Iron Sky Shoot, Day 17: The Poor Man’s Process

December 13th, 2010 by Timo Vuorensola

After the horrendous weather fail on Day 16, I slept extremely badly. Sweating, tossing and turning around in the night, I woke up not being sure which language to talk and what scenes we had to shoot on the final day. As the day started to dawn, I felt quite lousy, but as more information about the day started to trickle, especially about the weather, things started to clear up. We decided to move the last day’s optional location to Australia as well, and focus only on doing some of the stuff we absolutely needed, some poor man’s processes for the car scenes, which turned out to be a great decision in the end. The snow had not cleared during the night, so we found ourselves a studio where to shoot the remaining couple of scenes.

The studio, about 1 hour drive away from Frankfurt, was a well equipped small studio with enough space to drag in the two cars we needed and build greenscreens and moving lights around them. The whole poorman process is a surprisingly handy way to take care of car driving sequences. One would think that it would be quickest and easiest to just let the actors drive around the city, but that usually means having a trailer attached to the car, because actors need to be able to focus on acting, not the traffic, and camera needs to be placed usually in the front of the car, and the end result still depends quite a lot on the traffic.

With poor man’s process, we create either a green screen around the car, and shoot the plate shots later, attaching it to the green background. Even easier way – and just as suitable – especially if it’s a night shoot – we can create a bunch of moving lights around the car to give an idea that the car is roaring fast through the city in the night. We did both, and they worked very well. We also shot some muzzle flashes with blanks, adding the right type of a muzzle to the end of a AK47. Shooting that in slow motion provided an extremely beautiful outcome.

Muzzle Flash Closeups (Photo By Tarja Jakunaho)

The last shooting day was very satisfactory. We had most of the main cast there with us, and the studio was warm, controllable and quite fast. The last shots we shot around 3:00 in the morning – and then, it was a wrap. Actually, the wrap, for the whole Frankfurt shoot. I had a change to thank everyone in the team, and then we were off to the wrap party at costume department. Starting the party at 4:00 in the morning was quite an experience, and the festivities lasted for quite a long time – but we had a lot of fun, and it was a perfect ending for the great shoot in Frankfurt.

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