For those that don’t know – DV Mission is the 48 hour film challenge that takes place every year in Portsmouth. On the Friday at 5pm we find out what the 3 obstructions are, title, genre and line of dialogue, and we have to get the film edited and submitted by 5pm on Sunday ready for the premiere and award night!
This year, the obstructions were:
Genre: Techno Horror
Dialogue: Let them eat cake
And here’s the finished film:
Team Mad Dogs were: (me) Joanna (Director/Writer), James B (2nd camera / Editor), Andy (Director of Photography), Lewis (3rd Camera), James J (Actor), and Laura (Actress).
Friday Evening – the writing
So once we found out, we head back to Starboard aka basecamp and got our thinking caps on and spent a fair few hours going round in circles thinking of all things ‘techno’ and ‘horror’. Quite a few of the ideas we came up with involved a lot of blood, guts and robots, but eventually we settled on the idea of a killer Sat-nav.
Once we decided that, we reined it back in to bring it back to the character and his struggle, and it became more psychological.
With our script in place, we got a good nights sleep and head out early Saturday morning for the New Forest where we found our first location – a road in the middle of no where.
Saturday – the filming
Here we set up our Libec mini jib JB-30U with a Canon XF305, and 2 DSLR Canon 60D cameras so we could capture it from various angles. All equipment was supplied by Mad Dogs Productions where both Andy & James B work at, so we had a great selection of gadgets to play with!
All cameras where shooting 1920 x 1080, 25 progressive at 6300 degrees K & ungraded – all the colouring was done in post production by our lovely James B.
Luckily we got it in the can with 1 shot, so head off to our second location to get some more car shots.
We set up camp at Deadmans Hill in the middle of no where, where we found some New Forest ponies who wanted to learn more about film making.
Here we strapped a GoPro Hero HD to the back of the van and got our moving car shot. We did also attach the GoPro to the front of the car but we didn’t end up using that shot!
Inside the car where the main section of dialogue, we shot on 2 cameras. Andy with a Canon 7D, first with a 16mm-35mm L F2.8 lens and then with a 50mm fixed macro F2.5 for the really close up crisp shots. And James B shot on a Canon XF105 which had the radio mic attached. I sat behind James J to direct and read the part of the wife on the phone so he had something to react to.
From here we went on to find our secluded woodland area where the main action would be. We shot using 4 cameras – 1 x Canon 7D, 1 x Canon 60D, a Canon XF305 on the jib for the final shot and the smaller Canon XF105 which had the radio mic attached. To get the nice shot through the windscreen we used a polarizing filter on the 7D which really cut through the reflections nicely.
It didn’t take long to film all the shots we needed as we covered it from many angles so we had a lot of shot choices. We only recorded the sound on the radio mic for James’ dialogue, the rest of the sounds heard in the film from the point the car is stopped is all Foley effects from sound libraries; mainly from Soundsnap.com
Once we’d filmed the shots inside the car (with me reading the lines of the Sat Nav!) we filmed James J grabbing the shovel and petrol from the backseat using 2 types of camera setup. Andy shot the static shot using the Canon 7D and the 16mm-35mm L F2.8 lens, allowing James J to come into focus as he grabs the shovel. The second shot I will go into later!
We then moved onto filming the scenes inside the boot with our lovely actress Laura. First things first though, makeup!
James B shot through the seat of the car, so when it opened you got this great reveal of James with the shovel. This was done on the 60D with a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens.
Andy also filmed the struggle from the front on the XF305.
It was then time to film the final shot, which we got from 2 angles. One on the 60D with 50mm macro filming the reflection in the mirror. The second was using the jib and XF305 which was operated by our 3rd camera person Lewis.
We had just filmed the final shot, when our brilliant DOP Andy had the genius idea of using the body rig (custom built) to film James J from the front to give this real sense of panic and to create this psycho killer. So we cleared everything out of the way as this was going to be a 360 angle, and hid behind the car for this shot.
It was dead on 5pm – exactly 24 hours after we found out what the mission was, when I called those amazing words ‘that’s a wrap!’. Now it was time for everyone to head home, and for James B to enter editing hell.
Sunday – editing
With a fair few hours of footage to edit, spread over several SD cards, James B started at 6pm on Saturday night, through til 3am. 4 hours sleep later, he had a preview for us to view over Skype at 11am. We absolutely loved it, the grading was beautiful and the music was perfect for the film. The music incidentally was purchased from Audio Network.
The editing was done using Adobe Premiere, with the grading done using After Effects. It was originally quite a bright sunny day which didn’t really say ‘horror’, so the greeny / grey effect corrected the whole tone of the film.
Edit was locked at 1pm after a few tweaks and adding some foley effects from Sound Snap. All that was left to do was render and export with a codec that would work with the DV Mission player and it was done!
We entered our film at around 3:45pm, and were the 3rd team across the finish line.
All that was left to do then was get our glad rags on and head down to the premiere night! You can check out the results and the photos from the Premiere / Award night in this blog post.
You can see more behind the scenes photos on Flickr or here:
Special thanks to Mad Dogs Productions who supplied all the equipment.