Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Final Test: Shoot Report

So, it has finally happened! The first-ever video I shot for a professional producer is online. And it's the most severe scene you have seen of me so far. I've just taken a (nervous) look and I like the final version Pandora has edited very much. You can watch a preview clip at the beginning of this post. In my opinion, the music is fantastic and the editing is great as well! I was a bit confused at first, though, because the action scene is interrupted by tai chi sequences. But those sequences appear as a kind of meditation which my character creates in her head in order to remain calm and deal with the pain. So, the interruptions are a bit unusual, but they give the scene another special touch. And maybe Pandora releases the pure action scene as a special bonus one day if many viewers would prefer that? I am even content with my own performance (even the spoken parts), despite of being very critical about that generally. I've no idea whether the scene will be to the viewers' liking as well, though. No scolding, no punishment, no screaming, no tears. Just tai chi and a very severe consensual caning between a master and his student. And fond memories of a great shoot.

After having told you about the preparations for the shoot in our last post, Ludwig and I are going to share our memories of that special shoot with you this time. As in our last post, you are going to find Ludwig's thoughts in brackets and bold letters and mine in standard letters. It's a long post, so make yourself comfortable. Here we go:

On the morning of the shoot, Ludwig and I got up early and I prepared myself in the bathroom. Then we went to the shooting location. I was quite nervous and hoped not to lose my grip. I'm not so sure about the exact sequence of events, but I think the first thing I did was warm myself up for the tai chi demonstration. Pandora shot a bit of behind-the-scenes material and prepared the set, including a beautiful mirror. As some of you might know, I have a thing for mirrors in spanking scenes, so I loved that!

[Indeed, Kaelah has a thing for mirrors. We used one in our Kaelah's Introduction video which is available for free on this blog as well. The effect in a corporal punishment video can be quite nice - you get to watch two perspectives at once. Mirrors are tricky to set up, though, because you have to avoid filming the camera in the mirror while still getting the angle you want for the desired perspectives. That can take a long while to get right when you are doing a video with a static camera. But in this case, we had Pandora as a camerawoman, so the mirror did not pose as big a challenge.]

Then Pandora asked me for an interview. I just hoped that my English would be good enough that morning to answer her questions spontaneously and fluently, despite of my nervousness. To my surprise, it all went well and my self-confidence increased. The behind-the-scenes report is almost as important for me as the scene itself. It sets the scene into the bigger context of kinky fantasies and kinky exploration, and I think that's great and gives the scene an even more personal and therefore also erotic touch. The report also shows the safety measures such as the disinfection of the cane, and we talked about the agreements we had made beforehand in order to make this a good experience for me. I was very happy when I had the feeling that I managed to express myself well. For the second part of the interview Ludwig joined us and shared his view, too.

[As a viewer, I love behind-the-scenes reports and interviews. I often find them as interesting as the films themselves, because they give you a glimpse at the real people behind a CP video, their thoughts and feelings. I think Kaelah and I give a pretty interesting glimpse with the stuff we filmed there.] 

Afterwards, we started shooting the indoor tai chi sequences. Pandora's partner Thomas Cameron, who is experienced with martial arts, joined me for one demonstration (which is not in the final video). I only practice tai chi for relaxation and don't have a martial arts background. I admired Tom's skills and flexibility. He hadn't practiced the moves for a long time, though, and so I led the demonstration by announcing the figures. I was proud that someone so experienced as Tom felt comfortable with me leading the demonstration. Then I performed two more sequences on my own, using a wooden training sword and a fan. The daylight flooded the room and filled the scenery with beautiful colours.

The interviews and the shoot of the tai chi sequences calmed down my anxiety and prevented me from panicking in anticipation of the action scene. It was a combination of conditions, some of them incidental, which made me so calm. Of course Ludwig knows me well enough to deliberately support me with his behaviour. He let me do my thing and therefore gave me the feeling of being in control, while remaining in the background, helping with the preparations for the scene and making sure that I was okay and that all safety measures were taken. The tai chi itself made me relax, too.

[I quite like staying in the background for the most part during a shoot. In a way, it is a natural extension of your task as a top. In most CP videos, and very evidently in this particular scenario, the spankee is the real star of the story, while the top is more of a supporting character. The paradoxical thing about it all is that, even though the attention is focused somewhere else, you as the top actually have a more active role during the CP scenes, and more things you can potentially, actively do wrong, like mishit a stroke.]

