It’s now one week since we shot the principle footage for Epiphany. We got lucky that day, the day was milder so people didn’t get cold waiting for setting up, the sun came out, but diminished as we worked through the story and the first spots of rain fell just as we were wrapping up, so it all worked well. We were also blessed with some extra help, Dave brought his podcasting opposite, Rob, who pretty much owned the audio capturing. He quickly got accustomed to the Rode mic and boon arm that Alan had bought and operated the Tascam recorder. It made a lot of sense to record the audio separate from the camera because the story is all about the dialogue between the two characters and we wouldn’t want to leave it chance capturing it on camera, just in case. That said, Al fitted another Rode for reference to the top of the GH2.
We also had Matt, who I invited. Matt was the trigger for Worcestershire Film Festival and was indispensable at the roadshow events and the main gig. He was also instrumental in the cinema heritage project. He’s worked on several films and soon found himself helping with equipment, reflectors and monitoring.
For me, I took some photographs and the one I have uploaded here, I feel is the story in one shot. It’s got the drama and chemistry between the two characters and sums up the type of film it’s going to be – all about character and story, something we have been hammering on since the beginning of this trip. I also took some video footage that I will make into a little ‘making of’ featurette. Although I had a cursory role on the day, I’d put myself as being ‘that guy who pulled people and places together’ and maybe a touch of a bully to actually get the thing filmed! I just love the process of film-making. I enjoy the pre-planning and writing, since I have next to no skills in that department, I enjoy the shooting. It’s like a magic trick to me, watching someone tell others to stand in a certain way and operate a camera and then to show something on screen, after editing that has a beginning, middle and end. I don’t look over the editing either, I love post work too, even if it’s not me doing it! I was told once that in film, the ‘industry’ wants specialists in a particular field. I don’t know what my field is, so I clearly have no future, but that’s not my motive.
Digressing a little there, one thing that could not be disputed was the incredible work Dave and Chas did. They have been friends for an age and this obviously helped as their chemistry was fantastic on screen. Alan has already posted about their performance, but they should be very proud of themselves.
At an equipment level, we shot the film on a Panasonic GH2 with a 14-150mm lens. It’s a little micro four thirds camera, but it was reliable and great to work with. I have heard about 7Ds getting too hot and battery troubles with others, but this didn’t break a sweat. Al had bought a Lilliput monitor, which we did think was a little frivolous, but actually it was invaluable in ensuring focus and reference. Al had built a gib for one shot which was amazing to see working. It was a three person operation and a complicated shot involving three closeups with movement, all of which had to be in focus and without that monitor, it would have been impossible. As I mentioned before, we had a Rode boon which had some good cable management and we also used a large reflector for fill-in which worked very well when sun disappeared behind the clouds.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with Alan on a fictional film and it was great to do again. He was very well organised and had a shot list and storyboard for each stage, which I think, made the shoot extremely efficient. I can’t imagine there being a lot of excess footage,which will make post work far easier. I’m really looking forward to seeing an edit and some pre-production on the next.