Tag Archives: camera

Ruby’s Pogo

20 Oct

Ruby Skye P.I. and her PogoA camera is an essential component of a digital detective’s toolkit and Ruby Skye depends on her camera a lot.

She puts the photos she takes up on her evidence board, so she prints out a lot of her photos. Sometimes, she needs a photo immediately, that’s why she carries a Polaroid Pogo with a built-in printer. It shoots digital pictures that she can upload to Flickr or her Facebook feed, but it spits out hard evidence of what she’s observed, no matter where Ruby is.

PolaroidPolaroid supplied us with the Pogo that Ruby carries with her and uses to take all her photos.  On set, everyone who touched the Pogo fell in love with it.  There is something really fun about watching the Polaroid picture slide out of the side of the camera. And it doesn’t hurt that once printed, you can peel off the backing and the picture becomes a sticker.


Teaser Post Production

6 Sep

Marlee on setEditor Jennifer Essex-Chew was one of the earliest creatives to join the project.  I worked with Jennifer on the very first web project I did and loved her from the word go.  I was excited to get her involved in Ruby Skye P.I.

Luckily she had some time available and was able to cut the teaser.  Kelly and I brought the hard drive containing the video and audio files over to her lovely house.

Importing the files into Final Cut Pro wasn’t straight forward.  The first few attempts seemed to drop frames.  We called Alex Dacev as he was packing up to go to the cottage and he told us that we had to pull in the video taken on the Canon 5D Mark II through Mpeg Streamclip.  Phew.  For a moment there we worried.

Once we got the video and sound imported and sunk, Jennifer proclaimed the sound clean and that we had everything we needed.  She had a rough cut for us in a couple of days and she and Kelly did a little bit of tweaking to perfect it.

To give us an idea of how a music would work with the teaser, Jennifer added a temp track.  It was a piece of music from another production she’d work on and it was perfect for our teaser.  Jennifer told us that the composer – who she’d never met – was one of her favourites; David Wall.

Hello, internet.  We found David’s contact info and Kerry gave him a call.  Could we use his track?  Unfortunately, David didn’t own the rights to the piece, but he sent us another comedy-mystery cue that he did own and that he was willing to let us use instead.  It was even more perfect than the first.

Our on-set editor Ben Manthorpe and Alex collaborated on the final colour correct.  Then all that was left was to plan a release date.

Shooting the Teaser

5 Sep

Marlee in the closetWe shot the teaser with a small crew.  Kelly Harms directing, Marlee Maslove playing Hailey Skye, Alex Dacev as DoP, Sean Van Delft doing sound, Kerry Young playing first AD, Illia Svirsky was swing and I watched and took stills.

We shot it at night.  Call time was 7:30 p.m.

Marlee had been at ExITE Camp at IBM that day and wasn’t available until after 5:30.  Alex and Sean both had been working day time shoots I think.  Plus Kelly wanted to get all the mysterious mood that night would bring.

I had no idea what he was up to when Kelly asked me if I had a closet with a pull string light.  But I soon found out when Marlee was sitting on a chair in a storage closet for our first shot of the night.  I think that opening moment looks great when we go for darkness and Hailey pulls the string to turn on the light and begins to tell the story of how she got grounded.

We shot on the Canon 5D Mark II and in part, the teaser was a camera test.  It turned out to be a wonderful camera for our purposes and the images coming out of it are gorgeous.

We had a lot of setups: the basement storage closet, the hallway outside the bedroom, looking into the bedroom from the balcony, the kitchen, the computer room.

DoP and director conferIllia did the work of 10 men that night, lifting, carrying and running to and fro.

We wrapped around 12:30 a.m.  Despite having gotten up at dawn and having had a full day of camp before shooting, Marlee was the freshest and least exhausted of all of us.

We downloaded the cards from camera and the sound into my computer and called it a night.

Writing the Teaser

31 Aug

Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser Draft 1 Title pageWe really wanted to shoot a teaser before production even started for a number of reasons.

One was that we wanted to test the Canon 5D that Alex Dacev planned to shoot on.

Also, Marlee was heading off to camp for part of rehearsal week and a full week of production, but she was here now. It was a good opportunity for Kelly to work with her for the first time.

Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser Draft 1 page 1I wanted Kelly to feel the freedom that comes from getting something onto the web quickly. I’d had an enormous high off shooting something for Crushing It with Jenn Liao, Dharini Woolcombe and Scott Albert and getting it up on the web within five hours. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only thing we failed at with this teaser, because we shot it way back on July 29th and didn’t get it out till August 27th — a lifetime in web terms.

Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser Draft 1 page 2But back in July, time was running out. Marlee was heading off to camp in a matter of days. I’d successfully convinced Kelly and Kerry we had to shoot this thing. And I was nowhere with story.

We knew it would be a Hailey-eye view of Ruby and that the sisters don’t get along. If you’ve seen the Hailey Hacks videos, you know Hailey likes a good practical joke. Especially one that involves technology.

Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser Draft 1 page 3Kelly came up with the idea of focusing on Ruby’s investigation of one of Hailey’s pranks… from Hailey’s point of view.

I sat in front of his germ of an idea for four hours and had nothing in the way of a story. I crawled up to bed, taking my laptop and a notebook, just in case. And the whole idea came to me in a piece. Brownies. Ruby’s investigation. Hailey accused. The revenge. The reveal.

Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser draft 3 Title PageI loved the web site tie in. Loooved it. Sadly, visits to Read My sisters Report Card are few and far between. It’s getting about a 10th the traffic that the video is getting.  I don’t know if people don’t realize it’s there or don’t care that it is.  But it’s too bad, because it’s funny thanks to the genius of Scott Albert and Julie Cohn.  The brownie recipe, at least, is getting some buzz.

But back to the script.  I pounded out a script that night and it is very close to the final shooting script.Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser Script draft 3 page 1  There was a lick where Hailey referred to Ruby having only one friend on her Facebook page.  I was going to build a screencast of Ruby’s Facebook profile with Griffin as her only friend.  It seemed like a fitting idea considering my past with Facebook and the social media community.  But we wimped out for a bunch of reasons.  I didn’t have photos of either Ruby or Griffin.  We didn’t have time or resources to get Facebook’s permission.  That’s right. Ruby Skye P.I. Teaser Script draft 3 page 2 I’ve gone legit.  We’re clearing everything and getting releases.  Oh well, it would have slowed down the story just for the sake of the sight gag and maybe even ended up on the cutting room floor.

I wrote three drafts in all.  The final shooting draft is a little short than the first draft and whole lot prettier.  Mostly it’s a dialogue polish with some trims and tweaks to the original idea.  If you check it against the finished teaser, I think only one line ended up on the cutting room floor.

But wow, Kelly’s direction, Alex’s shooting, Sean’s sound, David Wall’s sound track, Jennifer Essex-Chew’s cutting and Marlee Maslove’s performance all lifted a very basic idea off of the page.  More about that in another post.

Diary of a Director: Lights, Camera, Confusion

31 Aug

Kelly Harm's StoryboardsLet me preface this entry by explaining how lucky Ruby Skye P.I. is with an amazing camera, lighting and grip crew!  They are spectacularly talented at their respective jobs and I often watch them in awe – Alex D. (DOP), Alex L. (1st Assistant Camera), Jack (2nd AC), Igor (Gaffer) and TJ (Key Grip) are a literal dream team of technicians and artists.  Alex Dacev and I have worked together on many productions and he’s, truly, an extraordinary talent.

The tools of my trade are very few.  I imagine what the scene looks like, draw storyboards (pictures) of where the characters should be and, finally, do a shot list with a simple diagram of the location and camera positions.  It’s then Alex’s job, with his crew, to make it look very beautiful (or, at least, how I imagined it to be) and to capture those images while I focus on the performance of actors.  Usually, the director hands over the shot list at the beginning of the day so the DOP knows what is to be shot.  With Alex, I often skip that step because I believe he can read my mind – and he’s proved my theory correct many times before.

So imagine my surprise, confusion and disappointment when Alex approached me and said that he couldn’t make a certain shot happen.  He insisted that it wasKelly's Shot List for Scene 17 impossible (I’d never heard the words out of his mouth!), claiming that I’d miscalculated.  Miscalculated?  I scoffed at the mere suggestion.  When I came to set, I consulted my shot list and realized that I’d miscalculated.  Massively.  I ‘imagined’ the camera miraculously moving through a very large, concrete beam.

My producer (and 1st Assistant Director), Kerry Young, reminds me often that just because it’s in my head (and possibly on paper) that it might be intelligent to ‘share’ that vision before hand.

I now hand my shot list over to Alex every morning.  Still, I wonder why he, and his miracle-making crew, couldn’t make the beam disappear.


I Wasn’t Sitting In A Rocking Chair

1 Aug

Ok.  Vid blog numero dos.  Sorry about the shaky camera work and also my “umming”.  Still working out the kinks.  I’m not even sure yet that it’s faster than text blogging…

Also, shorter?  Any topics you think I should cover?

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