AD's 2

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chief A.D’s Thinking. Part – 2 (1st A.D’s Tips Part – 2)

"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"- Oliver Hardy, Sons of the Desert (1933)

                                                   Chief A.D's  Thinking. Part - 2

Continuing from where we left off in Chief A.D's Thinking Part-1 we cover a few more tips as how a first assistant director (1st A.D.) looks at different departments. Also read  How to plan a shoot in 10 easy steps. before you go ahead with these tips. In Part -2 we cover Director Understanding, Location / Set – Art, Lighting Shift and DOP’s Preference, Shoot order and Back up Plan.

Director Understanding

What I mean when I say director understanding is simply understand the director, as the 1st A.D. understand what the director is trying to say and what the director wants to do. Remember the most important thing whether the director is a established one or even if he is a beginner, all they want is from the 1st A.D. is that the shoot should run smooth. Most directors have a standard style of working, like some would do the shot breakdown only on the set just before the scene, some like to leave the entire day planning to 1st A.D. and don’t bother what needs to be shot next. Understanding their style can come from having worked with them or the production house earlier, may be asking people who have worked with them about how the director likes things done. The genre of the film also helps in understanding what needs to be done, like some directors concentrate on the style, so this guy would look very closely into details of props like fabric or lenses or kind of equipment being hired etc. Some like the actors to do most for the film so they would concentrate a lot on casting and would like spending time explaining and rehearsing with actors. This does not mean that the rest of the areas are overlooked but whatever be the style of your director its easier for you to function as you will know what areas you need to concentrate on and what areas may be less important from the shoot point of view. Lastly in general Directors in features always look at the larger picture while advertising directors will be looking at minute details like even the colour of a prop in the background, the tv serial directors would be concerned with timing of scenes (to fit the episode) and documentary directors would mainly worried if the point that they are trying to make is coming out or not.

Location / Set – Art

Shoot at a outdoor location 

Location v/s Set in features, TV series as well as in advertising, as a 1st A.D. it is important to know when the place would be ready to be handed over for shooting. In case of actual locations like airports or railway stations or landscape shots  there usually is no set dressing or a few props to be placed and one can begin shooting as soon as the DOP is ready to roll. Sometimes in these cases where some propping has to be done the art team needs to be made aware of the time available in which to finish it, public location’s like streets or like the ones mentioned are usually available only for a few hours and therefore reaching these locations on time and fully prepared helps. Planning and finding a base that is as close as possible to these locations and getting all ready in advance there before moving to the final filming location helps. In case of locations that are houses or mills or places like stores there could be a bit of propping that needs to be done and the A.D. needs to find out how long this would take. 

Indoor built set for a shoot

In case where a Set is required, set construction is followed by set propping and after which lighting can begin, as a A.D. when meeting with the art team one would have get a time line from the art director for each and every location so that the final schedule fall into place. E.g:- a project that involves set as well locations the A.D. will have to find out these details and make sure the set construction has begun on time so that the floor is ready for shoot on the desired date keeping the time taken for lighting in mind as well. Set construction could go on for days or even months if the detailing is elaborate, there also needs to be the meeting between the Art and the DOP and VFX team (if any) to figure practical light sources and if any part needs to be constructed in such a manner to suit easy filming, like movable wall’s or extra windows or in case of VFX like a portable chroma wall or even a moving set like in case of an airplane, ship interior.

Set built of a ship's cabin

Bottom line wherever you are shooting is that a time frame has to be agreed upon and stuck to by the art team, direction team and the producer who has to make sure that all is done so that this can fall into place. As simple as this may sound if there are minor delays here it will just spiral into a lot more other problems. Like a delay in obtaining the location for art work to being might delay it being ready for shoot which in turn will delay the start of the shoot and that could throw a lot more things out of gear.

Its always good to have at least one dedicated A.D. to art especially in features and TV series where continuity of set, and props go over a period of many days. These days its easy for the A.D. to keep continuity using a simple digital camera, as long as the pictures are clear and organised into folders with details the job on set is fairly simple and yet could go drastically wrong if no one is paying attention, like same props being used in 2 different locations.

