Another full day of exteriors today. It was nice and cool out, and after a week in that hot box on West 9th, I can't complain. But, shooting exteriors has its own host of challenges, especially in Manhattan. For instance, there is a jack hammer on every block. This is just a fact of life. There are also pedestrians who look into the camera, angry tenants who live on the block you are shooting on, potential threats of rain, and inconsistent light/cloud coverage. All of these elements give a film crew plenty to deal with when doing a full day of exteriors. Today started off with the familiar challenge of working with a dog. This would be our third dog to play the role of Oscar in the film. Originally, the part was to be played by my own awesome dog, The Machine. Due to unforeseen obstacles, we had to recast the role. Even if a dog is well-trained, you are at their mercy and they can stall your day at any time. I would assume this is true of all dogs had I not seen my dog play this role already in the short film, Pretty Happy. I digress...
The dog stuff took us a minute, but we did capture it and move on. After the dogs, came the sun. If the sun comes out, you have a problem of harsh shadows and blown highlights. Both must be avoided and the only way to do it is to mount large silks (diffusion screens) to soften the light. This takes a while to do if you are short a Key Grip like we were today. Ultimately we got the light roughly where we wanted it, if not completely.
Right about the time we finished shooting that scene, the jack hammers started. We managed to get pieces of usable audio here and there and I am confident I can piece something together. Nevertheless, it was not an ideal situation and had there been no dogs in the scene I might have re-shoot it later in the day.
I had a delicious sushi lunch. Delicious.
The afternoon was a success through and through, we knocked off a wealth of scenes and coverage. We got funny stuff, cool camera shots, tracking shots, moving handheld, you name it. It feels good to be resourceful and it feels extra good to be resourceful and successful. With a hand truck, sand bags, and some skillful camera work, we pulled off some terrific tracking shots. See below.
All of this culminated in the shot of awesomeness that we nailed with the dolly and track at the end of the day. It was not an easy shot to execute, but execute we did.
Another exterior day tomorrow. They are predicting rain. I can't even think about that now. Must sleep.