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I'm currently in preproduction on 2 series (will be doing whichever one falls into place first; you know how it is). This is my first serial production, and my first time directing (DP) so I'm looking for advice;
A friend of mine brought up the idea of bulk shooting, as in setting up the lighting for a room the characters are regularly in (e.i., behind the counter) and doing ALL the dialog across 10+ episodes at once.
I admit it'd get things done a LOT faster, but is it worth the continuity risks, ect?
let me know what you think.
The funny thing about bulk shooting is that it can depend heavily on your actors. If you have a highly emotional story you got to find people who can switch emotions easily for bulk shooting. If your actors can't adjust, even if you have the best script supervisor in the world and maintain continuity - the footage just won't work because the emotions just aren't there.
I say though, its worth a shot. If you bulk shoot, and make an allowance for a pocket of extra time you can always go back and reshoot whatever you didn't get at the end right? Just mind your dailies and you should be cool.
I totally didn't consider actor performance, lol. good advice.
i prefer bulk shooting. it takes a lot more time preparing and paying attention to detail, but saves so much more time along the way.
it's too efficient for me not to go that route.
That's what I figured when the idea was shown to me (only ever done 1 off shorts and features), but my writer is worried about continuity, and the actor performance W O brought up is valid too.
what about sectioning? maybe just block of 3-4 episodes to bulk shoot at a time, wouldn't be as efficient but it'd help get things done a lot faster.
Bulk shooting as you call it is a viable option. When you take into consideration the access to the location, it may be your only option. If your ever paying to be on the location you want to maximize your productivity on any day of shooting.
While it will take more time to manage, it has it's won rewards.
Definitely recommend it. After The Beast was entirely "bulk shot" which is how we were able to film the series in 5 days. It took a lot of planning, but was necessary because of actor schedules and remote locations. We had "The Trapper" character on location for 1 day, and the dog for one different day. Not to mention filming in relatively remote mountain wildernesses.
If you decide to go that route, I would strongly recommend a dedicated Script Supervisor to be constantly keeping track of continuity.
I'm a fan. We shot Drifter: Broken Road like you would a movie; shot everything in bulk. We did the same thing with our mini series Stage Fright, which is still in editing. It can depend on how you have structured your series and if you ca get back to locations easily to shoot. I am a fan of shooting all episodes at once and putting it together in editing. Yes you have to be more detailed and worry about continuity, but if you have a top notch team together in front of and behind the camera, you can pull it off.
Note: If you do bulk shooting, I would highly suggest in your unloading process that you categorize the shots and audio. Lets say you shoot 2 scene from two different episodes. Unload them into a folder marked (Day____) that matches your shooting schedule. Then on the inside take the time to put once scenes video and audio into a file with the appropriate name (Ep 1 scene 3). If you have enough memory cards (assuming if you're shooting digitally) or tapes, assign someone to unload while you move onto the next scene.
This may seem like something you can wait on till post, but we did it for stage fright and it made my life editing so much easier and enjoyable.
I think bulk shooting is the best and most efficient way, but not always the most economical. Our series Lucidity has 6 episodes done over the past two years and some of the physical growth of our actors has really enhanced the show. We've also gotten better with each episode and the quality of the show has increased with time. So rather than a frozen representation of our inexperience, our growth is expressed through the show (more of a personal reason, but I know fans enjoy seeing us learn as well).
That being said I make the series with a tight-knit group of people who I am confident will stay for the duration of the show. Since we are all friends it makes the situation very different. Our main set is our home and the main actors all live together.
I think if web series has taught us anything it's that there are a lot of ways to do the same thing. If you try to make movies like Hollywood does without their budget you end up looking silly, just how most Hollywood "indie" movies are missing something.