Lastly don’t forget to clear all the requirement lists with the art and production team, this is one space that mostly goes into grey area where art say’s this needs to be done by production or vice versa, you don’t want to be stuck on set where one assumed the other is getting it. It's best to have lists typed and copies given to each department so that all know what they are responsible for and the job gets done.

Lighting Shift and DOP’s Preference

So depending on whether your shoot location is a built up set or a existing location your cinematographer (DOP) will ask you for a certain amount of time to light up the place. In places where lighting is not possible like a street or a market usually the time taken for the DOP to be ready would be amount of time taken to load up the camera and rig it if necessary and you are ready to roll. This does not mean that there may be no lighting in these places, there could be sometimes the placement of reflectors and or large lights at distances to add fill or spot light in the environment.     

In cases of controlled environment mostly indoor locations and in cases of where u are on a constructed set, the DOP and the gaffer would determine the no of lights that would be required to light up the place and in turn how long would it take for the lights to get set up and be ready to roll, this could vary from a few hours to half a shift to even a full lighting day or two depending on the size and kind of lighting required. 

As a A.D. once you have this information it helps to determine the time required by the DOP and his team to be ready to roll the first shot of the day. So now depending on the kind of shot’s to be taken (Storyboard or shot break down) which is decided by the director you would go about planning the shots from the time for the first roll onward's. You have to try and fit all the shots planned for that day and make sure that there is sufficient time to finish all the planned shots, or complete the scene, in case of shooting for more than one day balance shots could continue the next day but being careful that too much of shots moved to the next day might increase the work the next day and if further moved then shots or scenes required from that location might not finish and therefore leave you with a incomplete scene or a film.  Generally large amount of time goes into the first shot of the day and you pick up pace after that, this happens because you want everything to be right and all departments to fall in gear before you proceed. Also once all the master lighting is done there is lesser amount of shifting of light’s (compared to the master) for the shots to progress.

Remember to ask the cinematographer his preference for shooting order, (either at the recce or the previous day if needed) but do so only after u have a plan already ready so u can discuss it out, don’t forget to include the director in the plan if not at the discussion stage at least before you lock on your final shoot order. Remember to keep all other factors in mind in this discussion like time of actors arrival or time required for special equipment  or prop to arrive so that u don’t plan something and have to change it last min.

Shoot order and Back up Plan.

Planning your shoot order usually happens the day before the shoot, this could be because you could have had balance shots from the previous day, or the director or DOP might have a preference to being with. That does not mean that you should not have a basic plan ready in advance. Irrespective of where you are shooting, in scheduling you would give a large amount of time to the first shot of the day as getting everything right for the first usually takes time, you generally pick up speed after you have taken your first shot. Most of the time you would plan your shots one axis at a time and scene wise, you would complete one scene and then move to the next unless the other scenes are similar in continuity and you can afford to shoot 2 scenes simultaneously. You finish all shots from one axis before moving to the other, rarely does one jump axis from shot to shot in a scene. This usually happens when the scene is acting dependent (some director's like to do it this way) or if there is permanent damage by the end of the scene like breaking of a key prop.

Basic plans per axis are the wide master shot is covered first then you would get closer into the scene ending up with close ups. You would make a basic plan in this manner in advance and then discuss it with the director and DOP before you finalise the plan. When you have your plan in mind you should also have justifications to the order that you have planned and be open to suggestions before fixing the final plan. Light plays a huge factor in a shoot especially outdoors and the director and the DOP might want to shoot a particular scene at a particular hour of the day, like sunset or backlit scene’s. You have to have alternate plans here as on the day of the shoot your plan might change completely, like late arrival or a key prop or a actor. Here is where knowing everything that is happening in all departments help as that decision to change shoot order affects all and could make or break the entire shoot.

Axis Plan

 If you have the time, and you have all the shots that you have to shoot numbered you can make a Axis Plan (like the one above)  this is something that I would do especially on shoots that have a large number of axis to be kept in mind and shoot in the same location for the same scene (or a commercial) it helps a lot in sequences that have stunts or visual effects to go with it. Its easy to see from this if you have covered all your shots for that sequence. The above Axis plan was done for a Limca Commercial which had a lot of VFX involved and since it was a outdoor shoot the plans had to be bang on.

