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Filming in Casinos

Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 4:04pm

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Avenging Eagle

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It will come as no surprise to you all that I'm finding it difficult to get permission to film in a Casino. I've written a Roulette scene in to my new film, and am looking to film is outside of hours so as not to infringe on their operations. Unfortunately, they're saying that getting staff in, not to mention security, out of hours would be a big hassle.

Does the knowledge-abundant fxhome community know of any magic phrases I can say to convince them to let me film? Have you ever have a similar experience? Or do you know a guy with a sawn-off shotgun that could hold up a casino so that I could film my Roulette game?

Your suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.

AE

Last edited Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 8:00pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 4:08pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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"Really. Well my friend Andrew Jackson says different." Pull out a $20 bill.-US only

But honestly try and ask for a background of a casino and film on a green creen. Maybe you can build a roulette table and film on a green screen. I saw you had C-lab.

Last edited Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 4:09pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 4:09pm

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AwesomeFist

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will 20 pence work the same for the uk guys
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 4:12pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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awesome fist productions wrote:

will 20 pence work the same for the uk guys
I believe they use a Pound, Pence, Shilling, and Euro. Unless that is what pence is. Also can you please use correct punctuation Fist.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 5:02pm

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No Respite Productions

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Storm Grenade wrote:

awesome fist productions wrote:

will 20 pence work the same for the uk guys
I believe they use a Pound, Pence, Shilling, and Euro. Unless that is what pence is. Also can you please use correct punctuation Fist.
Pound and Pence... yes.

100 pence = 1 pound

Shilling... we haven't used that denomination for donkey's years.

Euro... possibly never, depending on who you talk to! wink
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 5:05pm

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pdrg

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Casinos are incredibly hard to get permission to film in - as with strip clubs and hotel bars, nobody there wants to be caught on camera! This means even if you *do* get the right to film in one when it's closed, you will have to pack it with your own extras - ouch!

You could try talking to an event hire company - often people will have private parties where everyone gets some notional value in chips and they have the games and croupiers in their party location instead - if you ask really nicely, maybe you can get a few shots in before they de-rig the whole casino setup? It'll be hassle, but less hassle. And under 18's/under 21's may be allowed in too (which might describe some of your film crew!)

$20 will get you nowhere by the way - start at $200 if a casino has to open the building out of shift and staff it and provide you with 'leccy, etc. Maybe more. It's hugely unlikely they'll see it as 'free publicity'.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 5:08pm

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Arktic

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"Pound, Pence, Shilling, and Euro" - Wow, just... no.

We use pounds and pence. Shillings are pre-decimal currency that we've not had in the UK since about 1975, and the Euro is the currency of the Eurozone (16 countries in the EU) - but not the UK...

But I'm not exactly sure what any of this has to do with the OP's question?!

Anyway, AE - I filmed something short in a Casino a few years ago, as part of a friends Uni coursework. It was at a local Grovesnor casino, and we filmed during the day when the cleaners were in anyway, so it didn't cost them anything.

They were quite relaxed about letting us film - however, we did have public liability insurance via the University, which was one of their conditions before they would let us film anything. Do you have any insurance? If not, I doubt that you'll be able to get permission to film at any casino.

If you can't get public liability, I'd suggest re-scripting to an easier location. Casinos are pretty security conscious (as you can imagine), so off the top of my head I'd suggest altering it to a poker game in the back room of a boxing club or something like that. Might that work for you?

Sorry to be so negative, but I honestly don't think that without insurance you'll get very far.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 5:20pm

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Terminal Velocity

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"This is a stickup."

"Sorry for the mess."

"Please."

I would advise a greenscreen. How hard can it be to find a casino backdrop? (Don't tell me the answer.)
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 5:26pm

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AwesomeFist

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Rating: -3

as easy as pie (cause the cake is a lie)biggrin

oh wait was there something i was supposed to remember. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 5:31pm

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Arktic

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I would advise a greenscreen.
I disagree - it'll look it's been greenscreened.

I think, if possible, a script change to a different location will not only look better, but also be less work in the long run.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 6:41pm

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Avenging Eagle

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Thanks for your help so far guys. Arktic, unfortunately the story neccessitates a Roulette scene, not least because the film is called 'Roulette'.

Event hire looks pretty expensive, even if it's one of those DIY kits with no croupier. As always, it's a shoe-string budget for this film; £270 is far above what we can afford (lest we all pitch in, but that might be the first film in history to actually take money from all its cast and crew instead of giving them money).

