Thursday, February 09, 2006

Buried in white

Yesterday I went filming. I started at 9am and finished at 5pm. The temperature was about -5C so not too bad (it was -20C not so long ago) and the snowfall was pretty constant as was predicted. I covered the Brodnowski cemetery and the old Jewish cemetery (the free one) and just managed a test shot at Targowek before night fell. I had hoped to do the Tartar cemetery as well but as usual doing any more than 2 locations in one day is pretty much impossible, especially when you're running on two fried eggs and one frozen Snickers.

The camera held up well considering it was outside for 8 hours. We both seemed to have developed an immunity to the Polish winter. Having said that I was working in heavy snow without an umbrella (I left so fast I forgot it) and so the camera's LCD monitor got soaked through with snow despite my covering it with my EU health insurance card during each recording - well it is supposed to be there for you in an emergency...

Home at last I defrosted myself - a process where your feet turn an alarming scarlet colour in the shower and your nails turn orange and appear longer, the skin around them having receded from the cold. But who doesn't enjoy the 'victory' of returning after a hard day's filming?

Then comes the not so pleasant part. Has the camera recorded anything? Is it even still working or has the condensation finished it off for good, the tape as well? I slid my hand into the snow-soaked camera bag to find the camera drenched in condensation. I thought it was game over...
...but not this time! - After drying her off carefully and bracing myself for sparks - she was reconnected to the mains and with her characteristic monotonal BLEEP she returned to life. Amazing! For the hundredth time - thank you Canon for over-engineering her!

Today I reviewed the shots. Well out of 50 minutes of recording I got the one shot I really needed to get and a second one that might be destined to become the first shot of the film. Some others may also prove useful, we shall have to see.

You might think that given the effort 2 'in-the-movie-for-sure' shots is a poor outcome for a day's work. Statistically for this production it is slightly below average but given how hard it is just to walk through a winter's worth of uncleared snow in a cemetery - let alone film in it - I'm pleased with the outcome. Perhaps I could have done better. Perhaps I could have made it to the Tatar cemetery or even the communist soldiers one... But we shall never know - all that remains of the day now are the shots that I did manage to record.

Unlike the majority of Warsaw's citizens I really hope we haven't seen the last of the winter and that another day of continuous snow will be granted by the little-known 'God of Filmmaking'.

Well let us pray.


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