Lastly after you have done you schedule for the day, you can  do a time division to each shot and see if all your shots fit within your planned shift. Don’t forget to include your break time and keep buffer for each scene, for e.g:- in a 9-9 shift if you roll call is 10:30 am (assuming that major part of lighting would have already been done or only an hour and half is required to light up) your first master shot you would assign 2.5 hours, this is from 9 am  - 11:30 am assuming that after the first roll (which usually gets delayed) you would take reset time and do  3 – 4 takes of the same, so this time has a buffer of 15- 20 mins, your next timing would be 11:30 – 12 for shot 2 of the day, 12- 12:30 for shot 3, 12:30 – 1:30 for shot 4, lunch from 1:30 – 2:30 and so on. You would keep buffer time of 10 – 20 mins for small shifts in axis and 30 – 1hr or more for complete shifts in axis (like cross over’s where a lot of things have to shift and be reset.) It’s not always possible to plan in such a manner as shots could be added or changed at the last moment, sometimes the director does not even plan the number of shots per scene till they are on the set, in such cases you could keep your division to scene timings, like scene 1 to be shot could take 2 hr’s scene 2 could take 1.5 hr’s etc so that you know that you have to complete those many scene’s by a certain amount of time so that you could push for work to move faster if you are falling behind the schedule.

You could print your timings for each scene on the call sheet to let all know if they are behind or ahead of the schedule. This is not a known practice at all, but I did it sometimes as it helped to keep everyone on their toes right from the beginning instead of trying to push too much at the last minute.   

More of these Tip's coming up in Chief A.D's Thinking. Part -3

Auggieism:- What do you call a blogging Auggie... . 
Ans:- Bloggie..

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Now or Never (Short Film / Commercial)

Its time to get over your everyday fears, its time to break free, take charge, aim higher, conquer fear. 

Its Now or Never.

This film was entered in a online competition where the topic was "Now or Never" and the duration limit was 60 sec. (it included 10 sec of sponsors tags) This competition are generally self produced commercials, in this case the sponsor didn't want a commercial per say but a short film The Brief received as follows


We won't tell you how to MAX tell us!
Make us laugh, make us think, make us dream...“WOW” us! If it's original, inventive, humorous and thought provoking…you'll get our attention. We’re looking for wild, unexpected and amazing films and the talented individuals behind them!  

After reading the topic and the brief we debated various ideas and finally we rested upon "Man vs Nature and Man vs Machine" as the base idea to the commercial. We did shoot one more sequence which is not included in the final edit. I composed the music myself. Please do leave your comments to what you think of our effort.

Produced and Directed by - Amit Chitns & Auggie.
DOP: Kevin Pereira
Music: Auggie
Cast (in order of appearance):- 
Croydyn Fernandes, 
Amanda Mendes, 
Swati Srivastava & 
Anurag Chitnis.
Cast (sequence not used is final edit): 
Noel Tauro & Iona D'souza
Special thanks: Irene, Ernest

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shoot Now Focus Later

Check this out, Click now and focus later

Crazy 4D camera Lytro Sale

also their earlier post on Lytro

Camera that's refocusable post

See some of the images posted on how it works and the home webpage for more information.

Lytro Home Page

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chief A.D's Thinking. Part -1 (1st A.D's Tips Part - 1)

"I'm king of the world!" - Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic (1997)

Chief A.D's  Thinking. Part - 1

As a chief assistant director or first assistant director (1st A.D.) the way you look at all departments is a bit different than the way the director’s assistant (D.A.) or the director looks that department. This blog is in continuation to the previous one How to plan a shoot in 10 easy steps. and this gives you the 1st A.D.’s perspective to each department and understanding these might give you some tips on how to make your shoot a smoother one.

Remember not all projects are the same and therefore do not follow all tips and suggestions blindly, each project is unique and one has to develop a style that suits all departments but mainly works for that project. There are software’s that help planning and scheduling a shoot like Ep-Scheduling, Celtx , Gorilla, Reel Production Calendar, etc while some of these are free you have to buy most of them, so before spending the producers money do a bit of research and choose what software suits the best to that project or choose what you have used in the past and are comfortable with. While these software’s do help in large productions not always will one get the budget for picking up a planning software. Here one has to plan using tools like excel or word and try to bring in the same accuracy these software’s provide. 