And finally the demonstration with Tom gave me lots of strength as well. The reason for this is as follows: When I am anxious, telling me that everything will be okay doesn't help all that much. Holding me can be helpful, but only in the context of helping me to let go and cry, which wasn't what I wanted at that time. The best help against anxiety for me is thinking about or doing something that gives me the feeling of being in control. And leading the demonstration with Tom did exactly that.

When Pandora asked me whether we should film some more tai chi sequences outdoors or directly move on to the action scene, though, I felt that I really wanted to get over the caning and not build up any more anticipation. And so the dreaded part suddenly was very close ahead of me. Pandora suggested to film the little introductory conversation, the bending over and the first three strokes in one take. And that's what we did. The dialogue wasn't scripted and I was too nervous to think of any spectacular lines. The conversation turned out to be very short. The main part for me was to confirm that I wanted to take the final test of my own free will and that I felt ready. At Ludwig's command I turned around, pulled down my trousers and assumed the position as we had planned it the evening before.

[The position we had found during our experimenting the evening before was the best one aesthetically. Kaelah bent over the table with an arched back, her hands grabbing the far edge of the table and her knees and upper legs thrust slightly forward underneath it. It made for an elegant position overall, and Kaelah's bottom looked even sexier than usual. From a practical point of view for me as the top, however, it was quite a difficult position. Kaelah's bottom was positioned rather low, and its lower part angled away from me under the table, which made it hard to hit. I had to bend down quite a bit myself in order to be able to hit Kaelah's backside the way I wanted. Moreover, we had pulled up Kaelah's pants right to the edge of her bottom. Again, it looked great, but it left no room whatsoever for a low mishit.]

Now, I have already written about several general aspects of the caning in my post Healthy Severity, but I want to tell you a bit about my thoughts throughout here. Ludwig took aim and suddenly the first stroke landed. He started almost full force right from the beginning, as we had agreed. It hurt so much, I could hardly believe it. I managed to count the stroke, though, and to struggle through the next two as well, gripping the edge of the table with my hands, pressing myself against the table, throwing my head back and gritting my teeth, but not making a sound other than some suppressed hissing. If I hadn't known that there would be a break after that, though, I guess I would have panicked, at least a few strokes later. We took a little break so that Pandora could rearrange the camera (we had only one camera, so it had to be rearranged several times to get different shots). I was still amazed how much the strokes had hurt.

We agreed to do a batch of six strokes next. As I assumed the position again, I hoped that the break had already helped my body to adapt to the pain and that the next strokes wouldn't be as horrible as the first three. How wrong I was! The strokes came hard and fast. After the third or fourth stroke I was about to safeword and the only thing that kept me from doing it was the knowledge that there weren't many more strokes to go. When the caning stopped, I suddenly felt a rush of heat going through my body and I started feeling dizzy. Fortunately, I was wise enough not to try to toughen it out and to pretend that everything was fine. Instead, I asked Ludwig whether he had already drawn any blood (which he hadn't) and lay down on the cold ground for a moment to cool down and to stabilize my blood pressure. Pandora opened a window and asked whether I was fine. Thanks to the quick reaction I was and I soon felt better again.

Pandora rearranged the camera and we took some time until I had fully recovered. Then we started with the next set of strokes. The batches were all between four and eight strokes long. Usually, we did six strokes. One of my biggest fears was to miscount, so every new batch started with me asking: "The next stroke is number x, right?" The strokes didn't become much easier to bear and I didn't go into any kind of subspace, either. But my self-confidence increased every time and I didn't worry about whether I would be able to make it through the next set any more.

Ludwig's aiming was great! At first, two strokes had gone a tiny little bit too far to the right for my taste, so I asked Ludwig to stand a bit more to the left. After that the strokes were perfect and no softer flesh on the outer side of my bum cheeks was hit. My special position was very difficult for Ludwig, though, as were the many breaks which didn't allow him to get into a flow. There weren't any mishits, but Ludwig involuntarily managed to hit the crease between my bottom and my legs much more often than he wanted. Which, as those among you who have experienced these kinds of strokes know, meant some additional challenge for me.

