Portland Grand Floral Parade

It was a bright day.  The skies were more than clear.

This parade in question runs four miles.  I had with me a total of three lenses, these being a 28mm, a 200mm, and a 14-42mm that I would return for value the following day (I can’t really stand using zoom lenses, but I had given this one a chance).

This parade moved fast.  I would shoot from multiple angles in a one block radius, then run up to a quarter of a mile to get ahead of the parade, alternating between the 28mm and 200mm.  It was such a great practice of switching lenses.  I felt like a gunslinger, going from one lens to another within seconds.

Thankfully, Portland has this constant cloud coverage.  This was helpful, as at the time I did not have an ND Filter on me.  This venture was also such an excellent exercise in not only film-making, but as as physical work-out.  Four miles!  And I was running, not only that, but back and forth, and across the street when possible.  I can’t imagine the energy the participants had to keep.  Still, I wish it were a weekly activity.

The filming of the event took about three hours, but perhaps longer.  I was filming in 4k quality the entire time, save for the last thirty minutes (rather, what appears as the final thirty seconds of the video; you can actually see the black bars atop and below dictating this, as I had not expanded the video in post; whoops).

Speaking of post, editing this was quite the rush, both figuratively and literally.  As soon as I had finished filming, I made my way back to my office.  I uploaded the footage, and immediately began editing.  Shortly into the process, I realized that I could edit my further and closer shots of the particular parade participants together, even though these shots had been recorded up to some thirty minutes apart.  By doing this, I would be able to give the parade a solid sense of a timeline, this being better for viewers.

An exhausting endeavor, I inevitably finished the edit about twelve hours later.  I’d cut about two and a half hours of footage (500 GB total on an SSD Hard Drive), down to four minutes.  At this point, I thought, “Hey, I should add a song.”  Little did I know how well a Lykke Li song would fit into my chosen edits.  There were some parts that lined up perfectly!  Even certain lyrics matched with the performers!

Next was color-correcting.  I wanted a rich, colorful, film-like substance to enrich the overall vibe.  I chose to bring my contrast high, and truly play with the highlights and shadows.  The saturation was brought to a tilt, and after a time, I could almost feel the texture within the frames.

Within twenty-four hours, I had finished the edit, and posted the completed short online.  A wonderful exercise.

My favourite moment in the short would have to be the moment a young lady waves her flag, the flag covering the frame, then cutting to the backside of another young woman who also brings her flag down.  The transition is practically invisible. A wipe of a cut, and the performer’s smile undoubtedly helps to disguise this fact.

I learned so much from this practice.  In the editing room, going through the 200mm footage, I noticed that so many people’s eyes went directly to my long lens, even some fifty to one hundred feet away.  As such, I was able to at times capture almost private moments, one that most their own immediate would have no notice of, one between them and the lens.  I could truly understand, and share their joy.

The Making of Barb & Jim

Barb and Jim is a quiet look at the life of two friends on a roadtrip. It’s a short film made in Portland, Oregon and was released under the LoGoat SNIPPETS Channel.  It was filmed in mid-2019, and released about a week or two later.  This film stars the duo that will appear in Glare, an upcoming and adventurous thriller feature from LoGoat Pictures.

What’s great about making films is that the sky is the limit.  The writer can concoct any story they choose to, but perhaps a certain location is wanting to be utilized.  Perhaps even, a particular actor.  Well then, the writer must abide by these rules.  Once completed, a team can easily be assembled (a small budget being likely the sound, lights, make-up and talent), and within days or weeks after conception, the picture is already shot, and ready to be edited.

This short was shot in four hours at a Historic German Graveyard.  The highway nearby wasn’t so much of an issue for sound, as this aspect was written into the scene.  There was some new equipment being used, such as a nine foot dolly track, which itself was fun to use.  It’s always great to play with toys, but it was especially nice to have a slow glide for the walking profile shots.

Now here’s me speaking seriously.  Nina Tomica is a wonderful person to work with.  If I could, I would cast her in all of my projects.  She gives such great depth through silence, and no one can replicate her atypical essence.  We’ve worked together for the last more than half a decade (does that make sense?), and each time it’s over, I can’t wait to work together once again.  For instance, I cannot wait to work with her on the Glare Series, and I know that she is quite excited to play Dolly.

I’m getting ahead of myself…  This film was a most wonderful exercise, as most of the SNIPPETS are, and it really went quite smoothly.  The sound operator, a Mr. Peter Russell, was exceptional.  When making movies, it is so important to acquire the absolute best sound possible, and as such, our sound was our highest paid member on this shoot.  Besides actors and sound, our only other member for the day was the production assistant (dolly pusher this day, truly).  We did indeed complete the principal photography within four hours.

Of course, as with every film, there were a few hiccups.  One hiccup that immediately comes to mind includes a family the came into the cemetery at break-neck speed, their car at full capacity and the radio music blaring what I can only call, “Non-Scenic Appropriate.”  The driver, a brassy individual, yelled at us from out of her window, “Hey!  Get out of the way!”

We could surmise that they were mad that one of our two vehicles was apparently parked parked in her reckless driving.  I immediately complied, ushering Peter over to move his car, but she only became more agitated, yelling again, “I don’t care!  Get out of the way!”

Now, keep in mind, we were about halfway through our shoot at this point, and no, we didn’t have a permit for this short expenditure, and so were at the mercy of the film-making gods.  Before Peter could ever put his boom pole down, the woman’s car reversed, rocks from the cemetery’s driveway flying, and the music from their vehicle fading down the twenty foot distance.

I watched as her car quickly turned, and peeled their wheels to come up the other end of the roundabout.  They parked a small distance in front of us, and left their car to walk down a ways away, to another section of the graveyard from where we were filming in.  This wouldn’t have been a problem, save for the fact that they left their music at full volume, their windows down.

This was a dialogue heavy film of ours, so we had no choice to make except wait it out.  Put yourself in my situation:  Are you asking five people who are visiting a grave-site… to turn down their music?  I say no, I say wait the up to thirty minutes.  And so we did.

Were they rude?  Maybe, but I’d rather play it cool, rather than risk their potential wrath.

They eventually came back, thirty minutes later, and piled into their vehicle.  Before they left they must have felt some slight semblance of guilt, because the driver reversed her car, and actually apologized for their actions.  We said no problem, or that there-of, and finished the second half of filming.  After all of that, we still finished on time.  That’s film-making.

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