SECOND UNIT HIJINKS AND WRAP
We had squared away the date of October 17th to finalise what shots we were missing and get or title sequence creates. Martin requested some of the props but due to a falling out with the prophouse it was a sketchy situation but we managed to get what we needed. The iron and board, The sink, The cellar door with locks and the gramophone player.
We first shot our cellar door set. Again we had a shot that worked but we really wanted a super sinister hero shot of the door. On the day we couldn’t get the camera low enough so we took the doorway set and lifted it off the ground by 2 feet. We also no longer had our Arri and anamorphic lenses so instead we shot on my Red Epic with Canon Cne Prime lenses. Mike set up a 800w Arri red head as a single source at a distance crossing over the side of the door with some diffusion and CT filter. We shot with a 14mm fish eye to make the door really loom over us. We repurposed some of the cellar set as side walls to the door as well. We had gaps around it here and there but I knew a heavy vignette and some VFX could get us out of that one.
The sink spit scene wasn’t great. Once mason spits blood into it something seemed flat and rushed so we used a dedicated macro lens and dripped blood into the same sink set piece with an eyedropper we did this at regular and slower speed and got some fantastic slo mo drips into water. This would mean these extra scenes would have to be regraded to match not only the look of the Arris but the Cooke lenses but we were sure we could get it done.
After CU’s of the iron on the ironing board, the last shot at Martin’s involved the title sequence. I’d had this idea for ages and wasn’t sure at all it would work but thought it was worth a try. I wanted the camera to look down on a black space which was was basically a black hole and smoke getting sucked into it. Hadn’t seen it done before so Martin bought some dry ice from Trafford Park in Manchester and built a very quick flat table with a hole in it going to a tube and the whole thing coated in blackout. We cut a hole in the tube to put a vacuum pump in and started placing the dry ice chips around the hole. Mike stood over the whole thing with the camera on sticks looking down into the hole and basically leaning it over and balancing it to get the camera to look straight down into the hole..
The problem was the dry ice wasn’t working it was barely oozing smoke and we weren’t sure why. Someone came up with the genius idea of blowing on the dry ice which instantly kicked off a cloudy blast of smoke. It seemed it needed a high humidity environment and warm too. We were in a bone dry room so the water vapour in our breaths was used to trigger the smoke.
It worked amazingly well however and the pump sucked the smoke away just as I’d wanted. (I have to admit for a moment I began to worry if my genius idea was just not going to work and we were going to wind up doing the whole thing in post).
Josh Gwynne our second unit camera man arrived to help us with the dry ice and we took off at 2pm to get to our last location day which was Normanby House in Scunthorpe. We got there three hours before darkness and set up with their super friendly staff. They turned off all the lights for us locked the doors and removed the white blinds too so we had dark windows. We started off taking day shots we would shoot for night and slowly began to take more and more shots over time so we had a gradient of light levels.
Before darkness we got the staff to turn on the lighting they had around the building which lit it quite nicely.
When we got back the issue I found was I wanted a very stylized exterior of the house again, like Resident Evil.
With the daytime stuff it took a while but I got the transformation I needed and all the data was there for the grade to use. The REAL night time shots where slightly too real and didn’t have the vibe I was going for, This was one of the first time fix it in post worked massively in our favour.
The day after I shot the last shot of the film a super macro closeup of the record needle gong down onto the record player as we felt the one we had shot on the day moved too quickly due to the actor being our A.D. for that one shot and hadn’t done it slowly and deliberately enough.