Short Film - Block (Pre Production)

So, I have finally something to update on since the last post. I have been writing a short film titled BLOCK and we are getting towards the end of post production. I say 'we' a lot when I mean 'I' as it has essentially been me lying on my bed meticulously planning each aspect and stressing out. This post is going to be about each of these aspects and how I did them, I'm not sure if is was the best way of doing it but it seemed logical to me.

SCRIPTING

The first thing I did was obviously write the story out. This started at around the end of the last project (sometime in August) and is still evolving as I think of new ideas to better tell the story. It would probably help if I gave a little synopsis of what the story is actually about...

BLOCK is a short film following the life of Will Miller who is a fictional author who is suffering with writers block (ey hence the name how clever). After becoming interested in some crime news in his area, he starts involving himself in minor crimes to get inspiration. Over time, this becomes an addiction and the benefits he gained start to bring nasty consequences too... Check out this video we made for the crowd funding campaign which summaries the story in some more depth.

This segways nicely into out crowd funding campaign.

CROWD FUNDING AND BUDGETING

I felt quite embarrassed creating a crowdfunding campaign. I think there is something strange about asking your friends for money when it isn't going to charity but I told myself to look as it as selling cinema tickets to fund the project and it seemed justifiable. 

For the remainder of the budget, I am going to just pump my savings into it if needed. It's not exactly going to be Paramount Studios budget but there will be food, water and equipment which is all we really need.

LOCATIONS

As it stands, all of the locations are based within a few miles of my house. This is because of contacts and ease of access. The majority of the places have been provided by friends or mutual friends and the remainder were found by asking around my local area. The good thing about locations are, even though they are hard to find most of the time, once they are secured, they're rarely drop out. This is a nice point to segway onto actors...

ACTORS

As this project is tainted with the 'expenses only' tag, it is always hard to secure actors as usually, if a paying project comes along, they go for it, which is completely fair enough. However, because of this, theres been a few points throughout pre-production where someone has dropped out and I've had a mini heart-attack and scramble to find someone else which would suit the role nicely. Currently though, things seem to be fairly secure and I think I have a very strong team to get the job done.

Shot Listing

Above, you can see the general structure for the shot listing process. The way I did it was to copy out each action or plot point from the script and put it into a new line on a spreadsheet. The I went through again and added the shots, lens, lighting, whether it needed slow-motion etc. I also added a scene-shot code so when editing, we can easily see which shot is which and speed up the whole process.

That then helped us work out timings for scenes etc and we could build shoot schedules which were ambitious but not too crazy (hopefully).

future plans

That is pretty much all I can think of in terms of whats been prepared before the shoot dates, which are happening throughout January 2017. After that, I am hoping to do a post-production review covering each of the shoot days and the pros and cons of each shoot.

Thanks for reading.

Aaron Wheeler

David Blackburne - Walk Away (Music Video)

Finally, after literally months of planning, going over the script creating many minutely different iterations of what was essentially the same thing, we had a weekend for filming the production booked. Friday 17th June to Monday 20th June 2016. I had booked the holiday off work and so had the rest of the team.  Cogs were turning. 

The structure of this breakdown will be as follows; schedule, equipment and finally a brief note on post production.

MONDAY 20TH JUNE 2016

I had booked a half day from work in order to pick up the camera and lenses before heading up to the Peak District as soon as possible. I booked the camera from http://www.thekitroom.co.uk/ as they gave me the best deal for the weekend. Once home, David Blackburne picked me up and we drove to our hostel, picking up 1st AD Cameron Perry on the way.

We ended up getting to the hostel later than expected due to traffic and general laziness so were asleep at 11:30pm to wake up at 3:30am for the sunrise. For some reason, we had chosen the week with the shortest nights in the year so that made it extra fun...

There were seven film locations for the whole video, four of which were in the Peak District. Our first shot of the film can be seen below. It also happens to be one of my favourite shots which we stumbled across.

First shot.

First shot.

We spent the most time at our first location, probably an hour and a half, getting so many more shots than we needed because every direction looked so amazing. We moved between the four locations until around 12PM until we drove home. 

Once home, we went our separate ways and rested up until around 9PM where we met up again to shoot the train station footage, and all the night scenes with the supporting actor, Dani De Vito Halevi. Personally, this was the toughest point of the shoot just because everyone was feeling so tired and unmotivated meaning our mind set was 'that'll do' rather than 'that's the one,' if that makes sense?

Tuesday 21st june 2016

The next day consisted of the Dani-David meeting seen and shots of them exploring. This was fairly straight forward as we had planned to shoot a lot of pretty travelling shots outdoors (run and gun) and record in a high frame rate to keep everything smooth. 

That was pretty much it in terms of the two shoot days, now I will list the kit we used.

Cameras:

  • Sony PXW-FS7 (Main camera)
  • Canon 70D (Main BTS camera)
  • Canon G7X (BTS Point and Shoot)

Lenses

  • Samyang 85mm F1.4
  • Canon 70-200mm F2.8 Mk1
  • Canon 16-35mm f2.8
  • Tolkina 11-16mm f2.8
  • Canon 50mm f1.4
  • Canon 18-55mm F3.5 (lol)

We didn't use any microphones as there was no audio needed. In terms of lighting, all we had was two Yongnuo YN300 III light panels which are essentially cheapy panels bought on Amazon...

Post-production

David produced the song using Cubase and I edited it together using Abobe Premiere CC. I was hoping to colour grade in Davinci Resolve but I had set up my timeline to use time remapping for the slow motion shots which wasn't compatible with Davinci. Instead, I just used Premiere's built in Lumetri colour program which seemed to work fine.

The intro graphics were designed in Adobe After Effects CC and there was a few shots which had some lens flares etc added in which were also done on AE. 

Subtle lens flare added to this shot.

Subtle lens flare added to this shot.

There you have it, the first written breakdown of one of my projects. Please see below for the behind the scenes video if you enjoyed this and hopefully you will see more like it!

Aaron Wheeler

Prelude

I AM NOT A WRITER.

I thought I'd make that clear before you read this as it will probably be shite. I also cannot spell which is also helpful so have fun correcting me every erorr. 

I AM NOT A WRITER.

The plan for this blog is just to post updates on both projects as well as the general updates for BoxWheel. The plan is to go into a lot more depth in these blog posts so we can talk about the technical and practical sides of production. 

As this is written, the company is legally based where I live and is pretty much at zero. We have started a few projects but nothing has yet been released under the name BoxWheel. The majority of the equipment we use is either hired, borrowed or part of my basic bitch, 'I do photography DSLR' package. The logo is also as follows:

We have also started a creative collaboration with Midnight Suburb. Hopefully this will become a name that is more familiar in the future. But for now, Midnight Suburb is a group of blokes who are all from different industries (ranging from video production to clothing and jewellery design) making content to the same audience sharing notoriety. Essentially, the hope is if you like the content we make here, you will love all that Midnight Suburb produces (I certainly do).

That is all for the initial updates. We will try to add a new post explaining every detail of every project but until then. Thank you for reading.

Aaron Wheeler - BoxWheel Productions

Shooting our first project as BoxWheel!

Shooting our first project as BoxWheel!