Chainsaw Fight

2 minutes. Shot in 2004 on mini-DV.

Cast & Crew
Buzz   Carl Wakefield
Colin   Josh Gilber
key grip   Allen Compton
best boy   John Brooks
props   Stuart Jones
costumes   John Stammers
sound   Dave
score   Claire Freeman
computer graphical imagery   Arif Majothi
shot, blocked & chopped by   Matt Watering
The Production

Chainsaw Fight was filmed to allow us to develop some of the computer graphical techniques we will be using in the Invaders feature film project. The film features two of the key characters, namely Colin, a cybernetic killing machine, and Buzz, a mysterious cowboy.

We shot Chainsaw Fight in under 3 hours, working fast and loose to convey the feeling of urgency we wanted to get into the finished film. Carl had worked with me before, but for Josh it was his first time in front of the camera, and as he was playing a fearless cyborg he had to hide any initial nerves he had! This was particularly tough during the chainsaw fight itself, when Carl kept crashing the prop-chainsaw against his arms and body. Even with the protective padding we had built, Carl missed the mark once or twice and landed a proper blow.

And he nearly hit the camera a number of times, swinging that thing around!

Stuart and John helped out on the night, but the real trooper was Allen who, as the one-man-crew, had a lot of responsibilities and running around to do. While John was asked to set the lights up in ever ridiculous positions, Allen was pushing around the dolly (AKA The Shopping Trolley) and mixing up the fake blood we needed.

For such a quick shoot we got a lot of coverage of the fight, and the careful choreography paid off as the actors performed the same sequence over and over, particularly hard for Carl in the big bulky doorman's jacket. We finished surprisingly quickly with everyone working hard, and got some very professional shots.

Post Production

As an example in shooting and editing an action sequence, Chainsaw Fight has been very succesful. The rythm and pace of the fist fight was found immediately. The chainsaw fight needed a little more tweaking, mainly in the speed it was played back at, as during the shoot we had to be careful. The smallest speed increase can make the biggest difference, the secret is finding the speed that still looks natural but adds more immediacy to the action.

With Dave working on building the sound for the film, Claire composed a great track with references to the Leone westerns for Buzz, and themed beats for Colin. Arif had the daunting task of doing all the CG, which varied from particle effects for the sparks, to a full blown CG Buzz for two of the shots.

The film only really worked when all the elements were put together. The weight of Dave's sound, and the flash effect Arif added to the chainsaw hits, really sells the idea that this is a real chainsaw striking a metal body. More than our previous work, the sound here plays a crucial role.



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