Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wooden barrels and life at the valley

This weekend, this long holiday for us (it's Labor's Day on Tuesday and the government has declared labor-free Monday too) has been on a deep frantic search for wooden barrels all over Pachacamac and the "haciendas" in the valley. Found some but they are either not for sale or simply too expensive (they think im gonna use it as an adornment for it's quite common here in the wine areas and liqueur businesses.

We found ourselves driving from Pachacamac's main plaza and the old part of Surco district where in both places there was a big fair, just like in province.

I so love province and the coast towns. Their food, their customs, their party mood and their "small town" feeling inot it where the "neighborhood" sensation and coziness is quite stronger than in the urban parts of the city where not even ur neighbors are your friends. Even old customs from way ago are kept and "grandma's recipes" are passed from generation to generation. I see old women leading their younger daughters and sons the proper way of cooking anticuchos and picarones, cuy, fresh cheese and toasted corn....so delicious. And the wines and piscos....good for get-togethers and friendly time. Just stopped to eat some in Pachacamac's main plaza but not in Surco where the party was bigger. Was just looking for more wooden barrels as there are wineries all over there. Found many, but some were too big or too expensive to buy. I could get thre or four but at that price and just for looks and scenography...mmm...not quite a practical expense.

Cutting the round wood parts that give structure support.

Gustavo sandpapering.

After wetting the long wood panels, they are given the curve shape.

Cesar nailing the panels to the round structures.

Almost done before applying painting and finishing.

One interesting fact I was told is about a house where general Baquedano used to sleep and decide war tactics with his staff before invading Lima. I looked around for the house but sadly it's been demolished for the past 10 years or so and only a wall with ads was surrounding it protects the empty lot. I wonder what in their crazy minds would the owners be thinking for doing this atrocity.

Finally at the end of the day, went to the workshop to see the progress of a more homemade wooden barrel; small ones for the santabarbara. So far it looks promising and with some paint and finishing touches it will end up looking good.

So tomorrow, carpenter time!

Too big of a barrel but beautiful.

Pachacamac's pergola at the main plaza. Baquedano saw it standing there also.

The church.

Delicious picarones.

Making wooden barrels the hommade way.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ciudadela artillery trench almost ready for filming.

This past week has been focused on finishing the last touches to the Ciudadela fort and trenches. Finally, brought the Parrot and Voruz cannons and placed them over the preplanned spots. With the Voruz base we didn't have any problem as it is small compared to the bigger one for the Parrot that I made back in June last year. Was supposed to be used at the top of the morro and not in a trench but beside the huge Vavasseur also built around that time, so the base had longer legs to support the weigh of the whole structure. The front part had to be sawed off.

The next days were mostly dedicated to put more sandbags around the fort and trenches apart from painting the cannon bases. Once dry the next day, decided to put some artistic touches to it by painting "rusting bolt lines" below the fake bolts and dirtying all the wood and metal parts to make them look worn and beaten by months of war use.

The powder and ammo location in the trench is a vital part of the film as it plays an important role for it was ignited -as history has stated- by young hero Alfredo Maldonado when it was all lost and mostly all killed by the enemy. Back in those days, wooden barrels were used to keep the gunpowder protected from the elements. Wooden barrels aren't used nowadays and most of what I've seen around are in old vineyards or wine stores/wineries, usually big in proportions. Thought that maybe a trip to Ica or Cañete was necessary to get smaller ones or probably make them myself. While driving to Puente Piedra, noticed some plastic barrels for water on the way there and thought of just covering them with wood panels and painting them like wood. Bought myself three to see what can be done. Sew some parts off but I wasn't at all convinced it would work. Or perhaps it will....not sure yet. Still looking.

UPDATE: While asking around, got a tip that at some old flea market midtown, some barrels like the one I need were seen so went there and bought me one (they are not cheap anymore so will have to make the rest myself with this original as a guide) and also found a good nice-looking wooden old case. Dates back easily to the early 1900's. Thank God it fit in the car to bring it home with me.

Bringing the new Parrot and Voruz cannons (plus my old dolly tracks)
Arriving at filming location.

Huge babies!
Sawing off the front legs of the old cannon base.

Painting the Voruz base.

Painting rusting bolt lines as an effect.

Painting the sandbags to make them look old.

Sawing off the plastic barrels to paint them as wood.

Painting rust lines.

Hard work for everybody.

Painting rust water lines.

The artillery trench of the Ciudadela as seen from the top defense line.

Finishing at night.

Building the entrance to the powder and ammo hole (the santabarbara)

The santabarbara.

Got myself finally wood barrels.
...and an old case.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Parrot and Voruz cannons ready to go

Went to the workshop to check on Alejandro's progress with the cannons. I am very pleased and happy with the results. They are done beautifully. The size and finishing is quite great and will look awesome and dominant onscreen which is the primal purpose.

Just a few things to take care of here and there for the Voruz's base to resemble the real one and it's good to go. Didn't order the Parrot cannon's base for I already made it back in June 2011 when making myself the 250 lbs Vavasseur. Was going to make a Parrot also but because of time constrains and the blacksmith's attitude I just made it's base only. Now, both versions will have to match to make an awesome Parrot cannon.

I am quite happy to know Alejandro. Such a great humble guy and very bright with solutions instead of problems. Proactive is the word and I like that. Even though it is the first time he has done a model this big - as he says- the results are good. It was a great experience making myself the huge Vavasseur back in June last year
( http://www.juancarlosoganes.net/2011/06/vavasseur-cannon-almost-done-parrot.html )
but it took a lot of my time to monitor and help the blacksmith's progress all along in order to finish in time for the filming schedule we had back in those months (those guys, if not under pressure, begin to stall you and they don't respect deadlines). The Vavasseur was finished awesomely anyway. If I knew Alejandro back then I'm sure I'd have delegated the job to him so I could concentrate on other production stuff. It would have ended in good hands too but without the hassle. Anyway...either way all is well that ends well. :)

Now, letting him go back to finish the three big battleship miniatures I commissioned for the film.

Checking measurements to match real proportions.

The weigh is good for balance.

The texture is ready for some "dirtying" in order to look aged.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The "Ciudadela" cannon trenches

These days have been of exhausting labor: building trenches and sandbags under this hot sun that still doesn't go away (even though it's bothersome sometimes I still need it for continuity reasons) and burns like crazy.

Meanwhile, at the workshop, the Parrot and Voruz cannons are being finished to the very last details. Will post more pics soon. Here below it's just one from Alejandro's camera at the workshop.

The 150 lbs Parrot cannon.
Glad it's all progressing along well. After doing hard labor for the film for almost a year and a half it is quite tiresome now, but glad to know these are practically the final scenes that require this type of work under the sun. Others will be in a more controlled environment. The Police is helping along and the guys are good.

Glad to have a good working crew team. Bless their hearts.

Bought some old wood for the trench's floor.

Testing camera angles with my crane.

Ale and Cesar. Good crew team at work.

The best friend there is.
Trench view at night from the front.
Finishing at night.