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GARRISON


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#1 J. Lamar King

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 01:43 AM

GARRISON is the title of a feature I've been shooting in San Antonio, TX. We started July 5th and end July 30th. It's loosely based on some killings that were committed at Fort Bragg by soldiers returning from Iraq.

We're shooting with the Canon XL-2 and 20x lens in 24p mode. Because this is a DV feature and because of the nature of the content we decided to embrace the format we are shooting on and play to its strengths. It's not film so we are not treating it like film. After looking at various movies for reference, most notably 'Traffic' we decided to set some guidelines as to the style of coverage. We are always hand-held but very steady, no walking hand-held, no zooming and minimal panning. We have a Glidecam with vest if we need to travel with the characters. We only shoot the top of the scene as a master because the meat is in the close-ups on DV where we can back up and get good depth of field.

For the visual scheme I am playing off of the military camouflage uniforms. Using greens, browns and yellows wherever I can. All DAY EXT. is shot through a Chocolate 2 usually combined with an Ultra-Pol. DAY INT. is no filter with lighting pushed through windows and pumped up practicals. NIGHT INT. and EXT. is a mix of 1/2 CTB+Pale Green for moonlight effect and Rosco Storaro 2003 Yellow as a sodium vapor effect. The Chocolate filter lays a nice yellow on the lighter areas of the camo uniform and any specular highlights in the frame. It echoes the VS yellow used at night.

We have been trying some ambitious things for the budget size of this film like using a 2,000 gallon pumper truck for rain effects and wet downs. It worked out pretty good that the director?s father happens to own said truck. I wasn't sure if we had the crew or time to use it but it has worked well so far and I'll post about "the monster" later.

I'm using the Custom Preset 1 on the XL-2 pushing Master Ped down 3, Black Press On and Knee High. I've mostly used the 5600 and 3200 white balance presets. Only white balancing a few times when we were using practicals as the main source of light. Exposure is set via 100% Zebras with an eye toward exposing for the highlight. Kinda like you do with reversal stock. I only have an 8 inch monitor for reference.

I've played around using SpeedGrade On-Set to see if my final grade is what I'm looking for. I plan to use it as a guide for a grade on Lustre or something in post.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 25 July 2006 - 01:45 AM.

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#2 J. Lamar King

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 02:11 AM

On to some set-ups. Here is the inside of a house where the characters are looking for a soldier who they think has murdered someone. Due to budget restraints my biggest lights are 1K Rock'n Roll PAR's, I have six of them. In this setup I used them to punch my 1/2 CTB+Pale Green "moonlight" through the windows. The camera is set into 5600K White balance preset. The room is hazed and the characters are carrying Surefire flashlights which occasionally bounce back to fill their faces in. The background out the door is hit with the Storaro Yellow as a Sodium street light effect.

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A lighting plot:

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Edited by J. Lamar King, 25 July 2006 - 02:14 AM.

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#3 J. Lamar King

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 02:24 AM

On to the Chocolate filter on exteriors. Here are some that were shot on a partly cloudy day. I hope your monitor is adjusted right because they look a bit pink on my laptop. They look fine in the original though.

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#4 J. Lamar King

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 12:57 PM

Another setup shot last week. Two characters sit in a Jeep waiting for another outside of a house. This is the exterior of the one shown above. Pretty basic setup with two Tweenie Back-cross lights, a Tweenie through a 2x3 silk for fill and a 1K PAR to light the background. There were some other scrims/flags and such but I don't remember their positions. Mostly we had to knock down the light on the white house by rolling in a double bottomer.

Frame Grab:

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Lighting Plot:

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#5 Ram Shani

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 01:47 PM

looking good

i liked the ext with the chocolate never use one my self i think there is any in Israel

what software you us for the light plan?
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#6 J. Lamar King

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 02:14 PM

Here is a production still of the Jeep setup above.

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looking good

i liked the ext with the chocolate never use one my self i think there is any in Israel

what software you us for the light plan?



That Chocolate filter was very hard to find here in Texas. We went through four rental houses to find one in 4x4". I originally wanted to use Antique Suede but that was impossible to find here in 4x4. If I had a bigger matte-box I wouldn't have had as much trouble finding one.

I'm using MS Publisher to make the plots.
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#7 Jaimie Blake

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 02:56 PM

These lighting plans are great!

Do you have more from other productions? It really helps my study to see the setup on paper in addition to the picture.

Thanks!

