“RESURRECTED GRAVEYARD HAND” by BLAKE POWELL

Hello, my name is Blake Powell and I have been making movie and video projects off and on since the late 70’s,  I was a big fan of  CINEMAGIC  magazine and of course John Cosentino’s articles. These days I shoot and edit a television horror host show called Midnite Mausoleum.  Hope you enjoy my  “Resurrected Graveyard Hand” video. You will find details and photos  about the making of it  presented below the link to the video.

In 2002 I began work on a project which was never completed under the working title RESURRECTED.
We shot everything on HI 8 video with a Sony Handycam and edited with Adobe Premiere 6.0 .  I cut  together this 40 second sequence that establishes the Graveyard and “something” that happens there…
Although the movie was never completed I always really liked this sequence.  I’m really not going into detail on the computer effects portion here because I am much more of a “nuts and bolts” physical effects type of guy.
(Frame 1)
First We see the establishing shots.  I used the Handycams rudimentary “manual focus” wheel to focus on the stone in the foreground. I did all  of these shots at a long distance and zoomed way in with the camera.  This little trick gave the shots a much more “cinematic” shallow depth of field. They turned out pretty good for Hi 8 video
(Frame 2)
Next We see the “meteor” , this is actually a standard lens flare effect in premeire and I used the “motion” effects controls (under video options) to make it move across the sky. It is sort of a super basic form of animation.
(Frame 3)
The glowing ball of light is also a lens flare effect which again uses Premeires “motion” options  in order to  not to make it move across the frame this time I used the zoom (over time) function so that the glowing ball looks like it is growing in size. I still use this nearly 10 year old version of premeire to edit the television show Midnite Mausoleum.
(Example)
and finally the “Zombie Hand”  this one shot was done in my backyard.
(Setup 2)
I placed a patio block upright so that from the camera point of view it looked like a portion of a gravestone.
 I also placed other objects ,a planter, some bricks,  and cement blocks  in the background (from the cameras point of view).  Since they are in the distance and not in focus it helped make my backyard a “graveyard” at least for this one shot.
(setup 1)
I took a 4′ x 4′ piece of  “R-board”  (rigid foam insulation) and cut a hole big enough for my hand to go through,  right in the middle of it.  I laid it at the base of my patio block / gravestone with the side toward the camera propped up by a couple of 2 gallon primer buckets.  I  then laid a few twigs and leaves over the hole. After doing that I covered the entire thing with a shallow layer of loose dirt.
(smoke wrangler)
I also placed a smoke machine just out of the cameras view. The camera is sitting on a tripod and is at a very low angle (just below where this photo was take from), I hit the button to give a burst of smoke and tried to break it up a bit because I didn’t want a HUGE blast of smoke.
(in progress)
Camera is on and rolling: I  hit the smoke and just waited while the smoke was disipating and then   put my  hand up through the hole in the board.  There You have it!  I  managed to get this shot in 2 takes. I cut this clip together and it occurred to me that after it was done and rendered that I had planned to add a lot of blue to the color balance of the last shot so it would have more of a night time feel since it was literally shot in the middle of the day in my backyard.
If anyone wants to check out the show I do You can find it at
http://www.midnitemausoleum.com/
Note from JC: Thank you Blake. What a well organized and easy to follow article and a great little video.  I am sure that we all  appreciate the time you spent to present such  detailed piece.
Note: Who else out there in blogland might want to give it a try? Please see the previous blog article ” Coming Attractions To Paragons Blog” . It’s you. Interested? Email me at cosentinocarpet@gmail.com

 

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