Yeah. So, I’m fair skinned. I burn easy and I never think about the sun because it’s supposed to be our friend, but it’s slowly and silently killing us all. Except for George Hamilton.
This past weekend, I had a nice full shoot schedule. We lucked out completely because the camera, film, and weather gods decided to look down on our lowly production with some glorious sunny weather.
Brennan Lowry, Julie (producer Julie) and I took a trip out to Coney Island for a couple of hours, and had a lot of fun.
Bringing camera equipment anywhere you’re not used to is always a hit and miss. At least, it is in my experience. You never know if you’re going to run into opposition, or what have you.
9 times out of 10, I get weird looks when people see the fig rig. It’s either a steering wheel or a bike wheel or some shit… and I spend 5 minutes explaining what it is, and I get an “Ahhh!” and then we’re on our way.
Coney Island was no different.
Sand, water, cotton candy, lots of different things to trip us up and make changing lenses a fun life or death type situation. But, the camera, and it’s moving parts, survived.
And boy, was it sunny. I came home red faced… Julie expressed concern that I may have gotten too much sun. Me, I was oblivious, until I got home and didn’t recognize myself. Sigh.
But, we got great footage. We started the day off with a Nathan’s hotdog and cheese fries (damn you Julie!) Went on the Wonder Wheel and adhered to their strict policy of two in the front, one in the back. BASTARDS. But, thinking on ones feet during production time, especially when you shouldn’t be shooting video, is half of filmmaking. So, we made it work.
Had some beers and a funnel cake the size of goddamn pancake, and thicker than deep crust pizza. I haven’t had one of those in a decade, at least. It was heavenly.
Ended the day with a walk on the beach, and had an all around pleasant shooting experience. Here are some stills:
Nice, right? That last shot was one of the last things we shot, and it was my favorite of the day. Walking through the hallway of the Rector Street R Train station, we got six different light sources that gave us a phenomenal look.
I went home that day, Julie and I shot some additional music video footage, and then I witnessed my face, chest, and neck. It was almost as if I’d gotten an allergic reaction to something… and the skin from the top of my head to just below my clavicle had been affected.
The next day, we shot early in Central Park with Julie’s roommate, Daniel Something Something… not sure his last name. Cool guy, helped us out a ton.
We met at 63rd Street to film at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema at 9:15 in the morning. I biked up and used a GoPro Hero HD 2 camera for the first time, and it was AWESOME. I made that trip in 35 minutes… I guess I was scared I was going to be late, and/or that the footage was going to suck. It didn’t.
That early in the morning, I lucked out on 10th Avenue, and was able to get some fantastic shots of me biking in the center lane. Admittedly, out of breath, but still. Nice shots.
After our shoot, we went to the Lowes Cinema down the block and saw Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Loved Bottle Rocket, loved Rushmore, LOVED The Royal Tennanbaums… haven’t really given his other films more than a cursory glance, because I simply wasn’t that interested… this film was way too heavy handed for my taste. It was really nothing I hadn’t seen before in a Wes Anderson film, so I was disappointed. Julie loved it. So, she’s fired.
One of the things that I think most people who are not in the film industry don’t understand… I have to go back and see if that was a real sentence. One sec. Yeah, ok… is that when you see shots that look dark, they’re actually really well lit. Movie theater scenes, specifically, are REALLY well lit.
I was trying to get footage of Dan in the theater with a 1.4f lens… and even ramping up the ISO to 4000, I couldn’t see shit. Even when there was pure white coming from the screen.
So I improvised, again. I shot him from behind, with the screen in front of him, and his head in perfect black. At first, it was just half his head, showing one ear. But then I centered myself, and man… the footage looks AWESOME. Truly. You can see a screen shot below.
From there, we went to Strawberry Fields, which was just a quick walk to Central Park. Crowded as all get out… I was concerned we’d never get the shots I wanted, but one of the things you have to do in filmmaking is just do it. There were fifty people by the IMAGINE tile work on the ground of Strawberry Fields. We just had to wait our turn, shoot it, and get the hell out of there. And it worked great.
So, first, here are some screenshots:
Nice, right? I got Julie to eat ice cream on camera. She’s a vegan.
Ok, ok, we all got some ice cream, did some fig rig walking shots that came out really nice, and I biked home, exhausted, with the GoPro on my helmet, and got some more nice footage, at a much slower pace. Julie took some of the equipment and met me at home.
By Sunday night, I was exhausted… but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.
Suffice it to say, if you know you’re working outside, and it’s a nice day, remember sunblock. Monday, I passed out for four hours during the day. Whether it was my skin angry at me, or what, I don’t know… but my face is kind of back to normal, but I know if it happens again, my epidermis might just walk off without another word.
Here’s a final shot of Julie and I at Coney Island, with the fig rig. Such a great day. Thanks for reading!