For our final RTVF 380 project, Marshall, Jory, Jane and I had initialy conceptualized a piece about the state of communication in today’s world, where it can be superficial and distilled, stripped of the richness of personal connection in electronic media. People can be so close (in proximity) and yet so far away (on an emotional level). We wanted to tell it through the story of a lonely guy finds himself engaged in communication on a far deeper level through letters in a bottle.
We just learned to shoot with the Arriflex BL-16, a pretty cool, but kinda awkwardly-shaped and heavy 16mm film camera.The first major hurdle to using this camera, was learning to load film into the magazine in complete darkness. It’s difficult enough threading the film through the little nooks and crannies of the equipment when you can see it during practice! Doing it completely blind in a changing bag to avoid accidental light exposure was definitely a challenge.
We shot this in 16 hours. Got ourselves out of bed at 4am so we could have a beautiful sunrise backdrop on north beach. Mother nature didn’t seem to like our idea and decided to make it a cloudy day. Since we had no car and no dolly, our trusty dorm shopping cart served as both equipment transport and as a moving seat for me as i held the camera.
We waited for the evening magic hour to shoot our last scene so we’d have sunlight shining through the multi-colored glass bottles that lined the windowsill to cast pretty colors onto the table.
We also experimented shooting a long take at 12fps so it’d have a sped-up effect after film processing. It turned out pretty well, considering we were racing against time to get the shot before daylight went away.
Overall, a great experience!