Filming Complications! (Considerations?)

by - 2012/05/03 26 Comments Filming

Are we having them? Eh, nothing unexpected! But somebody asked if we could do a blog post about things that can become complicated on the actual filming front (we do tend to be a bit Blender-cenctric). The differences between making a film and making an animation. These are some of the things we’ve been having to think about over the past (and rest of this) week.

1.) Weather! 
Every time you’re filming outdoors, you’re at the mercy of weather. Will it rain? Will there be sun? Fire and brimstone? If it’s ‘patchy clouds’ (very likely in Amsterdam), and alternating between direct sunlight and clouds, you have to be aware of that. If you’re cutting a conversation, and the sunlight changes between every cut, that doesn’t work. And even if you just try to go with whatever weather you end up with, some scenes won’t work in the pouring rain (or can get just plain horrific). Rescheduling a shoot day often means paying all the cast/crew/locations twice. It’s one of the bigger gambles…  (Sunny 89% of the time in LA, as opposed to about 50% in Amsterdam. And that sun is able to turn into rain in 5 minutes as often as not). Ton has demanded we have good weather though, so I’m optimistic.

We’re filming on location on the 20th. Current prediction: RAIN SO MUCH RAIN. 

2.) Actors!
Can be fickle! Or get sick, or hit by cars, or fall in a canal (or pushed?!), or get lost, and not be able to come to the shoot. That can stop things dead in their tracks right there. Maybe they don’t speak English! Maybe they suddenly decided to shave their hair or dye it maroon! We’ve got some super great professional actors, so the odds are less that they’ll bail on us in order to go to a hella tight concert- but it could happen! And we’ll film the scene anyway and we’ll replace them with a robot wearing a hat that communicates using soundbytes from old public domain radio programs. Don’t think we won’t!

3.) Food!
Food is the backbone of any film set! I’m totally serious. Good food is important! It keeps people happy, and gives everyone energy. It’s the literal fuel of the shoot- and is almost always more expensive than most folks would expect. Do you have vegetarians on set? Or religious dietary restrictions? Allergies? Vampires? You gotta make sure everyone has food!

4.) Cost!
Costs always seem to inflate at the last minute. Problems you could normally solve with brains and patience are suddenly only fixable by throwin’ money at em, and there’s just no other way about it. We always try to be efficient about how we do things, but occasionally we just have to take someone’s word that something is being done the cheapest/most effective way possible. There are a lot of balances to hit; obviously we want to get the best footage possible, but in a lot of cases, ‘fixing it in post’ is kinda one of the points of the project, and if we can cut a corner on production for the same cost of bringing another artist on board for a couple months- and that artist could put that cut corner back, and do more besides- that’s a good thing to consider!

5.) Traffic!
For on-location stuff specifically, there are a lot of considerations. How many parking spaces do you need? Do you need to block the street? How much of the street? Are we bringing trucks, or vans (that is apparently an important distinction). What if the bridge has a lot of bicycles locked to it? We’re actually filming on a bridge, and we have permission from the city to redirect all the traffic, as long as emergency vehicles can still get through (which I think is very considerate).  We have a parking space reserved for putting a crane on- but even though it’s reserved, we don’t have any actual power to tow anyone. So it’s still a gamble. EDIT: Ton just walked in! We apparently now have power to tow folks! Francesco: ‘Every time you leave you come back with more power!

6.) A light exploding or falling on someone’s head or something!
Sometimes stuff just happens!

This is the document Ton got! The icons on the left represent all the laws the form lets us violate.

  1. Delightful reading. Good thing the robots come in post, and don’t need to be settled with the rest of the crew.

  2. PhysicsGuy says:

    Another thing that can go wrong: you could think you’re filming on the 20th, but is says the 10th on you ontheffing.

  3. Bao2 says:

    Yeah, there says clearly 10 mai !!!

    • ian says:

      We’re filming on the 10th of May :D. But yes! Just one mistake like that, and stuff can get complicated real quick.

  4. Armando says:

    I wished i could be there in Amsterdam cooking for the crew, but i can’t. Who knows maybe with the new open movie project (in about 2 years?).

  5. Socapex says:

    If it’s anything similar to live sound events, Murphy’s law! What can go wrong will go wrong :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Too bad, that it didn’t allow you to break the 4th wall… ;)

  7. jan the freeze says:

    can be annoying or time consuming, especially in the neighborhood you are filming.
    8.) Reality!
    Things never are as planned, there are lamp posts on the planned camera position, the actors seem smaller than they did on the storyboard. etc..
    Tend to change mind at the last moment, add shots, demand the impossible,
    10.) Producer!
    Refuses to do his cameo, interferes with directing. Enjoys everything way to loudly

    Toi toi toi!

  8. jan the freeze says:

    I think we should have a high resolution scan of that “ontheffing” posted on the blog in the spirit of openness!

  9. Lyle Walsh says:

    may I have a copy of the license to break traffic laws, would come in handy!

    • PhysicsGuy says:

      It only works on the 10th of May, so it will require some planning on your part to get all your lawbreaking done on that day.

      • Jeroen Mank says:

        Nah. With a high resolution download we can Photos.. eeehh Gimp that out and change the date(s) to our liking. And now that i think of it – that goes for the laws we can break as well.

  10. Psh, you can worry about all of that stuff or just make a web series where you can ignore all that and figure out how to make it work in post.

  11. 3pointedit says:

    11.) Noisy dogs, I used to take doggy treats (chewy ones) so make them be quite. But we had to leave someone there to keep tossing them over the fence!

    Refering to 1.), how big a scrim can you hang over the bridge? Maybe you guys will be sewing together lots of bed sheets at night?

    • ian says:

      Ah! Yes! Noisy dogs, passing trucks, distant construction, and planes overhead are all perfectly horrible as well!

      I’m not sure how much we’ve considered scrims. It’s possible we already have them in the budget.

  12. Tycho says:

    You just forget the most probable things :
    12) Nuclear explosion in france
    13) Terrorist attempt against tom, claimed by Autodesk or Pixologic, cause is clearlly letting them make less and less profit.
    14) Tom that suddendly turn into a aggressive vampire.
    15 ) The F65, falling down from bridge cause director of photographie either have a momment of insanity or cause such camera is consuming to much space, and so has thrown them away.
    16) The film is too realistic so it really happen but snipper strike tom or other mate or the robbot start living really
    And then less probale :
    17) Blender craches : no explanation because it never happen yet :)

  13. jan the freeze says:

    The location on the “ontheffing” is wrong! It should say “oudekerksplein” not “Amstelveld”

  14. Wray Bowling says:

    I learned about “food” the hard way. It’s totally true: if you have people acting for you, and holding cameras, and having makeup put all over their faces, and putting up with you running around giving people orders… without some nice catering, everyone gets cranky.

    On the flip side, if the food it *too* nice, people get really really distracted.

  15. Wray Bowling says:

    Oh yeah.. and the rain.. Hmm…

    All I can say is “May the 4th be with you”

  16. Peter says:

    Ian you are a expert in filming. You will expect the “unscheduled”. But you are true, real actors are different than digital ones. They get headache, depression, stomach pain, bad mood, run over by a train (an unscheduled one) … would like to see after all that hard work a fine “Making Of” which shows some of the funniest and dramatical scene during filming.