Bury the Needle Production Notes, Pictures and Stills
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Sunday, June 4 - Test Shoots
Ian, Scott and I went over to Devens, MA, site of most of the car racing so far, to take some test shots and figure out how the hell we're going to film a car racing movie with almost no money or resources. Scott has a Jeep Wrangler that can go doorless and is perfect for a camera car. Plus he is completely crazy and totally goes nuts when he drives anyways, so he was just what we needed. We used Ian's trusty Sony TVR, the camera from CtD, and figure out some cool shots shooting my car. The footage looked pretty good, even with the TVR. Before this test, we were kind of worried that we had set the bar way too high. We realized after the test, it was not as high as we thought.
Saturday, June 11 - Day 1 of Principle Photography
Ian and I went down to Boston Camera the day before to pick up the Panasonic DVX-100a - this camera is sweet. It's just completely better than the other digital cameras we've used mainly because of its ridiculous resolution, the colors it produces and the 24p feature, which makes the video look more like film. Try comparing Delayed with CtD or Ninjas. You'll notice the images in Delayed look more like TV and movies. BtN will have a look similar to Delayed - a "film look." Though the rental fee sucks ($170 per-weekend) and the drive to get it is a bitch, we think it will be worth it in the end. Just look at that thing:
I picked up Eugene and met Ian and Scott at our location. Devens is in the process of dismantling its military base (I think) and converting the "base" into an industrial park. I'll be damned if I know what attracts any business there other than it's completely ugly, totally isolated, shares grounds with a prison and is just plain depressing. Maybe it's the giant piles of rocks and random porti-potties. Those are always sweet. Anyways, we start shooting about 10 or so. It's around 90 degrees and humid and I am wearing pants. It was stupidly hot and made sitting in our cars and backing up and u-turning and backing up again way worse than it should have been. But we are tough and gritty and continue shooting despite the constant battle with dehydration, evaporation and certain death. We get some pretty nice shots thanks to Scott's driving and Eugey's nifty camera-work. Ian and I waste a completely sweet amount of gas from doing about 290329 u-turns, but we didn't hit each other... Things are going at an okay pace when we hit a snag in our "narrative." Ian and I came up with this pretty stupid idea the night before about "events'' that could happen during our race. Actually, it was my stupid idea, but I am going to blame Ian too because he let me do it. Anyways, we don't want to give too much away, so I will just blatantly not tell you what it is. We figure out some really stupid ways to shoot it that totally didn't work and we'd end up completely redoing later. About halfway through the shoot a local security officer comes by to see what the hell we're doing. I can imagine it looks fairly suspicious having a bunch of kids just standing around cars in the middle of an abandoned road network. We were all pretty scared that someone would interrupt at some point during the shoot. The cop was actually a really nice kid who ends up just telling us to stay out of blocked off areas and make sure we keep the noise down. Scott got this nice picture of his approach:
Aside from that, shooting is just about done for the day. Scott manages to get his Jeep hung up on a stump while he was bored and driving around in the woods. Ian takes him home to get his other Jeep to tow him off the stump and I take Eugene home. Here are some more incredibly candid pictures.
Me reviewing some footage as Eugene tries to lift up my shirt and Ian walks over to warn me. That's Scott's jeep.
Here's Ian setting up the car mount on his Beemer. Eugene is nowhere near my shirt this time, mainly because I slapped him after the previous shot was taken. Though you can still see the effects on both our faces.
Here's Ian setting up another mounted shot, but with about 200 times more intensity. Eugene begins to ponder lifting up Ian's shirt this time.
Here's a picture of me taking over the entire shoot. I am pointing with conviction to make sure Ian gets it. He does.
Eugene risks life and limb as he precariously balances between living and dying, sacrificing everything for his art. Actually this is about 1/8th as dangerous as it looks. Having the Jeep worked out perfectly.
June 12, Sunday - Day 2 of Principle Photography
Ian and I reviewed the footage from Saturday and realize there's some stuff we just need to change. Ian had the next race, Steve vs. Eugene, already planned out, so we're thinking Sunday will go a lot more smoothly. It totally did. Ian and I traded off shooting and we managed some really cool shots that we were really happy with. We're about halfway done when Ian reviews the tape from a shot and realizes we taped over our first four shots. We're pissed, but we realize it's not that big a deal and redo them fairly quickly. Meanwhile the friendly cop pays us another visit and tells to stay out of the area marked as "construction," which we were currently using to film. This isn't a big deal at all since there are plenty of other roads and the cop is really nice again.
