21 June 2006

Disembodied Animal Head Lessons

So episode 5 of DAHT has been uploaded to www.daht.blogspot.com. And what did I learn this time?

1. Watch the frame. You can see the top of the backdrop (and the wall behind it) throughout the entire "monologue" section.

2. Have plenty of coverage. Editing can save a performance if you have enough footage to cut away to. Piazza says:

Servile to all the skyey influences,
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool;

... and there is a cut away to Tex, who is raptly watching. The three lines of Shakespeare were patched together from a couple of different takes. I cover my patchwork by cutting to Tex. I really had to dig for that shot of Tex -- I should've had better coverage!

3. Script dialogue shot non-linear. It's tough to improvise two separate characters having a conversation and being shot out of continuity to each other.

4. Lower the volume on off-camera, overlapping dialogue. It heightens the illusion. (It sounds like the microphone on Tex is picking up Piazza "off-camera" when the volume is slightly lower)

5. Block out enough time for post-production. It's so damn key. The writing, puppet building, set building, casting, rehearsing, lighting, and shooting are important. But all that is generated by pre=production and production are the raw materials that become the finished work in post.

6. Keep the edits tight. Loose edits feel unprofessional. I'd really like to post an example of this ... maybe if I can squeeze out the time over the weekend. What a difference half a second makes!

As always, I'm happy to continue this silly little series if only so I can learn how to do it right. DAHT is smaller scale than The Felties, and is really more of a web series "sketch book" I can use to hone my skills. I realize DAHT looks rough, but then sketch books often do!

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