The following perspective’s on each department give a bit of insight into planning and scheduling without the help of software’s. Like said in the 10 easy steps first one has to read all material, and then one does a breakdown of it. In this blog we cover Script BreakdownGenre of the sceneNumber of Shoot Days and Actor’s availability and timingI would put all these under the direction and  production teams responsibility. 
As the 1st A.D. you have to know the script and may be storyboard thoroughly. In features it is reading the entire script and knowing what the story is quite well, in advertising its knowing the storyboard by heart almost frame by frame, in serials reading the script in advance and knowing where the story is going helps, while in documentaries there rarely is the role of any 1st A.D’s if there are any asst’s then they usually double up as production assistant as documentary’s rarely have a large crew. After reading your script you have to break it down get what’s required to plan your shoot from it. Below is the minimum information that would be needed to process in order to plan a smooth days shoot. 

Sc No
Audio / Dialogues
VFX / Special Equipment
scene opens on a wide shot of a camp...
“I am coming..”
Hero camp
Hero in 
Set – 1
As per art break up
20x 20 
blue Chroma 
 Jimmy Jib
area  to be kept clean

Depending on the script and the style that you develop as the 1st A.D. stuff like axis of shoot, day / night, animals, hair n make up or anything else that the script calls for can be added to this. Art can be further broken down into set / location dressing and key props. Some times when there is too much information or there will be repeat in information a totally separate sheet is used and they are then coded which could be Set -1, Set- 2 or Costume 1, Costume -2 etc  Once you have done this break up it will give you a fair idea of the combination of the various elements that would be required so that time is used most efficiently at the shoot. In features you can use one sheet per scene to do the breakdown, this helps when combining scene from all over the film to put your sheets in the order of the schedule and see if it fits all requirements. This is quite similar to what some of the software looks like Below is an example of what that looks like.

What you need to find after this exercise mainly is what is the key driver of the shoot? (importance could be different across different scenes) is it the actor or the equipment or VFX. A lot of times there will be more than one important factor that would drive the planning of the shoot order. You would then use your experience and assign the minimum time to the maximum time required so that the days schedule can be completed without any hassle.
Sometimes there is not much time to get into this amount of detailing in that case one can also use different coloured highlighters and mark it out on the script, like actors (yellow) Art n Props (green) locations (blue) etc then coloured copies of these can be made and each department will have a colour to follow.

What makes shoot planning easier is knowing the genre of the film or rather more importantly of the scene to be shot. You arrive at the time required for each scene basis this like in a stunts sequence prep time before each take is quite long, sometimes you have only one attempt at filming it like in explosions or accidents, here you have to get all things right and everything needs to be double checked before rolling that takes time. Or in case of a hair commercial the hair flying shot, or pack shot in case of commercials reset time needs to be considered. Luck also has to play a huge role in trying to divide the no of shot’s to be taken in a day as anything could go wrong or right, the hair will fail to bounce or the product splash won’t happen the right way, knowing how little time is left for the shoot to warp and how critical it is to get the right hair shot so that you could advice the director that either time is running out and therefore to move on to the remainder shots or when asked to say that we could attempt one more take if the shoot is on track and you can afford that time. In short this helps in knowing how long that scene would take to shoot.  