Steve and Eugene put up with my and Ian's constant yelling and screaming to reset and do the damn shots correctly. They cooperated for the most part, occasionally pointing their fingers and telling me to "go to hell" (STEVE). Here are some awesome shots from Day 2.
Eugene, Ian, Steve and I breezily shoot the poop while making fun of Scott for being the outsider always taking production photos. Meanwhile Scott cries behind his lens of solitude.
Here Steve tries to defy Ian's direction by raising up his infamous finger. Ian manages to reason with Steve using the open palm "I got this, don't worry" technique. Eugene looks on and grapples with whose shirt to lift up next.
Scott tries to sneak a peak at my butt while I shoot, but I'm not having any of it.
Steve's WRX and Eugene's M3. They look sweet despite about 439439 billion parts per square inch of dust and dirt floating around in the air.
Ian reviews footage while Eugene grabs his own butt out of frame.
I'm signaling to Steve and Eugene to stop their damn cars because I dropped the camera and broke it. But I really didn't drop it and I just wanted to see if I could cause an accident.
Steve tries to figure out what pose to make when having a camera pointed at him while cleaning a car. Eugene shows him what to do.
Saturday, June 18 - Day 3 of Principle Photography
Ian slaps together a rough cut of the previous two scenes. We both decide the end of our race is a complete mess and we need to reshoot a ton of it. It ends up working in our favor. Originally, we were going to do more for Steve and Eugene, but felt bad making them drive their cars out for just a few shots. We tell them we'll get their shots later since they were mostly interior close ups and didn't need Devens to film them. Eugene comes along to camera operate and Steve stays at home still trying to figure out how Eugene was able to be photographed while cleaning is car at the same time. Alex Perry comes along to help camera operate and add to the intensity and Josh of Josh OWNS D.I.K.(e) fame comes along as well. Probably to make fun of us and kick me in the balls again.
Shooting goes really fast this time, since we've had two days of practice. We do a number of really difficult camera moves and pull off what I think is one of the coolest shots we've done ever. Perry and Eugene both brought their A-Game. Our new ideas for props make the race way more interesting than we originally planned and we all have a good laugh about how stupid this movie is.
While Ian and I back our cars up to reset, I notice people walking in the background. While thinking about whether or not this will screw up the shot, I come literally one inch away from completely hitting Ian's car and ending the shoot indefinitely. My side-view mirror hit his and is luckily on hinges so it bent back and didn't break. Ian and I sit and try to not feel like complete idiots while Eugene, Perry, Josh and Scott make fun of us and make us cry a lot. We sit there for a good five minutes wiping our tears and reset for the shot, which goes off smoothly the second time.
While waiting to figure out the next shot we get another visit from the cops, this time, it's not the nice security kid, but an undercover statey. We try to explain to him what we're doing and he doesn't listen to a damn thing we say. He accuses us of "driving off the beaten path," like anyone not born in the 50's gives a crap about that saying and since driving on dirt around abandoned roads is illegal we're told to "move along." I am completely pissed off because this guy just invented reasons for making us leave and didn't listen to anything we said. He was a complete ass. On the way out, we manage to get the shot we were setting up for, before the cop came. We regroup at the end of the road and Ian goes over the shots we still need while I lead the "piss and moan" theorizing about how wrong the cop was and how much I hate unfairness and authority. Scott begins to worry about his Jeep that he bent an axle on while four-wheeling around the area. Since he didn't want to die, he goes home through some back roads, Ian follows him with Perry to make sure he makes it and I bring Eugene and Josh home.
I meet up with Perry and Ian at my house and we decided to use Rec. Park in Andover to finish up the shots. It worked out fine and you can barely tell which shots are filmed where. Please don't try to pick them out because you'll ruin the movie for yourself and that would suck. Ian goes home that night and edits a rough cut of his and my race. It makes me laugh really hard and we realize this movie is way more ridiculous than we thought. We are both really happy though with the shots and the way the footage looks in 24p.
Fourth day of shooting is yet to be determined but the racing is all done. Now that I'm thinking of it, I thought the racing was going to be the hard part, but it's totally not. Fighting will get really complicated and take a long time, especially considering we no longer have a set and we probably have a total of 12 minutes of just fighting to film, which is about as long as all our previous fighting put together. I will update this page after our next weekend of shoots. We hope you care even a little bit about this project, it will definitely make you laugh and probably keep you entertained for its entirety. Here are some stills from shots we're going to use:
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