Picking up where we left off

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We finished principal photography over a week ago, but there are still a number of loose ends to tie up, even if you don’t count the editing.

battery_low

Take this morning, for example. One of the key props in No Evil is an Android phone, and at one point it needs to show a ‘low battery’ warning. Easy, I thought. We won’t  try to shoot that with the rest of the scene because making the low battery coincide with the shooting schedule is just asking for trouble. So I planned to do it as a pick-up shot later.

‘Later’ meant today. The battery level on the phone was at 22%, but I figured I could run that down pretty quick. I set up the camera and something on which I could prop the phone. Then I set about running down the battery.

I updated all the apps, ran a podcast app in the background and even called my other phone several times. Slowly, the battery level descended. When it hit about 20%, up popped the warning. But I couldn’t shoot it. It had appeared over the top of the home screen and, for the purposes of the story, it really needed to appear over the contact list. So I cleared the screen and continued to wait.

Two hours later (damn, this phone has a good battery), during which I had the phone constantly in my hand, waking it up every 30 secs or so,  the level was down to about 5% -and still no warning. Then up it popped – just as I’d nipped over to another app for a moment, so the background was wrong again.

Down it went – 4%, 3%, and no warnings. What the hell is wrong with this device? It should be screaming at me by now to plug in the charger.

Lunch was cooking and nearly ready. I thought, the hell with this. I’ll mock up a screen as a an image file, side-load it on to the phone and use that. So I plugged in the phone to my laptop (which, luckily, has the Android SDK installed), fired up the Dalvik Debug Monitor and nabbed a screengrab of the phone (doing it the easy way, by pressing volume down and the power button simultaneously doesn’t work on this Samsung). As I was unplugging the phone, up popped the low battery warning. I plugged it back in again, then unplugged once more and, sure enough, it reliably triggered the warning.

As Trish’s cries of ‘lunch is ready’ rang in my ears, I hurtled back to the office (as much as I hurtle anywhere these days), fired up the camera and started rolling. Less than a minute later, I’d got the shot.

As it happens, you can only see the warning in the shot – not the screen in the background. But hey, I’m a purist.

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