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The Last Painting: The Trials and Tribulations

making of the last painting

What makes a great shooting day? Is it when you shoot a great number of shots in a day? Or is it when your actors pour in some great performances? Or is it when your scene is perfectly lit up? Or is it about what you learn at the end of a gruelling shooting day?

There are times when each one of them tag along, and then there are times when none of them do. ‘The Last Painting’ was an experience, where everything made sense and at the same time nothing did. Everyone was there to make a good film, but at the same time everyone was there to learn something, by doing something they had never done before.

The students from the VFX department were working on their first major film shoot. The film students were working on their first major VFX shoot. Both the departments were complementing each other with their experiences and also the lack of it. It was a collaborative effort where a different set of minds applied their own skills, creativity and knowledge to the project.

team meeting for the last painting

But the road to that point was a long one. At the onset, the project was never meant to involve VFX at all. It was supposed to be shot at a real location with real objects within the frame. But some difficulties involving locations and set properties held up the project even when the camera was almost ready to roll.

Nobody knew what to do. Until one day, Rito sir sent a message in the ‘The Last Painting’ Whatsapp group:

“I have an idea. But depends on whether you’re up for the challenge.”

That was it. We didn’t know what he was talking about. So the next day, we eagerly waited for him to tell us his new plan of action. And then he dropped this seemingly immaculate idea upon us, “Shoot the entire thing in green screen!”

the last painting - green screen setup

We had no idea how it was going to work back then, and three months later, after the shoot, we still were clueless how we did it!

Well, actually we did. We learned a lot in the duration of these past few months and are still learning as the post production goes on.

We learned how a 3D model was made from scratch by the students of Game department. The does and don’ts of a typical VFX shoot. Mentored by the best minds from Seamedu, who aided us whenever we felt lost (which was half the time), the project was a tangible one.

seamedu students working on the project

This was a team effort, the biggest project anyone of us had ever worked on. It showed us where we stand, what have we learned and how much more do we have to learn.

The abstract subject of the film was in itself very different and difficult to comprehend. So it was challenging to execute the planned shots and the entire schedule of two days.

The faculties could have easily taken over the reins and would have made a much better final product then what we have in our hands right now, but they wanted us to learn, from the falls and from the rise.

In the end, I guess it was about ‘learning while doing’ after all. Unless we do it ourselves, making a film cannot be learnt in a classroom.

– Kushagra Shevgaonkar

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