Number of shoot days represents to the shooting schedule or the number of days that the producer allocates according to the budget. Within this there are usually breakup’s depending on different number of locations, distance between locations and no of scenes to be shot per location.  The first A.D. has to divide the number of scenes into the number of days allocated at each location and see if there is sufficient time to finish all scenes in the script at that location, if number of days are not allocated then you would combine all the same location scenes through the film and then divide them into time required to shoot per scene, add that up and you arrive at the number of days required at each location. For eg, 10 scenes in total at Location A, depending on the type of scene you will assign each of these scene the number of hours you think it would take to shoot that scene, (here is where the previous points come in handy) therefore scene 1 = 2hrs, scene 2 = 1 hour, scene 3 = 4 hours and so on, then you will total the number of hours and divide it across the feasible shifts and you arrive at the no of shoot days or more precisely the no of shifts required.  You have to keep in mind master lighting of the location / set which could be part of the shooting days or extra. 
In advertising where usually it is one location it’s easier to plan, it’s when u have multiple location when this kind of breakups do help. There are ad's which are shot over multiple locations and here knowing distance and time taken between locations, how fast would it take for the crew to shift bases or is there one base and multiple spots close to that the main base while most of the crew then move on smaller mobile units. Here the challenge of scheduling is greater as usually you have have a lot to do and much lesser time to it in.     
In Tv serials usually the time allotted is that at the end of the day the producer should have a minimum of  18 mins of edit time which is the time required for 30 min episode. The time could be across episodes but is what is required for feasibility, in daily soaps there is usually some who is only in charge of scheduling as it takes quite a bit of time getting all combinations of actors and various locations in place and since most serials are shooting on a daily basis it requires someone dedicated to only doing this.
In documentaries if it is budget dependent then one shoots till one is out of money or has the full story covered. Since the crews in most cases are small sometimes just the cameraman and director or even times when its just one person doing all the work, the main thing to get here is to cover as much as is required to finish a good documentary.

Another step in planning your shoot especially if it involves lots of actors over various scenes is to know at the beginning what their available dates are. 
In features there needs to be a larger plan drawn up so that all scenes and locations are covered, usually the A.D. would club all the same location scene’s together, then check the actor combination and date availability, going by the method the AD would request for actors availability at each location by trying to club all their scenes together, this is where it gets tough more the no of characters involved in scenes the more complex it gets when trying to club. It gets even tougher when one is shooting outdoors as actors have to be flown in and out and you calling a actor to travel twice to the location over a few days could add quite a lot to the producers budget. In India there is a reverse way that also happens when big celebrity stars are involved. Here the dates of the stars are given and then the A.D. has to try and finish all the scenes with that actor on the dates given, this usually results in shooting at various locations and coming back to the same locations to complete the remainder scenes at that location which is not ideal, there is a very thin silver lining to this, usually these stars give the producer block dates, which could be anything from 1 week to 2 months, so it’s easier to schedule then. Another thing to be kept in mind when dealing with star’s is their punctuality, each of these usually follow a pattern, like some will always come 3 hours later to the call time while some are bang on time, it’s important to know this as that helps in planning the day and covering as much without the crew waiting idle for stars to arrive. When working with these stars for the first time one can always find out about their patterns by asking other A.D’s who have worked with them earlier.
The same planning is required even further more in advertising when shooting with a celebrity, there is usually only one or two days of shoot and if time is spent waiting the producer might go in a huge  loss if the shoot goes up by even by half a shift. Having said this one cannot keep the star waiting once they have arrived, in advertising usually these stars give only a limited amount of time and extension of that could cost the client for a whole day more.
Some of these shift timings for stars begin from the time they leave their residence and therefore travel time to location is also counted in their total time, eg:- if a star gives 8 hours for a brand for a day’s shoot then the clock begins from the time they leave home and if it takes 2 hrs to reach location then you are left with 6 hours to finish with them which includes hair, makeup, wardrobe, in effect you may end up with only 4 hours of the star on the shooting floor, so real smart planning is required in these cases. In non star cases the A.D. can plan the shoot whichever way is best suited for that project.
In Tv serials its up to the person scheduling to figure out the dates in advance so that perfect combinations can be scheduled. The lead cast are usually available throughout the schedule while most of the secondary cast have no pf days per month as contracts, so a actor might give 3 - 4 days per month only as per contract and any further day costs the producer. Here when u have 3 or more such actors to deal with is when scheduling gets really tricky. The best way is plan early to have the entire months plan drawn up before the schedule can begin and that way all the possible ways to combine have been considered.
In documentaries if the subject is a person then his availability to the filmmaker had to be obtained, if its a topic where different people are involved then again finding out the right time to get from them in advance is required.   

Check out the Chief A.D's Thinking. Part -2 as well, 

More of these coming up in Chief A.D's Thinking. Part -3.

Auggieism:- What do you call Auggie with a whip.... 
Ans:-  Floggie....

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to plan a shoot in 10 easy steps.

