Day 69 of 70

April 24, 2015

Today was weird. There was a heavy fog this morning that hung around forever, and by the time it finally lifted I think it had seeped into my brain. Nothing seemed quite right, but not in the normal not-quite-right way. The things we shot all technically worked, but I felt like I was viewing them through some sort of dissociative lens.

(to be continued)

Posted by David Lowery at 6:10 AM

Day 68 of 70

April 23, 2015

We were originally going to be moving to a different town further South tomorrow to film on a racetrack (we needed a long stretch of road to turn into...well, to turn into something). We scouted it long ago and imagined having a wrap party with Go Karts after finishing.

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Due to weather, however, we've decided to stay put here in Tapanui and just shoot everything in the parking lot of our mill. We started on those scenes this morning, one of which involved me and the camera guys packed into a truck while Karl Urban spun donuts on the macadam.

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Here is ace cinematographer Bojan Bazelli. Someday I need to write an entire post about how much I love this dude.

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Here we are shooting the prettiest VFX plate ever. All the gorgeous scenery will be discarded once the element we were looking for is extracted.

I felt like doing some editing the other night, but not with Avid or Premiere, so I bought Final Cut Pro X. Either my brain is fried or it has become totally awesome since I last played with a free trial version. I can't wait to keep messing around with it. I'm sure there are still all sorts of drawbacks and maybe it's aesthetically still a little too slick for my tastes, but it's starting to feel forward-thinking in all the right ways - instead of the completely arbitrary ways in which it used to.

Posted by David Lowery at 4:07 AM

Day 67 of 70

April 22, 2015

I saw an edit of a scene last night that made me so happy. Happy enough to actually show someone, which I never do. It just felt marvelous, and probably not that different from what you'll see in the final cut, except that I scored it to a track from the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack. It was wildly appropriate, and at the very least hopefully a barometer of what will come on the soundtrack front.

One of the sets we shot on today hurt me when I tried to climb on it.

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At the end of the day, I was handed my contract for this movie to sign. I'm almost officially hired to direct this movie!

Posted by David Lowery at 3:21 AM

Day 66 of 70

April 21, 2015

Another day of process trailer work, another stint of figuring out new ways for people to pensively look out cars windows as they travel from one scene to the next. The carbon monoxide made everyone woozy, and the monotony of the coverage may have taken even more of a toll, and yet - and yet! - today was the first day that I teared up while watching a take. It was a simple shot of a character in a car. In the script, he's listening to music, and since there's no dialogue our sound recordist piped in the song I hope to use in the film. It worked, and everyone felt it. Our camera operator Drew said it was the first time felt like he was in the movie.

There was another wonderful moment - a shot of our young heroine, played by the amazing Oona Laurence, asleep in the backseat of a car. We discussed shooting it Poor Man's Process to save time, since the gray daylight was already so flat and the windows of the vehicle were scarcely visible, but ultimately decided to take the trailer for one more spin, just to see what might happen. Within thirty seconds of hitting that road, Oona had actually fallen asleep. You could just tell. She ceased to be acting. When we reached the halfway point of our locked-off stretch of highway 90, we pulled over for a bit to release traffic. Big trucks roared by and, from the monitors on the back of our trailer, we watched this girl slumbering in the backseat and kept rolling. It took me right back to all those childhood road trips, the long night drives home from my grandparents' house, listening to the highway as I drifted off to sleep. Turn signals and 18-wheelers and the pitter patter of rain; the occasional muttering of my parents to each other, their words unimportant, just more sounds.

It was the second-to-last shot of the day. The last shot was on green screen, and we got it as quickly as we could and went home.

One other awesome thing about today: a cat came to hang out.

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Posted by David Lowery at 3:45 AM

Day 65A of 70

April 20, 2015

We used our day off to set up a green screen and shoot a few extra lines of dialogue for a scene on a front porch we shot back in February. The scene is a reaction to another scene that we shot later on, which was of such a tenor that the initial scene (which happens second storywise) needed recalibrating. So we rejiggered some dialogue (more on that another day) and shipped part of that front porch down here to the South Island, although after much discussion it was decided that the best way to seamlessly match lighting would be to do the whole thing on green. It was deeply surreal to be shooting the exact same shots, with mostly the same dialogue - just slightly different. It took three hours and then I went back home and read for a while and did a little storyboarding.

I watched Lost River the other day. Sure, its messy and it has its problems but it's pretty awesome all the same. If someone unknown had directed it, the reception would have been completely different and it would probably already be on its way to the Criterion collection. Halfway through, I was thinking that it would make a pretty great triple feature with George Washington and Trash Humpers, but by the time the last fifteen minutes rolled around, I'd subbed out the Korine movie for Panos Cosmatos' amazing and unjustly underseen Beyond The Black Rainbow.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:02 AM

Day 65 of 70

April 19, 2015

On Karl Urban's first day way back at the very beginning of February, we shot most of Scene 32 - except for his portion of it, which we never quite got to. We kept pushing it, from one forest to the next, until today, when we finally committed it to picture at an idyllic little location by a burbling brook, and then rushed and also covered a shot from Scene 30 that we'd tried and failed to complete on two prior occasions. That first attempt we just ran out of time, and the second was when it was pouring rain in the redwoods. Today it didn't seem like we'd have enough light at the end of the day to squeeze it in, but we went for it anyway - and on take five or six, the sun came out from somewhere and the electrics ran to turn off the 18ks and we got it and it was fantastic. And now we're all caught up!

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Posted by David Lowery at 8:00 PM