'Face2Face' and the Case for GoPro Filmmaking - Creative Planet Network
The production "devised specialized rigs for the GoPro cameras that the actors could operate themselves during filming."

"My approach to the film was driven by a desire to depict the online experience of American teens in a truthful way," explains Face2Face director Matt Toronto. 

This independent film "follows Madison and Teal, two former childhood friends that reconnect as teenagers via video chat from halfway across the country," reports Hillary Grigonis. "The film consists entirely of the views from the teenagers' laptops and smartphones as the two grow closer together, sharing inside jokes and subtle hints that each character is facing more than they let on.

Madison (Daniela Bodadilla) and Teal (Daniel Amerman) in Face2Face

Madison (Daniela Bodadilla) and Teal (Daniel Amerman) in Face2Face

"Using a GoPro during filming isn't unique, but as the primary camera and with the requirements involved, Face2Face's production stands out," Grigonis continues. "[Toronto] started exploring the ways that the video chat medium could be used to tell the story, and, writing with his brother Aaron Toronto, created the script for Face2Face."

"Our challenge was to find a balance between crafting a precise, gripping narrative, and allowing for the organic development of an online relationship without letting it look too 'produced,'" the director explains.

The on-screen visuals from Face2Face.

The on-screen visuals from Face2Face.

"I had concerns about creating enough visual interest to sustain the attention of an audience because the film's concept confined us to using only two angles in any given scene: his and hers." 

Read more: This Movie on Netflix Was Shot Entirely on a GoPro 

"Knowing the movie would be made up of a series of video chats, the team started experimenting with different camera options that would maintain that widescreen, bumpy video chat look, while keeping quality high," recounts Grigoris. "After experimenting with both iPhones and GoPros, the director and cinematographer Kristoffer Carrillo opted to go with a GoPro Hero4 because of the additional controls mixed in with that widescreen action camera view." To read the full article, click here

The GoPro set up for the film.

The GoPro set up for the film.

"The solution to this problem also helped capture the realism I was looking for—we empowered the actors to do 99% of the camerawork. Carillo devised specialized rigs for the GoPro cameras that the actors could operate themselves during filming—we chose GoPro because it captured the webcam/cell phone look while giving us the greatest amount of control during the shoot. 

Read more: This Netflix film Was Shot With Nothing But GoPro Cameras

Read more: "It's about crafting a story in a way that the audience can experience it on a emotional intellectual and visceral level."

Daniel Amerman wearing a GoPro rig with co-star Daniela Bodadilla

Daniel Amerman wearing a GoPro rig with co-star Daniela Bodadilla

"Once those rigs were created I worked with the actors to incorporate camera moves into their blocking. This allowed for a great deal of camera motion and connected it intimately with the action and emotional journey of our teenage heroes."

"The cell phone / IM perspective is a really interesting way of exploring the teenagers' lives and really lends itself to a fly-on-the-wall documentary feel," says Wess Haubrich. "In the process, Matt [Toronto] really allows for the deep exposition of not just problems like becoming and finding one's place—things that every teenager faces—but also much more pernicious problems like bullying and sexual violence.

Madison (Daniela Bodadilla) in Face2Face. 

Madison (Daniela Bodadilla) in Face2Face. 

"In the process of exploring these issues, the film also gives us a look at what a deep and profound friendship really is —transcending the usual tropes of this kind of movie not just through its innovative perspective through the cell phone/IM view, but also through something more—the narrative itself, which enthralls, delights, and does keep you thinking." To read the full article click here.

Also on the Creative Planet Network: Unsane and the Possibilities of iPhone Filmmaking

To watch the film on Netflix, click here. To rent it from iTunes, click here.

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