Great location with large east facing windows. In the pre-light I knew the sunt was going to give us great texture but would blast the subject with hard light. I used a 6x6 magic cloth frame left to diffuse the sun and wrap the light into the left eye. I used a little duvetine frame right. Overall, I was happy with the punchy, commercial look. Also, this is where a tech scout and planning for time of day can really make your a low budget production feel like a commercial production. Without the help of the sun you would need a small G&E team to rig up a few 18Ks outside to get the levels needed to make this scene what it is. Shot on a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro with doubled up diffusion filtration to take off the digital edge.
A few stills from two different projects where the client called for a little more mood. The first five frames are two different looks created in the same environment. We wanted to utilize the dark tones of the bar to create a moody look as well as a brighter Tiki bar look. We transitioned the scene with some set design. Both setups also made use of a Leko-style spotlight to add tonality and motivate the key light. For the darker setup we went sidey with the light. For the brighter set up we extended the key around the talent with a large bounce source. The next set of frames are from a project with a local barber. It was a small strip mall location and we spent most of the time trying to figure out how to make the space feel cinematic. We dressed up the scene with some practical sources and used a lot of haze. The key light was a mix of a Leko-style spotlight gelled with CTO as well as a soft daylight balanced key light source from the same direction.
More Educational Interviews
The Sigma 18-35 lens does not have the character and fall-off around the edges that I would prefer in a cinema lens. It is somewhat of a clinically sharp lens. However, this makes for great interview lens in the educational space. You know you will have a clean image, that you can "dirty" up to taste with filtration. In these shots I used a combination of a Diffusion Filter, a Black Pro Mist and Hollywood Black Magic. These interviews were mostly shot utilizing natural daylight from windows. From there I augmented the shot with a single LED light mat. The windows in the shot motivate the lighting but by itself you would have an underexposed subject. My formula is to find the frame with the depth dimensionally as well as depth tonally. Place the subject in the frame, slightly off center. And then to use the LED light to wrap the face, looking for the Rembrandt light and never going too frontal. And then walk in the LED as close as you need to balance out the image.
Story-Telling Interview Scenes
I partnered with a friend who is starting a church plant to help tell the story of two churches merging. We had use of a beautiful church with stained glass windows. For story and context I wanted to keep the stained glass as our background. The lined pews were also a strong compositional element. The back windows add that splash of texture onto the pews that really add depth to the scene. Finding our frame was the easy part. Lighting an interview with two subjects is always tricky. Luckily, I had a large enough soft light source to far-side key both subjects. We angled the light to get even exposure levels between the two subjects. You can check out the blog for how I create large soft light sources. In the end, the lighting felt natural and motivated by the practical window sources. For a narrative scene I would have dialed the light down, but for this type of interview I wanted to go for the commercial look. Filmed on a Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro. For audio I rigged up a dual lav system that ended up doing the trick.
More High School Sports
Doc-style sports montage capture. Shot on C100. Used only natural available light. On daylight exteriors used direct sun to create as much shape as possible. On interiors used practical light sources to add depth to the images. Shot handheld to infuse kinetic energy into the montage.
High School Sports Doc Style Coverage
Stylized doc style content for a New Jersey high school sports program. Worked with as much backlight as possible during the day football game. Shot on a Z-CAM. The basketball piece allowed for some more intimate setups where I could finesse the contrast ratios with some bead board, negative fill, and a small LED I had rigged to the bead board to work as a soft key. Shot RAW on a C200.
Product Launch Video
A few frames from a client project. This was to create buzz for a new product launch. I utilized references and colors from their style guide to create a montage sequence. This was especially fun and stressful as I had to produce, film, and edit. All in a week and a half timeframe.
Branded Social Content
Fun project filming an Olympic fencer. We had three set ups. We wanted to go for a flattering interview look paired with a more rugged action look for the fencing scenes. A tech scout would have helped on this project as the gym had really back flicker in its ceilings lights. We worked within the constraints to create some stylized testimonial based piece for a brand's social channel. Shot on a Blackmagic 6k.
Interview for Product Ad
Corporate interview in a beautiful space. I wanted to see the depth of the room and patterns of light and dark coming from the windows. I also wanted to motivate the key based on the windows on frame left. I used an LED mat through a large soft frost diffusion. Shot on a Canon 5d Mark IV. Everyone complains about the 5d Mark IV's cropped 4k and MJPEG codec. My solution, test the 1080 for its overall image quality before you complain about not having 4k. The Mark IV renders a really pleasing image in 1080. Beautiful skin tones, not overly sharp and clinical looking.
Filming at NYC Restaurant Fifty
Filmed and edited a fun project in NYC. I went with a PA and were low on time and space. Filming in restaurants is tough because you don't have that much time before service begins. Chef Luis more than gracious, eventually cooking the crew a sample of everything on the menu, even as service began.
Branded Social Content Filmed in Mexico
Fun project running and gunning in Mexico for a corporate client. For one man banding with no lighting equipment in the really hot Mexican sun, time of day and backlight is your friend. For the compact form factor and internal stabilization I went with the GH5 and managed to squeeze out some good looking colors.
Family Heirloom Doc
I had a chance to shoot a documentary for a very lovely family that wanted to make a family heirloom that future generations could watch and hear the stories that are passed down firsthand. This was a really fun project running and gunning over the course of a day with 5-6 different setups. Experience shooting weddings pays off in run and gun situations where all you have to work with is natural daylight. Your eye is trained to find beautiful frames and to create depth. The family decided to keep this project from being public, but here are some still frames for you to enjoy.
We went with the the black backdrop to give the most pop with some colorful, playful animated texts that played in the negative space. We wanted a contrasty look that still felt high-key and energetic. Shot on a Canon 1DC.
We tried to take a minimalist approach to accentuate the natural light coming from the windows. We didn't have much time or budget to control or modify the window light (overexposed back window). We hid two LED panels behind the back wall to bring in a slight edge to our talents as well as the couch (motivated by the back window). We used good ol' cinefoil to direct the beam and spill of the LED. Key light was a large octobox powered by an LED fresnel. Lighting ratios would have been slightly better if we had a more powerful key source. A little bit of negative fill was added to shape the faces.
This was a project edited in one day with text masks and stock footage that I had shot for archive along with other stock footage.