Every student filmmaker would think making his first few film on a zero budget. Although this might seem quite impossible, a group of students from Loyola College has managed to pull it off with an amazing result. “Between Us”, is a short film, that is taken in one single shot. Yes, you heard that right. One Single Shot film on a zero budget. But how did the director do it? But most importantly, why did the director do it?
Harish Rangachu, a student of Viscom at Loyola College, says that he drew inspiration from the Birdman movie. “I was supposed to shoot a single continuous shot film for a college assignment. My obvious inspiration was Birdman. “
“Between Us” treads on an emotional break out between a college couple. The film, in its length, changes between four locations inside Loyola College but the shot is continuous. Filming inside a college is bound to draw attention from curious students which will result in a retake. So how did Harish tackle the challenge of controlling a crowd while making sure that the shot is finished without a hitch?
“I actually had to go between 10-12 retakes but the crew pulled through. There were quite some disturbances like the college bell going off and students rushed out. We shot the final footage when most of the college was at classrooms and had a time frame of 30 minutes to complete it. The shot turned out great and we used it for the final footage.”
The film changes its location from inside a building to an outdoor setting. The cameraman Jerin has made the proper adjustments for light to make the perfect transition from indoors to outdoors. He says that he did, at some times, run into walls since his back was turned for the entire shot.
“When I had to climb down the stairs, I did bump my leg here and there. To make the transition from indoors to outdoors, I had to slow down while going outside. I also increased my shutter speed so as to make sure that the light remains to my liking. The fact that we filmed it inside the Viscom block where we have been studying for three years, made it easy to know about the geography and path of light at the place.”
Can you think of a film which, for an hour or so, was filmed without the presence of a director? Quite shocking to everyone, Harish reveals that he was not there for the filming for an whole hour.
“The funny part was that I wasn’t able to be there at the place of shooting for almost an hour. I had an event elsewhere and had gone to attend it right after the rehearsal. But, I had communicated my idea and vision during storyboarding and while rehearsals .The crew handled the situation perfectly even while I was not there.”
As Harish points out, it also helps if you have a good chemistry with the crew. In his case, his 4-person crew were great friends. But, the absence of a director for a crucial hour did have its downsides. Jerin would often be unaware of the people or obstacles that were right behind him.
“I had my back turned and could not see what was happening behind. Harish went to attend an event and I found it a little challenging to focus on the shot as well as make sure that I don’t bump into anything.”
But the end result came out great for Harish and his crew. Remember how we had mentioned that it was a zero-budget project? But how did they do that? We asked Jerin, the DOP, for some answers.
“I used a OSMO camera which I had borrowed from my friend so, did not have to pay rent. We also saved on dubbing by recording the sound on an Iphone while filming, and later merged it with the final footage. We did not have to pay for the crew since it was a class assignment and they were my classmates.”
There you go, film makers. Simplicity might just land you a zero-budget film!