"I see dead people."  - The Sixth Sense (1999)

How to plan a shoot in 10 easy steps.

You have worked enough as a second A.D. and D.A. and you think you are now ready to be the first Asst Director but you are still lacking confidence on how to plan the shoot read on to find out how to plan a shoot in 10 easy steps. 

So while you may consider the director to be a conductor of the orchestra, the first A.D. is like the traffic police at a junction. During the shoot the director concentrates on performances, shots and the edit as well sometimes, the first AD has to make sure that everything runs clockwork. The first A.D. has to be aware of everything that is happening on and off the set and in all departments, he has to make sure that all departments deliver on time and come up with alternative plans in case something goes wrong, a lot of thinking on the feet and man management has to happen.  

So how to go about planning a shoot,

  1. Read all the material possible namely the script, treatment note, references, storyboard’s etc. (all material in the PPM docket if there is one.) Understand what is the key driver to the shoot. (is it action based, or drama or product driven in case of commercials)

  2. Get the breakdown done based on the script / storyboard of all the requirements and divided into each individual departments. Make sure all is covered.

  3. Meet and understand the director’s perspective. Understand his style of working and what he is looking for in that project.

  4. Meet the head of all departments more than once if possible, share the all the requirements from each department. Make sure that there is no overlap of responsibilities or assumption that someone will do it. Give a written list so that there is no confusion as to who is doing what. (eg. when art assumes that production is getting a prop or vice versa) Do follow up’s with all to check the progress.

  5. Get time lines from each department, like how long for art to prep, how long to get the artist ready from makeup hair and costume, distance and time taken between locations (especially if you are shooting 2 or more locations on the same day) etc.

  6. Go for a recce, not just to see locations but to plan the entire shoot, to figure out problems that may arise at the final shoot day. Go for more than one recce at times if possible, if not then a final tech recce with the main required people where all details are discussed is a must.

  7. Plan the shoot schedule and shoot order. (this could be done before or after a recce depending on the situation, although the A.D. should go for a recce with a plan in mind so that they can figure if the plan is possible or not) Keep in mind the director and DOP’s preferences in order of shoot. Confirm with all required that the shoot order is fine. (Done after confirming with the director)

  8. Prep the call sheet, here all the requirements, call time for each department and artists etc, don’t forget to include weather, tide and all other details that may apply to that project. Make sure that call times are given to all and follow up and pickups arranged with the help of production and your asst’s

  9. Have a final meeting with production and other departments if possible telling them the final plan, or just production and passing information to all departments making sure that all are on the same page.

  10. Shoot. Communicate on Shoot, make sure that your asst’s  are passing on all the relevant information, make sure all departments are working to clockwork precision. Don’t forget to plan the next day’s shoot while the shoot is going on.
Lastly enjoy your shoot and try and maintain a friendly atmosphere throughout.    

These 10 points just gives a quick overview into what needs to be done. In the following blogs I will put down the 1st AD’s perspective into each department.

Auggieism:- What do you call a hard working Auggie... . 
Ans:- Sloggie..

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Core Skills of VFX

Came across this check it it out for those planning to enter VFX or already in VFX:-

The core skills of VFX

Skillset is letting you download a Core Skills of VFX Handbook that has one simple but ambitious aim: to improve the new entrant skills available.

The handbook is relevant to both students and tutors; it is designed to assist universities and colleges to raise the standard of VFX courses available

Download the Core Skills VFX Handbook: for free

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Panasonic Dimensions 3D film competition

Panasonic Dimensions 3D film competition:-

A 3D competition put together by Panasonic where 7 film schools across India participated in a short duration movie / documentary making contest in 3D, a workshop at Upper Deck @ Lonavala where Barry Braverman (DOP / 3D expert) took everyone through the basics of 3D in quite depth at the same time introducing Panasonic's AG-3DA1 camera.
Upper Deck - Lonavala
You can check this page for the specs and some basics of the camera and 3D:-

Film schools that participated in this competition were
LV Prasad - Chennai

Chennai Film Industrial School (CFIS) - Chennai

Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT) - Delhi

NDTVmi - Delhi

Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) - Pune

Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC) - Pune

Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute - Kolkata

The entire gang.

