All right! Principal photography has come to a wrap on REVEALED. The film is officially in post-production now. We have a few follow-up shots yet to get, but they’re just a few insert and establishing shots here and there. All the major sets and scenes are finis!
Filming Revealed was a different experience than filming any of our other productions. To start with, the sheer number of actors involved was a big difference. Coordinating schedules to get the right people in the right places at the right time, was certainly a challenge. However, it was very rewarding to see everyone have such fun participating in filming a movie for the first time. Everyone seemed eager to do it again sometime, even those who were nervous about being on camera. And we gained several new crew members out of the experience. Speaking of which, I want to give a big shout out to Mark Thomas, Bryce Hamrick and John Griffith, all of whom helped out on our film crew for the first time on Revealed and will likely join us for future shoots.
Shooting in a place of business was also a big difference. For our biggest filming days, we scheduled the shoots for days when The Meeting Place is normally closed so we could access the entire restaurant and not interfere with business or blind customers with our set lights. Unfortunately, since we were shooting over the holiday season, we ran out of available closed days to shoot and had to do some filming when the restaurant was open. However, that did allow us the opportunity to catch some live ambient sounds and background images. In the case of background sound, it was almost too much. When I reviewed the footage and sound clips for one scene back at the studio, I was afraid we’d have to reshoot the scene. Volunteer actor Londell Smith had a voice that blended to easily with the background sounds and wasn’t very distinctive on the audio — not on the camera audio, and not on the boom recordings. I had chosen not to go with lapel mics because the actor had to move a fair bit. Fortunately, just when I thought all was lost, I found a couple of clips where Londell’s voice came across loud and clear – we were saved!
Speaking of lapel mics, equipment was probably one of the biggest changes between this shoot and many of our other films. When we filmed In The Dark back in 2012, we filmed with a 720p digital camcorder with auto everything (which made shooting in low-light conditions really frustrating), a handful of clamp lights, a halogen work light, a couple battery-powered LED lights barely bright enough to light a face from two feet away, and a $20 tripod. Our sound recording system consisted of a $20 shotgun mic with a constant buzz and an old mixer plugged into a resurrected Lenovo laptop running Linux Mint operating system. The mic was mounted into a diy shock mount made from pvc pipe and rubber bands sliced from a bicycle innertube. That was mounted on the end of a broomstick or something like that.
We upgraded to a Nikon D3200 camera with 1080p for Siblings, Stalemate and now Revealed. Prior to Stalemate, we added a sturdy Ravalli tripod with fluid pan head, a rig with matte box and rails, Nascam sound recorder, Rode shotgun mic, portable LED lighting with light stands, two booms, external monitor for the camera, blue/green screens and a serious collection of gaffing gear. For Revealed we added lapel mics, two super bright diy lighting rigs, a 56K 300watt equivalent CFL bulb, softbox lighting, three heavy duty diy light stands/C-stands, and a couple of new cases and gear boxes for everything. Oh! I almost forgot. I also built two rigs for mounting cameras to cars for our car chase scene using heavy duty suction cups from the hardware store. Talk about nerve-wracking – trusting your camera to suction cups while driving down the street. Ai yi yi!
Anyway, though our gear package is still small compared to a typical commercial outfit, having that equipment makes a huge difference. Being able to get light you need it, be able to shape the light the way you want it, and be able to capture images and sounds in all the right ways yields an entirely different and more satisfying product. Of course, it comes with downsides too. There’s more to haul around. It takes longer to set up shots, as there’s more equipment to deal with. And let me tell you, after being able to blast through shots on In The Dark and Stalemate (Stalemate used natural lighting and no dialogue), taking a half hour or more to set up a shot on Revealed seemed like an eternity. Though a source who’s in the know told me we still set up a scene in a fraction of the time some other productions do it. 🙂
All in all, it was a great experience, and everyone I’ve talked to had a ton of fun. Now I’m working hard to get it all together so we can get it released for all to see.