It’s been a long time since I made an entry. I think the hiaitus is due to the finishing of the filming, the sigh of relief, and then a short holiday period and back to teaching. So now, I’m going to have to make an entry which relies rather heavily on my memory…
When we finished the film, we found ourselves almost in the same position as if we’d actually shot on celluloid. The rushes – on digibeta, and on hi-def couldn’t all be viewed because the digibeta player/recorder was broken, as was the camera. We hired a digibeta and transferred all the tapes to minidv and to VHS, and this took a few days, at the end of August.
On looking at the rushes, I loved the acting, cinematography, and locations, but became hyper aware of all my mistakes in timing and coverage. Particular problems were about the lack of time to plan multiscreen ways of shooting Echo following Narcissus (sc 25) and the complete lack of Sc 14, the chase by Hera of Zeus and the nymph. This was lucky in a way, as it meant we really had to do pick ups, and as I wanted to do them anyway, it meant we had a bit of an advantage.
So, the pickups became Sc 14, including shooting some more cutaways of Hera, so we could have her on a different screen, chasing around on the dunes, and turning the nymph into a chicken. This also proved traumatic as the chicken was still unavailable, wishful thinking that finding a chicken would be relatively easy, and it falling outside any particular person’s responsibility. However, we’ve now decided to make the chicken animated, thus pushing the problem down the line, and hoping it will be solved more easily.
We also reshot Amenias dying, giving him a decent close-up, and were also worried about this, as he’d had a brutal haircut between the first shoot and the pickups. However, this was less severe than we first thought, and we were able to shoot the pickups easily. It’s an interesting point that the things we thought were problems turned out not to be, but other things turned out to be problems. Anyway, in his master shot he had moved very quickly and not given a reaction which could be caught, and we therefore shot a better reaction, and also two versions of him lying on the ground, (we needed an alternative, as the master shot had his head facing away from camera).
We then picked up some cutaways, narcissi at the pond, and some backgrounds for Tiresias. These, I assumed were just beginning shots, to be developed and expanded on later, when the film was cut.
The issue with pickups is really that we didn’t have the money/time to cut the film in advance of the pickups, so we can’t be completist about what we need to shoot. I fully expect that we’ll need to come back after the edit, and make some final adjustments, but whether we have the money, cast and crew by then is doubtful.
There seems to be a fight between the need to be extremely organised for a film shoot which requires money and scheduling – although never enough money or time – and the need to find out and explore how the film is working. This is independent of time and money and happens when it happens. Here experience is the key and planning for the unforeseen. On our budget we can’t really budget for pickups and keeping actors on contract, but we still need this facility.