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“Nocturnes” production blog – day 4

“Pain is temporary, film is forever!”  ― John Milius

We arrived on set on Day 4 prepared to dig in our heels. We embarked on a quite challenging shoot – a scene that involved our leads playing the piano, without actually knowing how to play, especially not a complicated piece like Chopin’s Nocturnes Op 15 No 2. Also hanging on our minds was the realization that this day was make or break for us. Our lead was to depart in a couple of days and the set had to be on its toes to finish the shoot by then. Apart from the scene with the piano, we had also planned to shoot the first part of the climactic scene for later compositing with green screen footage and another, simpler scene in the bedroom. Luckily, all of them were going to be filmed in the same location, so at least we didn’t have to worry about moving equipment too much.

We shot the piano scene in the living room of the home. David wanted to film the scene from at least 4 different perspectives. But by the end of the shoot, he had improvised a fair bit by using our MYT works slider to achieve 8 perspectives without the need to relocate the tripods. The dialogue in the scene was very involved. The actors though bought their A game on this day. We faced the usual technical difficulties of bad sound by passing cars, sharpness problems of shooting at T1.4 etc. But both the actors and the crew were determined not to let any difficulty get to them. After 5 laborious hours, David declared that he was satisfied and we broke for a late lunch.

After lunch, we shot the first half of one of the climactic scenes. From the perspective of filming, the task was relatively simple. We had just two perspectives. One was shot on the slider and another on the jib. We connected the jib to our 100mm bowl Secced tripod by using a custom made connector by Lars at Hanse Inno Tech, a great Hamburg based professional camera accessory manufacturer. The jib allowed us to get many shots without changing the tripod’s or the dolly’s position. So while it may take a while to set it up, it’s totally worth the effort. Again many thanks to Ingo and Mark at Behring Film & Klotz Media for providing us with the Panther dolly and jib.

The last scene for the day was to be shot in the bedroom. A simple scene that wasn’t too technically challenging except the wide open aperture: it’s tough to pull focus when focus varies strongly between the left and the right eye of the lead. When sunlight started to fade, we decided to pack up for the day, proud of what we were able to achieve that day.

A person worthy of mention for not only this day, but all days of our shoot is Viola, our assistant camera-woman and resident go-to-person. From building the rigs to assisting David with the camera to even applying makeup on the artists (she hated it), Viola was involved in every detail of the filmmaking process on set. She was perhaps the only person who spent as much time on set as David did. So, that meant 14 – 15 labor intensive hours everyday for 6 days. We would like to thank her for all her efforts and remind ourselves how lucky we have been to have her on set.

©photos by Flo Force Photography and David Kellermann

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