Cinematic Convolutions: “Check Up”

“A confrontation on the court leads to a personal journey of discovery, joy, and eggs. Also, rap music.”

First of all, I want to thank my two actors, John Oliver and Johnathon Tran for their acting and their production work on the very first video to come from my little video group I’ve started which I’ve yet to come up with a name that I’m satisfied with. I’m gonna break down how I’m going to talk about in terms of Pre-Production, Production, and of course, my specialty, post.

Pre-Production

Right after finishing “Cherish Me”, my other video I made as an application, I knew I wanted to do something much more lighthearted and closer to home for me. I’ve always played basketball and I consider myself a funny guy so I knew wanted to make a basketball comedy. So I sat down with my co-founder, John Oliver, and we bounced ideas off each other until we had a general outline of the plot, as well as where we would sprinkle in the jokes throughout. For this project, I was in charge of the storyboards, and John was in charge of the script. (Both of which we abandoned in true us fashion.) But we realized early, that we needed a person to both be in the film, for a joke we had planned, as well as operate the camera because John and I would be in the same shot and motion was required. So I ended up choosing my old friend Johnathon Tran, who’s a really funny dude who actually did the bloopers. With our crew in order, we assembled what we needed, basketballs, outfits, and scouted locations and made sure they were available. We also created a schedule, on Thursday and Friday, John Oliver and I would pre-viz (pre-visualize) and choreograph all the basketball scenes, and Saturday would be our one day for shooting and actual production which would leave Sunday as our one day of post. Cramped to say the least.

Production

With only one day of production, we knew we were all in for a long day. We started with the intro scenes at Cordata Park at 9 A.M. We were there for around 3 hours filming those first few scenes, the majority of the time waiting for the wind to die down while our one camera battery died out. At 12, with the intro scenes done and our battery almost dead, we took a lunch break and charged the battery at my house while we ate lunch at Slater’s 50/50. Coming back to my house, we filmed the first few training scenes in my garage, with awful lighting which you can see, and then went to Fulton Middle School for the rest, where we got the track and basket shots, by then it was around 3 P.M, and we were making good time. On the way back to Cordata Park for the final scenes, we stopped by John’s house so we could film the egg scene, which took two eggs cause we messed up the first time. Oops. After filming the egg scene, we stopped to charge the batter again and started filming the final scene at 5 P.M and finished up at around 6:30 P.M. So we started at 9 A.M and finished at 6 P.M, a 9 hour work day, but honestly it didn’t feel like work. It was so much fun to drive around my friends and film and mess up lines and really get to just live while I create. It was a hectic, tiring, yet amazing experience, and its only my first video.

Post 

Well, I guess we’ve caught up to the present because post is what I just finished. Finding the good takes from the raw footage and splicing it all together was a simple task. The real challenge for this video was the sound. For one, Cordata Park is on an elevated water reservoir meaning it gets incredibly windy on it. I had to do my best to try and push the actor’s voices either above the wind or pump up the music to hide the wind. Secondly, the video is much more comedic and relies on the music much more heavily to set the tone and establish the mood. John Oliver and I spent a good two hours on royalty free music libraries to find good samples to use in the video as well as straight up rip audio from Youtube videos for songs. There were also some scenes that required dialogue overlap between two different scenes and doing that was a lesson in trial and error of trying to time cuts correctly with two different sets of audio. But despite its challenges, doing sound was fun, especially because I got to do FOLEY (adding in sounds in post) to add background noise to a scene that I had to remove the audio from because it was so windy. Post work started with all three of us at my house at 11:30, and once the work that required all of us was done, I sent them home and continued to work on the actual video. I put Johnathon Tran in charge of the bloopers, and put John Oliver in charge of the Behind the Scenes. After taking a nap and searching for more songs, I finally finished around 10 P.M, though to be honest I could have finished much earlier if I didn’t just keep watching the video over and over again and laughing at all the jokes.

What’s Next 

Learning from this experience, for this next video we’re going to start Pre-Production on Mondays now to fully utilize the week, and actually get things  done so we don’t have to abandon half written scripts or poorly drawn storyboards. And also, Johnathon Tran is now a permanent member of our group, I was impressed by his editing ability, work ethic, and his creative advice and I hope he can be a valuable asset for us in the future. As for our next video, who knows? Because we certainly don’t!

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