First real shoot

After seven weeks of planning, scheduling, camera techs, tons of paperwork, directing exercises, long days at school and countless hours of careful instruction it was finally time put our preparations to work.

Today, “Crew 7” — group of six aspiring filmmakers from five different countries — kicked off the three-week production period with our first real shoot together.

CREW 7: Jorge, Lin, me and Avi. Pepi and Kai didn’t make it into the picture.

For me, the day started at 4:45 AM, and from there on out we didn’t waste a single minute (or foot of film, for that matter). Shooting on Super 16mm film is so expensive that every shot had to count, so we brought our A-game and I feel that today’s work really added context to the phrase “filmmaking is the ultimate teamsport.” I feel so honored to work with such talented people!

Throughout these next weeks we’ll shoot a total of six short films, where we’ll all hold different crew-positions for each film. I have the honor of serving as the Director of Photography for my buddy Avi’s film “Scattered,” so I was handling the camera the whole day. The Arriflex camera is a heavy-ass chunk of metal from the 1950s, so things could have been more comfortable …

But for each handheld shot I had to do, I praised the Lord for my weightlifting days. The thousands of barbell hits that used to bruise my shoulders probably served a dual purpose.

In case you wonder how I looked while dealing with this old German piece of cinema gear … well here’s the raw truth.

Jacob (Avi’s young talenter actor), Jorge and me. Photo: Avi Kabir.

And oh, if you think I’m trying to “look cool”or something with that one leg on top of the bench, Nike cap, sunglasses dangling from my ears, and a fat blue track suit, I’ll have to explain a thing or two:

  • The leg = takes some of the weight off my wrists, and helps stabilize the frame.
  • The cap = blocks some of the light from the sky, which helps my pupils adjust to the eyepiece I’m looking through. (For technical nerds: We used several neautral density filters, which work as sunglasses for the camera, so it was mighty dark inside that viewfinder.)
  • Sunglasses = Same as above. They only come off when my eye is in the eye piece.
  • Fluffy track suit = Well, we were told to dress in layers because “IT WILL BE COLD” … but it was really quite functional, considering how much time I spent crawling on the stingy hay-ground.
  • And that facial expression? Oh my, let it speak for itself.

With Jacob and Lin, who was the indispensable First Assistant Camera. Photo: Avi Kabir.

Actor and director, Avi Kabir. Photo: Maria Lavelle.

“Intimicay is key.” Photo: Avi Kabir.

And my favorite photo of the day: It’s actually NOT staged, but rather a photojournalistic glimpse of the aftermath.

– Directing is exhausting, just ask Avi.

Jorge and Avi. Photo: Maria Lavelle.

Thanks for a great shoot, Crew 7! U da best.

Now I better go to bed … because I’ll have to head to set again in a few hours 🙂

Bless,
Maria

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