[I am more critical of my aim myself - which is normal, given that one always tends to be most critical about one's own performance. Kaelah's position turned out to be as tricky from a practical perspective as I had foreseen, and I accidentally placed a few of the strokes low so that the cane partly hit Kaelah's bottom and partly her pants. One or two strokes even went completely on the pants, and of course, that always happened when they were in full view, never when the camera was on Kaelah's face! Dreadful. Granted, it was a much more accurate caning than the "all over the place" strayfests you see in some Eastern European productions, where tops who have no business being in a film manage to hit the lower back or the hollow of the knees. But it could have been better for sure.] 

[With a 50 stroke caning, what you obviously want to do from an aesthetic point of view is cover the whole bottom with a nice, parallel set of welts, from the upper edge of the "target zone" to the lower. I usually do this in three steps. First, I hit with full force until I am at around stroke 20, always aiming for the middle of the bottom. With the full-force strokes, some will go right on target, some a bit higher, some a bit lower. But all will be within the acceptable zone, and through the scattering effect, I elicit a decently spread out set of striples already. Next, I try to fill out the "blanks" with some softer, more accurate strokes, which usually takes until around stroke 30. Once I have covered the full bottom this way and hardly any blanks remain, I administer the remainder of the strokes at full force again.]

As I already wrote in my Healthy Severity post, the original number of strokes we had agreed upon was 30, with the option to increase the number spontaneously, should I feel good enough to take more. I actually wanted to do 50 strokes, but I didn't want to put myself under too much pressure. Ludwig was quite sure that I would use the option to increase the number of strokes, but he was wise enough not to tell me about his thoughts. Because he knew that for me this wouldn't come over as reassurance but as an expectation that could be disappointed and therefore as additional pressure.

Ludwig's assumption was of course right. Even before the 30 strokes were over, I signalled that I wanted to do more. I was feeling good (as good as one can feel given the amount of pain created by those cane strokes) and strong enough to take it one step further. I knew that I had to take this chance, since it might be a once-in-a-lifetime situation. So we went on after 30 strokes and after 40 strokes as well.

And then it was over. We shot a very short final sequence with me being sent on my way and the action scene was in the can. After having inspected my marks, which I loved, I lay down on the table which we had used for the shoot. I think I also had little bruises on the front of my hips from pressing myself into the table during the caning. Pandora had asked me whether I wanted a cushion, but I had refused to take one because I thought that it looked better without. Pandora brought me an icepack which she and Ludwig had prepared beforehand on my request, and Ludwig helped me to cool my rear end to reduce the bruising right from the beginning. I was happy and buzzing. And then I enjoyed my reward – a big muffin! I hadn't eaten any sweets in the days before the shoot to be in good shape, and now it was time for some sugar.

[It felt good to have done it, to know that everything had gone well, and to see how happy Kaelah was. I had never felt real comfortable with Kaelah's position during the caning, and I had once again placed two strokes a tad too low, partially hitting her pants, right during the last five-stroke sequence when the camera was fully zoomed in on the bottom and the marks. But from my recollection during the filming, most of the footage would be pretty good, and I did not feel like griping about a few imperfect strokes forever. Overall, we were both elated to have the scene in the bag. When we filmed the final conversation between the master and his student, I snuck in the line: "Pain does not have to be an enemy to be feared. It can be a friend and ally of yours." It was a variation on what Colonel Kurtz says about "horror" in his big monologue in Apocalypse Now.]

As expected, it didn't take me long to recover. We made another short interview and I demonstratively sat down on the hard wooden table for it. Despite of all the breaks during the action scene, we were ahead of time. So we decided to do some more tai chi scenes before lunch (this time outdoors, as suggested by Pandora). I was in a calm and happy state by this point and very glad that everything had turned out so incredibly well. Then the shoot for my first professional spanking clip was done. We ate lunch and prepared ourselves for the next scenes to come.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Very well done. The shoot of the caning was very erotic. The expression on Kaelah was very hot for each hard stroke. Also, her bottom looked very sexy.

I compliment her bravery. The bruising and welts underscored the severity of each stroke. Wow.

Also, the caning by Ludwig with nice parallel strokes was very well done.

I loved the preview of the shoot. Bravo to both of you.


Melly said...

Hey, congrats for that fine art - it's a very nice trailer and i'm looking forward to get the full clip within the next days...

