3:03 – Production

On April 24, 2016, we finally got around to principle photography on my new short film project, 3:03. We had planned extensively for the shoot, including a plethora of test shots and lighting tests. When the day finally came, we felt very prepared. The day was a success overall.

Our call time was at 3:00, and we gave ourselves an hour of prep time before we planned to start filming at 4:00. Once our actress had successfully gotten into character and our camera was set up, we started shooting (five minutes ahead of schedule).

The first shot that we planned to do would be the most difficult. It was a stabilized shot that followed our actress as she walked from the bedroom to the kitchen, and then to the door. This was the shot that we had practiced on for weeks, and all of that practice really paid off. We had scheduled about 30 minutes to get the shot the way that we wanted, but we got several takes that fit our standards in 15. This set a good precedent for the rest of the shoot.

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This was also the first time that we had been able to utilize our Glide Gear stabilizer on a project. It was a big purchase that was made over a year ago, so it was nice to finally put it to good use.

Since our planning was so extensive, we flew through the next several shots fairly quickly. These were a lot of close ups in a confined area, but we had done test shots to prepare and made notes of what lenses we would need, so we didn’t have any problems on the day.

In retrospect, we did face a problem while filming these shots, but it was entirely my fault. Despite having made detailed plans, I thought of a new idea on the shoot day, so I tweaked my plan. I set myself too far away from the talent and the camera operator, so I didn’t see a potential problem that we would run into for the edit. One of the benefits of my new camera is that I can see the shot being captured from my iPad screen, so I don’t have to be right next to the camera operator to see the preview screen. I now know, for future reference, that I need to stay near the talent at all times. It doesn’t matter if I have a preview in my hands, there’s still an aspect of being present that I lose when I’m too distant.

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After breaking for lunch, we began set up in the bedroom. The shots we were capturing in this location were decently easy, but we were going to be ending on a difficult note. The last shot was an overhead view of the main actress while she was lying down. Luckily, with all of the time we had saved on previous shots, we didn’t fall behind schedule while setting up the contraption that would eventually give us one of the more stunning shots of the project. It took 40 minutes and several attempts to get the set up correct, and it was a pretty precarious situation, but I think it turned out really well.

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Some of the more interesting shots to film will have to be kept a secret for now. No spoilers. I will say that I was worried about the reactions I would get from any passers by. We made several attempts to get these shots exactly how we wanted them, and all of these attempts were made (very quietly) in the hours when our neighbors would be sleeping so as not to create a disturbance. I hope that viewers enjoy them.

For the competition that we’re planning on submitting this project to, we’re required to have a BTS (Behind the Scenes) video. Jason Rugg was wonderful enough to both film and photograph the production process for our behind the scenes needs. He also was a fantastic asset to have on set as we struggled with that overhead contraption I mentioned. I’ll be working on the BTS video soon, and it will be shared here eventually.

It was also incredibly nice to be working with Sarah Sofia Serrato again. There’s an aspect to her performance that really sells the type of stories I’m trying to tell. Her imagination adds a lot of great things to my stories to provide an excellent performance that brings the audience along for the ride. I was very lucky to have her for 3:03.

Stay tuned for updates on the post production of this short film project!

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