29 Oct Mist breath: The final frontier
Hey Comrades, as always I must start this blog post with the obligatory apology for the lack of updates recently. The truth is, we’ve just been beavering away in post-production like you wouldn’t believe and there hasn’t been too many noteworthy happenings to report – no filming things blowing up against greenscreens, no fake frost on windows, no covering fallen trees with practical snow-FX… Nothing particularly out of the ordinary. That is, until last weekend.
Now, I may have told a little fib in our previous blog post when I said we’d completely finished filming all our winter special-FX. You see, there was one utterly integral component we’d forgotten… mist breath, or ‘frost breath’ as some call it. See, I realise one can’t annoyingly harp on about ‘bringing snow-swept Russia to Western Australia’ and then not included mist breath – that’d be just be down right lazy.
So this last weekend, we donned some thermals, scarfs, gloves, beanies and goose-down jackets (oh yeah) and visited the Perth Ice Works, who were generous enough to grant us access to their giant and bitterly cold walk in freezers. So picture this… it’s a balmy 28℃ as Andrew Gordon, Henry Whitehead and I rock up to Perth Ice Works looking like we’re about to embark on arctic voyage… safe to say we’re feeling pretty stupid. But then we stepped into –21℃ and sweet mother of Tolstoy, it was flippin’ freezing, and this was in a controlled freezer with no wind chill to add to the cold. So… to all you Russians out there I ask…. How? How do you live in that and colder? I tip my hat to you…. I’ll take 45℃ at the beach, any day. It was so cold in there that when we finished, we had to place the camera in and cool pack and bring it back up to temperature gradually to avoid condensation forming in the lens and on the sensor – there’s your science lesson for the day.
So despite filming FACTORY293 in winter (with some pretty cold morning and night shoots), it just wasn’t cold enough for our cast to generate mist breath while performing. So months later, we’ve gone into a freezer, filmed me breathing a range of different kinds/intensities of mist breathssss-ss-s (and from different angles), which are then to be digitally composited into the finished film with our cast members. So to put it weirdly, they will all actually be breathing my breath… call it my cameo in the film.
As you can see in the images below, it looked pretty darn silly. Why do I have a stocking on my head? The mist breath has to be filmed against a black and under exposed backdrop in order to composite seamlessly into the film. As such, for mist breath filming at a front on angle, you can’t avoid having your face in the frame, so it has to be covered in black material and thus, the stockings.
Other than that Comrades, I promise you all that we really are getting through the mountain of post-production required on this project. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel AND I can truthfully say that we have no more winter effects of any kind left to film – booyah!
As always, thanks so much for your stoic support and patience.
P.S. Huge thanks again to the super friendly folks at Perth Ice Works!
Photos by Henry Whitehead