Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Get the Duck Outta Here!

Our latest comedy film, 'Get the Duck Outta Here', has just been completed and is available to view on YouTube:

Cal came up with the idea one day and pitched it to Ant and Paddy. Originally the "savage beast" was a rabbit, with the final punchline being: "You're a rampant rabbit". However, after a bit of discussion about the similarity to Monty Python's and The Holy Grail (and nothing to do with the fact that we could only find a stuffed duck in a charity shop and no rabbits) it was changed to a duck. On a more serious note, charity shops (or thift stores) are great places to pick up props. They're always very reasonably priced and you can feel that little bit smug about doing your bit for charity.

Having recently acquired more replica guns, we were eager to use those and experiment with some action cinematography and visual effects.

Only two days after the idea was first conceived, we shot the film. As always, we shot on our Canon 550D, using an 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens and 50mm f1.8 prime and we recorded sound with Cal's brand new Zoom H4n.

The beauty of making short films on such a low budget is that it forces you to think of low-tech special effects and creative solutions to problems:

For example, the shot halfway through the film where Ant sweeps through the house was accomplished in the most low-budget way possible. For the reverse first-person shot (does that make it a third-person shot?) Paddy slotted the camera rig onto the end of the gun and literally controlled Ant's movements by walking backwards and rotating the gun himself. It took a few takes as Paddy kept walking backwards into the doorframe, but the result was a shot that looked a lot more complex and high-tech that it actually was.

Also, making it look like Damien the Duck leapt out at Ant and held onto his leg was accomplished by simply throwing the duck towards Ant, cutting to a close up, then moving back to a wide where the duck's bill is safety pinned to Ant's trouser leg.

To light the film, we used more directional lighting than we have used in the past. Our new flat is very inconsistent in the intensity and colour of light, so we had to use direct lights and coloured gels to ensure that the lighting was as even as possible.

You can see footage from the shoot below in our Behind the Scenes video:

The film was edited in two days on Final Cut Pro, with the visual effects done on Adobe After Effect. The slow-motion shots were done using Twixtor and Cal put a small mask over the end of the handgun to disguise the orange end of the barrel.

The score was created by Graeme Osbourne. He did a great job creating a suitable action score and we're all very pleased with it.

Using the Zoom, we recorded some ADR to make sure that some of the stage whispers could be heard as well as some foley.

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