Work hard, shoot fast

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We thought we’d cocked it up again. Just a couple of weeks before we were due to shoot Albert, Clare did some calculating. Our storyboard had 44 camera set-ups. And given that were were to be shooting in November, that meant we’d have to stop work at about 16:30, because of losing light through the windows. Allowing for lunch, Clare reckoned we had just over 16 minutes per set-up.

We’d been here before. On Impasse, we originally scheduled five days’ shooting because that’s the amount of time we’d have our lead actor. Luckily, we decided to shoot some of it – the scenes without Ruth – the week before. In the end, we shot for just over eight days.

We had two days scheduled for Albert and by the time we got together on the first morning I was convinced it wouldn’t be enough.

The opening shot of 'Albert'

The opening shot of ‘Albert’

The first day started slow, of course. There was a lot of setting up to do – set-dressing, lighting and just plugging everything together. The crew had all worked together before, with the except of Samuel who settled in and started contributing straight away. So we worked pretty efficiently. Nonetheless, after an 8:30 start it was only a little short of 11:00 before the camera started rolling.

By lunchtime, we had nine shots in the can and now I was starting to feel more optimistic. And by the end of the day, we’d shot 22 set-ups – half of the planned shots and actually a little ahead of schedule. We’d decided to combine two shots into one setup, so the last shot of the day was 23. (At this time we were shooting in continuity.)

Day two went better, if anything. We mixed things up a bit, shooting some shots out of order so that we could speed things up. That nearly caused a problem (as I mentioned in an earlier post.) We also dropped a couple of shots, combined a couple and added two unplanned but very simple shots.

In the end we shot 40 set-ups with 116 takes (an average of 2.9 takes per shot). In the current (very) rough cut, the film’s running time is 7:30. I expect that to trim a little, maybe to around 7 minutes. That would mean we shot 3.5 minutes of final film per day, which ain’t bad.

Most of this is directly attributable to a cast & crew who brought not just talent and hard work to the project but also immense enthusiasm. We had a lot of laughs. I can’t believe some people get paid to do this.

Cast & crew of 'Albert'

Cast & crew of ‘Albert’ – (back row, L-R): Mandy, Samuel, Morgan, Trish; (front row) Clare, Minnie, John, Steve

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