Friday, 31 July 2009

Making 'The Chasist'

(by Daniel Tee)

The BBC are premiering 'The Chasist', a music video that I made with Rishi Thaker, a fantastic director and a great friend. It'll be shown on Derby's Big Screen in the town centre, which will be perfect for the number of people who have shown an interest in being there. This also means a bit of preparation, including the promotion of the event on Radio Derby. The Telegraph are usually pretty good at coming along to local interest events and East Midlands Today sometimes get in on the action.

The initial idea came about when Rishi and I listened to 'Masquerade' by Fluyd, a talented group from Luxembourg. Rishi had a chat with Jeff Seyler about the possibility of using the song to create a music video based in and around Derby, an idea that Jeff and the band were happy to go with.

Showing Derby as a city in transition was important to both me and Rishi. We wanted to create an enjoyable showcase to take in the full cityscape. This idea evolved into a six minute sequence that would take Nigel Woodings' character from one side of the city to the other. He chases a masked tormentor who poses the question, "Do you want to know the future?". He gives chase on foot, soon escalating into a car chase. We planned this section very carefully because we had to keep to speed limits and think about safety. We made full use of a suction mount, attaching the camera to various parts of the cars. The more angles you get, the more there is to play with in the edit, which is especially important for a frantic narrative.

The incorporation of free-running elements during certain sections of the video has created a nice dynamic that was greatly needed. James Fogerty stepped in as the masked free-runner, after a couple of false starts by other athletes. Injuries and time constraints do seem to be a regular occurence in a sport such as theirs. It was such a good feeling to fill in the missing scenes so that we had everything we needed.

The weather didn't help as it changed from day to day, creating all kinds of filming issues and leading to colour matching problems during the edit. It's lucky that I enjoy hours of colour editing! If people don't even mention the editing after watching something I'm worked then I feel like I've done my job right. I did the camerawork too, so it's only when people critique the choice of shots and camera angles that I start to fret!

I took a back seat on the producing side for this project and concentrated fully on the cinematography and editing. Rishi has worked hard to keep everything going and he deserves much credit for his multitasking. I'll get the producing hat on again soon, now that I have more time.

It'll be amazing to see it on the big screen knowing the amount of work that the crew and cast have put into it. Doing things on a low budget is often tricky because there are only a few special souls who will work for free with the belief that the project might go somewhere. The aim is to obtain funding for future projects so that we can pay everyone a fair wage for their time and effort. The people who have given their time already will be the first on the list, whether they know it or not. It's pretty unusual to include end credits on a music video, but that's what we've done for ours. It's only a small gesture, but Rishi and I see it as important.

It'll be great to have friends coming along to watch. I'll bring my camera to document the event for the Stickmen Pictures website. As it's outdoors, hopefully the weather will hold for us. If not, it'll just be the really dedicated who come along... Fingers crossed for a nice evening!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Alone in the dark...

(by Daniel Tee)

It was my dream as a kid to have my very own cinema to use whenever I liked. This dream has manifested since a mega multi-level multiplex opened in the city centre. The out-of-town cinemas have become as empty as tennis courts in the rain. The benefits of going to the less-frequented movie machines are numerous. One: there's often absolutely no one there. Two: parking is never an issue. Three: there's nobody to laugh at you if you start crying at the sad bits.

There's something extremely eerie about an empty place at night. Perfect for watching a horror film, with moments of tension punctuated only by faint explosion-booms from the screen next door. One time, while watching 'Aliens VS Predator: Requiem' (someone had to watch it..), a couple of kids came in the fire escape and started making alien sounds in the exit corridor. They must have felt quite pleased with their xeno-foolery. Little did they know I was sneaking past the screen with my arsenal of predator noises and unusually large teeth brandished. The speed at which they exited the building made me realise that even the simplist of real-life frights outshone anything offered by the movie.

It's strange how such a large room can become very much like your own living room when there's no one else there. While watching 'Next' starring the immortal Nick Cage, a guy shuffled into the back row with his girlfriend. They didn't notice me initially, so it was a little awkward when they started desperately fondling each other. Just as I heard an unzipping sound, the guy looked up and noticed me, exclaiming, "For God's sake, not again!" I'm not sure of the subtext of the exclamation, but I can speculate that they were hoping for slightly more ideal 'public-place privacy'. I guess they had to put up with actually watching the movie they'd paid to see, which thankfully turned out to be an all right Cage caper.

I would recommend going to the cinema on your own as I do, but I've decided you're not allowed to. If you were there too, like the alien kids and the young couple, I won't be alone. So stay away from neglected cinemas. They're all mine! :)