solutions to problems. Believe it or not the original Star Wars was very low budget and they used DIY solutions through the whole production. The original lightsaber cost $12 to build. Creativity is everything and it leads to problem solving without money many times.
One example is we used a bug fogger for the steam our protagonist is walking through. I have a haze machine but there wasn’t any power for this location and we didn’t have a generator. The bug fogger runs on propane so easy solution. If it gets too hot it will stop smoking just an FYI.
Since we were behind schedule and our talent needed to leave at a certain time we didn’t have time to shoot the whole scene sadly. It happens and when you use volunteers you just have to try again.
One other issue was the hotel located in the photo here in the background is usually lit up at night and the hurricane must have damaged the timer. We wanted to foreshadow the fact that he was going to end up at the hotel so we wanted it shown in the 2nd act. When we go back the hotel lights should be fixed so that will have to wait as well.
Overall, it is so rewarding to see images that are flashing through your head as a creative become reality in a film short or feature. We didn’t have to rent the lens or monitor to make this scene happen we just wanted it. There’s a huge difference and don’t let that stop you from getting out there and making your own projects.