Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Making of Christmas: Imagine That

Happy Easter everyone!  It’s Jonathan again with a behind the scenes look at this week’s Paperclip Films Film: Christmas: Imagine That.

If you have read last weeks blog post, you already know where the idea for this video came from.  As I previously stated, our first attempt at turning this concept into a reality met with failure.  Still liking the idea, Grant proceeded to write a script based upon it.  After a week of writing and bouncing ideas off of me, he had turned out a five page, well developed plot.  With a few exceptions, we stuck exclusively to this script when we filmed.  On Sunday, We got our friends Peter, Christen, and Catey together and began filming.

Because this video was shot entirely in low light, we used Gary’s Canon T2i.  Due to this camera’s sub-par audio abilities, I dusted off one of my Sony PDX-10s to serve as a separate audio recorder.  We plugged my Sennheiser m/66 microphone into the Sony and were ready to go.  Gary was in charge of cinematography and I was in charge of audio.  My brother, Aaron, and Peter’s brother, Sam, served as boom pole operators.

We began by filming Grant and Peter’s scene.  Shooting it was challenging due to the lack of light.  Floodlights off the back of the house provided just enough light to see Grant’s and Peter’s faces.  We started with Peter.  Grant read him his lines and he acted them out.  After this, we went inside to warm ourselves (it was a very cold evening) then we went back outside to film Grant’s side of the conversation.  Next, we filmed a few wide shots and this scene was over.

After another break (did I mention it was cold?), we filmed the scene with Robin and her person.  At first, we were going to film under a street lamp, but the lamp’s dimness forced us to film in front of the house.  Catey and Christen did a great job, making it possible for us to get this entire scene done in just three takes.

A short time after this, Gary’s camera started flashing the low battery warning.  Gary had left his charger at his home an hour away, so we knew we had to finish shooting without a recharge.  We went inside, hoping the battery would warm up.  We did our best to plan the next few scenes, so as to conserve battery life.  Because of the speed at which we filmed these scenes, they were a blur to me; thus, I do not remember the exact details.  I do remember that, for the last few takes we shot, we had to let the camera run until the battery went dead, turn the camera off to let it regain a charge, and repeat this process.  Luckily, we just had enough power to get by, making the night a success.

I headed home, glad filming had ended before midnight.  I downloaded the footage onto my hard drive and began to edit.  I edited until I couldn’t stay awake.  I got up the next day and edited for at least five more hours.  After showing Gary and Grant my first cut they told me what changes to make and I made them.  Finally, at around 10:00 PM, the video as ready.  I began rendering and went to bed.  I woke up Tuesday and uploaded the video to YouTube.  Finally, my editing job was done!  Like a happy astromech droid, I made my way to the throne room, expecting to be commended by the queen for having saved the Naboo cruiser.

But commended I was not!  About eight hours after the video had been made public, I received a frantic instant message from Grant.  Despite the years of combined college experience among the cast and crew, we had used a word that, in spite of its textbook definition, was often used to describe things we did not wish to describe.  The fact that the entire cast and crew was made up of past and present homeschoolers most likely explains why we made this oversight.  Gary and Grant decided the video should be pulled off of YouTube until we could fix the problem by dubbing over the problematic word.

The next day, I drove to Catey’s house and recorded her voice over.  I was already meeting Gary and Grant at The Obstacle that evening so, when we were there, I recorded Grant’s voice over.  When I returned home, I dubbed in their voices and, after some editing magic, it matched perfectly.  I rendered the video overnight and uploaded it Thursday.  At last, the video was finished.


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