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Music Video Shoot


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#1 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 05:11 AM

Hi all,

Just wrapped a music video this weekend directed by Brie Campbell; we shot for two days on an F900 with Digi Prime lenses all from Dalsa.

Day one was shooting various story segments for the piece. This involved shooting a split day, starting late afternoon and shooting into early morning. We had to cover several smaller scenes in different rooms of the house we were in as well as a large party scene in the living room.

We shot in a run of the mill suburban two story house which made things very cramped when working. The production designer did as good a job as he could to try and make this fairly boring looking house look interesting.
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One scene was a love scene taking place on a pool table. We shot the scene day for night, and I had the grips fly some nets/ diffusion to just bring down the windows to a blue glow which looked nice. I used a 4x4 Kino overhead, skirted off the walls as well as an Image 80 double diffused with something I can?t remember, I think it was 251.
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I also had some Dedos on the ground doing up-lights on the instruments, and then at the last minute added a Leko for a dramatic edge light on the talent when they were standing. It looked a little dramatic because I hazed the room, but it is a music video, and I think it works fine.
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(this is a frame grab off of the waveform with very rough color correction, it looks a bit too dark on my computer monitor, but it should give a rough idea)

Next we shot the party scene, of which I only managed to grab two horrible stills of. Essentially, it was a bit chaotic, I think we got what we needed, but I definitely didn?t have time to grab any stills. My gaffer, Frank DiPaola was working ahead of us doing a lot of pre-lighting. He did a great job mixing Kino Flo super blue tubes with gold tubes bringing some contrasting color into the mix.

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(sorry for the useless picture, but here you can see the super blue at work)

Essentially the rule for the house scenes was to keep it simple and fast. It was mostly Kino Flos and small tungsten units danced around. We did light up the backyard with some 6ks, but never ended up looking in that direction due to time restraints.

The next day was a nighttime band performance on top of a parking structure. This ended up being a massive setup that took around seven hours to get up and running (started at 1pm, first shot was at 8 or so).

The biggest part of the setup involved a 120 foot row of 3000watt strobe lights (42 in total). The strobes were Martin Atomic 3000s that I was able to control via DMX from a consol that was linked to the playback system. Essentially playback sent SMPTE time code to the slate and MIDI time code to the lighting console that had cues I programmed (and I say I not in the possessive sense, but in the literal sense: I started as a theatrical light board operator, and though a bit rusty, still know how to use an ETC board ;) ).

Frank and I joked that every god of film making joined forces in an attempt to keep us from getting all our strobes up and running. It was one of the most difficult fights I have ever had. It started with trying to afford 40 of these things, then finding 40 of these things and ended with the crew making cables on the day of due to an unbelievable amount of bad luck/ rental houses trying to be ?helpful?. It came out really cool, but fu*k did we have to earn it!

The parking structure was six stories up and only had 8? clearance which meant we could not get a single of our trucks up to the top. We had several stake beds, but those were deemed too heavy for the structure and thus were used minimally. There was a slow elevator and someone?s personal pickup truck.

First, the crew laid down a ?water fall? of 4/0 cable to the generator.
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Then the fun began:
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We originally planned on using stands
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But then just ended up with them on the ledge, woops . . .
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 05:13 AM

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We started with a wide, side to side master of the band performing on a stage.
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(digital still from Elhanan?s camera)

The band was lit with two 12-light maxis on the stage right and left sides. The camera right side was the 12-light through a 12x12 frame of ¼ grid cloth
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The camera left side was another 12-light through an 8x8 frame of ½ soft frost and then a 12x frame of ¼ grid
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The band is pretty heavy and edgy, so I really wanted sidelight for them. One thing I hate when shooting band performance is when I put a large source on one side of the frame and then the band starts going crazy doing their thing and shadowing each other/ burning up/ getting too dark. Thus I wanted really big sources far away, and it worked great.

We used 2 6k fresnels in the background low, sometimes in frame sending blue light on the floor as well as placing several 8? mega Kino tubes vertical on the columns in the background.

