Friday, April 13, 2012

Filming "Industrial"

Every now and then you run across an unexpected location that just kind of grabs you. The place I filmed "Industrial" was like that for me.

I was driving through the countryside one morning looking for a few new spots to film for a video and I saw the rusted out crane of an old excavator stretching out toward the sky in the distance. As I got closer, I saw more of the scene, that it was by a pond, there was other machinery there and it seemed to be open access. I slowed the car down and pulled into a parking lot which was just beside it and walked across the highway with my gear to have a closer look and double-check that I'd be okay to enter. 2 wide open access gates, no signage warning people to stay out and a bunch of tire tracks going in and out from different cars/trucks told me all that I needed to know; I'd be okay to go in. (Seeing a man hanging out there by his truck and his dog swimming in the pond also was a bit of a tip-off to me too.)

I filmed a few wider shots to begin with, just sort of figuring out the lay of the land, and getting the idea of how I wanted to shoot it.  I got down near the old machines, and then it kind of hit me how I'd film it.  So I picked the first piece of equipment I saw (the old rusted out excavator by the pond) and filmed there, getting a few close-ups and a few medium shots and a few establishing shots of it.  Then I moved to the other stuff, leaving the newer excavator until near the end.  The last thing I filmed were the handheld shots, some close-ups and far shots of me, then I figured I was losing the best light of the day, so I packed it in and headed home.  (I got there at 9:15am and left at 10:25am.  The best light of the day is for the first few hours after sunrise or the last few hours before sunset.  When the sun's directly overhead, you lose your shadows and it doesn't look as nice.)

I put together a rough cut over the next day and realized that with how I wanted to edit the short, that I was short footage.  I was holding on my shots longer than I'd like for the music I had in mind for it.  It worked, but it didn't have the punch I wanted with it.  I also had started kicking myself for missing a few shots that I had in my head that I'd have loved to have gotten, but didn't.  So I was left with a choice; edit what I had and make it work, or go out and shoot more.  I was leaning towards shooting more, but decided I'd sleep on it, so I left the project alone for the night.

The next morning, I was up and at it early and saw that the weather was the same as it was 2 days ago when I went out to shoot.  Next to no cloud cover, same temp, about the same amount of wind...  So I grabbed the clothes I wore the first day and headed out.  I got there a bit earlier at 8:55am on the 2nd day and started shooting, doing the shots that I had in my mind.  I wanted more close-ups of the equipment, some shots of me interacting with the different pieces of gear out there and more shots of me around in the area.  I'd shaved in the 2 days, so I didn't have the scruff I did the first morning, so I didn't do anymore close-ups, but you can tell on some of the shots.  Have a look for fun - you should be able to tell what was shot on the first day and what was shot on the 2nd with me for the most part.  :)  I filmed until 10:20am, when I realized I got all of the shots I wanted to get and there really wasn't anything else there for me to film.  So I packed it in and went back home and started adding parts of the second day's shoot to the first day's project in Premiere.

It was pretty easy to fit it all in.  I had the "story" I wanted to tell already laid out.  Person arrives, checks out excavator, looks around, checks out the big machine, the newer excavator and then the rock sorting machine and then leaves.  I cut it all to the beat of the music, held on to a few key shots longer than others, added in some effects and it was ready to go.  It was a fun video to shoot and edit, and one of my favorites of  the videos I've done.  Probably because I had a look and feel in my mind of how I saw the finished piece early on and the finished product is really close to how I'd pictured it at the beginning.  A lot of the time, things evolve from inception to the final version and what you end up with is different.  Good, but different.  This was a case where the vision I had from the beginning stayed true and that's neat because of how rare it is with me, since I'm the creative type and always tweaking ideas and concepts.




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