Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More civilian wardrobe and Bolivian uniforms

The final row of wardrobe and uniforms.
This time for several civilian scenes in my film and also the Bolivian officers uniforms that fought in the battle of Alto del Alianza.

Got more civilian wardrobe pics to upload soon.

One man's trash is another man's riches

This is a funny world we live in. And it's true what they say that when a door closes, a window opens.

I went early today to Huachipa, a place several kilometers out of Lima to an old brick factory that isn't working anymore. I was told it could be a possible location. It turned out it wasn't what I was expecting.

I noticed though huge amounts of litter around the area. But, oh surprise! What seemed like piles and piles of garbage were actually hundreds or thousands of used plastic sacks. Not the household type but the strong ones used to carry fruit in supermarket tracks. It was JUST what I was looking for to make the sandbags for the barrack lines!

I searched everywhere for months for sandbags but the only ones made in bulk lately around here are plastic polyethylene ones colored in white, yellow and black. Not the ones made of sand colored fabric just like in the old days. Found one actually but they are quite pricey for a bag and I need like 3,000 so...you do the math. I didn't want to spend some thousands of Soles in sandbags. Besides, these look used and worn out, just as I need them to be.

A light-bulb turned on over my head as I saw many around the size I was looking for. I asked the people in charge of the place to give me 2000 and they agreed. I plan then to build the sandbag piled barracks on the field and spray-paint them sand color. Age them and voila!.... all set and at just 90% off of the price I'd pay by buying them elsewhere.

I did tipped them well, though.

Could only pack 500 in my car. Going back now to get the rest with a bigger truck.

God truly has some mysterious ways. Specially now when the film is over-budgeting considerably and I need to save as much as possible. Only little left. It's my pocket, you know.
I thank you, God!

UPDATE: Went to pick up 1450 sacks more. Now I have like 2000 approximately to make the sandbags and trenches.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Peruvian and Chilean officer hats.

Finished two more hats for Baquedano and Lagos.
I had already made those like a month and a half ago but I'm making two more for some important characters as during battle scenes and filming they can get worn out or damaged. Filming in disorder sometimes allows continuity inconsistencies to happen so, this is my way of making sure none of that happens and get all accidents covered.

Also made four Navy hats. One for Guillermo More, one for Sanchez Lagomarsino (Ship-of-the-line Captains and Frigate Lieutenant respectively) and two more for lesser rank officers.

Tomorrow I'll finish hats for an Infantry Sargent and a Captain.
So far, looking good!

UPDATE: Here are two more hats for a sublieutenant and an lieutenant colonel.

UPDATE: Finished more forage caps: One for a Chilean colonel and another for the Granaderos a Caballo regiment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jib crane first test

So finally, I ran the first test of my new jib crane yesterday and today. The frantic days as filming date approaches doesn't allow much time for testing out in the open for by the time I'm done for the day it's already night. So...I went ahead and tried it in the parking garage.

I used to own a jib crane before. The PortaJib was a very professional tool and I have shot much of my prior films and videoclips with it, but sold it like 3 years ago. Now, the need for a jib has shown it's face as "long shots" of the battle scenes require high positioning of the camera above the massive crowds of soldiers. It also add dynamic energy to moving takes that helps give that sense of motion typical of cinematic techniques. So, did a bit of research on the net and found new options and companies that make interesting camera support equipment that years ago weren't around. Options and designs that make the jib crane simple and easy to operate even more than before. Got myself a new one in the end.

Well, the height of the parking garage ceiling is barely 2.50 meters high and that limited me to only use the basic configuration which raises my camera to only 2.15 meters. Not bad for interior shots but I'm eager to try it with the extension kit I also purchased.

So far, the weighs I got myself are doing the trick. Was kinda tricky to find a way to balance it for the difference in lens size I use changes the counter-weigh needed and it gets off balance a bit. 1.25 lbs weighs are hard to find but I was suggested a good hidden spot downtown where they sell all kinds of sporting good things and brought it home together with two 15 kg weighs. Carrying 30 kg while walking 5 blocks in downtown (not many parking lots there) was a bit odd and cumbersome but the effort's worth it.

Tomorrow, if time allows, I'll test the extended version which raises my cam up to 6 meters high!

My camera configuration weighs around 19.8 lbs which is like 9 kg. A bit heavy so better be careful and secure it tight. Don't want it crashing down against the floor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stop dreaming, it's here: Panasonic AG-AF101

Just as a side note while reading in Panasonic's website about the IBC 2010 in Europe, I stumbled again of what was mentioned earlier this year at NAB. The amazing prototype camcorder. The next generation. The Panasonic AF-101.

