Scars of Youth Day 15

Yet again I had to scuttle the afternoon shoot because systematically people fell out, which was fine because I had my hands full for this ritual murder scene I shot around eight. I want to thank Amanda, Jeremy and Bruce for showing up promptly and helping to create this little scene.

The scene is kind of half-dream logic, half weirdo paranoid fantasy of mine. The idea is that this ritual murder – some kind of strange psychological figment of the main character feelings for his mother and father – is all being captured by some kind of vintage tube camera in a television stage of sorts for some creepy futuristic sacrifice. In order to realize this effect I actually tracked down a vintage tube camera – a Panasonic PK 750 – along with a tethered VTR module (the camera plugs into this VHS VCR with a long cable) and shot most of the scene with this camera until the scene reaches a cresendo and we switch to HD. It’s kind of been a dream of mine to fool around with one of these old analog cameras because you can get these smeary analogue motion artifacts that are just impossible with solid-state cameras. The sad thing is that now that I have the money/time to acquire this vintage analog equipment I’ve gone HD and the whole game is flipped upside down. Oh well.

I took raw footage from panasonic on location and immediately recorded the raw image to a minidv camera from the A/V outs on the VCR. I could’ve possibly risked recording the scene on actual VHS but for some reason I don’t trust those nearly 30-year-old tape heads. I then kinescoped the minidv footage – videotaped a monitor in HD using a 1/12th shutter speed which virutally eliminated the hum bars and gave the motion this weird static feel that I liked. Also, since we’re shooting 16:9 HD I reformatted the image (I shot it loose anyway) to about 1.66 and put black bars on the sides.Then I rendered the footage in black and white, both to match the look of the other dream sequences and because the color on this camera is shot. I do admit that the colors in broad daylight are really neat though, all streaky neon greens and blues. So was it worth all trouble getting that vintage gear when the final product was so heavily processed? Perhaps not, but it was fun anyway. Also, I finished up a few moments I wanted to shoot between Paul and Helen.

Here’s a bit of the rushes from today. It’s also available on youtube as well.