Sunday, June 10, 2007

“The HIT” principal photography - day 4 Tuesday, June 5th

We had a few special effects shots that we needed to get so Chris and I met Craig at his studio to click off the last few shots of the film and to completely wrap principal photography. Craig delivered his hi-def deck and all of the footage to the editor for logging and the editing process is now officially underway.

“The HIT” principal photography - day 3 Sunday, June 3rd

7:30am walk through with Craig and Dave at Scott’s Kelley’s Hilltop Lanes for our three scenes that needed to be shot. 8:00am crew call and we had the largest group of the weekend. We had a small scene to shoot in the bathroom and two large scenes that took place in the bar so we focused our initial energy on the bathroom to get everything set up so we could release all of the lighting guys to the bar to work on setting that up while we shot. The strategy worked perfectly giving them over an hour headstart on lighting our largest location so that when we were ready to shoot, only minor tweaks were required.

All of the scenes played out nicely and we turned an average looking bathroom and a decent looking bar into two incredibly filmed locations that were both perfect for the film. The bathroom only required Adam and Gio so after several camera setups and multiple takes, we moved Adam, Gio and Lindsey as well as over a dozen extras into the bar for all of the shots that would make up the climactic end to the movie.

Given the size of the bar and the number of shots, we did run long, so instead of being done and to lunch by noon, we ended up shooting until around 1:30 so the crew was getting a bit punchy. This certainly didn’t hinder the quality of the shots though and we got everything we needed plus. Great performances by our actors and the extras and we were ready for our last location.

Next we moved across town to the Omaha Film Group studio for lunch and to utilize two of their offices for the final shots of the film. King Penguin/Echo Factory veteran Kevin Pufall was on hand for our final shots and the lovely Katie Wellman stepped in at the last minute to replace the ailing Darcy Lueking. Again, everything went as planned and it was a great way for everyone to wrap out the film, ending before 4:00.

After cleaning up all of the gear and putting Christopher’s offices back together, we wrapped principal photography and headed over to Lights-On for a little wrap party and a lot of winding down. And as the sun set on the party and on principal photography, we get to move to the next phase in the filmmaker process, the editing. Those of you regular readers of this blog all know my thoughts on that process, so wish us luck, but we do have some fantastic opportunities to explore over the next few days that should make this process a great one. Wish us luck.

Thanks to all of the actors, great job throughout. Thanks to Craig and the crew, this project was way more professional than what we’ve had the opportunity to work on in the past and we should have a great film when we’re done. Thanks to all that provided the perfect locations for our film, we obviously couldn’t have done this without you. Congrats Chris, we’ve got a good one here.

“The HIT” principal photography - day 2 (cont’d) Saturday, June 2nd

Gene Lahey Mall at 6:00am is a beautiful place to be though I haven’t found myself there that often at that time. The morning started with Chris, Craig, Mike (CA) and I scouting the park and looking for our first camera position. With the sun getting ready to rise over the lake, the first shot over the water with Adam running in the background seemed like the perfect place to start the movie so we sent Adam in his running gear and Chris with a walkie talking across the bridge and out of site around the bend and waited for the sun to break. At the perfect time, we radioed “action” and sent Adam running. We spent the next hour setting up visually pleasing shots utilizing the beauty of the lake and the backdrop of the Omaha skyline to establish our main character at the opening of the film and walked away with lots of incredible footage that should serve the film nicely. Thanks to Ben and Katie for getting up before the sun and having coffee and snacks there for everyone and thanks to Courtney and Topher for helping out and providing moral support.

The next location’s call time was 8:30am and we were scheduled to have a full crew. The cast included Adam, Andrew, Shelby, Kevin and Jarred and the location, provided by Shawn Rogers, couldn’t have been more perfect. After over and hour and a half of setting up, which included wardrobe, make up, lighting, props, etc., we were able to go through our shot list pretty efficiently and got all of the footage that we needed. The actors turned in great performances and the scenes were masterfully lit and shot. Props to all for making this happen and for giving the film a great look.

