“Check Point” is a heart wrenching look at our occupation of Iraq, dramatized through six fictional soldiers who share, from the grave, their last moments on earth.
Shot “interview style” on DV, this was intended as an internet project. I made it to be watched on the small screen, with all close-ups and ECU’s. The positioning of their faces in particular, only partially in frame, was important for a number of reasons. The stories are intertwined, so when the next character appeared, I wanted them in different parts of the frame. This way, with the camera slowly tracking back and forth which not only positioned the character in a different part of the frame, it also fully dramatized the subject as well.
I also had changing light values throughout each take, giving the image a unique feel each time we see a character appear in the story line. The ever changing frame gave the piece more visual dynamics, which was important, given the limited choice of camera angles. Therefore, I compensated with simple pans and varying light values.
Once again, I switched hats and went back to interviewing actors, taking the facts of their lives and mixing it with the fiction of the story, which turned out to be quite a powerful dramatic recipe.
I incorporated a green screen, whereas lighting the screen and the distance from the screen proved to be important variables. Although the images we incorporated were few, the quality of the keyed-out green screen, which is black, activated the background, giving it a life of its own, a kind of electricity.
The end result of “CHECK POINT” for me was one of the most rewarding, powerful cinematic experiences of my life to date. The film speaks very much for itself.