Props and Set Design Planning
The props are all relatively timeless or vintage. I wanted to give the feeling that it could be any point over the last 60 years. The armchair next to the couch gives you the feeling of a psychotherapists office. It remains empty, so the subject on the couch isn’t analysed by anyone on screen, but instead, me as the film-maker, interpreting what dreams he might be having and the viewer too as they watch. The chair in particular is from my family home, one that my father used to sit in in our old house in the 80s.
I wanted to create textures, depth, planes, angles, interesting shadows and a scene that ultimately was arranged in composed, painterly way.
Lighting and Filming
I used a tripod, as the light in the car park was dim, and the shot would need to be as static as possible. I took a slightly lower angle, as I thought that made it more intimate than an elevated observational position.
On the day of filming, the power supply was off, so I supplemented the overhead lights in the car park with anything battery-powered I could find in my house. I was very lucky to have had two of the below soft LED lights to replace my planned rope light for back-lighting the couch – I wanted to do this to give a sense of depth, show off the texture of the wall, and bring the couch to the fore. The box light, which I had there for a geometric element, light source, white space and space-y element was lit by a string light and some glow sticks. I also tucked two glow sticks into the subject’s jacket to give his face an extra highlight. At the end, the dozing subject rolls over, turning his back to the camera and disappears into the darkness of the couch. All you can see are his feet. The bare feet make him seem more vulnerable.
I had a friend drive his car around and cast light on the scene – there are subtle red elements at points – this put me in mind of sunsets, sunrises, warmth, horror and danger simultaneously. I had planned a red or orange colour-wash, but decided against this as it would have taken from the staging of the scene and muddied the lines and contrast.
I asked my housemate (the subject) about what his most common dreams were – the majority were stress dreams, but occasionally peppered with more light-hearted ones. I made a baseline track, to represent the thrumming of the subject’s heart, vessels and brain activity. The same baseline was transposed into different virtual instruments to show changes in dream mood. I don’t play a musical instrument, so I sequenced to the best of my current ability to achieve the mood I wanted.
Music generated using https://onlinesequencer.net/
Foley recorded on Note 9 using Tape Recorder
Additional Audio CC BY: https://freesound.org/s/346319/
Additional Audio CC 0:
(Thanks to Patrick O’Malley for putting on his best suit and lying in a November garage, and to Eoghan Holland for helping to move the furniture and the use of his car headlights.