Today, I filmed the scenes in the living room between Anamika’s mother and the therapist, Mrs. Chopra. This included them talking while sitting downstairs and then getting up and running up the stairs to Anamika’s room upon hearing the crash. As these shots all took place in the same location for the most part and there were only people involved, it took much less time to film than yesterday’s scenes. These scenes are also shorter in length and dialogue-laden, with almost no physical action involved, which made them easier to shoot in many ways. I started at about 11 AM and wrapped by 3 PM.
For warm lighting, I used the tube lights in the room that had yellow bulbs. This had a much different look than the tube lights in Anamika’s room which were bright and fluorescent, but I specifically wanted milder, yellow lights as this would work well with the warm color scheme. Apart from this, large glass panes allowed a solid amount of natural sunlight to liven up the room as well and create the feel of a bright morning.
In terms of make-up and costumes, I had the mother wear simple black jeans an Indian-style kurtha top. The therapist, Mrs. Chopra, wore a formal saree, earrings, and had her hair neatly pulled back with a clip. Both the kurtha top and the saree help give the film some cultural context, as they are traditionally Indian. Also, I wanted both of them to wear pink as that would fit in with the warm color scheme and they would play off each other well.
For all my filming, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, a 24-105 mm lens, and a tripod. To record audio, I did not use an external mic. I adjusted the settings in my camera to eliminate as much grain as possible and just recorded the dialogue using my camera’s mic. Before rolling, we had to spend some rehearsing the dialogue as these scenes were mostly dialogue. I ran through the script with the actors several times before filming, working on memorization and delivery.
The different kinds of shots that I experimented with today include:
Close-ups: When snippets of the conversation are heard, often you will see just the person’s hands, eyes or lips, and a voiceover of the dialogue. I don’t establish the full face right away to create a sense of mystery and draw and viewers in. I shot these extreme close-ups of various body parts and also of the coffee mugs and the coffee.
Over-the-shoulder: The over-the-shoulder shots proved to be tricker than I anticipated. Positioning the camera over one person’s shoulder, and getting the other person’s face in the center of the frame took a bit of time to get right. I had to do a lot of adjusting and careful framing, but in the end it was worth it. These shots are visually interesting and create a sense of perspective and dimension.
Aerial: When the mother and the therapist hear the noise from upstairs and look up, I wanted this to be an aerial shot, because with an aerial shot we can get a clearer sense of them looking up. It gives a real perspective to the shot. To film this angle, I extended the tripod to its fullest length and then placed it on top of the coffee table. I too then got up on top of the coffee table and filmed.
Running up the stairs: For the running up the stairs sequence, I used the match on action technique. I filmed the actors several times from the bottom of the staircase and from the top of the staircase, and I will edit it together to look like one continuous sequence.
On average, I did about 5-6 takes of every shot. However, several dialogues required a lot more takes to get right because the wording and the enunciation proved to be a challenge at times. However, on the whole, I both were successful days of filming and I have wrapped by short film on schedule. I have learnt so much from this process about time management, directing, cinematography and patience. This was a long, but rewarding two days.