So I've just wrapped the first weekend of production on a Chapman thesis film titled "Ridiculously Emo" As you might gather, its a pretty ridiculous dialogue driven comedy about a group of high school graduates in an emo band. For those of you who don't know what "emo" is, the pictures below will probably explain the small and silly subculture of "emo". Anyways, as the story goes, the protagonist develops a love interest, becomes distracted with his new girlfriend, misses a band practice, and the band kicks him out. Its dialogue driven in the sense that Superbad or 40 Year Old Virgin is. But some of the themes of the film go back to the style of the late 90's teen comedies (Can't Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You). So as ridiculous as I felt checking some of these titles out at Blockbuster, the director and I referenced them to gauge where we wanted to go with our project.
We shot on Kodak's 7218 with the school's Arri SR2 and Zeiss Superspeeds. We rated the stock one stop over to pull down a finer grain structure. I tend to shoot typically wide open with the lens (coming from a video background) but this time I didn't hesitate to aim for closing down the lens a little more. We were able to maintain an f4 for the entirety of the shoot. I think this was a good decision, as the context of the film allows for a deeper focus, and hopefully the lens will perform better at an f4.
The first weekend consisted completely of shooting in the garage where the band practices, a total of 10 pages. Initially I wasn't quite sure the style of light I wanted to go for. As this is where they practice, and although we never actually see them play, I was split between going for an emo-looking music video (more stylistic, top light, deep shadows) or the traditional comedy look. When we finally got on set I decided to do away with any top motivation and keep all the light soft and warm.
Here's a rough frame of one of our setups taken from a D20
We started out the weekend keying with a 2k Fresnel shot through a 4x4 of Medium Gridcloth with Bastard Amber (Lee #162) gel to warm it up. I've found I really like this gel to use when mimicking tungsten sources. Clean tungsten comes out a little to sterile looking and CTO isn't quite complementary on skin tones. On even more candle-lit or warm scenes I've found doubling it works very nicely. We kept the Bastard Amber and 4by grid cloth for the entirety of the weekend, keeping it as our key and filling with various sources depending on the scene. For the band setup scene, I added the rope lights in the background to provide some motivation and it found it also allowed for a nice back-light to separate the actors and make their performing space seem a little more stage-like.
I will provide more details and diagrams once the film is over, also some frame grabs once the dailies come back.
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