Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Primary Cinematography Completed on "No Sleep for Ronni"

The last full day of shooting on No Sleep for Ronni was concluded outdoors yesterday during the blistering 92 degree swelter. Yet, the summer heat happily wasn't much of an issue for our star, Veronica Narang, or for our crew. Why? Because we shot in and around an abandoned 19th century railroad tunnel with natural spring-cooled "air-conditioning".

The location for this sequence was originally referred to in the script as a long hallway. The plan was to secure a school for the shoot, but after failing on several attempts to do so, the "school" idea began to loose its appeal--not the least of reasons being that we wouldn't be able to run a commercial fog machine inside the building (fire codes).

The school was replaced with the intention of using a bicycle underpass. Yet, issues of lighting, fogging, and biker traffic were all real obstacles to the successful completion of the shoot. Up until this point, all of the previous filming locations for the movie had surpassed our expectations in both functionally and artistic mood. Now with one major sequence to go, it felt as though we were "settling" for less than what the story needed.

At the 11th hour, our cinematographer suggested a little known abandoned railroad tunnel he'd visited once. It would require a drive to get there and then a hike in, but after one look at photos online, we knew we'd found the right place.

As we parked the cars and loaded up the gear, the heat of the day was on the rise. But to our pleasant surprise, the closer we got to the tunnel, the cooler and moister the air became. Natural springs and extremes in temperatures were creating a billowing fog that pretty much poured out of the arched entrance for most of the day. Not only did we find the right look for our shoot, but we also got the fog we wanted! Everything just seemed to go right on this production, and the fog effect was simply another example of how the filmmaking gods were smiling down upon us.

A small, mobile cast and crew (after a long, hard day of work on set), L to R: Robin Witt (assistant to Veronica Narang), Veronica Narang, Colin Cameron (producer/script supervisor/grip), Simon Witt (production assistant), Erik Witt (cinematographer/Steadicam), Robert Lughai (director/sound).

Photos by Robin Witt and Veronica Narang.

A small set of supporting character pickup shots remains before filming is finished on this project.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Beast Bike Beauty" part of July 27th Film Screening

Beast Bike Beauty, our collaborative short with Exchange Productions, will be part of a film screening at the High Noon Saloon in Madison on Sunday, July 27th, 7:00 pm. Our showing is just a small part of the event which is being organized by Ben Wydeven of Makeshift Media Group.

The other movies include:
  • Makeshift Media Group's A Hot Summer Chill
  • JC Films' Hostile Possession
  • Living Storm's Killboy and Krash
  • Project Famous' Burn the Money

More details at the facebook event page:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"No Sleep for Ronni" Spy Scene #2

Earlier this evening, actor Veronica Narang uses a chair to "cheat" the shot from below as we finished shooting the rest of the "spy" scene for No Sleep for Ronni. High atop the Madison Senior Center, Ivy Suryana was script supervisor and clapper while producer Colin Cameron ran sound and snapped still images.

Our cinematographer, Erik Witt, shot some fantastic footage with his Steadicam set-up, and Robert directed.

Photos courtesy of Colin Cameron, Ivy Suryana, and Veronica Narang.

Here's a short behind-the-scenes video shot on Veronica's iPhone...

Monday, July 14, 2014

"No Sleep for Ronni" Spy Scene #1

Yesterday evening, our small crew gathered atop the roof of the Madison Senior Center to film the "spy" scene for our short, No Sleep for Ronni. Because we need evening light, it was the first of two shoots we'll be doing on the rooftop. Although we arrived on set at 4:00 pm and didn't leave until 9:00, we really only had about an hour and half of true filming time.

Veronica Narang in her "spy wear"...

Alter ego sprite...

Pre-shoot meeting...

Erik Witt was our cinematographer. Robert directed (and sometimes ran 2nd camera).

In addition to being the script supervisor and grip, Ivy Suryana also played Veronica's body double. Producer Colin Cameron multitasked too by running sound and clapper.

Images courtesy of Ivy Suryana and Veronica Narang.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Successful Test Screening of "Just God"

Yesterday afternoon, we had our first test screening of Just God at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. In recent weeks, we made some major editorial decisions and ended up trimming quite a few minutes off the total running time. Tighter is better and the film benefits from it.

The movie is still a work-in-progress, though we finally feel comfortable with the majority of our edits. Now it's all about polishing--adjusting and sweetening the sound, adding more SFX and music, special effects, color correction, and digital grading. It's getting closer.

Nicholas and Robert on stage during the Q&A along with host Francisco Torres.

Photos by Kelly Lajter & Zaher Karp.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"No Sleep" Tea Scene Completed

Production on No Sleep for Ronni continues as we knocked off another day of shooting. This one involved the "Tea Scene" where Veronica Narang's character comes face-to-face with her tea-toddling alter-ego self.

We worked in a small upstairs Madison apartment owned by friends Tom and Doreen Giles. As such, we needed to keep the crew small too. Ivy Suryana was once again clapper/script supervisor, Jeff Blankenship was on sound and lights, Robert ran camera and directed.

Additional images courtesy of Ivy Suryana.

Friday, July 4, 2014

"No Sleep" Bomb Field Scene Completed

Yesterday, we finished filming our third day of production on No Sleep for Ronni. A fairly straight forward shoot, our star, Veronica Narang, had to run through a field without getting blown up by bombs dropping from the sky.

Veronica nailed her lines on about the second take. But because of the unpredictability of the natural lighting conditions, we ended up doing a whopping 25 takes before the evening was over. Working with actors who care about the project as much as you do always makes for a better film---and a much more enjoyable time on set. Veronica is a professional.

Because of the nature of this particular film, the small gorilla style shoots have been an efficient means of getting our footage and a refreshing change of pace from the usual intensive pre-production that has gone into other projects. The crew consisted of just Ivy Suryana, Colin Cameron, and Robert.

Additional images courtesy of Ivy Suryana and Veronica Narang.