Advanced Cinematography Reel Project 1
Vertigo Research Project
Group members: Chris Beymer, Kilani Villiaros, Delilah Hernandez
iPhone (for audio)
2 Plastic baggies
(These changed a lot during experimentation)
Zoom lens on FS700, 18-200mm
With this research project the three of us (Kilani, Delilah, and me (Chris)) all were working together on our own takes of this project. We had all decided to do something around the Vertigo effect. To personalize the project to each one of us we would have a different take on the effect.
Here are a few examples of the vertigo effect in action. I used these as reference footage when planning out what I would do with my own project.
After doing more research I found that this effect was a combination of two elements. One element was the dolly and the other was the zoom. There are two ways that one can accomplish this effect. 1. Dolly the camera out and zoom in simultaneously. Or 2. Dolly the camera in and zoom out simultaneously. In our group we called it the “Zolly” effect, credit to Kilani Villiaros for that name.
I had the theory down on how to create this effect now. I wanted to write a story to give this effect some context as to why this was taking place. It would be odd to have a regular old scene and then suddenly throw the Zolly effect in. The Zolly effect needed to be triggered by something, a realization of the character on screen or something similar. Me and Kilani had about 2 hours until we would have the equipment to start shooting, so we began our 2 hour hyper creative pre-production preparations.
I always like adding humor into my projects. Its a skill and comfort zone of mine. While I do venture out from this area every once in a while, I find I can do a good job implementing this aspect into things.
Between me and Kilani we came up with the idea that it would be cool to have the Zolly effect take place to show that some hard club drugs were hitting a person right that second. I thought it would be cool to frame it as a mistake on the person’s part who gave the ‘drugs’ to the actor. This disconnect of one of the two characters not knowing what the mental space of the other’s was like would add in some humor. Then I would use the Zolly effect to show that change in mental area even more. Kilani’s boyfriend had the idea that it should be revealed at the end that the character who thought she was tripping, should basically be under a placebo effect and realize that they are not actually tripping. This would add another level of humor to the story.
I then created a basic storyboard to plan out my shots, writing the lines of script under each frame. It was pretty basic, but I find having even a simple plan to go off of is much better than nothing at all.
Here are the photos of the storyboard.
Once we got all 3 of use there, Kilani, Delilah, and Me we started getting everything ready to shoot. I wanted to tackle the hardest shot first. The most difficult shot by an order of magnitude was going to be the Zolly shot. I estimated that that single shot would take about 30-45 mins and the other 13 shots would take about 30 mins total to shoot. So all together an estimate of 1-1.5 hours of shooting, 2 hours with a buffer.
We setup for the Zolly shot. We had the theory down of how to do it. The funny thing about the theory vs reality is that they are usually always different, with reality being the more difficult one. We setup the FS700
Sony FS700 Pictured
We put that on the Dolly, put Kilani the main actress in my story on the couch, and started shooting. We tried every which way to get the Zolly effect. Dolly in Zoom out, Zoom out Dolly in. Then we found that the more separation the background had with the subject the greater the effect. So we pulled the couch forward 1-2 feet and kept trying.
The trickiest thing with this effect was that the coordination between the Dolly and the Zoom had to be exact. If the Dolly dollyed faster than the zoom zoomed, or if the zoom zoomed faster than the dolly doled, the effect looked like crap.
All in all it took about an hour to get a decent Zolly shot.
Final shot here 0:44-0:48
Then I went through and using the very helpful crudely drawn storyboard, directed Kilani and her boyfriend through the rest of the scene. The rest of the shots combined took no more than 30 mins to shoot.
In the end we were roughly within my time estimates including buffer of 1.5-2 hours to shoot the whole thing.
After that we broke down my set and went immediately into the other projects that Kilani and Delilah were working on.
My post production workflow was pretty straightforward. I took all the footage and audio recordings into premiere. Then using my storyboard found each shot that corresponded to the storyboard and roughly placed them. It took some time to manually find each audio recording from my iPhone and pair it with its video recording. I cleaned up the visuals a bit. Then I watched it a few times while thinking what audio would work well with it. I went on YouTube and collected a number of songs and sound bites to throw in (the trip noises were especially fun to find).
Then I went through, threw the rest together, polished it up, exported, and put the mp4 onto a USB for screening.
Here is the final video: