Over the weekend I went to Brisbane to participate in the 48hr Film Project in Brisbane, where your team is given a genre, a prop, a character and a line of dialogue and you have 48hrs to create and deliver a short film. Through the magic of the internet I was fortunate enough to make contact with the team at Blue Moon Art House Productions and secure a role as part of the crew (thanks to Billie’s sixth sense).
It all kicked off Friday night at 7pm when the genres were assigned and the required elements revealed. We were assigned Drama and Period Piece. Luckily we could choose to just do one and opted for Drama after brainstorming ideas. We also had to include a measuring tape, a character named Steve or Stephanie Villner (a paint enthusiast) and the line of dialogue, “Oh my god! This is the answer I’ve been looking for!“.
Friday night was spent brainstorming as a team until we had an idea we liked and agreed upon, followed by the script writing. It was a late night, with only a couple of hours of sleep and then it was up again to make it on set by 6:30am.
We shot most of the day at a restaurant the team had organised previously, though it was still open for business and had a lot of customers which created some challenges, especially for sound (poor Gabe). The shoot went smoothly though, and I was working as 2nd AC (Assistant Camera), clappin’ dat slate. The restaurant provided morning tea and lunch for us and we wrapped shooting at that location in the afternoon.
After packing up, we headed back to the apartment to shoot the final interior scenes. Everyone was exhausted, but soldiered through until we wrapped production at around 9pm. Thankfully I was able to sleep once we had packed everything up (about 10:30pm), but our editor Michael was deep into editing.
By the morning, the edit was almost done and I was able to relax a bit while other people worked. Once the edit was locked, we all headed over to Gabe’s house to deliver the edit for sound mixing and do some ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording), as the restaurant had been noisy and the dialogue recordings might not have been clean.
While the sound was being mixed, the few VFX shots needed were being done and again I was able to just observe and learn as others worked. We were on schedule for a 7:30pm delivery time and moving along at a solid pace.
With the VFX completed, it was time for colour correction and grading. Our director Michael was nice enough to trust me with that job, and I set to work with Joanna to correct each shot to match one another, before applying the stylistic grade to the scenes. Michael wanted a subtle green tinge for the most part, sliding into yellow during the final few shots. There were a couple of flashback scenes too which looked quite cinematic and pushed into red and purple (major props to Tiffany and Lily for the lighting and production design there – looks really cool).
Soon after the grading was done, Gabe delivered the final sound mix. Oddly, when imported into Premiere it was playing at twice the volume it should have been. Michael tried re-importing it, but now it wasn’t playing at all. It worked outside of Premiere fine, but inside it didn’t want to play at all. We tried transferring it over to Gabe’s computer, and it started working! However, it was still twice the volume it should have been. By this point, time was running out and we only had about 30mins to drop off the final film at the drop-off location (which fortunately was 30 seconds from Gabe’s house).
After trying a bunch of fixes, he found the issue and managed to get the levels back to normal (the levels slider for the audio track in Premiere was turned up). However, now the audio was sounding really crackly. 20mins left.
Re-export the audio track from Pro Tools, re-import to Premiere. Still crackly. Play directly in VLC, works fine. 15mins left.
We all left the room to reduce the pressure and left Gabe to work his technological magic. I walked over to the drop-off site with Joanna to await the final film. Not only did they have to fix the issue, but they then had to export the entire film and copy it to a USB and run it over. 10mins left.
After a few more minutes of uncertainty, Billie comes running down the hill, USB in hand and we deliver the film with just minutes to spare!
After that, went back to the house to screen the final film (unfortunately didn’t have time prior to submission) and it was great to see the culmination of everyone’s hard work. Then it was off to Macca’s for a celebratory meal. I don’t really like Macca’s, but after such long hours and little food, it was pretty damn good.
The night wound down and it was time for sleep and the journey home. Overall it was a great experience to be a part of and I feel very grateful to have been invited. I’m looking forward to the opportunities this experience will bring and glad to have made a bunch of new really cool friends.
The final film will be screened at Event Cinema’s in Brisbane, on the 10th of October and is titled “Bump in the Road”. Excited to see it on the big screen with an audience and see all of the other submissions as well.
Special thanks to Billie and Joanna for being so accommodating and to Agapetos who captured the BTS photos.