Why we are using a greenscreen for #TKTKM

28 Apr

I have been asked on several occasions – why are we working and making ‘The Knife That Killed Me’ entirely in a green screen studio?

Not all scripts would work in this environment. So why this one?

We have adapted the screenplay from Anthony McGowan’s novel – which is a brilliant first person narrative structure.

This lends itself to the whole piece to be about the central protagonist, Paul Varderman – and his memory.

So not only is it all seen through his eyes, it is from his memory of the events that lead to his current situation…

So we are able to create his vision of events, as he remembered them. This is important in the artistic and directorial vision of what we are creating with Kit Monkman and Thomas Mattinson.

There is a sculptural and almost painterly interpretation of the scenes that we are able to create, as the images we are seeing are being drawn from his head and memory about what happened.

So for this film the green screen allows us to place images in post production with the VFX team that help Paul Varderman to piece together the chain of events.

When you think of your own recollection of events – what do you remember? What stands out in the foreground? What sounds do you remember? What incongruities are there too? Who else was there? What were they wearing? Are you sure? Do some other images find their way into your memory and cut across your picture?

This is why this is the perfect piece to explore the potential of working with a live key, multiple passes on the same shot. As what we are shooting is not the frame that you will see. It will form part of the frame later. What else will be in the frame? Images that help to underline the narrative – that again have all come from Paul’s head as he stumbles and tries to identify the salient points…The clue is in the title…

So this is an amazing adventure and it is allowing the whole creative team to input into the project as the ideas around lighting, camera movement and design to work with the post visual effects team.

So not all movies would work in this way, but this is what we have been planning and the technology available is now allowing us to develop the process and the project.

We have two and a half more weeks of shooting – we are half way through the live shoot. The VFX team are keying the footage and at the end of each day – with a rough assembly edit we can not just check the rushes – but the coverage and story of each scene we have shot that day.

The locations, images and worlds we are able to live key and ‘ghost image’ check positions of actors in multiple passes on the studio floor as we shoot.

So lots of work to do. But very exciting times – and in other news, I am learning shed load of new stuff…which is a real privilege and I am enjoying working with the whole team immensely.


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