Lasers in the woods

Endgames is a short feature film about gaming and how much time you put into it. The action scenes are suppose to illustrate scenes from within a game. That is why there are so many different techniques of visualizing the scenes in the film. There are the painted animations to look like something out of a comic. Then you have 3D scenes and lastly there are live action. The live action is what we are going to cover in this little article.

The filming of the chase scenes took place one dark night in the woods. For the laser beams to be visible you need to have particles in the air that can reflect light. Therefore we had a smoke machine, with a long power cable into the woods. Unfortunately we did not have access to a power generator. It took a long time to shoot these short scenes because the wind and all the smoke that the machine puffed out blew away. When we were done with everything and came out of the forest we found the smoke again. It filled up a whole meadow outside the forest. Apparently it was windless precisely in this open area. The smoke machine we used costs about 1000 SEK, about 100 EUROs, not the cheapest but not the most expensive. Worked well for this and sends out large amounts of smoke in a short time. It doesn't consume that much of smoke liquid either so all in all a good little machine.

The rifle in the film is an extremely inexpensive soft air gun. Purchased on the auction site Tradera for 7 SEK, less than 1 EURO. The seller was less happy having to sell the gun for so little, but those are the rules at auctions. Sometimes you have to have some luck.

The pistol is of the more expensive kind. A soft air gun with gas blow back so that the mantle of the gun will move. It makes it easier to film in order to get the realism of the gun actually shooting out a bullet. This can be done in post production but is tedious and not at all certain that it will look good. The muzzle flames, however, are added in post.

The homeless

Filming the homeless was a challenge. We were out of time but then we got a cancellation from one of the main characters, so we had to search high and low to find a replacement. Eventually we found a substitute and was off and running, but we had lost a couple of hours.

The fire in the jars is genuine and it is bio-ethanol for indoor stoves. They did not burn as long as we had hoped, so we had to refill the buckets before every take. Despite the fires we had to have the lights switched on. A couple of 300 Watts Arri lamps. Later on that night it started to rain, and the water vaporized when it hit the hot lamps. We shot all night and were done sometime around five in the morning.

You learn something from everything you do. You never fail, you just learn. Next time you will be able to foresee the mistakes you did the first time, and be more prepared for the new once.

Written by Fredrik Lindau