On the day
Matt: And that brings us really nicely to the actual shoot day itself. You should have everything there, all of your props, biscuits (don't forget the biscuits) and the important thing here is to be flexible. If the shot isn't working make sure that you accommodate that in some way. Some of the shots we scripted for Polterghost didn't quite work but luckily we had a spare croissant or two that we could float around and do something with. Don't be too rigid, just to stick to the story and shoot plenty of b-roll as well.
Chris: You want (to shoot) some extra footage that will be able to bulk things out because naturally if you two shots they start to contract - you might just want some interstitial kind of random shots to put in there. It's really useful to have. It's better to have more than less because you're leaving a location and you don't want to have to go back and spend a second whole day shooting.
Matt: Exactly. Stick to the schedule as much as you can. You've got your timings for the day so try and stick to that but importantly, make sure you've scheduled in some breaks and some catering. Don't forget the catering otherwise you'll have very angry cameramen.
Chris: You will. And if you work too hard you're going to get a headache and it's going to feel really difficult. You can work long hours but you've got to schedule-in those breaks.
Matt: Absolutely. When we shoot we're very careful to check each shot as we go so once your shot is set up the first thing to look for any weird reflections; make sure you are not reflected into something, make sure the crew around you aren't in shot, make sure things like bags or cables aren't in shot and the shot is clean and tidy.
And clocks! Chris...
Chris: Yes clocks with an exclamation mark. That's a good one. You can have a clock in shot and if it takes quite a long time to do the shot then that clock is going to be ticking around and you've got massive continuity problems.
Matt: Exactly, imagine if you are shooting everything in the kitchen and there's a clock (on the wall) and you shoot all of those scenes within an hour, but you've shot them out a sequence. The clock might be a half-past at the start of the video and twelve o'clock towards the end. so it can it can really screw your continuity. I'd recommend that you remove all clocks - it makes life a lot easier.
Chris: Don't use too many lights. If you can get away with one or even no light then that's the best thing to do. See where the sun's going to be at a certain point and use that to your benefit. Use a reflector if you can; just try to keep things light and nimble. I would, especially if you've got lots of different scenes and different places to shoot.
Matt: Control the lights as much as you can. Shooting indoor or outdoor, be aware of the sun's movement because in the afternoon it may be burning through a window that you haven't seen during the morning and it can make a shot very difficult.
We recommend using some slates which is what we used at the start to help the edit. When you capture these slates will have a little number on (that) corresponds to this (shot) and you should be able to drop them seamlessly into the edit - just as we did for Polterghost. There's no problems whatsoever and it makes that post-production edit process so much easier.
Chris: When we shot Polterghost we did a few random edits on the fly just to see if something was going to work. We did a scene in a rural cottage and then the next scene was down some caves in Nottingham. We needed to check that those things actually worked rather than getting into an edit later on and saying “well this is just rubbish”.
Matt: That's a pretty good point, not even on the board there. A bit of extra advice is
to be aware of that edit as you're shooting. When you're checking these shots think about what they're moving into for the next shot and make sure that's going to work. If you can edit on the fly during lunch that's no bad thing.
Chris: Yes, that's good.
Matt: That's where we are so we should we should probably disappear in a ghostly fashion.
Chris: Whoooaaaahh (attempted ghostly sound)