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Funny thing happened on the way to the forum


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#1 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 06:50 PM

Sometimes there are fun little perks to doing low budget ENG shoots. I've been shooting some segments for an Indian TV show that include testimonials from film industry professionals, shot at their (very nice) homes and offices. Yesterday I got to shoot Julio Macat, ASC in his backyard, followed by John Leonetti, ASC by his pool. In both cases they worked with me to find a pleasing angle to take advantage of the light and background. Nothing like lighting a DP -- this is a minimal-gear, minimal-crew shoot so I only have a small Arri kit for lighting, no bounce boards even. Julio pointed out some nice bounce off his neighbor's garage, and John dragged out a white Christmas tree box for me to use as fill!

We've also shot writer/directors Randall Wallace and John Gatins, and editor Michael Knue, to be followed by some more notable names later this week. I've heard some great stories about particlar films, including the way John Leonetti pulled off an elaborate single-shot chase scene in Death Sentence.

Everyone has been very gracious, personable and easy-going. Even with minimal gear and crew, the nature of the material has made the shoot a lot of fun...
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:00 PM

"Julio pointed out some nice bounce off his neighbor's garage, and John dragged out a white Christmas tree box for me to use as fill!"

Tell them to shut-up!! You're the DOP. <_<

R,
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#3 Tom Lowe

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:45 PM

Next time you see Randall Wallace, can you please tell him how much Braveheart means to us as filmmakers. It inspired me. It continues to inspire me. It is one of the most beautiful movies in the last 20 years.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 01:26 AM

Something familiar, something peculiar, something for EVERYONE a comedy tonight. It really was a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum! :D
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 05:02 AM

I've had the opportunity to shoot "big time" DPs before. If we're on set, inevitably, I'm forced to set up something at the last minute, so I feel very real pressure to be my very best because, you know, it's the frickin' DP.

Other times, I've had your experience where we actually have time and are in their home or the like. They generally are hands off but helpful as they see what I'm trying to achieve.

If there is anything that ever stands out in my mind, it's that to date, not one DP has ever asked to see the monitor to see what they (the shot) look like. They either trust what I'm doing or just don't care. Either way, it's nice to have that respect to let me do my job in my way and that they trust that I'm making them look as great as possible.
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#6 Bill Totolo

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 11:48 AM

I'm sure they quickly realized they had the right guy for the job.
Looking forward to some screen grabs ; )
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 01:37 AM

Today was a fun day. Screenwriter Bill Kelly at his house; off to Disney Studios to interview Rob Bowman and Jon Turtletaub; off to Universal for Brad Silberling, then to Kevin Bray's house, followed by some B-roll around town.

As a huge X-Files fan I was thrilled to talk with Rob Bowman about the show/movies and filmmaking in general. A really great guy, he even helped haul my Arri light kit down the hall to Jon Turtletaub's office. Jon's a warm and funny guy, and when my producer commented on how calm he seemed for someone who has a major film opening in two days, he said, "you can only worry about the things you can do something about." He also had kind things to say about John Schwartzman and Amir Mokri's work on his film. Brad Silberling was upbeat and cordial despite being busy with last-minute pre-production on Land of the Lost before everyone breaks for the holidays.

As for my shots, our schedule's been tight so my lighting has been very down and dirty -- a 1K chimera for a key and a 650 bounced of the ceiling slightly behind for some ambience and back-ish spill. As much as I would like to make the shots prettier, there simply hasn't been time (or crew) to do anything more than basics. I'm pretty much doing everything myself, including audio. I staged Kevin Bray slightly against a window for some depth, not even realizing how late it had gotten. Half way through the segment we lost the light outside and there went my separation between his dark hair and the background. I quickly re-staged things against his all-white interior, which lacked depth but let us keep rolling and stay on schedule. I was kinda bummed about that one, it looked "fine" but much more bland than I would have liked...
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 10:52 AM

This is really interesting stuff, Michael. Keep us up to date. Tell all.
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