battle scene blocking positions
Posted 11 December 2008 - 07:50 PM
Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:57 PM
One question you have to ask yourself is how subjective do you want to make the scene, shooting from the perspective (literally and/or emotionally) of the character, even if this makes the action or geography confusing.
There are also budgetary and logistical restrictions with war movies -- like if the real battle involved a dozen tanks (or the script mentions them) but you only have two tanks. Or if you need to make fifty extras look like two hundred soldiers are fighting.
Like I said, the script should be the guide as to what to shoot and what doesn't need to be shot.
But I definitely would not "wing" a battle scene, you have to do your homework and plan it out. Otherwise it may take you hours to figure out a few shots while standing on the set, plus nobody will be in the correct places for your camera when the time comes.
On a limited budget, you may decide to follow your character through clouds of smoke and dust as you hear explosions and screaming from off-camera...
Now you don't have to literally plan every shot and cut if you are going for a chaotic multi-camera coverage style - you plan the basic set-ups knowing that you'll do variations with the cameras within that set-up. For example, you may list a Steadicam shot that follows the character running from one trench to another, both chasing and following, but you may do some takes tighter on longer lenses, or decide to chase and follow in the same shot, etc. Or you may chuck the Steadicam on the day and decide to shoot it handheld. But at least you know you need a basic set-up that follows and chases the actor from A to B, with some variations in size, so you have a sense of what might be in the frame, what efx are needed, even if some angles can use a stunt man instead of the actor, and how long all of these angles may take to shoot.
No point, for example, in rigging a tree to explode if it turns out that it won't be in the frame. But it's harder if you decide after you've framed up a shot that you need the tree rigged to explode -- the efx person may say "great, give me two hours to rig it..." And after you've blown it up, you then realize that you need some shots of the tree before the time it exploded in the sequence.
Posted 11 December 2008 - 10:11 PM
Once the camera starts to move, its easy to cheat blocking and geography. Usually I will start with the director and decide which charecters or action is important. In most setups, no matter the size of the actual scene, there is one idea that needs to come through. Once you plan that out for each set up you will do, then you can place extras in the background where they will logically be, along with what looks good for the balance of the picture.
Working quickly with the director and 1st AD early in the day/setup turnaround is key here to keep things moving. You may not need to do an individual plan for each setup, some setups can be blocked and then 2 or 3 or more actual angles can be shot. One thing to keep in mind that can make the sequence cut together better, every now and then place the action of one setup in the background of another. It doesn't nessisary have to be geographically correct, there is a lot of room to cheat here, but to have that bit allows the editor to tie multiple locations together to give a sense of cohesiveness. This is where breaking down the feeling of each stage of action helps. You shouldn't put action from stage 1 into a shot of stage 2 action.
Action scenes are tough but definatley one of my favorite things to do. I don't get to do them enough, and a WWII pic is my dream, so feel privilaged to have such a rewarding challenge. Plan well and you will have time for experimentation and fun on set.
Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:19 AM
Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:41 AM
Take a look at the WW1 battle scenes in the original "All's Quiet on the Western Front" (1930) or the later "Paths of Glory" (1957), they use wider shots of action to convey the carnage and absurdity of war. There is a similar effect in "Barry Lyndon" as in "Paths of Glory" -- Kubrick shows a sort of relentless quality where the camera tracks with someone going slowly through a battle formation as more and more people around them drop away. It creates this sense of the awful mechanics of a battle, the grim calculations where it is planned that a certain percentage of soldiers are not expected to make it through the battle.
Posted 13 December 2008 - 05:18 PM
clothing plus props
most of the guns I got here, you just need to put em together
the rest were at a site called kapowee they have deals on broken airsoft guns with real wooden parts at low prices, I was amazed, just go to the boneyard section
they even have toy guns that look really nice, I couldn't really find any that I liked but I'm sure that if you give the site time some may pop up
Alright well if anyone has anymore tips on how to create the feelings of either isolation, expendability or the reckless acts of war threw blocking positions I would be glad to hear any more tips I could use all the help that I can get, also how much attention should I pay to the effects of the film, lets say a tree gets blown up, obviously this takes a lot of time to do on set but in the real battle it was just something else that was happening, would paying a lot of attention to effects like this or gun shots, mortar strikes turn my movie into Transformers ( definitely don't want that by the way ) or would it help convey the terror of the battle, I felt band of brothers found a happy medium and it just help put you into the battle rather than saying Holy Sh** did that tree just blow up, I found myself saying could you imagine what it was like to be there, I think the best war movies produce the second result, what do you guys think and how can you achieve that?
Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:05 PM
okay thank you for answering that Dave, one of the main themes is the expendability of the soldiers on the front lines, I am trying to convey both the separation from home threw some shots and blocking positions with that mechanized fleet of innocent men to the machine guns to convey the real expendability of these guys.
Take another (or a first) look at Band of Brothers, an excellent war series that emphasized precisely what you are seeking.
Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:15 PM
Posted 06 October 2010 - 05:43 PM