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Break for Fog

Kathleen De Vere | 16 Feb 2012 16:00
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It's usually the videos that seem the most straight forward at first glance that tend to involve the trickiest special effects. This week's video, The Break, is a prime example of that interesting video production rule of thumb. It starts out as a fairly normal video with a three-way back and forth but suddenly goes completely off the rails and deep into special effects territory, and therefore deep into equipment territory.

Between the lights, the dolly, the tripods, costume bit, and special effects stuff (well, a fan without a standing base and our trusty fog machine) it was an entire trunk full of supplies that required five people to take up to our apartment. It was enough stuff that as we were leaving after the shoot, someone asked if we were moving out. While the Loading Time video does as a pretty good job of touching on the somewhat problematic after-effects of the special effects shot -- filling the entire apartment and hallway with fog -- it doesn't quite capture the full setup required to do what seems to be a fairly straight forward bit of filming.

In order to get the full Banshee effect, Cam is lying down on the floor holding a fan underneath the its robes, so it looks like it is fluttering. Meanwhile I am just off to the side in the hallway, spraying fog and moving the machine around so the fog looks like it is pooling around the Banshee and not coming from what is clearly a fog machine. Of course to do that requires two hands, so Matt is just behind me actually activating the fog machine on Graham's cues using the control switch. Add Graham on Camera and James on boom and its suddenly easy to see why a full blown production can need 15 people to do one thing.

More fun trivia about this episode:

• Even though we all knew we needed the fog machine, we forgot to take it with us when we left the office. We double checked we had all the needed supplies before leaving and I think someone even said we needed the fog machine to do the Banshee effects, but that still didn't translate into the simple act of putting it into Matt's trunk. He was dispatched halfway through the shoot to get it. I had a much needed coffee while we were waiting.

• I think the only scene the cats didn't interrupt was the Banshee shot. Despite all the fog they were surprisingly chill.

• Without any kind of plan, Cam, Matt and I all decided to play our characters as enormously annoying yuppies. You know, the kind of people who bore you at parties because all they want to talk about is how doing hot yoga three times a week has been "totally spiritual, man." If you ever meet anyone like this you should run away as fast as you can. They are insufferable.

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