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First time DP needs some advice


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#1 Jensen Yancey

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:34 AM

I've directed a few shorts before, but have never really been involved with filming them. I wrote this short to be about 2 minutes long, and i have an idea for the look I'm going for but feel like i'll be totally lost if I don't get a lot of advice going in. The premise of the short is similar to Shaun of the dead except its not played for laughs. Theres only the one character in it, and he's in the middle of a zombie outbreak but is unaware of it happening, and he himself is turning into a zombie but thinks he only has the flu. I want the whole thing to have a dirty, grungy look, possibly either with a green tint to everything or in B&W. Basically, I need to know how to light the scenes, and what kind of shots I should be getting, I have available: HV20 with a DoF adapter, a wide angle and fisheye lens, a steadycam, a light kit, and I was thinking about building a makeshift dolly. If your interested you can read the script, with every beat in the script the action, sound, and camera movements should get more panicked and urgent. Any opinions are greatly appreciated, I really want criticism.

Open on man, wrapped in a blanket and wearing sweats, he is sitting on a couch, eating soup and illuminated only by the TV, a zombie movie is playing. The man hears a panicked knock at the door, as he gets up and moves towards the door the knocking becomes more urgent but a few seconds before the man gets to the door the banging stops. The man looks through the eye hole, as he leans forward he drops the blanket wrapped around him and reveals a bandaged wound on his neck. (POV shot) The man sees that there is nobody at the door, just a piece of paper blowing by and shrugs off the incident off as a prank and goes outside to check his mail. As he steps outside the sun becomes opressively bright, as if the viewer had just spent the last several days in a pitch black room. The man finds nothing but a flyer in his mailbox (shoot him checking from inside the mailbox), as he turns around to head back inside he notices a car that has run up on to someones lawn with the door standing open. There are sirens in the distance.

Beat

Cut to the man walking back into his apartment, locking the door behind him. He reads the flier which is for a cult, saying that he needs to repent soon as the apocalypse is upon them. He tosses away the flier as soon as he is done reading. as he walks past his tv a news bulletin is playing urging people to stay in their homes or head to a local shelter. The man takes notices and begins to watch, but then starts wheezing and turns the tv off, gets up, and heads to the kitchen, not noticing the human silhouette in his windowshade.

Beat

The man walks into his kitchen and the phone starts ringing, he ignores it, the caller ID says mom. The man begins making tea. The call goes to voicemail, the voicemail will last until the next beat.

Voicemail

Hey honey, your dad must have picked up that virus from you, he hasnt been out of bed all day. I'm taking him to that emergency clinic the hospital set. Call me if you want a ride there, or just call either way... I love you.


The man opens a prescription bag, reads the label which says take one pill every 12 hours. The man takes an open bottle of cough syrup, measures a spoonfull and takes it, the red syrup runs down his neck. Shot of the camera looking in on the man from outside the window.

Beat

The man is in the bathroom and begins peeing, staring off at nothing in particular, as he stops he looks down at the toilet bowl and pauses, the water is blood red. The man runs back into the kitchen, the Teapot begins whistling as soon as he makes it into the kitchen. The man grabs the bottle of pills, pours out a handful into his palm, and swallows. The man paces around for a several seconds and swallows a few more pills.

Beat

The man begins coughing even more violently into his hand, as if all of his insides are about to come up. He looks down at his hand and realizes his hand is covered in blood. The man's phone starts ringing again, he takes a swig of cough syrup and moves towards the phone but his legs go out from under him. As the man hits the floor he spews out more blood in front of him and begins crawling towards the phone, hacking and wheezing as he goes. The man pulls himself up to the counter and paws at the phone, managing to knock it off of the counter, landing next to him on the floor as it goes to voicemail, which lasts until the end of the scene.

VOICEMAIL

Hello, this is Sherri with United Healthcare, I'm calling to inform you that unfortunately, your claim has been denied. Have a nice day.


Finally the man loses all strength and collapses on the floor, blood pouring out of his mouth. five seconds before the end of the voicemail his eyes shut and he lays motionless. A second after the voicemail is over, his eyes open but are completely black.
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#2 Vivek Marimuthu

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 12:15 AM

Hi,

I guess the script is good. For lighting in the first scene, you could use a color corrected light with a flicker to get the TV flicker... The lighting for the first outdoor shot can be done by placing your subject on the higher end of the grey scale.. meaning if the sky is is at f2.8 and your subejct is at f8, then try to place your subject at f4 and conseuqenlty the sky will move up... will be bighter and still get your subject within the curve.

Hope this helps

Vivek
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Ritter Battery

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Visual Products

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS