Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day 3 Data Dump

Most all these pictures were taken by Tony Travostino, although not all of them.
Laura here is holding her own tap. You'll note she doesn't have it plugged into anything.

Here I am grabbing a closeup of Amanda Rinzel -- she's not in costume, just wearing the head pieces.
Shooting in the sand is, as it turns out, really freaking hard to do. The Blackmagic Production 4K is nice. Shooting to SSD seems okay. The camera itself is awkward to hold. Putting an eyepiece on it is very very fiddly (so we didn't do that) although putting a remote eyepiece on a 20-foot piece of BNC coax was very nice -- better than dragging a monitor on set which would be blown out by the sunlight anyway.
Laura Queen of Mars, me, Sarah Schoofs. Note forcefield plinth in foreground.
We were very very fortunate on costs on this trip. We got about the lowest prices one could get to Denver from the New York City area. And the house we stayed in is absolutely amazing. Another huge help was that Chester Poon immediately volunteered to cook dinner for us -- twice! We had delicious home cooking based on his Hong Kong mother's recipes which really and seriously need to be printed elsewhere.
We brought plenty of water but oddly we didn't get dehydrated so much as had to deal with a lot of sand. In our ears. Up our noses. My nose is chapped from being sandblasted.
Sarah Schoofs and Chester Poon. Not only was the sand everywhere, but we had to cross a very wide muddy creek on our way to and from the dunes.
We did get busted though. On our first day we went way north to the middle of nowhere. On the second day we were much closer in to where people normally came onto the dunes. Day three I decided to hike on land that was flat as possible (and, honestly, which gave some of our best views. Helpful hint: don't actually shoot in direct line of sight of the visitor station.
A ranger came out and asked what we were doing. We said we were making a family movie. He lectured us that we can't be making anything for a commercial purpose. He told us that people could see us (and our guns which are legal but, you know, they're wacky guns being waved around), and that the ranger station closes at 4:30. We took the hint, quickly finished a scene as the freaking hail moved in, and packed up and walked across the creek again and hid in the car until the rain/hail storm was over.
Delta, Amanda Rinzel, goes across the dunes. This is not a still from our 4K. In the motion version you can see the sand kick up -- it's pretty spectacular.
Every day someone dropped a walkie talkie into the creek. I mean, right? Yesterday was Laura. Today Tony took the honors. Laura's was found by a citizen who got on the channel we were using and said hi and that they'd drop it off at the visitor center. We picked that one up today. The other was found upside down in the mud by the creek. They both seem to work.
This closeup of Sarah Schoofs is an ungraded screen grab from the BMPC 4K. All detail is retained. And no rolling shutter.
Caitlin Cisek's costumes give a great solidity to the design. The contrasts are just right.
Plus I'm doing something close to no directing on this picture. Everyone is just doing stuff that's perfect. We're getting a lot of the decisions. We're enjoying wide shots and closeups.
Physically it's hard to shoot in. There's a good hour drive from our B&B to the Dunes. Then there's a mile walk over a mud flat and then sand. If you're ambitious, you then go another several hundred feet up. If you don't mind spending hours getting to location on foot you can get complete solitude and do whatever you want there. We did not spend that kind of time (which is why we got a talking-to by the ranger.
Laura, Queen of Mars; Andrew Bellware; Sarah Schoofs, Chester Poon, Tony Travostino, and Amanda Rinzel at the Yak N Cracker which was a place I was so excited about as soon as I'd heard of it that we just had to go.

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