Guest blog by Director of Photography ... PAUL HOWARD

Columbia University

Shoot Day 5 - The last few small scenes of Big Apple Dreaming were shot in a cab, which proved to be quite challenging. The day was overcast and due to the tall buildings, not a lot of light actually made it's way into the interior of the cab as we traveled. Fortunately the scenes were brief so we were able to do shoot them several times to make best use of the changing ambient light. New York streets are bumpy, so going hand held in the cab is really hard work.

We shot the scene, stationary, with a green screen. Mainly because we needed shots of Evan driving and it was  safer this way and better for Evan, not enjoying driving in NYC, especially in a cab with other drivers cutting him off. We'll add movement to these shots in post to better simulate travel.

For the traveling shots across town we mounted a Go Pro Hero 2 on the bonnet and later on the side of the cab. The constant reflections on the windscreen meant we could happily shoot inside the cab unseen, while the little suction cup mounted camera could take in the NYC landscape from a wide perspective.

We arrived at the cab garage entrance to the Waldorf and piled out to shoot a bag drop scene. It was so dark under the subdued car park lighting that I wondered if we'd get an exposure. We shot the scene in two takes, from two angles as the curious car park staff looked on. It's the fastest shot we've done so far and the darkest. I hope we can pull that up in the colour grade.

The last of all our scenes were shot outside the Stephen Sondheim Theatre as well as the iconic, Times Square. These were quick and easy to do with the DSLR.

And finally, with a few days left in New York the students had a chance to take a look at the film production course at Columbia University and at the New York Film Academy. The courses focus on different aspects of film making and it was an excellent chance for us to compare our TAFE course with what's on offer in New York.

And so, that's a wrap for Big Apple Dreaming! I'll let you know where and when our film can be seen.

...Cheers Paul