In the workshop Barry not only covered 3D but also looked into story telling and how one could use 3D to enhance the story by using it. The limitations and the so called rules or basic principals one could say was also shared during the course of this workshop.  

A bunch of professionals from the industry including me were asked to act as mentors or creative producers, our responsibility was to make sure that while creativity was given a free hand there were no basics that were overlooked and a check on budgets of course. Nikhil Gonsalves ( ) was the chief producer and all teams had to report to him.

The mentors along with Barry and Nikhil.

The fields from which each mentor come are as follows:-
Satyanshu Singh - Scriptwriter
Kumar Devanshu - Scriptwriter
Arjun Venkatesh - Cinematographer
Chirag Patel - Cinematographer / Photographer
Tunali Mukherjee - Photographer / Writer
Rohan Talwalkar - Assistant Director
Augustine Fernandes (Auggie) - Director. 

Over the 3 days the teams were given a chance to use 3D cameras, so that technical questions mainly because of the medium could be sorted, also limits of the camera and medium were figured. Each team had to work on stories which they had to pitch and only after all the producers were happy were the teams given a green signal for that story to be their 3D film which they would work on following the workshop. While pitching each team had to have back up ideas in case the one pitched failed to make the cut, also they had to come up with a Title, log line (story in one line or something that is memorable from the film) and a poster for the pitch. (This is something that a few directors go through when they try to sell their script to producers or financier's)

Post the workshop teams returned to their colleges and work on their storyboards, location recce, casting, costumes and mainly budgeting, dates were fixed post budget approvals and this followed by prep and shoot. All teams were given sufficient time and were called in batches for their respective edits at Qlabs in mumbai, the process involved a basic 2D edit a 3D conform, DI while dubs and sound mix on 5.1 dolby. The finished films were burnt onto blu ray and  were ready for judging.

The judging was done by non other than
Rajkumar Hirani (,
Nikhil Advani ( and
Karan Johar (

So while the winning team got to fly to LA to visit th Panasonic Studios the rest of us took back the fact that we were among the rare few who got to learn and work in a medium that is still in the developing stage. We also got to take back memories along with a whole bunch of new friends from across the country.

You can watch the episodes that were covered by NDTV and which were aired in the links below
(Don't know how long these links will last though.)

Episode 1:-

Episode 2:-

Episode 3:-

Final Episode:-

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Advertising Directorial Debut

My advertising directorial debut,

Check out the first of my work to go on air,
This one is for Lacto Calamine "Sumer Offer" 15 sec where you get a face-wash free along with a bottle of Lacto Calamine. This is the directors version has minor differences to the one on air like the music ending.

Agency: Orchard
Copywriter: Pooja Ambulkar
Creative Director: Ajay Menon
Executive Creative Director: Hemant
Senior Brand Associate: Bhagyarekha Hindlekar
Account Director: Kaushik Sarkar
Films Executive: Shraddha Singhvi
Director: Auggie
Producer: Prashant Bhardwaj
Production House: Pumpkin Pictures
CG: Mandar and Team
Music: Prashant
Sound Studio: Purple Haze
Sound Engineer: Rahul
Voice Over: Sonia
Post Production: Prime Focus 

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Post Production Tips Part – 2

"You can't handle the truth!"– A Few Good Men

Post Production Tips Part – 2

*Attitude & Relationship, *Technical knowledge, *Planning & Buffer, *Food, *Market knowledge & Contacts, *Systematic, *Backup’s, *Accounts, *Bills.

Here are some more that would help you to be a good post production manager,

1.   Understanding the Director

Understanding the director you are working for is important to smoothen the process, each director has a unique style of directing and therefore functioning. Most directors get categorised into drama, comedy, style, etc. So while some give a lot of importance to post, there are some who concentrate mainly on pre. In the case of the earlier you can be assured that the director is going to be involved at every step in post, there are films that have a lot of graphics or special effects these always require a lot of the directors involvement as approval at every stage is generally required. Therefore knowing if your director would be present throughout or would come at the last stage helps in planning the post. Example some directors like the editor to go through the rushes and come up with their version of the cut that they feel right, the director then joints the edit after that. But there are others who would like to sit and make the first cut themselves. There is also some who like starting the day late and working into the night while some like starting early and packing up early. Once you have understood the style of the director it is up to you make sure that you function in the style that is best suited to that director.

