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Production logistics for one-shot music video!

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David Burkart
Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:21:55 pm

Greetings!

I’m working on a music video for an 8-piece band. The concept: one long-shot video of the band crammed into an elevator while they lip synch over their song entitled “Plastic”…

The hitch? As the song progresses, the elevator is mysteriously filling up with empty plastic water bottles until the elevator is entirely full by the end of the performance.

My idea is to shoot the scene from outside of the elevator (doors open) and use a vertical aspect ratio (examples: http://vimeo.com/groups/tallscreen) to accentuate the elevator’s dimensions.

To keep the source of the water bottles a mystery, I figure I’d zoom in for close-ups on band members as the bottles are being added. Since there are 8 members, I could divide the song length into 8 and be continuously zooming in-and-out slowly throughout the 3 minutes and 26 seconds. Every time the shot zooms back out, there’s another foot of bottles.

TRICKY PART: I can’t determine the most effective way to keep the bottles contained in the elevator – they can be flowing out, but it seems like it will be especially tricky once the elevator’s around half full.

The only idea I’ve had is progressively attaching a few sturdy barriers (probably thick cardboard) to the entryway after the bottles have been dropped at that level.

*Here’s an entirely unscientific illustration that demonstrates my dilemma: http://i.imgur.com/4rcIt.jpg (the rainbow lines are the bottles and the legless figures are band members, who will actually be about the height of the large freight elevator)

Anyone have any ideas about how I could contain these bottles in the elevator, or additional ideas about how this could be most effectively executed? Thanks in advance!

"A song is an excuse to go to a chorus, and a chorus is an excuse to go to a breakdown."


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Anders Larsen
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:41:16 pm

Perhaps you could stick a big piece of polycarbonate in front the opening.
That would hold in the bottles, so they don't pour out. But you would have to be very careful about lighting in order to avoid reflections, a polarizer might help with that too.

Just a suggestion, I have never tried this though, so I make absolutely no guarantees.

Good luck, and let us know how it went.


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David Eaks
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:47:20 pm

I like Anders idea if blocking the door with polycarbonate to contain the bottles. For "the mystery of the source of the bottles" you could leave just enough space at the floor to fit the bottles into the elevator. Have a group of people (laying down out of the shot) frantically shoving bottles in (and not letting them back out), effectively pushing the bottles already inside up and up and up. Whether or not you can get enough bottles shoved in to fill the entire elevator within 3 min 26 sec, I don't know.


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David Burkart
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 29, 2011 at 8:10:12 pm

I like this. I think I'll go with the plexiglass. Now I just need to look into inexpensive polarizing filter options to make the barrier as invisible as possible...... hmm.....

"A song is an excuse to go to a chorus, and a chorus is an excuse to go to a breakdown."


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:27:01 am

Attach matching bottles to the outside of the poly carbonate to camouflage it, so it just looks like bottles?

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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David Burkart
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:08:39 pm

Hmmm... this would look cool, but I don't think we could time it right... we'd have to apply the camouflage bottles as we increased the stack of bottles inside, right?

"A song is an excuse to go to a chorus, and a chorus is an excuse to go to a breakdown."


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:58:47 pm

Cut and prepare the panels prior to he shoot, get someone to slip them into place under the lens when you zoom in to a close up, maybe a section at a time one above the other. If they're on plexi glass they'll bend and clip into place quickly in the gaps at the side of the doors. Don't forget to block the bottom up so they can't fall through into the well.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Bill Davis
Re: Production logistics for one-shot music video!
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:43:25 am

Sounds like fun.

Since you're said the "bottle fill" is supposed to be a mystery - consider the question of whether they should look like they're being added to the pile from the TOP, or (even weirder) from the BOTTOM.

The difference might be notable if some of the bottles in the visible wall in the doorway were colored or otherwise distinctive, then the audience would track the bottle walls movement by these "marker bottles."

As to rigging the gag, the point is that you'll get so much optical distortion by shooting through the bottles, that you don't actually have to fill up the elevator with bottles. If the shot angle is level, you just have to raise the "bottle wall" by increments whenever the shot pulls out.

I'd rig a series of flat pieces (perhaps white masonite or even foamcore) to which you've adhered the bottles. During your close shots, the crew just raises the existing panel and puts the one below it in place. Voila, rising tide of bottles. If you want to REALLY sell the illusion, have the general body shapes of the band in the elevator painted on the foam core so that as the "bottle tide" rises, the shadow shapes of the band is maintained through the plastic.

If you ARE shooting down and want the illusion of a rising tide, you'll need to rig a false bottom that the band can raise manually, upon which rests the top layer of bottles. Either way is a LOT easier than trying to actually fill the entire space with actual bottles over a short time.

Just some general ideas to spark your thinking.

Good luck and let us know how it works out.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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