Once again this ‘one shot’ concept was totally new to me. I have not watched a similar one before. I was sure this was going to be tougher than the sound project. I had to choreograph a single shot within which the entire story happens. To have the logic right, the storyline and the shot design had to flow together naturally.
Though this was tough, I wanted to make it more challenging. I did not want a static or a POV shot. I was initially interested in a panning shot and decided on a 360 degree pan. I eventually dropped the idea as it was hard to avoid the lighting gear from falling on screen. Moreover, I wanted to do something I have never done before as a cinematographer.
When you say ‘one minute one shot’ there is already a catch within it. It means, at least one of the technical elements of the film like editing, cinematography or production design should be interestingly different. At least people who want every film of theirs to be different would agree with me. Before I commenced on my script, I watched ‘Rubik’ directed by Mitch and got amazed with the editing and concept.
Similarly, I decided to do something different in cinematography, something which I have never done before. Hence I decided on a 60 metre tracking shot. I further split the idea into a bicycle chase in the exterior and a continuous walking chase in the interior. I finally feeling the kick and was satisfied with my idea. This was the first time I designed the shot first prior to the story.
Many people asked me if I used one of those heavy steady cam setups to film. What I actually used was much simpler than that. I used a 3 axis gimbal with a action camera mounted on it.
Gopro Hero 4 (Black Edition):
This is the latest generation of gopro action cameras. Equipped with a higher technology, this tiny camera can record upto 4K resolution at 30 fps.
Feiyutech G3 (Handheld Gimbal):
Made especially for Gopro cameras, G3 is a battery operated 3 axis handheld stabiliser which gives us amazing results when filmed.
These two significant gadgets made it possible for me to shoot my film, ultimately helping me overcome my challenge efficiently. Though these gadgets are amazing, it still takes a lot of practice to handle them. I therefore had carry out multiple test shoots prior to the actual shoot. Having such a long tracking shot can become really tedious, especially when the actor or the cameraman commits a mistake and the whole scene has to be reshot from the beginning.
In my case, I went for six retakes before I could call it good. It costed me so many takes just to set the framing right. In order to have a 16:9 aspect ratio it was really hard for me to contain the actor and the bicycle within the frame width as I was actually running and shooting the bicycle chase.
It is well known that every film has its on challenges. Overcoming these challenges gives me a lot of excitement. More the challenge, more the better it gets. I just love filming:)