We are graduates of Media Technology for Film and Television Production Sets who made this short film as our final school project at O'Sullivan College. This was shot on Sunday, Septembre 13th, in a 12 hours timeframe, with a gorgeous AATON XTR in Super16 on Kodak Vision3 at La Cité du Cinéma Mel's Studio C, in Montréal, Québec.
Finding an idea was really part of a first session project of Set Management class. We were a team of four, composed of Yanick Myre, Marie-Chantal Allard, Valérie Dupras and me, Alexandre Cormier. We brainstormed and found a common interest in desolate landscapes. So Yanick came up with the story, picking off our brainstorm, and we all thought that we had something there. After we 'pitched' the project in an oral presentation to our class, the story and the idea drew a lot of attention from everyone, and so we knew that we had to make it work. Yanick and I remained from the inital team of four, and we picked the other six needed to complete the production team,
Marie-Hélène Hiller-Fleury, Annik Labrecque, Said El Maataoui, Rachel Ouellette, Guy-Antoine St-Cyr and Marie-Pier Tremblay.
This course is almost a year long, and so it has three sessions. The first is very theoretical and technical. The second is where we begin pre-production for the shooting, which will take place at the start of the third session, along with all of the post-production.
The idea was to shoot everything from inside the tent, but we also needed shots of the desert. The problem here is that there's no way to make dunes in a studio and expect everything to be done in a strict 12 hours timeframe... so we proposed the next best thing, CGI! We first made a 3d demo, and everyone (our team of 8) was enchanted, even the teachers, but they warned us not to abuse of it!
Now, armed with an original story that resembles those of the Arabian Nights, we had to be genuine. So began our search for our actors, and props and set!
The mandate for this film was to shoot in Super16mm without any sound. So every shot had to speak for itself, but we still had a story to tell. Our editing teacher's wife offered her help for the narration, and her french accent just danced all over the images. We also decided to create our own foley sounds in the school's soundbooth, and we spent countless hours adjusting the sound levels. The music is that of Rabih-Abou Kalil, great composer and performer.
A major part of this was the beginning's CGI animation. Of course, we didn't have the time nor budget to order 100 tons of sand to create desert dunes and whatnot, so CGI was the next best thing. We didn't really try to make the animation look real, we actually thought that the progression of cartoon to real life would be interesting. But some teachers were fooled, and they asked us where the desert shots were taken! Telling them that it was CGI impressed them :)
We had to find funds for our props and sets (cams, lights, studio rental were covered by the school). It's incredible what scap boxes, old wood, old vases and a little paint can do!
All in all, I think the film speaks for itself, reflecting all our hard work, and remember, we arrived on a sunday at 10am, and we had 12 hours to build the set and shoot. The wrap-up was extended, and we didnt go to bed until 8 am the next morning! hehe so much for having a break :P
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