Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Target Practice



For my first production course in college I had to do a final film for the course. "Target Practice" evolved form that. It was shot on Super-8 film with a Chinon camera. I used both Plus-X and Tri-X reversal film for the project. The story was simple. Two drug dealers rip each other off, and a car chase ensures. I mounted the camera onto the hood of the cars. I had an old Super-8 box like camera that I inherited from my grandmother. It was a typical tourist camera, but it was small. I used that as a crash camera of sorts. It didn't weigh much so I taped the camera with gaffers tape onto the hood of both cars. I took a general reading of the light with my Sekonic light meter, and set the f-stop & locked it. I wanted to see the drivers face, and not silhouette him against the bright sky. Therefore I took the reading at the drivers side of the car. I even mounted the camera onto the bumper of the car to show the road racing ahead of us.

The music was put in by me and my friend Andy using his extensive music library of soundtracks. We put in two sound effects into the film. The screeching of the cars tires, and the bottle breaking. It was a hit and miss method. The soundtrack was recorded onto a magnetic stripe that I had the lab do after I edited it. Andy, a classmate of mine, also helped with the special effects. If you look quickly you see a shot of a bullet hitting the man's shoulder. We used chocolate syrup for the blood since the film was shot in black & white. The crash was done with a camera mounted on a bike.

We were young and we loved what we could do. Some of the music is from out favorite soundtracks. When we were done we thought we had a pretty good little film. I received an A from the professor, and he would become my professor in most of my production courses I took at college. This was not edited on video, or digitally. The film was done the old fashioned way. Tape & splice.

The audio is so-so. I tried eliminating all of the hum, but some is still present, but I believe it's watchable. Maybe someday I'll get it put on tape professionally. Colorlab does a very good job at putting old film reels on tape. It's a bit pricey, but the quality is really nice.

No I didn't have any permits, and you see my actors waving guns in the street. It was a different time back then, so if you're going to do something like this now I suggest you get a permit, and or tell your local precinct what you're up to. I really liked the post punk scene, and you get a sense of it here. I had seen the film "Smithereens" by Susan Seidelman and I liked how she made her film. It was very DIY, and very much an independent film . Amos Poe was another interesting filmmaker. Both showed up at our school and talked with us. They're attitude is still very much alive in me today. Another influence was Beth B. Her film "Vortex" was shot in Super-8 and it was very interesting to watch. But my goal was 16mm. To me that was professional, and when we all got to Production 2 at Brooklyn College 16mm ruled our lives, and we loved it, and I still do.

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