Kuala Lumpur Adventures – Day Two
After finally getting to bed at 4.30 am, day 2 was to be a 4.30pm start finishing at 4.40 in the morning! And, with today’s shoot set at one location – a 17-storey empty office block – everyone is ready for a very hot and sticky 12 hours. Steve’s preparations for this involve the traditional desert boot and sock combination!
Today’s shoot is the first time we meet the full Malaysian crew of 50 from Biscuit Films and the freelance crew members.
Our private cars arrive at 4.15pm and we crawl through the rush hour traffic. The feel of the city changes, with the architecture transforming from slick shiny skyscrapers to much older traditional buildings and backstreets.
We arrive at our set for the day – a completely empty modern office building where we head up onto the roof and set up a temporary HQ to try and keep cool. Everyone is blown away by the breathtaking views of Kuala Lumpur from our amazing vantage point.
Nate Camponi, the director, sets to work shooting close-up sequences of the custom poker chips and playing cards being dealt by a croupier. The number of key sequences required makes this time-consuming work, but it’s made easier thanks to the amazing lighting techniques of Nate and Simon Hawken, and our real-life croupier Sophie demonstrates super skills cutting and dealing the cards.
After three hours filming these tricky time consuming sequences at varying film speeds, we finish inside the black oven we had created as a temporary studio within the building. The heat and humidity is at this point really high, and as the sun starts to set over Kuala Lumpur the tone of the city changes once more, with the iconic cityscape lighting up spectacularly.
We are then joined by the MD of Genting Casinos, Peter Nolan, who had flown out to keep us all in check.
The next scene to shoot was to be the rooftop scene. This iconic scene shows Charlie walking across to the edge of the rooftop looking out over the skyline. Such a key shot requires the laying of tracks for the camera, key lighting and even some smoke to create maximum atmosphere. While we’re waiting for the set up, we take an interest in the backstreets laid out beneath us – Peter mentions that when he first visited Kuala Lumpur for Genting some 25 years ago the cityscape consisted of only two or three modern high-rise buildings, with the rest of the city being made up of old backstreets.
Once this is done we head back inside to set up scenes of Charlie looking through the glass of the building, with the reflections of the city lights. On the original storyboard, this scene features raindrops to help create interesting reflections so the art department quickly start spraying water on the window. We’re set to roll when the heavens opened, bringing torrential rain, right on cue!
We then break for a lunch of traditional Malaysian curry (at 2.30 in the morning!). Catering were also doing a fantastic job of constantly delivering water and other liquids to keep the crew hydrated in such humid conditions.
We wrap on another key scene featuring Charlie, and requiring the crew to throw 100s of playing cards in the air to flutter down at a 75 to 150 frame rate creating an abstract super slow sequence. It’s a great scene to finish the day on, with some amazing footage captured.
We wrap dead on 4.30am. Time to pack up and back into the cars to take us to the hotel!
‘Beers anyone?!’ Why not?