On Friday, we released the first bi-weekly Cinema Wagon short. It took about a week to set up the shoot, one day to actually shoot it, and another week to edit and release it. Overall, while time consuming, it was a pretty easy process, and everyone involved had a good time.
The shoot started at around 11:00 AM on the day, with the writer, Dan Chomistek, and myself going in and setting up the various lights and certain special effects to get them ready to roll before the actors could ever show up. It took a bit of finessing to get the look that we wanted, but we ended up using mostly natural light with a few can lights and one halogen work light to really sell the atmosphere we needed.
At about 2:45, our lead actor, Dallas Janot, showed up and we put him through his paces with the CO2-powered Winchester 1911 prop that we had, and at around 3:30, our zombie extras started to show up to get all made up and dead-like.
After the makeup was done and ready to rock, we came to the long shooting process. Each scene was shot once in a continuous take, and at a few other angles for cutting purposes. We were hoping to create a film that would happen in a series of three long takes that would span around four minutes, but we took those safety shots on-set just in case a shot didn't play out as well as we had felt it did on-set, or dragged for too long.
For the final sequence of the sketch, we had lost all natural light, so we had to get a little bit creative to compensate for it. A few daylight-balanced LED lights and the halogen work-light outside proved not only to give us the light that we needed, but actually created a better look than what would have ever come out of the natural light that we planned to use. Essentially, it was a happy accident.
At the end of the night, we got the entire thing done about an hour behind schedule, but people left with smiles on their faces and I think it's a memory that a lot of us will enjoy looking back on.
The finished video.
Special thanks go out to Dave Cruickshank for lending us his RODE NTG-2 microphone and Tascam DR-60MkII for the foley and dialogue that we recorded on-location. This sketch would have sucked a lot more without it.
-Post written by James W. Hastings