Our only hope is to make a Roulette table. Get a nice felt mat and the biggest wheel we can find for around £40, then get stapling/velcroing. Then there's still the issue of where to put the table that looks vaguely casino-y. A hotel function room maybe?

AE

Last edited Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 8:50pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 8:26pm

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No Respite Productions

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Fabric warehouses will be your friend in this case, always managed to find great big rolls of dark green felt, perfect for a roulette/poker tables.

One of those cake decorating turntables might work for you, they're designed to swirl around on a point so you could use that as a base for your table. I'd imagine it would be slightly cheaper than 40 quid too, although you may need to be careful when doing fast spins. For at least 9 quid upwards it's worth giving it a test run...

http://thecookskitchen.com/browse_296

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cake-Decorating-Turntable-by-tala/dp/B000GPPDY2

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Tala---Cake-Decorating-Turntable_W0QQitemZ110344824089QQcmdZViewItem

Construction of the actual roulette wheel though, that's potentially going to take some time to do, what with detail and functionality...

When I wanted something to hold up my greenscreen, I researched all of the parts required to make a stable frame. Once I'd calculated the costs together to create something stable that wasn't going to fall apart after 5 mins, I realised that with time and labour included (bearing in mind you have other areas of your film you could pay attention to) it was slightly more expensive to just buy a professional frame.

Just a thought, make sure there isn't a false economy in going DIY.

Good luck, and remember... any classy establishment always has dancing girls wink
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 8:34pm

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pdrg

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Arktic wrote:

"Pound, Pence, Shilling, and Euro" - Wow, just... no.
I just had to assume the poster was joking, it's hard to be *that* wrong by accident, surely?!

As for the casino shoot, I still reckon it'll be a tough one to do convincingly on the cheap - packing the place with adults, even if you can get the place for free, will have inherent problems. Maybe it's a script to save for another day?
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 9:42pm

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AwesomeFist

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remember he could use a greenscreen and some props

The Off Topic Wizard wrote:

off topic: haha i stole your sig "the curse of the tiny sig" and don't steal my idea of "the off topic wizard" well ok ill let you
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 11:17pm

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pdrg

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@awesomefist - Sigstealer! But to steal it, you must have read it, and if you've read it, where are my three +1's, eh? The MPEG gods will get you! You were warned! Anyone confused by this, DO NOT READ MY SIG!
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 11:24pm

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AwesomeFist

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i did read it but im not a gold member so dose that mean i cursed until i get a lab product. which i need to be a gold member to rate and i could help to find how what it said so i copy and pasted it in the url bar and read it.
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 12:21am

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Atom

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This should be pretty painless, as you can buy a cheap 'lay-on-a-table' roulette board, a fancy roulette wheel to sell it, light a small room, and dress the surrounding walls in draping black or dark green cloth.

Light the room creatively and you've got yourself, well, not a casino per se, but at the very least a convincing 'small time, high-profile underground gambling/roulette room'. Very Casino Royale-ish, you know, but with roulette.

More information on the scene would help decipher what is necessary and what can be bent in the story to manageable terms. But as a fancy, private gambling room- lighting and creative shooting can save and sell the scene- when done properly, of course.
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 3:12am

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Thrawn

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awesome fist productions wrote:

remember he could use a greenscreen and some props

As Artik said earlier, using greenscreen will simply look like greenscreen was used. I'd say that greenscreen should be a last resort, considering it's usually a pain in the ass to deal with, especially in important scenes that need realism. I'd go with Atom's advice and create the surroundings yourself with an actual set. The whole set itself doesn't have to look realistic, just the parts your filming.
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 7:52am

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ben3308

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwosgF0svqI&fmt=18 (Go to 4:21 in it)

Granted, this doesn't look anything like a casino, and I made this three years ago. However, think about what some set dressing and more careful attention to lighting could do to create the false 'reality' of a behind-the-scenes casino roulette table.
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 7:54am

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Avenging Eagle

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Yeah, greenscreening is not the way to go.

Some information on the scene in question:
4 eighteen-year-old boys have gone out to celebrate some good exam results. After going to a couple of bars, they stumble on a casino. They decide to go inside, one of them (our protagonist) reluctantly.
---------
Once inside, there's a scene where they're supposed to be in a sort of foyer, looking out over the main casino. They only have £20 each to spend, so decide to split up and each try a different game. Our main character takes a stroll on to the main casino floor comes across a roulette game. He joins in, taking the take of a player who just lost his last chip. Our main character plays a couple of low-stake, low risk rounds and wins.
---------
We join him some time later; amazingly he has won something in every round. The croupier has a quick talk with the owner's son before the game continues. A small crowd has gathered around the table, including our main character's friends. Something inexplicable draws him to place all of his chips (I think it was £215)on one of the number squares. Then there's some nice tension as the ball rolls and everybody crosses their fingers. Sure enough, the ball lands exactly where it needs to; main character wins approx £7700. The crowd, which has now grown, cheers and congratulate him. Our main character leaves to collect his winnings.


