Shanghai stories. 15

We’re moving to next point. It’s the trailer for the short movie «Plasmodius Aliena» or simply «The Parasite». Why trailer? We shot so much material it was not possible to finish in one week. To make at least something in time we had to present any homework — I made a choice to edit a trailer.

After several weeks of making short movies we had an idea to work at sci-fi. We had a lecture about using color correction and the difference between sci-fi and other movies in editing and script writing. We didn’t have any experience with science fiction, so we had to improvise as fast as we could.

1. Script.

The script took a bit long time. I explained to our classmate and scriptwriter that I want something like «Aliens» of James Cameron due to my interest in «Alien» (including video games) franchise during those weeks. It took about 2-4 days to make the script and didn’t realize it would be that big. I didn’t want to cut and argue about the script because we already had tensions in our production team and also I was curious how is it possible to make a movie due to the longer script.

In the script the rescue team is sent to the bio research facility. There are no people around. The team discovers journals that reveal some truth what happened. Then the commander decides to evacuate, but not long before one of the scientists is bitten by a cat. The team moves to the extraction point losing one member by another. The infection spreads fast and the only team member alive gets to the extraction point.

2. Production.

I had to make a plan very fast. I used iPad and then realized it’s almost impossible to use it without an assistant. When you are the director and you act — it’s very hard. Ideally the director should never act, have an assistant and direct the production. Otherwise there is a huge chance of failure. One more thing was also important — it was really hard to gather production team and actors. Everyone had their own plans, but we needed 2 professors, 3 military guys (including me), cameraman to follow. We changed 3 cameramen during production and you may imagine — everybody shoots in different style.

For the shooting I bought red siren light, some minor stuff. We didn’t have any guns, so we used tripods , one I covered with wires to make it look like a futuristic gun. Lastly — the production in the subway was relatively easy. We chose right time to see least people (not a peak hour) and one of the emptiest stations. Only one thing was difficult — to shoot on a train. Usually people don’t care that someones shoots something, but we needed people out of the frame. There are many glasses in the train — we had to pay attention to the reflections.

As a summary I can tell — I was very nervous, pissed of many things, was angry. But that production was a huge lesson how to plan the production at all.

3. Editing.

As you see I didn’t finish the editing of the movie and I have no idea when I’ll do it. Probably will try in January. First I did editing without any color correction but after our teacher’s feedback managed to use color correction as much as I can. Unfortunately the lights in the STA dormitory were too bright and it’s hard to edit when the lights are wrong. That’s why cameraman should always check the lights graph it helps a lot. If the whole frame is overexposed — it’s almost impossible to fix. It’s possible to make it better but there are limits and also time limits.

The whole movie making must be done the easiest way for the next step. For example, during preliminary production scriptwriter should write the script clear enough and the most simple way for others to understand, especially the director and the actors. Then the production manager with the director have to plan everything beforehand to make the shooting smooth. The director and cameraman, light designer and others should shoot the way it would be easier to edit. The editor has the files and has the plan prepared before — makes the first draft of the production and then finalize after director’s comment. That’s how I see it by now.

4. Result.

At the end we had a trailer with more or less OK color correction, cuts and Avengers trailer theme. If you liked the trailer and read all this, leave a comment =)

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