“Not Like Mike”
Actor - Jeremy Salisbury
Shot & Edited by Arthur J Schroeder IV
Story behind this Short:
I’ll be honest and admit I have been slacking off with my personal film goals. I have a slew of ideas for shorts, but most of them require a significant amount of effort, and I struggle to find people that have time to invest in said ideas. A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to shoot something, anything, to scratch the creative itch. I enlisted the help of my oldest friend, Jeremy.
Jeremy asked me what we were going to shoot, and I didn’t really have a clear answer for him. So I began to think about what I want to achieve with a very short film. The answer was simply to practice shooting on the fly, as well as splicing two shots together in post.
Originally, I wanted to have a more complex shot for when he releases the ball into the air. In the short, this is shown with an over the shoulder shot of the rim. In reality, I wanted to shoot this on a glass backboard, and have the shot looking through the glass and focused on Jeremy from up in the air. I had the perfect location in mind, but when we showed up, the court was already filled with people. I almost canned the idea all together, but the goal was to practice shooting on the fly. So that was obstacle number one, and we hurdled it by finding a new location, and changing the shot to an over the shoulder shot.
The second obstacle we had to overcome was the blazing heat, as well as the sun. There was quite a bit of cloud coverage when we began shooting, so I was pleased with the soft light we had to work with. By the time we finished shooting our long shots however, the clouds had vanished, and the sun shined as bright as ever, creating harsh shadows. I fought this by holding up a diffuser during Jeremy’s close up shots. This did a great job at softening the sunlight, but only worked for the head shots.
The close ups of his feet and the ball bouncing were another story. My diffuser panel wasn’t all that large, and while I could diffuse his feet, I could not diffuse the entire court. If I tried, we could see the shadow of the diffuser hovering over Jeremy’s body, and it looked silly. I likely could have gotten a lower camera angle, as to eliminate the view of the shadow completely, but I opted to keep the framing how it was, and go without the diffuser. I think I made the wrong choice, but such is life.
The final shot was done in post using After Effects. All we did was take two shots, one of Jeremy slamming the ball down on the ground, and one where he shot the ball from the free throw line. Then, in AE, all I had to do was mask off half the footage from one clip, to reveal the ball going into the basket. This only worked because I had Jeremy slam the ball down hard enough, that it disappears out of the frame for a moment. That is where I cut the footage off, and spliced in the shot of his free throw coming down into the basket. Very simple, yet something I never had to do or try.
So while this was a very quick short, it gave me the ability to work through issues, and problem solve on the fly. That is something you cannot do while sitting on the couche playing xbox. This is clearly not an amazing short, but it was never meant to be. It was meant to be a learning experience, and that it was.