For atmosphere we placed two DF50 hazers (one on each side) going through big fans pointed up in the air in front of the strobes. When they went off you could see the haze and it looked really interesting. We also did a wet down to the parking lot which helped bring up a lot of reflections. The only problem was that we could not get a proper water truck up due to the clearance and the water trailers they had really did not have enough water to do the entire area. It worked out okay though.

I am sure I am missing something, Frank the gaffer is on the board so hopefully he can interject some as well.

Here is a crappy quality video of me shooting performance with a few of the strobes going in the background to give some idea of how they were used, as well as see my back in motion ;)


And here is a 360 of a lot of the setup in the day:


I have to thank my amazing crew; they worked super hard for very little money. I can not thank them enough.
Gaffer Frank DiPaola and his guys
Key Grip Bobby Woo and his guys
1st AC Ken Bender who somehow managed to keep everything in focus from 20 feet away and no line of site to me or any warning half the time of what I was going to shoot. I think he may have a sixth sense.
DIT Elhanan Matos did a great job as usual
2nd AC Collin Cates

Gary over at Dalsa gave us a great deal on the camera package, I thank him as well!
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:59 AM

Very cool Kevin! Will read through the whole thing when I have time. That cart'o'stands makes for a nice shot all by itself! :D
Stills are looking great!

Cheers, Dave
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#4 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:36 AM

Very nice - love the strobe set up
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#5 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:44 PM

Very nice - love the strobe set up


Looks awesome! Can't wait to see the finished video. Great work, Kevin!
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#6 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:44 PM

Looks cool. I like the strobes and I think the vertical kino tubes on the pillars was a great idea.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 06:49 PM

Very cool! Those strobes are going to look great. Try and post the finished cut for us.
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#8 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 07:04 PM

Looks awesome Kevin! Your genny's must of taken a beating. What kind of juice did you need for all those strobes? I see a flat of Redbull on one of the lighting cases. Was that your secret weapon? ;)
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#9 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 07:29 PM

Thanks all, it was a lot of work but I think it was worth it-ish . . . ;)

The generator definitely did not like us very much. A video one of the guys took of the amp meter on one of the hot legs during a take:

(watch it all the way)

Good eyes on the Red Bull, I think someone stole the entire case from crafty knowing how much work lay ahead!

Kevin Zanit
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:23 AM

Really nice how the strobes were synced up to the drumming, can't wait to see the final product :)
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#11 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 02:49 AM

A video one of the guys took of the amp meter on one of the hot legs during a take:

Kevin Zanit

Holy crap! Hopefully that genny got serviced directly after that job!
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 07:15 AM

Well I was going to post pics from my commercial shoot last month, because I thought it was pretty big for commercials. But after seeing your set up for this, I think I'll skip it!! :D

R,
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#13 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:07 PM

I truly hope two things happen: That generator gets serviced, and that I never end up getting that same generator on another job ;)

Just saw a rough cut of the video, the editor was thanking for the strobes due to giving him cut points.

You should still post Richard!
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#14 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 12:15 AM

Great visuals. Should be a pretty intense video.

Jamie
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:34 PM

Well I was going to post pics from my commercial shoot last month, because I thought it was pretty big for commercials. But after seeing your set up for this, I think I'll skip it!! :D

R,


Do it! :ph34r:
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#16 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 12:55 PM

Kevin,

Just a belated "thanks" for posting this in such detail. Very interesting read--great job.

-Fran
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#17 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 07:19 AM

Hi,

Thanks, glad you liked.

Kevin Zanit
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#18 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:37 PM

You rock Kevin! I totally want your autograph! :P
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#19 J. Lamar King

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 10:11 PM

Hi Kevin,

Looks good. Man I hate parking structures. I've been through the exact same thing. Driving up a stake bed, dropping stuff and there it goes! I had Frank come in and juice for me one day last June I think, on a feature I was Gaffing 2nd unit on. He's a good guy, haven't been able to work with him on anything else though.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 02 December 2008 - 10:12 PM.

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#20 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 02:18 AM

Thanks!

Yeah those parking structures never get old . . .

Small world, Frank is great, glad you had him out. Hes working more than I am these days!

Kevin Zanit
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