The 48Hours 2014 diary (with photos)

It has been awhile since I did this, but I thought this year I’d blog it again. I’d be honest, there are quite a few things I wasn’t happy with, and I would have done some things differently, but I still learned a lot and we got it done in time. So here we go:

Friday 4 April 2014 [DAY 1]

We got to the HQ just after 7pm, and I honestly thought my friend (who knew that I was hoping we wouldn’t get RomCom) was pulling my leg when he told us we got RomCom!!! Then it dawned on me that nope, it wasn’t a joke, we really did get RomCom. Oh dear.

Most of the team has gathered and started throwing around some ideas and it became clear rather quickly which direction the movie was going to take. We had some amazing props  and costumes available to us and the team was determined to use it. As I have mentioned in my last post, I felt like the props and costumes dictated the direction the film was going to, and we didn’t explore enough ideas that did not include these, so I personally didn’t agree with the approach, but in the end grin and bear it, and justified the decision with “it’s there might as well use it”. They are indeed, awesome props and costumes.

The team intro shoot

photo 14

It was a tight squeeze, I ended up going handheld for the in-booth shots

While they were working on the plot and story, four of us went up the road to a phone box to film our awesome team intro. I have to say I love the team intro and I had a lot of fun shooting it. It was also a good way to break into the weekend since it has been years since I handled a camera, so to say I was nervous to be the sole camera operator for this film was an understatement. But hey, I’m up for the challenge, but again, as I said in my last post, no matter how much I paid attention when someone else did it, and how many times I’ve read my cinematography book (I’ve read it MANY times, by the way, it is a good book), I lacked the experience. So this was a learning big curve for me. Another thing we didn’t realize until our shoot at the phone booth was how much traffic interfered with the shoot. We had to do so many takes because some cars went past, or motorbike, or a group of laughing teenagers, or drunken people, then you have the curious bystanders (and they were the most quiet, simply wanting to know what we were doing), and then… the plane that flew by. So it took us a very long time to get it right.

Since there was nothing else me and my partner could do on the night, we left the HQ earlier than anybody else. There was no point having too many people during the writing session, it would just create more problems.

Saturday 5 April 2014 [Day 2]

Getting ready

We arrived back at the HQ at 8am the next morning, and got the run down of the day and had a read of the script. I had to say though, the costume looked pretty complicated to put on and true enough, it took several people to help her put them on.


The costume takes a lot of effort from everyone to put on


We then got ourselves ready for the first shoot, which happened just outside of the HQ. All I could say about this shoot was that my knees vs concrete = concrete wins. I had to simulate a drop (first person view), and dropping my knees to the concrete without moving the camera too much was harder than I originally thought. Initially we were going to put some pillow/some sort of padding on where I was meant to drop, but I’m not sure what happened to that. Luckily my jeans gave enough protection that I didn’t bruise my knees on that.

photo 1

Thank goodness for the people mover! It was very useful.

One of the blessings we had during the weekend was access to a people mover. It was extremely useful, especially that we had to shoot in so many locations and we had a lot of gear with us and props and costumes.

Battle scene shoot

photo 2

Our battle scene location

Our next shoot location was at Mount Vic. I must say it has a stunning view! And we were in luck because the weather was nice, and the sun was right where I wanted it for this shoot.

Some behind the scenes photos from this scene:


The battle

We filmed a battle scene, and I spotted a perfect line formed by the sun and the trees where there was one half being dark and one half being light (I took the photo above after we finished shooting, so the sun has moved quite a bit by then). I thought that suited well with the baddie vs goodie battle scenario. I was feeling the disadvantage of my height though, J ended up bringing me a log so I could stand on it and reach the eyecup (there was too much glare for me to view it through the tiny screen).

The costumes and props looked amazing in the scene:

Break-up scene

photo 6

Stunning location for a shoot

Shortly after our battlescene shoot we headed to Breaker Bay (I think) to film our break up scene. The biggest challenge with this was the rocks. We couldn’t find  a cliff we could shoot at, so we used rocks by the water instead. Setting the tripod on top of the rocks were a little scary, and having to balance myself on those rocks were a different skill entirely.


Before the shoot


J ended up squeezing in the tiny space between two rocks to catch the gigantic sword the cast had to throw because we didn’t want to damage the prop. I think at one point he got stabbed by it, luckily that sword only looked big and heavy, it’s actually really light. We also had a few audience when filming this scene from some bystanders who happened to be there to enjoy the view.

Pool game scene

Our next destination was The Office bar & cafe, who kindly let us use the space downstairs for our pool game scene, we fit lunch before the shoot though (thank goodness coz I was so hungry by then). As soon as I heard the word “pool” I immediately thought that it would be a continuity nightmare, and who knew… that was only one of the challenges. The shoot was a tough one, mainly because of the space setup, we could only shoot towards one direction (well 1.5, I suppose), because only 2 of the wall faces worked, and even then, there were quite a few things I didn’t want in shot but we couldn’t do anything about. This shot took much longer than anticipated, and quite frankly it was quite tiring too especially with 2 redheads in the small space with the low ceiling and it got hot pretty quickly. Both J and I also had a bit of a disagreement with the person who planned this scene, because both of us felt the need to shoot reverse shots, while he didn’t. In the end we ran out of time due to challenges we kept facing with this shot, and because the reverse shots weren’t planned, we had to let it go because the space was about to be open for public. We discovered later on that we really need that reverse shot.

The dates

With the pool scene done, it was close to sun set and had to chase the sun to the waterfront for multiple “date” scenes. We also came across another crew filming at this location. And after confirming that we had our proper permissions approved from the police, we went off and shot the scene. Our producer did a great job getting all of these logistics done to make sure we didn’t end up getting in trouble with law enforcements, considering we had weapons as props.

