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Dark Reprieve


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 10:22 PM

Hello All,

Here are a few production stills from the movie I am currently directing and DPing. It's called "Dark Reprieve" and takes place in a 160 year old abandoned prison. It's a supernatural thriller about two people locked in a prison full of ghosts, monsters, wolves, etc etc. They have to find a way out and unlock the mystery of all the "signs" they keep being given.

I am shooting on Fuji 35mm Eterna 250T and 500T, finishing will be on HDSR.

These set ups show some of my lighting, I am using mostly hard light blasted through "stuff". For example you see the actors sitting in the cell block with the light beaming out of the cells. The green light is broken up by the bars and gives a nice shadow on the wall as well as their faces. In the shot where you see the monster with his hands on the bars the light streaks in from the side through a giant metal grid.

The location is a co-star in this movie, this is the first time it's been seen on film. The character the old building has is a DOP dream.

A forum member is my first AC, he may chime in with a report.

Anyway it's hard work as usual, but a lot of fun. FYI, I had over 500 people from all over the globe apply to work on this film, I had no idea I would get a response like that.

Thanks
R,

Attached Images

  • In_Cell_Block.jpg
  • The_Creature.jpg
  • Stairs.jpg

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#2 Dan Goulder

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 10:49 PM

Hey Richard,
I like the way you're lighting the shots, especially the one of the stairway. What are you using for lighting, and what lenses are you using (if you don't mind my asking)? Good luck with the production.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 11:01 PM

Lighting is all 110 AC. We use a large assortment of 200W, 300W, 650W, and 1000W. The prison has full power so I figured why not use it and skip the generator. Plus since it's a fright fest I really don't want to use much light. The 1Ks provide plenty of light in there.

The entire movie is mapped out by scene numbers which correspond with the prison plans for all levels. The gaffer works two scenes ahead of me at all times. I tell him my lighting vision for the scene and he puts up the lights, then brings me a digital still of what he's done to the location I am currently shooting in. Since I'm also the director I can't really tear my self away to inspect a lighting set up several times before the crew and I arrive to shoot.

I'm only using two lenses, Arri Zeiss primes 24mm and 85mm. I'm shooting 90% on my 24mm, the reason is because of the VERY tight spaces. Apparently 160 years ago they did not design prisons for film shoots :D

R,
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 11:40 PM

It's a great location. If you're limited to household power, I've also found that 1200w HMI PAR's, 1K Xenons (expensive, I know), Source 4's or Lekos, and 1K PAR 64's (spot & narrow spot) all to be useful for concentrating light.
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:06 AM

Richard,

Nice lighting! What is your shooting stop?

Out of interest how much film are you using? I guess after 1 week you have a good idea of the shooting ratio.

Good luck,

Stephen
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 08:10 AM

It's a great location. If you're limited to household power, I've also found that 1200w HMI PAR's, 1K Xenons (expensive, I know), Source 4's or Lekos, and 1K PAR 64's (spot & narrow spot) all to be useful for concentrating light.


Oh right wait a second we have HMIs on set, I've just never asked for them to be brought out yet. Just haven't needed them thus far. As for the location yes it's great, the crew is blown away by it. And a very lucky break for me, it's owned by the provincial government and they could easily charge "LA rates" for use as a film set of $7000.00-$10,0000 a day based on the going rate for similar sized facilities in Toronto. But for me they charge a very modest fee in the few hundreds. The building is classed as a heritage site for its historical value, so they where some what nervous about a film crew taking it over. They definately built things different back then, the old doors and hinges look like they could withstand a nuclear blast.

Richard,

Nice lighting! What is your shooting stop?

Out of interest how much film are you using? I guess after 1 week you have a good idea of the shooting ratio.

Good luck,

Stephen


Shooting 500T at 5.6 usually and 250T at 2.8 usually. I have more 250T than 500T so I save the 500T for the really low light shots. The 24mm gives me decent DOF at both stops. When we use the steady cam the first AC has a wireless focus puller he can use. I'm using a little more film than I expected, looks like I'm around a 5:1 right now. On MOS cut aways the most I do is two takes and move on. I do several in camera rehersals before I roll film. Audio is killing me a bit....battery dies, boom shadow, hit on the lav, slate looses synch, etc etc etc. I guess some of that is normal?

R,
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#7 Stephen Whitehead

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 02:22 PM

A forum member is my first AC, he may chime in with a report.


So what exactly would you like to write in my report? First week was great though. The amount of pages we are able to film is quite good. we do an average of 7-8 pages a day, which is a lot more efficient then most shoots i've worked on. Richard is excellent at knowing what he wants and getting it with out wasting time. I look forward to seeing the rushes from the week. I'll write more as I think of more.

Steve
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#8 Max Jacoby

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 03:15 PM

So what exactly would you like to write in my report?

