Chapter 797: Filming in progress!
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
At the boundary of the deep mountains and forest, the film crew of A Bite of China had set up a temporary camp for communications one kilometer away at a small village where they had built tents and set up communication equipment. Zhang Ye and around nine of his colleagues were at the foot of the mountain, worn out from their journey here. As they stood close to nature, their spirits unwittingly started broadening. This was indeed the legendary tourist attraction. Many of those who were here for the first time would immediately fall in love with this place. It was a haven for nature's animals and plants alike, with nature's beauty unreservedly presented in front of one's eyes. This sight would make one feel very relaxed and happy.
The smell of grass was everywhere.
Ha Qiqi praised, "This is such a nice place!"
Little Wang was also spoiled with delight. She whispered, "I thought that this would be a tough assignment, having to rush out dozens of episodes for the documentary series within two months. But who could've guessed that Director Zhang has arranged such a nice place for us? Isn't this as good as going on a tour?!"
Tong Fu laughed. "It's still Director Zhang who takes the most care of us!"
Huang Dandan spread her arms out to embrace the air, "How refreshing! Those who didn't join our film crew will definitely regret it. I'll send them a picture afterwards to make sure of this, hehe!"
At this moment, a wispy group of clouds drifted overhead and everyone looked up to watch, exchanging words about this scenic view.
Zhang Ye came over. "Are all the preparations done?"
"Everything is ready."
"The video cameras have been checked as well."
"Director Zhang, everything is A-OK!"
Everyone got ready.
Zhang Ye said satisfied, "Alright, Tong Fu, Dandan, Little Wang, Old Wu, you guys follow me up into the mountains. We will scout ahead first and try to find a spot where we can set up the cameras."
Wu Yi asked curiously, "Set up the cameras?"
Zhang Ye explained, "I want to record a full day's footage from day until night, highlighting the changes of the cloud cover over several hours and the fog movement, all of which requires a long take. Therefore, we need to find a spot that has a panoramic view for this appropriate scene to be recorded. During that time, we will also need someone to stay up there to look after the equipment and ensure that there are no problems with the shoot."
Wu Yi immediately volunteered, "I'll do it."
"Good." Zhang Ye then said, "Sister Ha, what's the status of the thing I asked you about earlier?"
Ha Qiqi replied, "I've already informed the villagers. When they learned we were from Central TV, everyone was so passionate and were fine with us filming anything we wanted to film. I've also arranged for our food and accommodation for the next few days."
Zhang Ye nodded. "That's good then. There's still another matter. I need a mountain guide, but even though I say it's a guide, what I need is actually someone who can appear on camera as well. Go and find out if there are any volunteers for this task. If the filming progresses smoothly, it will only take a day or two. Let them know about this clearly beforehand and also inform them that they will be compensated for their time. You can decide on the amount to pay them. Oh, the guide will need to have experience in picking pine mushrooms and it'd be best if it's a young woman."
Ha Qiqi was a little taken aback. "A woman? Young? I don't think there are many who suit that profile."
Zhang Ye stated, "Even so, try to get one. I'll leave that to you then."
"OK, I will get it done for sure," Ha Qiqi said.
After assigning a few more tasks, Zhang Ye led them up into the mountain forests.
"Eh, this spot seems pretty good."
"The view is really good too!"
"Old Wu, set up the camera and take some test shots!"
"The framing here looks good, so we can pick this spot. This camera needs to keep recording for at least five hours and has to be securely stabilized at this spot. You must ensure that the mountain breeze doesn't knock it over or sway the camera's framing!"
"Director Zhang, do we need to record audio as well?"
"Get the audio down too, but I'm not too particular about it. We can edit out parts of it to be used when the time comes."
After a full two hours of working in the mountains, they familiarized themselves with the routes and environment. There was also an update from Ha Qiqi's side, as she brought along with her a local Tibetan girl-Sangyé.
Ha Qiqi said breathlessly, "Will she do, Director Zhang?"
Sangyé who came with Ha Qiqi did not look tired at all from the trek here. Her eyes sparkled with interest as she looked at everyone and the equipment in their hands, while she herself was a little shy.
Zhang Ye smiled and said, "Hello, my name is Zhang Ye. I'm the director of the film crew."
Sangyé quickly said, "I am Sangyé, hello."
She could speak Mandarin, but just at an average level although it was still quite understandable.
After a simple chat and posing some questions to her regarding pine mushroom harvesting, Zhang Ye finally said, "Alright, you'll do. I'll be troubling you for the next two days, Sangyé. We can start filming immediately. Are you OK with that?"
Sangyé nodded. "I'm fine." Saying that, she hesitated for a moment before mustering her courage to ask, "I...Will everyone be able to see me on television?"
Ha Qiqi smiled and replied, "Yes, of course. When the time comes for the broadcast, I will give you a call to let you know beforehand. We're from Central TV Department 14 and you will be able to receive the signal here as well."
Sangyé was suddenly delighted at that and immediately led them up the mountains.
Zhang Ye said from the side, "Sangyé, you don't need to be so nervous. Just be yourself and act natural. Yes, your expression can be a little more natural, just think of us as nonexistent and you'll be fine. Walk ahead like you would usually do when you're harvesting for pine mushrooms since that's what we want to capture on camera." After a few test shots, Zhang Ye checked the footage from the video camera but was not too satisfied with the results. He quickly got everyone to stop what they were doing and told his staff, "Someone come and help Sangyé touch up a little."
