Thursday, December 06, 2007

grace under fire, pressure, rain, wind, and cold

my feet are really starting to hurt; teva-like sandals are made to be worn for an afternoon on the beach, not for days on end through the jungle. but when you're in the jungle, that sense of the exotic eases the sandpaper-like feeling of the sand caught between the strap and your skin.
today it rained. all day long. constant rain. we keep the camere under an umbrella, but it still manages to get wet. everything, everywhere, and everyone gets wet. no matter that i've got my raincoat on, i was still wet. brian [our director] didn't even bother to wear any raingear. you can either be miserable that you're wet, or you can cheer that you're in hawaii.
shooting on the beach still brings the unexpectedly large wave, so that i am not surprised to find water up to my ankles during the middle of a take. our production designer had built the characters' makeshift shelter yesterday and today we decided to move it further down the beach, as we've found a more secluded spot that's also better for sound. we've now got it on a great spot on the beach, close enough to the forest to be sheltered, still receiving enough light from the beach for us to shoot. one of the hardest things about this shoot in hawaii has been the lighting; we have a small grip package and no lights, but with only two two grips/electrics, it boarders on impractical to bring out much to carry through around with us. plus, a 12'x12' silk isn't worth much if there's no sunlight to diffuse. i think that's hard on brian, to pay for this equipment and not be using it.
it occured to me today that i spend a lot of energy focused on operating the camera, designing the framing and setting up the shot; i like that and it's part of the job of a director of photography, but i think that if i had an operator, i would have more energy to tweak the lighting. i've never felt the need for an operator before, but this is taking more work than anything i've shot before, too. as i was looking at the shot, wondering what more could i have done with the resources i have, i realized that if i had set up a shiny board, a silk, some negative fill and a bounce that was giving me the same look, i'd be thinking i was pretty amazing. i'm lucky to have the overcast weather, giving us soft light everywhere; things look pretty good the way they are, which lets us move fast. as i was about that, i saw where i could move a bounce board and separate the actor from the background just a bit; we took a few moments and it that little tweak made a good difference. that's where the art of lighting comes in: like anything, little details make good go to great.
when dumbledore looks into the mirror of erised with harry potter, where everyone sees what they want most, he says he sees himself holding a pair of nice wool socks. i appreciated that more today than i ever have before. i think i would have seen myself wrapped in a thick, warm towel.

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