Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Helping womenkind.....again

Lately, most of my work seems to be focusing on the feminine variety. Last month was the pro bono for Maya (btw, they finished within the top ten bracket of the BRAC competition, so congrats to the Maya team for that) and last week was an AV project, or short in my terms, a short film. The product was Senora Women's Sanitary napkins, a product I almost have no idea of. My clients wanted a short film, that they would show in schools across the country to tweens so they have knowledge of the subject. Since, I snored through most of my high school biology class and never took the subject for O' Levels or in college, I'd get some education too.

I was more interested in the "short film" part, where we would show 3 girls - a tomboy cricketer, a "diva" dancer and a go getter aspiring reporter. After establishing the status quo, we'd show them hit their first menstruation period and all the drama that unfolds etc etc. This would be followed by an informative segment with a OBGYN doctor explaining the situation to them, in turn explaining it to the school children who'd watch this.

The film was shot in 2 parts. One part in Dhaka and the other in Pabna. Pabna is where the famous mental institution of the country is located. I was happy we were shooting there at first, since I wanted to check that place out, as well as get a psych evaluation myself. Somehow, I'd feel at home there.

The Dhaka part didn't start off smooth. The first segment was in a slum, where me and Marisa (my 7D) on a steadicam ran through tight corners following the young aspiring reporter and my awesome production manager Ripon, cameoing as her sidekick cameraman. The next segment was in these "shooting houses" that I hate so much. My regular gaffer is off on movie duty for some guy, so I had to make do with my old gaffer, I'd stopped working with a long time ago. Funny how not working for one year makes someone completely forget everything you taught them. The lighting for this segment was horrible. We got the required shots, but I called in the entire light crew and told them that their services were no longer required. However, cooler heads prevailed and they were rehired.

The next day we shot right by my house in the Russian Cultural Center auditorium. After the night before, I setup the lights myself. The first shot I took was probably the best shot I'd ever taken. It was an homage to David Fincher's last segment form the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as best I could with less than 20% of the lights. The rest of the shoot was great as well. All steadicam inside the auditorium.

After the "better" day of shooting we wrapped up and went to Pabna, my first visit to the area. I really didn't have any time to scout the area out so we just shot in areas where the scouting team went. The best part was shooting a cricket match in a stadium filled with hundreds of people. BTW, the Pabna sun is devastating. I was baked for the entire shoot. Marisa gave me several warnings of overheating, so I had to shut her down and restart every now and then.

We shot 2 complete days in Pabna and then hurried our asses back to the capital. I spent the next day editing the footage, not trusting the peeps who had cut the first version of the Nesfruta commercial (which I ended up editing btw, both the 30 sec and 20 sec versions, since the first versions were horribad and got ripped apart by the peeps over at Bitopi). In house editors in this country, are, well....just sad. I also did the soundtrack, which means just selecting premade jingles in Logic Pro, ROFLMAO....and the director actually liked them....who said life was difficult?

SO after 6 hectic days, the AV/short film/school infomercial is up. I'm off to bed and a bottle of single malt. After these feminine crap I need to make an AXE commercial or something about some "player" dude.....but I've just been informed that one of the next projects will be about..........CONDOMS!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Its raining peas....hallelujah....

Yes, I like that Geri Halliwell song....she's hella hot in that video. But enough about Ginger new friends at Burnt Sienna hired me again to shoot their new TV Commercial for Ruchi Chanachur (chanachur, my LA friends is a local snack made from fried dough, nuts and in this case, green peas).

The director, N. I. Raju wanted the entire TVC to be shot in slow motion. It would be a great opener for my new RED Epic, except half the parts are still in backorder. So we went through with my 7D shooting 60fps in 720p and a shutter speed of 1/2000. With a little help from Twixtor, the test footage ended up winning over some hearts. Shooting began in Jahangirnagar University right outside Dhaka. All outdoors.

The script was simple. Hot chick walks through campus, while getting the attention of some hunk. Hot chick opens a pack of "chanachur" and it starts raining peas all over, including a guitarist's "huddle", a couple enjoying their tea, some bros playing basketball, a businessman in his car and finally some random chick in a roof.

We ended up shooting a ton of footage around the campus and even on my own roof and drenched all the locations with green peas. The idea was to shoot the footage with real green peas as well as CG'd 3D ones done in post. The latter was a bad idea.

Its hard to believe that CG artists here can't even get peas to fall from the sky without making it look fake. Oh well, not my concern. The other stuff looked fine.