Sunday, June 10, 2007

“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.


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