You can't go wrong by saying how brilliant Richard is. Oh wait, you have already done that... ;)
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:17 PM

Interesting. I love the look of the pics you have, your right the location (from what little I can see in 3 pictures) is a nice find. Do you have any pictures showing the actual set up?

I am curious how you make Directing and Director of Photography at the same time work. I am shooting a short film two weeks from now where I will be doing the same thing, so I was curious if there are any pitfalls or tips you have on balancing the two jobs. I will have a co-director prepping the actors, I am guessing you are working alone.

Maybe stephen can comment on how the dual roles affect his job. Does he pick up more work than a normal first would. It seems like he lights with just a general idea discussed prior, and you do your 'tweeking' through the stills. Is this effective? Are there more light tweeks than normal.

Either way your plugging along quickly. I have the luxury of shooting a short over 3 days, so I should have much more time than yall have (8 pages a day, nice pace) Any comments on both of your experiences working with the dual roles, would be very valuable to me.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 06:10 PM

Hi,

So what is this, a personal project?

Phil
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#11 Stephen Whitehead

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 06:22 PM

Maybe stephen can comment on how the dual roles affect his job. Does he pick up more work than a normal first would. It seems like he lights with just a general idea discussed prior, and you do your 'tweeking' through the stills. Is this effective? Are there more light tweeks than normal.


As far as my job goes in concern to Richard working both roles, it really hasn't been effected much. Like I said in a prior post, Richard knows what he wants. Really I just try to keep the camera ready for him so he can stand in behind it and shoot when he needs to. In actuality it goes faster I find, than having the traditional two people fill the roles, because in this case as there is no discussion between the DP and the Director to slow things down. The gaffer has everything lit before we step onto a given set, and we shoot. Very little tweaking of the lights has been neccesary, except for additional fill on faces for the close-ups.
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 06:38 PM

Oh great Stephen Whitehead IS joining this thread, that will keep me honest for sure biggrin.gif

I'm finding the director/DP role to be much easier than I thought it would be. I've had the film planned out for months so the "vision" is the clearest in my mind and I find it flows pretty smoothly for me to operate the camera myself and get the shots I want vs having to explain them to a DP. I'm told there a several big names in Hollywood now who direct and DOP there own films. Of course having a DP would have definate advantages, I'm certainly not knocking the division of labour.

Of course all of this is subject to people seeing the final product, then we'll know if I was right or not. At the very least I'll have some nice shots to show off.

Yes I direct the actors myself. We did rehearsals before shooting which I shot and edited together on video.

My crew is first rate, they all do excellent work. The special effects make up done this week by my make-up department would easily compete with any work done by the pros in LA. It should, they've worked on several big budget Hollywood features shot in Toronto.

Any way here are three more lighting designs, if any one is interested.

R.

Hi,

So what is this, a personal project?

Phil


It's a feature film, 90 mins.

R,

Attached Images

  • Cell_Block_3.jpg
  • Big_Hall.jpg
  • Hallway.jpg

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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 06:56 PM

...by which I mean, who's financing it, and what sort of market is there for it?
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 07:03 PM

...by which I mean, who's financing it, and what sort of market is there for it?


I dunno know? The millions of people around the globe that watch horror movies evey year?????

It is financed from private sources.

R,
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#15 Mariano Nante

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:04 PM

Richard,

Are you having problems with the amount of film you are shooting?

Sounds like you should have gone digital... hahahah just kidding! :P


The place looks fantastic. Good luck with your project! :D
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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 07:10 PM

Richard,

Are you having problems with the amount of film you are shooting?

Sounds like you should have gone digital... hahahah just kidding! :P
The place looks fantastic. Good luck with your project! :D


Yeah very funny!

No I'm not having trouble with the amount of film I'm shooting. I'll be about 5-10k over my estimate, but it's in the budget so no big deal.

This location and lighting screams, "gimme 35mm!!!", it would have been a sin to shoot this movie on some other format besides film.

R,
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#17 John Hall

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:13 AM

Richard, are you shooting overnights or are you tenting off windows as you go?
Either way, it seems like you've put together a tough crew that will pull hard for not much money, good on you.

If you don't mind me asking, who is your Gaffer and your Key Grip?
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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:07 PM

No, we are not shooting any nights. The entire facility has had the windows covered with black duvotine. This makes the movie perpetually night. Basically it allows me 100% control of the light, and I didn't have to bother writing in a time frame for the events to occur, i.e. they do this scene in the am, this scene in the afternoon, and this scene at night. The audience has no idea what time it is, they are locked in the prison, end of story. The lighting is 100% artificial.

Gaffer is Ryan Williams owner of Dongan Gear, his grip is Michael Armstrong.

And they are a tough crew, yes indeed. Only the actors are 100% exempt from any extra work. Every one else pitches in where ever they are needed, including me.

R,
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