Friday, 30 March 2012

The Boss

A new short film from Fearless Freak Productions is online!



Preproduction
The film was made for the Reed Short Filmmaking Competition. The film had to be three minutes long and have the theme of "The Boss".
Cal wrote a couple of scripts and ran them by Ant and Paddy before deciding on the story of a frustrated driver arguing with his Satellite Navigation unit. For this film, we wanted to cast a proper actor for the lead role rather than acting ourselves! Kristian Parsons responded to a casting call and, after meeting up with Cal to read some lines, we cast him in the lead role.


Production
One overcast spring morning we met up with Kristian and drove over to Chorlton in Greater Manchester.
For this film, we used our newest piece of kit - a polarising filter for our Canon 550D. For those who don't know what a polarising filter is or how it works, check out this Wikipedia article. The exact science of how it works is quite complicated, but simply put: It restricts the amount of light that is let into the camera by blocking light coming in from certain angles and letting light in from other angles. You can control what light is let in and what light is blocked by rotating the filter around on the camera. As a result, this filter can lower the light intensity of bright areas in an image and bring out the colours. It is most evident when taking a photo of a clear blue sky. Without the filter, the sky is extremely bright and the colours can appear washed out. However, when the filter is used and rotated to the right angle, the sky appears less bright and more blue.

Top: Without the filter
Bottom: With the filter
When we were filming the sky was overcast. But this filter was incredibly useful when it came to shooting reflective surfaces. When the filter is rotated, it can block the light that is reflected off the car's windows, allowing the camera to see through them instead. We used this when shooting Kristian through the windscreen of the car. With the filter on, it created a polarised area on the windscreen where you could see through, rather than reflecting the light from the sky. Paddy was able to control exactly where on the windscreen that area was by rotating the filter, so that this area could be positioned exactly where Kristian was in the driver's seat. The added bonus of this was that it bleached out the area by the passenger seat, where Ant was crouched with the sound kit!

Some shots proved difficult to get, such as the handheld closeups of the Kristian's hands on the wheel and the SatNav. Regardless of how tightly we held the camera and how smoothly Kristian drove, it was very difficult to keep the camera steady. That being said, filming went incredibly smoothly and we finished shooting within a few hours.


Post-Poroduction
Cal was able to put together a rough cut very quickly. Unfortunately, it became clear that the close-ups we had shot inside the car were simply too wobbly to be used, even when image stabilisation effects were put on in Final Cut Pro. As a result, Ant and Cal had to re-shoot those close-ups at a later date.

The film was scored by Graeme Osborne. He responded to a bullet-in on Shooting People and created the light-hearted soundtrack that you can hear on the finished film.

For the voice of the SatNav, we used the website Xtranormal to read out the dialogue. We found that you had to be careful which punctuation you used in the lines in order to get the correct breaks between words. That being said, we were very pleased with the end results.

The film has been submitted into the Reed Short Filmmaking Competition. They have received the film and we're waiting to see how it does in the competition.

Paddy, Ant, Cal and Kristian after finishing shooting.

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