Dear “Catalyst” Diary… Vol. 6 – Ghost Camera Tests!


Hi everyone! Last week was a good one for “The Catalyst.”

Not only has our Producer Anthony Vorhies completed two full feature films, but he was fortunate enough to be pulled away yet again to produce an Alicia Keyes video! Hopefully that project is finished and he can now focus on our budget with Producer David Herman. Together they are to come up with offers for Casting Director Donna McKenna to make to our actors.

Actress Tiffany Hodges is terrorized during our ghost camera tests. 

Although Anthony was unable to attend, we had a day of Ghost Camera Testing with none other than Director of Photography Timothy Naylor who had been set to be our DP until he was pulled into another project. He is back and was joined by our Visual Effects Supervisor Lucien Harriot of Mechanism Digital whose attendance and expertise was invaluable.

As I said on Facebook, “By pushing ourselves to capture what I wrote in the screenplay, we learned so much. For example, a ghost flying into your mouth is better achieved with a twirling monopod than a Fig Rig. If someone said that to me before yesterday, I would have thought I followed a rabbit down a hole. Now we take the footage and add layers of effects to see which we want for the movie.”

Another benefit of the ghost camera testing was that we won’t shoot the short (to be used to raise money for the feature) blindly without knowing the pitfalls. Had we tried to shoot the short without this knowledge, we would have run into the difficulties we uncovered, depleted our money, and not been able to complete the project. With no short to show to investors, there would be no feature film.

Anthony Vorhies gets full the credit for suggesting the ghost tests and for putting all the pieces together. Thank you, Anthony.

From left to right: Production Assistant Brendan Bennett, Director of Photography Timothy Naylor, Effects Supervisor Lucien Harriot and producer David Herman

In the picture below is the DJI Ronin camera stabilization system. This contraption steadied the camera using a wireless GPS so it always lined up with the horizon, whether we could see the horizon or not. Used with our “A Camera” to record the earthly action, we then switched to testing a handheld monopod with a Black Magic and GoPro for capturing the Ghost’s POV (point of view). I am looking forward to seeing how the footage from all of these cameras cuts together.

Timothy Naylor and Assistant Cameraman Chris Ungco

A big thank you goes to Actress Tiffany Hodges, who was willing to spend long hours scared for our ghost camera tests. (Her picture is at the top of this newsletter and she is also in the picture below… twice.)

Chris Ungco and Tiffany Hodges 

Also working as a PA (Production Assistant) on the shoot was our Intern Brendan Bennett. Thank you, Brendan for all your hard work with the camera team.

Please consider donating a ghost story as it helps drive our Twitter following and will possibly influence investors to fund our feature film. (We are now accepting written stories and not just videos. It has been taking too much time to create videos for them.) Underneath your ghost story, we would be pleased to cross-promote anything (within reason), the message reaching not only our Twitter followers, but we have calculated retweets and favorites from just our top 20 Twitter influencers could potentially be seen by over a million people! DONATE STORIES HERE

I still can’t thank everyone enough, but I’ll keep trying.

Thank you everyone!

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Alan Fine