SHOOTING REPORT - Days Twelve & Thirteen

“DARK SOULS” – Days Twelve & Thirteen (13/10/2007 – 14/10/2007)

Cast On Set: Leah Baulch (Carrie), Dallas Bland (Colbeck), Clare Martin (Julia), Georgia Pike (Maggie), Soren Jenson (Danso), Dave Smith (Cop), James Folger (Uniformed Cop), Adam Grant (Forensics Photographer)

Crew: Pat Gallagher (Director/DoP), Joe Kisch, Ben Wade, Christian Doran (Location Audio), Christian Doran (Key Grip), Linda Thomson (Makeup), Adam Grant (Script/PA)

This was another case of having to scramble for a location. We were supposed to have started on the scenes at this location the week before, and a house had been lined up to use as the Julia’s House location.

Unfortunately, in the week leading up to the shoot when it came time to finalise things, it became obvious that due to increased work commitments the people who owned that house just wouldn’t have time to let us film there, with the following week looking just as unlikely.

So I bit the bullet, and cancelled the first weekend of shooting at that location, and hunted around for an alternative.

I remembered that Crick had shot his own low budget feature “Perfect” at his parent’s house a couple of years before. We’d already used it earlier in the shoot, but only for the master bedroom and ensuite. But it’s a large house, with plenty more rooms that we hadn’t seen on film yet, so I asked Crick if his parents would be agreeable to letting us shoot there.

To my eternal gratitude, they didn’t mind at all, so the next weekend we took over the house, rearranged the furniture, and crammed in as many of the Julia’s House scenes as we could.

We didn’t get through everything. A couple of scenes in the kitchen and a couple of external scenes still need to be done, hopefully this coming weekend.

A variety of lighting setups were required, simulating day, evening and night-time for various scenes, spread through four different rooms.

On of the nicest looking lighting setups ended up being one of the simplest. In the scene where Carrie is packing her bag and talking to Colbeck in the spare bedroom, I ended up just lighting the whole thing in silhouette and profile using the bedside lamp. I only added a little extra backlight using one of the Dedolights.

A costume challenge was that we needed a uniformed police officer for one of the scenes on Sunday. I got together the elements of making our own police shirt, including home-made patches that looked…. okay. But then we got a lucky break on Saturday, when Dave heard what we needed and said that he could get a real police shirt from an ex-cop friend. We picked it up Sunday morning and, combined with a police duty belt that I bought on Ebay, we had a nice authentic-looking police uniform.

More gory fun this time around, with Dave Smith’s cop having his throat cut by Danso. We don’t have the budget to run to creating a cuttable throat appliance, so we simply did a shot where Soren starts to cut the throat, we cut away to a reaction from Georgia, then come back to the a new shot with the throat already cut. Old school, but it should work fine.

Linda did an excellent job with the throat slash, it looks effectively gruesome.

A major hassle this weekend turned out to be crew. A lot of the regular people, including Ric, the principal sound guy, were unavailable. In the end, sound was done by three different people, working different parts of the weekend. Not the ideal scenario, but it got the job done. We’re nearing the end of production, but it’s been a long run and many of the crew are Uni students who have final exams and essays due.

But the good news is, after this weekend of shooting we are now officially past the two-thirds completed mark.

You can see some frame grabs and production stills from the weekend here.

One of the things I’m going to try with this film is digital make-up.

We’ll be using practical traditional make-up for a lot of things, especially in the final scenes, but for the scenes where some of the characters get possessed by the Dark Souls of the film’s title, I thought I’d try something different.

So below are a couple of test frames from this past weekend, showing Georgia before and after the application of the digital make-up. For a first attempt, I think it’s looking pretty effective.