:D
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#8 Ram Shani

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 03:14 PM

i did a search for the ms publisher i don't understand what program is it and how you crate the light symbols

please help. were to find it ?
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#9 Ram Shani

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 03:48 PM

i find it thanks any way :D
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#10 J. Lamar King

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 12:57 AM

"The Monster"

A unique thing on this shoot is a 2,000 gallon pumper truck with 100' boom arm. You normaly just couldn't do a rain scene on a budget this small but this truck is free. I wasn't sure it was going to work at all but we were able to get some really nice medium to medium wide rain shots with it. So far we used it mostly to get some setups at a drive in theater. It was the Mission theater in San Antonio. I used my 1K PAR cans to punch light into the scene from a distance then used a 4x4 frame of 216 with a Tweenie for fill on the actors. We then used the boom arm to boom the rain nozzle to the right place. It worked a treat. We had a projectionist on hand to project those snack bar promos behind the action and the XL-2 picked it up great in 24p mode 1/48th shutter. Sorry I don't have a frame grab right now but I have some plots and some production stills to give you an idea.

Thanks to David Mullen for his thoughts on this. He pointed out that drive-ins usually close in rainy weather but we discovered that they do keep playing films if it starts to rain in the middle. At least this one does.

The setup:

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Some production stills:

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The Monster bucket:

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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 02:59 AM

The production should be grateful to have you make their movie look so professional. The shots look great.
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#12 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 03:19 AM

Looks really good man. I love it how your documenting the production so well.
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#13 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 03:32 AM

very accurate lighting diagrams and good shots!!! thanks for sharing all the info
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#14 J. Lamar King

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 06:02 PM

So we had one day this week where we shot all this little pickup stuff instead of waiting until the end. That was nice and allowed us to get ahead of our schedule. Here is a production still of one such pick-up of a character spying on a house. no lighting just shooting.

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The thing on these no budget/no time shoots that really gets you is you have to make up time somehwere. I decided to do it at the location that is supposed to be an Army barracks. The location was lit with flourescents so I just white balanced and shot. I only lit about four scenes. We shot 36 pages there in two days. Seems like a compromise but a justifiable one because the barracks is not supposed to be a comfortable place. I think letting the practicals play was the right choice. At most I would of flew in a few Kinos to fill in eyes and add some seperation. But I have no Kinos or the crew to move them around. Sorry no frame grabs as all the material is now with the editor. I'll post some when he sends me some frame grabs for CC in SpeedGrade.

One of the pick-ups we had to shoot was actually a reshoot of a character on a six mile road march on a dusty rocky road. I had to reshoot because we had gotten some specks of trash on the outermost filter which was the Chocolate. I was using it in combo with the T-pol. I never recall having so much problem with DOF on DV. During the reshoot I saw something in the viewfinder again. This time it was a piece of lint on the front element. I can't believe it, that lens could look up a nats ass if it landed on the element! The problem is I couldn't just zoom through it because I was shooting from a Glidecam which are a bitch to control at best. I wouldn't normally even use a Glidecam but I felt it looked right along with our handheld footage. I wanted to keep that feel yet running with a handheld camera would be too much movement and a Steadicam or dolly too smooth.
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#15 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 07:10 PM

I love that projection in mid-air, even if it gives away the depth of the rain. Thanks for the report.
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#16 kyrceck

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 01:58 PM

Beautiful lighting, great job.

Just remember not to try to demonize our guys - I guess I'm just saying that cause I'm joining the marines next year. Last thing we need is an American version of "The valley of the wolves Iraq". :D
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#17 J. Lamar King

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 05:23 PM

Beautiful lighting, great job.

Just remember not to try to demonize our guys - I guess I'm just saying that cause I'm joining the marines next year. Last thing we need is an American version of "The valley of the wolves Iraq". :D



The film was written and directed by a U.S. Army vet of Afghanistan and I believe Iraq. It doesn't really take any political sides but rather talks about military life after warfare.
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#18 J. Lamar King

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 05:33 PM

"GARRISON" wrapped last Sunday with a small crew shooting in a strip club. We were shooting insert footage for another place that we had dressed as a strip club and all the dialogue took place there. There were only actresses who didn't want to appear topless though. So I guess we were basically shooting insert boobies. Not that sexy after a month of 10 and 12 hour days. I'll try to post some more screen grabs after I visit the editor next week to view an assembly and discuss color correction.

I'm shooting a music video for two days this month and packing for L.A. as I write this. So next time from La La land!
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#19 Tom Bays

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 06:25 PM

Booby Screen grabs...COOL! Thanks for letting us see your work...awesome job.
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#20 kyrceck

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 02:28 AM

The film was written and directed by a U.S. Army vet of Afghanistan and I believe Iraq. It doesn't really take any political sides but rather talks about military life after warfare.


Sounds great. Can't wait to hear more. Looking good though.
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