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"Dust" Super16mm Short Film


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#1 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 12:05 PM

I've just finished shooting yet another short film, this time on super 16mm. The idea behind "Dust" was to shoot something that was looser and rougher then some of my recent work, although the director hired me specifically because he liked how I was using colour to create contrast so i still wanted to incorporate some of that style into this piece. We shot on Super 16mm because we felt the texture was important to the piece and i went back to Fuji this time using 500T Eterna for both day and night exteriors, processing normally for night interior/exteriors and pull processing one stop for the day exteriors. The film involves a Taxi driver driving a foreign immigrant around Dublin so I tried where possible to keep the camera very wide for scenes involving the Taxi car and the City (usually shooting on a 6mm Ultra Prime), and contrasted that with tight coverage for the more intimate interior scenes involving just the actors. We avoided any sense of a master shot, staging the blocking and action so it would work as a series of overlapping close-ups and mid shots. Where possible we lensed up our coverage and worked either handheld or loose on a fluid head. My camera package was an Arri 416 using Master Primes and Ultra 16's for the wider lenses, along with a Canon 300mm for some of our day exteriors.
For our single night interior i worked again with toplight using a combination of chinaballs and kinoflos using mixed colour temperatures and generally underexposing skin tones by 1 - 2 stops - I only used one layer of colour gel this time so the colours wont be too saturated. I tried to incorporate some practicals into the background of some of the shots, usually dimming them 50% for extra warmth. Most of the time i was at a T4 for the interiors, rating the 500T normally.
For the day exteriors i worked at a T4/5.6 (with a 1 stop pull) using NDs to keep my stop consistent throughout the day. I shot uncorrected outdoors for a colder colour. I used a small HMI package and some Silks ad blacks to try and work in overcast light and when we lost the soon i lit any day interior car scenes with some 2.5K Cinepars bounced into an utrabounce or through chimeras as a key light and some smaller 575s for a harder backlight and some fill.
I had quite a bit of non - dialogue scenes set in the Taxi at night which we shot on a 6mm lens at a low angle from a tracking vehicle. I used some Kinoflo microflos gelled with 101 yellow and taped to the roof of the car to toplight the actors and ND'd them down to give me a T1.4/2 split. Using the Master Primes i shot at between T1.3 and T2 depending on what the ambient streetlight was like. Attached are some of my reference stills, I haven't seen any rushes yet, although i should soon, and the plan at the moment is for the film to go through a 2K DI for a 35mm release for festivals.
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 09:21 PM

Love the look of the car's lighting, except the buildings reflection. Did you not want to put a floppy cutter on top of the car, or does the reflection hold significance to the story? i also dig the top light on the first pic. It really brings out his cheek bones (which I assume you were going for, since a guy like that would need lighting nominaly to reduce cheek bones) and makes him look foreboding.
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#3 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:11 AM

Did you not want to put a floppy cutter on top of the car, or does the reflection hold significance to the story?



The car stuff was all about the reflections so we tried to keep as much of that as possible.
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#4 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 05:39 AM

A quick photo from my iphone of the interior car lighting setup - tungtsen microflos gelled with diffusion, 101 yellow and some ND.
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#5 John Allen

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 08:56 AM

Hey great stuff Stephen. I did somethin kind of like that, except I used LED's.
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#6 Ira Ratner

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 07:44 PM

Stephen, I haven't looked at your stuff yet, but I have one comment to make about your post:

Line spaces between paragraphs are your FRIENDS, and they're totally FREE!
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#7 Max Jacoby

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:21 AM

Nice title for a film ;)
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#8 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 08:59 AM

Hi, I really like the last shot, the way the reflection is disecting her.

That building reflected, it isn't what some Dublin citizens dubiously refer to as the 'Canary Dwarf' is it?
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#9 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 02:52 PM

Hi, I really like the last shot, the way the reflection is disecting her.

That building reflected, it isn't what some Dublin citizens dubiously refer to as the 'Canary Dwarf' is it?


Canary Dwarf - havent heard that one before sorry andy:) Those are all ref photos btw (taken on my canon 40d) not frame grabs from the movie. If the footage looks any good ill post some frame grabs:-)
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#10 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:09 AM

Canary Dwarf - havent heard that one before sorry andy:) Those are all ref photos btw (taken on my canon 40d) not frame grabs from the movie. If the footage looks any good ill post some frame grabs:-)


I don't really understand the nick-name myself, I like the fact the Dublin skyline is consistent and largely un-scared by modern architects (unlike London) but then don't get me started on architects, they'd definitely go into my Room 101!

I didn't think they looked like 16mm grabs, looking forward to seeing some though.
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#11 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:14 AM

Did a HD TK of all the neg last night. Fuji Eterna 500T and Master Primes is a great combo - the footage looks razor sharp at T1.3 with plenty of detail in the available light city streets.
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:33 AM

Been away for a while so missed this one . Think you may have a career , looks good . Take care John .
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#13 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 04:16 AM

Think you may have a career , looks good .


Not according to my current bank balance ;)
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