One very practical question: what kind of cane did you use for that clip and where do you get them from? I think i would like to feel some (hardly 50...) of such severe strokes too, but I need the right implement for that...


Ludwig said...

@ Melly: The cane is a peeled rattan cane of around 80 cm length and about 8 mm diameter. Most German BDSM shops (or even some regular sex shops) sell canes of this material and size, it is pretty much the standard over here. I like them because of their "whippy" flexibility and the sharp, searing pain they produce.

Pandora Blake said...

So far I haven't heard from anyone requesting the "unadulterated" action sequence. I initially wasn't going to interrupt it, but the film felt a little plain and predictable, somehow - like a caning sandwich between two slices of tai chi bread. It also didn't feel quite long enough to do the intensity of the scenario justice. I was quite doubtful about whether I'd be able to pull of the vision I had for your character's meditations, but I showed the rough cut to Tom and he said it worked for him, so I decided to go for it.

So far the feedback I've received has been very positive, both of the film as a whole and especially of your reactions!

(Although I'm still trying to work out how to respond to the person on SpankingTube who asked if you "do actually practice some martial arts" because he "recognised some of the moves". It's hard to know how to say "obviously, dumbass!" without being rude...)

Steve from Kent said...

Thanks for telling us that, Kaelah.
As its Christmas, and for that reason alone, I would like you to have my favourite Christmas song of all time...

Kaelah said...

@ Joey:
Glad you like it! :-)

@ Melly:
I'm happy that you enjoyed the preview clip and I hope you will enjoy the complete video as well. :-)

I think the most important thing when doing a severe caning is to make sure that the cane isn't too dense and heavy. The peeled canes which Ludwig described are perfect for that purpose. I'm curious to hear about your experiences when you have tried it! All I can recommend is to take as much time as you need, especially between the first strokes. They are the most difficult ones of a cold caning.

@ Pandora:
Yes, I think you are right. I realised that with a spankee who shows only restrained reactions and without any dialogue a fifty strokes caning can feel a bit plain and straightforward. And even Ludwig, who usually doesn't like any interruptions during a CP scene, enjoyed the mix very much. So maybe no-one will ask for the unadulterated action scene.

I'm happy that the feedback has been so positive so far! I haven't managed to watch the behind-the-scenes reports,yet, but I'm very much looking forward to that.

As for the comment on Spanking Tube: I think it was Loki Darksong who wrote that comment. Since he has read your preview post, I assume that he knows that the moves shown in the clip are martial arts moves. But maybe he doesn't know that there are different forms with different moves and different weapons in tai chi and he thought that the moves were put together from different martial arts? I would say that I don't have a real martial arts background anyway, because I only practice tai chi for relaxation and haven't got so much knowledge about the fighting techniques from which the moves are derived.

@ Steve from Kent:
Thanks for sharing!

Lea said...

The clip is great! I'm glad things went so well for both of you in the shoot!

Kaelah said...

@ Lea:
Thank you, I'm happy that you like the clip. :-)

sixofthebest said...

Ludwig, what a beautiful caning you gave Kaelah, In my opinion you handled the caning of your favorite lady with pleasureable delight.

Kaelah said...

@ sixofthebest:
Glad you enjoyed the clip! Ludwig is a very skillful caner, isn't he?

Peter8862 said...

Kaelah : The Final Test - I was very doubtful beforehand about the tai chi but the professionalism of your performance Kaelah completely won me over. It was beautifully done and formed a perfect complement to the caning. And Ludwig's handling of the cane was a lesson to us all. Finally, Pandora's skill in seamlessly melding the relevant parts of all those shoots together could not be bettered. Sincerest congratulations to you all.

sixofthebest said...

A beautiful caning given to Kaelah, just beautiful. Thank you.

Kaelah said...

@ sixofthebest:
Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it! :-)

sixofthebest said...

I love the caning Kaelah, received from Ludwig. Just the right amount of the 'swish', a cane makes to feel the hurt on her bare bottom. For I believe the 'Cane must Pain', to be an effective corporal punishment implement.

Kaelah said...

@ Peter8862:
Sorry, I obviously overlooked your comment! Thanks a lot for your kind words. I am happy that my performance won you over.

@ sixofthebest:
Glad you like it!