Exterior Night Lighting

COSMOS Banner Exterior Night LightingCOSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 22:
EXTERIOR NIGHT LIGHTING


“Life is full of shadows.” — Chris Weaver, our Dad.

The whole of COSMOS is set across a single night, and about thirty percent of that story takes place outside. This blog is a rundown of our approach to lighting those night exteriors scenes.

We’ve tried to cover a lot of info about our lighting approach, including kit, technique and inspiration. As always, our aim with this production blog is to be as informative and thorough as is possible, hopefully without boring you.

Before we get started, below is a video of COSMOS B-rolls for the night exteriors to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how we’re making this film. As with all indie films our resources are limited, but that’s not always a bad thing. We will discuss the lights and techniques being used in this video further on in this article.


 

Why is Film Lighting Important?

Photography is the combination of two Greek words:

  • Photo, derived from phos – meaning light
  • Graphy, derived from graphos – meaning written

Photography literally means written in light making a Photographer a light-writerAnd the art of photography for the cinema is known as Cinematography.

I can’t think of a more beautiful reminder of the importance of light in the filmmaking process; without light there can be no recorded image. Cinematographer John Alton is famed, aside from his legendary anthology of films, for his phrasing “Painting with Light”. And that is what we, as filmmakers, must strive to do – our paint is light, our brush a camera, our canvas a cinema screen. (more…)

Cast Rehearsals

COSMOS Banner Rehearsals

COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 19:
CAST REHEARSALS


“All the real work is done in the rehearsal period” — Donald Pleasence

Whichever way you want to look at it, filmmaking is an expensive game – there’s either a money cost or a time cost. And ideally, you want to spend as little of both as possible!

If you have money you can buy time and get things done quickly. If you don’t have money, it’s going to cost you more time to get the job done. And one of the best ways to make the most of your shooting time is to have some constructive rehearsals sessions under your belt, for your benefit as well as your cast’s.

This video features some of the greatest actors of our time and although the topic of rehearsals isn’t directly discussed, it’s clear how seriously these actors approach their work – they love what they do, they want to do their very best and they put a lot of effort, thought and research into how they can achieve that.

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Creating Fantasy User Interfaces (FUIs)

COSMOS Banner FUIs

COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 15:
CREATING FANTASY USER INTERFACES (FUIs)


You’ve probably never heard the term ‘Fantasy User Interface’ but I can guarantee, you know exactly what one is.

An FUI is the super cool and futuristic computer display system found in movies, TV shows and computer games. Obviously these FUIs are not real computer programs but bespoke animations created with the purpose of helping tell the story. In modern filmmaking, most of these FUIs are added in post production but some films still feature on-set displays that the actors can interact with.

For COSMOS we need to create several FUIs of our own, and in researching the topic we found ourselves entering a vibrant sub-culture of FUI designers and admirers. If you’re interested in learning more about the cool user interfaces in your favourite movie, please check out Kit FUI which is basically an IMDb-like database for anything and everything FUI. You can also lose hours marvelling at the intricacy of these designs and enjoy the talents of their creators such as Jayse Hansen, OOOii and Mark Coleran.


 

green screenMoving onto COSMOS we need three different displays for the three main characters to work from. As discussed in a previous post about Building the Goodman Satellite in Blender, we’re big fans of practical and physical effects (for both photographic and budgetary reasons!). (more…)

JULY 2014: Best Trailer Music OTM

Trailer Music


Hey folks, we’re back with this month’s best epic trailer music.
Here’s our top 5 for JULY 2014:

1.
Confidential Music – Unashamed
Unbroken Trailer #1

(more…)

12 Valuable Lessons You Learn When Scriptwriting

COSMOS Banner Scriptwriting

COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 4:
SCRIPTWRITING


“To make a great movie you need three things: a great script, a great script and a great script!” – Alfred Hitchcock

A film script is measured less by its language and more by its architecture; it’s a blueprint that informs the ‘construction’ crew ‘building’ the film. And if this blueprint is flawed then the integrity of the film is at risk. Therefore, a well-crafted script is essential to guide cast and crew through production.

"The Bible"

“The Bible”

Anyone who’s written a script will know that it’s no easy task; Scriptwriting is a craft, an art form. Attempting to write a screenplay immediately fills you with respect for those who successfully carve a career writing for the stage and screen.

There’s nothing more daunting than the blank page… that cursor blinking at you… taunting you!

In the last post, we talked about how the story for COSMOS actually came about, in this post we want to just share a bit of info about our script and the writing process. (more…)

So What’s COSMOS About Then?

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 3:
STORY


TELL A LIE, TO TELL THE TRUTH.

So what’s it about then?

Well, here’s where your access-all-areas pass comes in. We weren’t lying when we said we were going to show and tell all.

Here’s the elevator pitch

COSMOS is a 90-minute contemporary Science-Fiction independent feature film telling the story of the three men who make first contact with extra-terrestrial life.


“When a group of amateur astronomers accidentally intercept a faint signal from outer space, they doubt its authenticity and flippantly transmit a response. But when they receive a reply only a few hours later, not only do they believe they’ve made the greatest discovery in the history of mankind; but found proof of life much closer to Earth.”


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What Is COSMOS?

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 2:
WHAT IS COSMOS?


What’s COSMOS? And what happened to ENCOUNTER?!

So, here’s the deal. For those of you that don’t know, back in 2010 Zander and I went into development on an independent feature called Encounter; a 120 minute sci-fi thriller intended for theatrical distribution (aim for the top right, why not?)

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After writing a script (’09-’10), putting together a budget and production schedule, and attaching a core team of esteemed film industry professionals (’10-’11), we began the long and unenviable task of trying to raise the finance. (Video production blogs of all that work can be found here). We worked with a corporate-finance team to develop a solid business plan and strategy and began approaching potential investors at the beginning of 2012. And although we had some brilliant meetings with some very receptive parties who were excited by the project, the recurring comment was that we, as the Directors, were the weak link in the project. And that, is a very fair point.

The budget for Encounter is not small, we’re not going to go into it now but suffice to say it’s a significant sum of money to trust to two blokes who’ve never actually directed a feature before. We’re experience directors in shorts and TV and we know we can make this film but we’re also not naive to the risks of film production.

And this is where Cosmos comes in. At the beginning of 2013 we had a choice to make; do we continue to push ahead with Encounter and work away until we secure the finance, or do we take a slight detour, make a much lower budget indie that proves we can see a feature through to the end (which is also hopefully good!!) and in turn be able to use that film to get Encounter off the ground?

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