How A Film Becomes Law Part 3: Production (Redux)

How a Film Becomes Law

Last time on How A Film Becomes Law, I outlined our production plan. Kinda blah, but what the hell. It’s a silent three-minute short, and I’m no Eisenstein to begin with.

Our production strategy was simple:

  1. Check out a Bolex and a lighting kit for the weekend
  2. Rope Ethan and Parker into acting/crewing, without pay or any form of compensation
  3. Set up the lights for the apartment scene (in my apartment, natch)
  4. Learn how to load the camera
  5. Shoot the darn thing

Because our expectations were rather remarkably low for the project, the shoot went rather more smoothly than usual. It also helped that we had heard the “edit in-camera” mandate, thought about it very carefully, and decided that the best course of action was to pretend to not have been listening during that part of class. Shooting out of sequence is pretty much always a better option, even if it means being a weasel to get there.

The one real hang-up was that the Bolex we got had a broken film counter, meaning that we just had to be incredibly paranoid and listen for the film to run out. It also meant sticking the camera in a changing bag every ten minutes, popping it open, and checking by hand to see how much film was left. One thing I learned: I’m incredibly bad at estimating film length by the sense of touch alone.

The other hang-up was that the Bolex we got had, for some obscure reason, two 26mm lenses, rather than a 26 and a 16 or something like that. So we couldn’t do wide shots in our confined location. That is, we couldn’t do wide shots until I went all vigilante film student on its ass and gaff taped my .3x wide angle conversion lens to the front of the camera. Surprisingly, that worked (Speaking of gaff tape, check out FilmTools. The selection of available gaff tape varieties will blow your mind).

Aaaaanyways, we shot the movie. ‘Nuff said. The focus pulls worked, the camera was kinda scary, we were paranoid about underexposing and it was way too cold outside, but we managed to get everything shot in one day.

Check back on Thursday when I’ll tell you all about our difficulties with the lab! And show you the rushes!

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