Company move to North Sea Films for lunch and into the editing bay of Corey Hart’s No Coast Post & Graphics for all of our “Deacon” shots. More magic from the lighting and camera department and from what I saw in the monitor, we captured some of the coolest shots I’ve ever seen and been a part of. Awesome look, awesome movement and the results certainly speak for themselves. In a few short hours, we were able to capture all of the footage we needed of the “Deacon” played wonderfully by Garrett Sheeks. I also have to give big props to Sherri (hair/makeup) for a fantastic look on our actor and Sarah Hunt for a fantastic look on the set. Thanks to Corey for the perfect location and terrific job by the whole crew. Thanks Garrett, I’ve got another project to talk to you about after we’re done with this one.

A great day is in the books. Sunday AM call time is 7:30 so it’s nice to be done by 5:00pm.

“The HIT” principal photography - day 1 (cont’d) Friday, June 1st

Day one started at the loft of 510 Cinema’s Christopher Norton. This was to be the home of our main character “The Reaper” played by Adam O’Rourke. All of the “home life” and character establishing shots were taken care of here and it shows the quieter moments and the solitude of a professional hit man.

I chose this location not for the cool visuals, the two story high ceilings, the huge west-facing windows and the captivating entry corridor, but rather the almost impossible narrow hallway leading up to the loft and the fact that it was five stories up and we only had access to get our gear in through a small (and slow) elevator. The main hallway was probably 40 meters long and what felt like only a meter wide, so getting all of the lighting, sound and camera gear up and in was a task in and of itself. Not to mention placing track and a Fisher dolly for the initial push in shots. So we had the camera on the dolly, Craig on camera, Denny pushing the dolly and Pycha pulling focus, then, six feet away, Tessa (script supervisor) Chris and I were behind the monitor. Not to mention all of the lights, Joe the slate guy and Mark on sound. Might as well start off as claustrophobic as possible, right? Ultimately it paid off though because we got some great shots and it’s a great way to put the main character in his home turf at the opening of the film.

Inside the loft gave us plenty more room and lots of opportunities for some great lighting. The long hallway and the overhead shots the loft provided turned out every bit as cool as I’d envisioned when I originally scouted the location, and gaffer Dave Palm and DP Craig Ladwig actually made the shots look better than I’d imagined.

So, after destroying the Norton loft and returning it back to normal in under 5 hours, we negotiated the crew across downtown to the Rose theater for our first set of night exteriors. We set up the production in the Jenson Tire parking lot (thanks Alan) and had dinner for the cast and crew before we started. Since we were waiting for nightfall to get this set of shots, we had some time to work on lighting, which was a huge task given the length and layout of the alley but the crew was up for the task.

The first shot we set up involved Kelly Adams and Lisa Hinz as well as a dozen extras leaving the theater, then we moved to the alley to finish out the evening. More lighting magic was created by Craig and Dave and their crew and I’m thrilled with all of the shots that we captured. Lighting a dark alley and making it feel dark, yet being able to see everything the audience needs to see isn’t the easiest task, but when you have a huge, professional crew like we did, they easily pulled it off. Great performances by Kelly, Lisa and Adam and all of the extras and we were wrapped by around 11:00pm. I made sure I was the last one to leave and made it out of there by around 12:30, which gave me plenty of time to get home and get some sleep before our 6:00am call!

Special thanks to the Norton’s and to Julie Walker, Director of Operations at the Rose, for the perfect locations for day one. Huge thanks also to the cast and crew for the magnificent job you did.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

“The HIT” principal photography - day 2

Day two is in the can and it went great. Call time of 6:00am, but totally worth it given the shots we have. By far the most beautiful film I’ve worked on.

We’ve got a 7:30 call tomorrow and another full day of shooting so I’m brief again but will give full blogs early in the upcoming week.

Great day.

“The HIT” principal photography - day 1

This will be a short one since it’s after 1:00am and we’re on set in five hours.

Shooting today went great. It’s awesome to have a professional crew, top to bottom. We got all of the shots we needed (and some we didn’t) and we’ve got the makin’s of a great little film.

Thanks to all who helped out today. More on that later. For now, sleep.

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