Other games going on in the background wouldn't be that hard to fake I'm thinking. There just needs to be a table behind my main character with some people sat round it and someone dressed as a croupier. I'll place them further away than they would be in a real casino so they'll be more out of focus. That could work.

AE
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 8:17am

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ben3308

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Dimmed, undiffused (harder-edged) lighting also sounds like a key to 'selling' the effect of a largere, more bustling space when you don't have one. Moreover, to compensate for the harsh light, you may consider fog, smoke or cigarettes to add some atmosphere to the scene, therein making it more filmic and believable of a casino (at least, the lower-tiered casinos).

Just my opinion. wink

Last edited Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 8:18am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 8:18am

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pdrg

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Can you borrow a depth of field adaptor with primes? You may be able to get that shorter DoF that way which will help as you say. I'm still wary that the opening establisher/geography scene where they look out over the gaming floor won't work unless you pack the room with your own people though.

@AF - the MPEG gods will not let this rest, you did it to yourself! You know what you have got to do
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 8:33am

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Atom

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I say, once again, change it to a backdoor/blackmarket kind of setting. Make the thing 'exclusive' and risky in some respects, a small-time/high-profile spot one of them knows about. That way you can manageably and believably pull off the scene- and it gives more impact to one of them having hesitation.

I, of course, say this without any other knowledge of the story and script than what I've been given, but yeah.
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 9:20am

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ben3308

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Think about when they go to the back-alley Asian casino in 21 (if you've seen it) - all the green felt tables are there, but it's a rundown, musky, behind-closed-doors place. Still, there's the opportunity for (most) common people to win or lose money in it, because it's like a casino, just with none of the glitz.

Think through whether or not you can skuzz up the location in the script, because it's hard enough to find props to make it look like a rundown casino, let alone a fancy, real one. biggrin
Posted: Sat, 13th Jun 2009, 4:43pm

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petet2

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Rating: +2

If you're baed in the UK why not try the National Gaming Academy?
http://www.blackpool.ac.uk/gaming They have sites at colleges in Lancashire, London and Warwickshire where they train croupiers and other casino staff. They have full casino facilities in an academic environment (it's a blast to see http://www.blackpool.ac.uk/gaming/facilities) and are often used by professional film companies for the reasons you've given with regard to getting into real casinos! Whether they'd do it for free or not I don't know but it's worth a try as you aren't making a movie for money and they often need real people in the training casinos for the students' portfolios of work.
Posted: Thu, 9th Jul 2009, 10:20am

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Avenging Eagle

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Ok, well I'm relocating the scene to a backstreet casino, but the trouble is, I have no idea what one looks like or where to set it. I've seen that often illegal casinos are at people's houses, but this is just not dramatic enough for me.

Where do you guys suggest I try?

AE
Posted: Thu, 9th Jul 2009, 2:02pm

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Simon K Jones

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That sounds like a good idea, petet2.

AE - the benefit of making it a dodgy backstreet casino is that you kinda have the freedom to make it what you want. It can look as a dodgy/grimy/dangerous as you want. By its very definition, its not a 'proper' casino, so doesn't have to look like anything in particular.

Maybe try to think of an unusual location that one could be set in - perhaps an industrial or commercial building out of hours, where you wouldn't expect to find one?
Posted: Thu, 9th Jul 2009, 4:15pm

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pscamm

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Avenging Eagle,

You could always try this (If your in the UK of course):

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=Roulette+table&_sacat=See-All-Categories

You might pick up a bargin and then charge the locals to play on it.

This one's my fav, nice & cheap and you could glue it to some chipboard and frame the edges - - Very nice

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/GIANT-ROULETTE-BLACKJACK-FELT-LAYOUT-180-x90cm-3x6_W0QQitemZ360148050900QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Toys_Casino_RL?hash=item53da7f23d4&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A1684%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

Ref locations, look up your local hotels/motels especially the woody rustic one's, they might have the perfect room/set you could use for a nominal fee, and, you will probibly find a bar there too which always goes with roulette tables - Alternative is your local spit & sawdust pub, these usually have back rooms also with bars.

biggrin biggrin biggrin

Hope you work it out