Week 15: Final preproduction

This week was a bit hectic as I had to balance finalising the camera previs documents with other production-related task. Emma and I met several times to discuss the shotlist, blocking and storyboards. Using Lightroom’s contact sheet feature, I compiled the photos we had taken into storyboards for each scene, adding thumbnail sketches to fill in any shots that were missing. This gave us a good sense of how the film would look and how the different shots might cut together. This helped us discuss the blocking and coverage and make adjustments to the shot list. I feel like it would have been good to finalise this sooner but the major reworking of the film’s visual style required a lot of attention before we could figure out the details. Nonetheless, we had a fairly locked shot list by the 27th. This gave me a few days before the shoot to compile the shotlists, storyboards, floorplans and marked script into neat documents and distribute them to other members of the crew. It was particularly important that Michael had a chance to look over our plans and he was able to give some suggestions to make sure we had enough coverage, particularly for the field scene.

Our 1st AD was busy with another project and unable to help with preproduction so Emma and I did all of the scheduling ourselves. This was a little annoying but we both have experience in the role and it gave us a good level of control over the schedule. In particular, we were able to allow extra time for rehearsals as COVID restrictions meant Emma had only had a few opportunities to meet with cast beforehand. Added to this, there were some emergency recastings which meant Emma would need a fair bit of time with the new actors. However, the new cast members ended up being people we had both worked with previously so it was easy to get used to working with them.

Schedule for Day 1

I also spent a lot of this week doing practical tasks such as gathering props and preparing my camera floor bag. Overall, I am quite nervous for the shoot as it will be the first time I have DP’d a drama film in over two years! But I also feel well prepared and have clear documents to work from. I do wish Emma had been able to develop the script a little further to include more surreal elements, but I am happy that we have a good story to tell.

Gathered props in my flat.

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