2.       Communication

Another key ingredient in a good post person or any other department of film making is communication, there are and will always be days when there are delays, or some problem or the other, it is very important to communicate in these cases. Informing the director or editor or the dubbing artist that there is a delay which allows them to plan their life so they don’t have to come to the studio and have wasted time waiting where they could have done some other work. Being in touch with people working for you helps especially when on multiple projects or multiple bookings at the same time, this helps you be on top of what is happening in all places and making sure that time is not wasted. Like if working on online and music at the same time speaking to the editor to know how much work has happened or the music director if you need to be calling for a singer or musician. There will always be a time when multitasking would be called for and this quality comes in handy the most. Letting the director or a producer know about a goof up helps in controlling a situation well in advance and that avoids things to blow to later.  Also communicating the right information at the right time can save a lot of embarrassment for many, not always does one know or have all details and therefore a warning about a delay or a goof up can be rectified faster without anyone having to lose their cool.

3.       Getting Favour

Being polite and getting favours done is an art by itself, getting a few extra hours or a last minute booking at a busy studio takes a bit of doing, remember that while you should always try and get your work done, there are times for you to also return favours to people, like helping the studio to give away your room despite it being your booking in order to help another client will be remembered by the studio and they will definitely return the favour when you need it. Don’t forget to give a subtle hint that you are going out of the way to help the studio (even though you may not be) so that your favour is remembered. Remember you will only win favours when you help others.

4.       Cracking Deals

As part of this job you will also have to deal with money, which you may not be paying but the production house you work for does, understanding the need and fixing deals so that all parties are happy will be required. Most production house work with same post studios so usually rates are already fixed, in the case of the first timer or in case of a very low budget is when such deals are cracked, you could bargain for better rates as the frequency with the associated increases and at the same time keeping market values in mind. One way of cracking a deal is to tell the studio the time that you estimate that you would use and the amount that you have in total to spend, or you ask for a discount in the rate per hour and you try to fit the no of hours as per your budget. One very important thing to remember is that all deals should happen before commencement of the project and not after, it is unethical to make someone work and then ask for a discount on the rate after the job is done, even if one has worked with this party for a long time, give people the right to decide if they want to work for lesser or not. Also once the deal is fixed and both parties are happy then should be no re-negotiating after that.

5.       Track Booking and Cost

There are some producers who will give the post guy a free hand while some will check in at every stage, irrespective of that it is the responsibility of the post person to know at any given time how many hours were used or how much money has been spent on a particular project. If it is one project it is usually easy to remember but most of the times there are multiple projects involved, the trick to keeping a track of all of it is to use the schedule sheet, at the beginning of any project a schedule is drawn up and bookings are taken according to this, carry this around with you at all times and enter the hours used at the end of every day or session, use the remarks column to make note of things that may be required to remember at a later stage, like if a singer or a extra voice was called during the music session and how much did the person charge. So while working on multiple projects remember that while signing the challan / work sheet, to make a note of it on your schedule as well, carry printouts as its easier to write this down immediately. However entering it on your computer or carrying a updated sheet on your mail always help recall after many days.

6.       Say SORRY when needed

The biggest problem that I have seen across people especially the fresher’s is the lack of ability to say sorry when they goof up. I don’t understand why saying sorry even after the mistake has been pointed out and sometimes even self realised is so difficult. We work in a industry filled with egos and it would be the best to own up for ones mistakes, it cuts down the other persons anger and helps keep the situation under control most of the times. While I will never say sorry if something I have done is right, but for that I have to not only 100% sure that I was correct by what I thought but by universal standards as well.  So before standings ones ground better be sure of what is acceptable or not. There are time when saying sorry diffuses the situation at the moment and justifications can be given at a later stage when all is calm.
Keep these pointers in mind and you will suddenly notice how smooth projects go, you will begin to have fun and there will be an increase in your demand and in turn also have made a lot of friends and money for your work.

Auggieism:- What would you say if Auggie was carrying wood
Ans:- Loggie..

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