Though some might find this funny, we found this to be frustrating. We settled at the park for a change of scenery for our date scene, and the actors were on the grass. Then someone walked across my frame, sat down at one of the benches (he was in shot) and then gave me a smug look. I felt my anger simmering, but I re-framed to get him out of shot and continued on, until… that person pulled out his cellphone after cracking open a beer, and started talking loudly. At that point I looked at J who confirmed that he could pick up his conversation on his mic. But it didn’t end there… a woman walked towards him (who was the person at the other end of the line, because they soon hung up their phones), but stopped at the side bench (out of my shot), he walked towards her and pulled her to where he was and then… they rolled around on the grass and started MAKING OUT!!!! Good thing we managed to squeeze in some shots and get out of the vicinity. Some people are just unbelievable.

photo 8

We had a lot of wardrobe malfunction

We went to Opera House lane for our next dinner date shoot, and as soon as we got our clearance from the police, we blocked our shot. This is the part where I wished we had a dolly, and I noticed how bouncy I am while walking. Took us several attempts to get this one done, and by the time we were done, it was dark already. And oh by the way, another weird encounter, a person in a wheelchair came by with her care taker, and were doing something that we thought was weird in that alleyway, but because we couldn’t see what was going on due to the low light, it wasn’t until they were gone that we clicked on what might have just happened. That person just took a piss and the care taker was helping her. Don’t they know that there are security cameras on the location, and the public toilets are just across the road?

Mugging scene

From there we made a quick stop to grab props before heading to Combat Room, to film our mugging scene. This is where J told me that I had an inner Abrams in me. I framed a shot where a lens flare would hit nicely for our bad guy to come in, and it did the job really well to make him look menacing. The fight scene was short though, before the 48Hours weekend started I was hoping I’d be able to choreograph some fights in our film, but when it was determined that the theme was medieval, and it was with weapons, I couldn’t help but to feel slightly sad, because I have very little knowledge on weapon fights.

All I could do was to offer a few pointers in terms of the movements, and suggested that the bad guy had a sword as well because when we did our first block, it felt like the bad guy needed a weapon. So we brought in the short sword (I’m assuming it was a wakizashi – my Japanese sword knowledge isn’t great at all, forgive me if I got it wrong – I really need to attend the Aikido weapons classes). Originally this scene was almost shot at the Opera House lane because of that alleyway feel as well because it would saved us the trip, but J & I both insisted to change location and stick to the plan. We needed a new location to start with, and Combat Room entrance was a controlled environment, we wouldn’t have to deal with pedestrian traffic, especially for the type of shots we were doing, and we needed the extra lighting that Opera House Lane wouldn’t be able to provide.

The house scenes

We finished the mugging scene shot rather late, and I was hungry. Due to my dietary requirement it was hard to get anything to eat because crew meal had things I couldn’t eat, so I got some dinner before proceeding to our next shoot at the HQ. I was getting really worried that it was past 10PM and we have not finished filming yet. I’ve been in 48hours where we didn’t finish filming until late, but at that time it felt like there were still so many scenes to shoot and we were quickly running out of time.

So after filming our close ups (required camera move this year), and our internet browsing scene, we set up the place to look as if it was early morning. Thankfully we had redheads around and set it up on the balcony to simulate day time (it was 1AM at the time we shot the scene). It looked like we just turned on the sun… until we realized too late that there was a skylight in shot and it showed that it was night time outside. Oops.

The first and last date scene

I got home after that shoot around 2AM, had a quick shower and a power nap before heading into Crumpet bar for our last shoot at 3AM (the 2nd 3AM that is, due to daylight saving).

They were so kind to let us film there after closing time, which means we’d have full control of the environment, which was really good. One of the owners even appeared on screen as extra, and they made me my usual order of hot chocolate and made my morning that much better. The shoot went really smoothly and efficiently, which helped everyone because at that point everyone was very tired.

Sunday, 6 April 2014 [Day 3]

After 4 hours of sleep, we went back to HQ to see the progress and see if anything needs any re-shoot or foley or ADR. We ended up recording some sound effects, but didn’t have the time to do more or to do any ADR because by that time we were really close to deadline. At least we had time to colour grade. There weren’t much happening other than that though, we were focusing on getting it done.

photo 11

Almost there…

It was honestly very hard to let go of editing to someone else, especially when there were quite a lot of things that I felt needed some tightening and work, and there were shots that I wouldn’t have put in, or I’d choose a different take, and I also would have put them in a different order. Sadly there wasn’t any time for me to do any tightening or replacing, didn’t even have time to put a vignette on our film because it was close to hand-in time and we wouldn’t want to risk the rendering time. In saying that, there were a lot of things I wasn’t happy with my camera work either. If we had the time, I’d reshoot some.

photo 12

Made it to hand-in!

We handed in with 25 minutes to spare, there were quite a few people already there. We saw a few familiar faces, and also bumped into one of our friends who J & I worked with in our first three 48hours. As the countdown began, I felt relieved that it was about to be over, because I sure could do with some sleep. There was no dramatic last minute hand-in this year though, not in Wellington anyway (I saw the video on what happened in Auckland), but there was a team that made it in the last minute.

photo 13

Last minutes of 48Hours weekend

As the weekend came to a close, we said our goodbyes and headed home. Sadly this year I didn’t feel that satisfaction I’d normally feel after a 48Hours weekend, but on the plus side, I got some camera work done.

So now that the non-finalists can upload films, I hope I’d be putting ours up soon. Thank you to those who had supported us during the weekend :)

For those who don’t know, our team name is #Brown and our film title is “”

All images are © copyright of the photographer. You may NOT replicate, manipulate, modify, or use these images in any way without permission.


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