A strange boy is spotted walking through the park. What is he up to?
project was an assignment for a Narrative Production class at the University of
Texas at Austin: Shoot a short piece on 16mm film where one character follows the other.
Adjusting focus before shooting
Not surprisingly, I'd never shot on film before taking the class this project was for. This was the second 16mm film assignment (the first one was just some random test shots), and I'm very proud of it. I shot on a CP16 camera on B&W 16mm film. This was an individual project and I was solely responsible for loading the film, proper exposure and focus, the camera speed- everything except for processing it. We sent our unprocessed film off and edited on Final Cut Pro with the digital copy that was sent back to us.
The assignment was to make a simple story where one character follows the other. Since I play Quidditch at UT (yes, a real-life version of Quidditch- it's awesome) and I'd just bought a snazzy broom, I decided to make one of the characters Harry Potter. (Thanks to Patrick for acting as Harry! Your glasses were the perfect finishing touch.)
We shot the last part first, because I had limited film and wanted to allow myself room for at least two takes. The disappearing effect in the end was done in camera. We did a couple run throughs as I set up the frame and made marks for the actors. When it was time to roll camera I had both actors walk, stop on their marks, stop the camera, have "Harry" leave frame, and start the camera with the follower looking confused. We did two takes of that and I'm very happy with the result. I knew I could have created a similar effect in FCP, but I wanted to try it in camera at least. The burst of light from the disappearance/over exposed film as I stopped and started the camera is a nice transition.
After that shot was in the can, we walked around a elementary school (it was a weekend), shooting everything in order from the first shot. We completed a full circle of the school right on schedule and I had enough film for one extra shot. It was one of the smoothest shoots I've had.
Sadly, the biggest problem was that something odd happened at the lab that processed and digitized our film- every single project in the class was slightly out of focus (and more out of focus if the student didn't properly focus the camera during shooting). Thankfully, my film doesn't look too off, especially in a small YouTube window online.
Thank you Patrick and everyone else who helped, especially with lugging that heavy equipment around (the camera and heavy duty tripod to support it)!