Little Wang said, "Let me do it. Should I put on some makeup?"
Zhang Ye said, "No need for makeup. Just help her tidy up a bit, so that her hair won't look messy."
This was Zhang Ye's first time directing a documentary shoot and also the first time most of his team were filming a documentary. As everyone needed a little bit of a familiarization process, this slow development at the beginning was already expected by Zhang Ye. He believed that after today, the filming process would only get faster and faster. But for now, they would have to take things one step at a time so that their basics could be honed. No shot could have a mistake in it. If they returned to Beijing after the location shoots were completed and discovered that a certain key scene could not be used? At that time, they wouldn't have the time or resources to come back here to re-record the footage! Therefore, Zhang Ye could accept a slow start, as long as they kept improving their quality of shots!
During the break.
Zhang Ye looked at his cell phone and saw that there was still a signal. He quickly made a call to the second film crew who were sent to Zhejiang, with Assistant Director Zhang Zuo being assigned as the temporary director of their group.
"Hello, Director Zhang!" a tired-sounding Zhang Zuo answered over the phone.
Zhang Ye immediately asked, "Have you all arrived?"
Zhang Zuo replied breathlessly, "Phew, we have just reached the site and found the village. This place is quite inaccessible by vehicle."
"Great, it's been tough for you guys," Zhang Ye said. "Just get some rest first and take a breather. As for the rest of the work, just follow the arrangements that I briefed you guys on earlier. Brother Zhang, the task that I assigned to your team is the most urgent one. Try to get all the footage recorded by tomorrow, then head to the next filming location. It's going to be October very soon, so it might be a little late to get the footage of the harvesting of the winter bamboo shoots. But if we drag it on any longer, I believe that we won't have a chance at getting that footage anymore. I'll need you all to put in a lot of effort and tire you guys a little this time to record that footage over there. Tomorrow afternoon, when I can get the plane tickets booked, I'll fly straight over and we'll head to the next filming location from there."
Zhang Zuo said, "How hard can it be for us? You're the one having it the worst, so just leave this to us and don't be worried."
After the call ended, Zhang Ye made a call to the third film crew.
The three film crews of A Bite of China were already assigned and sent out to their respective locations by Zhang Ye at around the same time. Zhang Ye could not oversee everything by himself and could only follow one film crew at a time, so he went with Ha Qiqi's team first to help them become familiar with the shooting and to let them know what kind of style he was trying to achieve. After that, Zhang Ye would rendezvous with the next team on the second day, and then the third team a day or two later. All of the recorded footage would need to satisfy Zhang Ye before he would use them. If he did not have a look for himself, he would not be able to stop worrying. A Bite of China might look like it was easy to film, but the truth was that there were many techniques used to film this documentary. The simpler a scene looked, the harder it was to capture. The massive amounts of information and content, and even the artistic mood of the documentary could sometimes only be found in those several simple scenes. Nothing could be wanting at all, and if it was, it would surely affect the documentary's quality!
As the executive director of A Bite of China, he could not run away from the fate of having to travel all over the country to oversee the filming progress. There was no way, especially with time so tight!
For example, the scene featuring the winter bamboo shoots harvesting.
For example, the scene of the pine mushrooms harvesting which was also found in the first episode.
They all needed to be filmed right now, not later. The harvesting of winter bamboo shoots would have ended in mid-September and they could almost no longer film this harvesting process anymore at this point in time. Meanwhile, the pine mushrooms harvesting season ended a little later, just before mid-October. But when something like that was so dependent on the weather, if waited until the rainy season of Shangri-La was long over, then there might be no more traces of any pine mushrooms in the mountains anymore. All of these tasks were a race against time, which was why Zhang Ye had given a recording schedule to each of the three film crews before they set off from Beijing. With the three film crews headed off to different locations, the shooting process was not done in accordance to the timeline of A Bite of China back in Zhang Ye's previous world. It was planned accordingly to which shoot was more urgent, and only in that way would they be able to ensure that everything could be completed successfully.
As for the footage which could not be filmed during September and October? After all, in the original version of A Bite of China, there were also many scenes that took place in spring and summer.
So Zhang Ye thought of a plan.
He had two ideas to solve this:
1. Change locations. Although it was winter in the north, there were locations where it was spring all year round. Surely they could get the footage they wanted at those places, right?
2. Change the types of food. A Bite of China was a documentary that focused on food, the people, and its culture. By changing the type of food featured, he wasn't changing the idea behind the documentary. They would still be able to show the food and its history in that way, except that Zhang Ye would have to start thinking a bit harder and try to write a script which would follow according to the format of the original A Bite of China. The amount of food that required changing wasn't that much either, so his workload shouldn't be too great. Zhang Ye had already used the Memory Search Capsules to retrieve all the information of A Bite of China from his previous world. All of the scenes and details have been fully memorized by Zhang Ye, and when coupled with his Basics of Directing and Camera Techniques Skill Experience Books, he could mimic those scenes without affecting the quality of the documentary.
The film schedule was resolved.
The race against time was resolved.
And thus, there were no longer any problems!