Introduced after the earlier model AF-100 just a while back, It delivers the shallow depth of field we filmmakers kill for and a wider field of view because of it's large 4/3 inch large imager/sensor, able to handle all standard lenses, filters, and adapters of the 35mm world. It has full native HD 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates just like my HVX200, professional audio capabilities and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media. The interchangeable lens mount is what I also truly like (which reminds me of my good old Canon XL-1 I bought back in the late 90's because of that wonderful feature), which allows me to use all available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses I have. It records 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) in AVCHD’s highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps) and to "ad insult to injury" (lol) it is worldwide compatible as it can be switched back 'n forth between 60Hz to 50Hz.

The built-in ND filtering is a huge plus together with HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0, two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3. Now this baby can save footage in easily available SDHC cards (goodbye to the expensive P2 cards I so hurt to buy for just merely 16 and 32GB).

SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that can handle memory above 32GB and all the way up to 2TB.

This thing will definetly rock! I wonder how much will it cost. Scheduled to be released by the end of this year.

Here is popular Barry Green talking about this baby directly from IBC Europe.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My jib crane has arrived!

As soon as I came home from the Pachamanca, I opened the boxes I went to pick up at the airport earlier today (4am). Bought an EZ FX jib crane that came from Florida as its needed for the wide and high battle shots. We've been in contact with the dealer for many months trying to set up a good quote for me as the budget for the film was going a bit overboard.

I used to own another jib crane some years ago but sold it in 2007. I tried to contact the guy I sold it to but he resold it to another person and the daily rate of that guy was really ridiculously high. I won't tell names but many people here in the field assume I have a lot of money if I'm making a period film like this and try to take advantage in a way, that's why I always believed in owning everything you use so you don't have to depend on anybody. If they knew that no matter the costs here, I'm making much of the items myself to save as much as I can and put it all "on the screen", so to speak, to make it look like "big" and as good as possible. So, anyway, with the money I'd spent renting a jib, it was worth buying a brand new one instead with all its accessories.

So its finally here. I'm so excited about it. It complies with the weigh specifications I needed for my type of camera rig. I also got myself the extension parts to raise the camera even higher, like above 3 meters (more than 7 feet). Will test it this Sunday.


Pachamanca day. It was worth the wait.

A BIG thank you to all who helped me make this amazing uniforms. I know I've been a pain in the ass with details, colors and stuff but it was needed for the film. Now that it's all done this delicious meal is for you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last day: Uniforms complete.

Finally, the last remaining section of 173 uniforms has been completed. The peruvian uniforms of Cazadores del Misti are done and I'm taking it home.

So, the workshop's duty is kinda complete too for just bits here and there are needed but it's not daily anymore. Besides, I need to take all the wardrobe to Gamarra to have the button holes made industrially / in-mass.

I talked afterward with everybody thanking them so so much for these last two and a half months of daily hard work that I shared and learned with them a lot.

I feel sad in a way. Sad for it feels like that "last day at school year" sensation and we are not gonna see each others faces anymore or for a long while.

Their words of gratitude also for giving them a brand new fabric Cutter was touching. Not only has it given speed to the production of the wardrobe but it will help them with all future works. I feel good knowing I've left something valuable too.

But, as not to end in a sad way, as stated two weeks before finishing this, I'm offering a Pachamanca (it's an ancient Inca underground cooking for those unfamiliar with it) meal and get-together with all the ones that worked directly or indirectly with this.

See you on Friday, lovely people.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rosa Vernal

A month ago aprox, I went to see a theater play where a couple friends of mine were performing. Only three actors were in it and it was quite good, but what got my attention was this lady's acting.

Never saw her before but still her name in the credits sounded familiar.
As it's usually common here, after the play I waited a bit and approached the actors backstage to say hi and congratulate them. "Where have you been all these time that we haven't crossed paths?" was the first thing I said to her. She was pretty good. Pretty dramatic. She was the extraordinaire Lilian Nieto.

I learned that she has been acting since a long time ago and was actually very well known in the performing field here but took a hiatus of nine years and was just returning to perform recently. No wonder then we haven't crossed paths.

Went to see the last day of the play season a few days ago and immediately told her that I needed to talk business.
Now, days later, she accepted to be in my film and play the role of one the hero's mother. She will play Rosa Vernal.