Sunday, September 19, 2010

Noodling the Film

During the first week of August, I spent a week down in the lovely city of Pauls Valley, OK. It's about 30 min. south of Norman. The reason for me being down there was that I was asked to be set photographer for the short film Noodling. This has only been my third time as a set photographer for a film, but it was a fantastic learning experience.

The main difference between this film and other films that I have worked on is that half of the crew was from L.A. Rebecca Eskreis, the director, became fascinated in the sport of noodling and decided to create a fictional short film around that subject. While I hesitate to call most L.A. of the crew professionals (since most were still in grad school), they were more familiar with the industry than the crew from Oklahoma. The days were long and hot, and the set was a little disorganized at times, but I was able to gain a further understanding as to how others create films.

Probably the most impressive part of the shoot was the G&E crew (Grip and Electric). They were in charge of C-stands, lights, diffusers, generators, and general gear that can be found on a film set. They were extremely organized and were on top of their game. If a diffuser needed to be removed from a window, David (our talented DP) would tell Justin, who would radio to metal Jeff, who would direct the crew outside. They were quick, efficient, and reliable.

Ok, so now my job was to take the most wonderful photos that I could. I wish I had better gear, but I think most of my photos turned out great. At least they better! I took around 3,700 photos. My philosophy, at least on set, is that if people are going to be in the photo, chances are that they are going to mess it up somehow. So I tend to take 3-5 shots of the same angle to cover my bases. I never know when someone is going to blink, or make a weird face, or turn away quickly. I have a general rule that if one person messes up a shot, I will not use that photo. I am picky and try to learn from my mistakes. I'm happy with the photos that turned out well. In the end, about 300 were chosen to share with cast and crew.

After looking back at how production went, I realize that some of the crew did not mesh well and not everyone was adequate at their positions, but I consider the shoot a success. The footage that I did glimpse through the monitor was great. I'm happy with volunteering to help out with the film. Even if people have ill feelings about how things went, I hope in the end they can be proud that they were able to help create a piece of art for all to enjoy. I'm crossing my fingers that I get another chance to help out with any films that are going to be shooting in Oklahoma. By then, I should be the proud owner of a new DSLR (I'm leaning toward the Nikon D7000, but that's for another post!). I want to get better and cannot wait to be back on another set! If anyone reads this and is interested in a set photographer, feel free to leave a comment or email me!

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