How do you prepare to shoot a film for VR? Well, that’s the challenge that I've been facing over the past 4 weeks of rehearsals. As the project evolved over the past eight months and the techniques that Alex and I were working on became more apparent, I knew that this would be a tough gig for the actors as they not only had to give awesome performances but also behave as the camera operators as well (thankfully only one at a time). In addition, because the lenses of the cameras have such a wide field of view and the room we are shooting in is small, I can’t be in there with them because I will be seen in the shot.
That makes it difficult because I can’t really see if they are framing up the shot properly, hence why we needed to do rehearsals for this project. The process of rehearsals is something that is definitely more common in theatre compared to film, but was necessary for the actors to aquainted to our technical approach, even at some points it probably fustrated them as they just wanted to shoot the damn film. I could truly relate, but as this is such a new way of shooting a film we can’t afford to rush. To make it easier, we decided to add a third gopro to the rig and watch it as it streamed wirelessly to my laptop in the other room. We also mic’ed up the actors so that I could hear what was happening while we were shooting. This proved to be an effective technique and one that I would recommend to anyone who is trying to make a film for this medium.
In addition to all these technological work arounds, I believe the most important skill or attitude that needs to adopted is patience. That’s something that I learned, because when you are working on a single take that lasts for 6 minutes which has a lot of movments, you need patience. As we were working from an improvisation, there was a lot of play, but the actors still had to nail the physical movements. Rehearsing with both Andrew and Nina has been fun and I look forward to seeing the film come to life. On a personal note, this has been such a different experience because my other films have been so loose as I would have the ability to turn on a dime when we were shooting. To a certain extent I still have this freedom, but “I Am You” is a completely different beast and I’m truly flexing my muscles as a filmmaker in a completely different way.