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Shooting a Werewolf horror film/Victoria's Secrete Spec Comercial


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#1 Chris Saul

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 03:10 PM

I'm a film student and I'm going to shoot a 35mm spec commercial for Victoria's Secrete. The director wants it to have a horror film look. The story is about a couple that goes to a make out point, it's a full moon and a werewolf comes out of the forest. The girl in the passenger side of the car gets out and starts dancing in front of the werewolf and she turns out to be a werewolf herself. Could I get some pointers on how to give it that Victoria's Secrete look and the horror look. What lens should I use for her getting out of the car, and dancing? What specific lights and the position of them? She's suppose to be lit by headlights. I'm a beginner filmmaker, but I have this opportunity to shoot this great project. Should I use a soft focus filter on the lens for the shots of the girl? For slow motion, what's a good speed? I pretty much want to know everything that could make it look great. Thanks
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#2 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 04:05 PM

Well, the two lighting styles are at cross-purposes, but I suppose with some creative mojo (and very specific composition) it could work.

Conisder this: VS-style lighting is very soft -- large sources are used to wrap light around the subjects in order to suggest soft, supple texture (yeah, getting close to purple writing here, but we are talking lingerie…). The models often have very distinct eye-lights, and use of softening filters like Classic Soft or Pro Mist is almost guaranteed. Horror lighting -- and I'm thinking of Friday The 13th-style slasher film stuff, something intended to illicit fear -- tends to be somewhat harsh: smaller, more specular sources, hard-cut slashes of light, pools of darkness… Mixing these could be tricky without proper planning, and some compromises are going to have to be made on both sides.

A horror scene done in a glamour-shot style could work though; a lingerie commercial done in gritty horror-style probably less so…

If I were shooting this, I'd use the best of both worlds: Go with the predominantly dark vistas, allow selective background to go black even, but be sure that your light sources are soft enough to suggest a velvety texture to emerge from that blackness.

For her (EXT), I'd suggest a book-light as key, maybe with a harder edge to suggest direct moonlight. Also, outside of the car will she be lit by "car headlights"? To Die For comes to mind, but maybe a bit more stylized. For the main werewolf, try a harder key (the moonlight "edge" from before?), but soften the edges of the light slash with flags, etc.

I'd also take another look at the old Björk video "Human Behavior", which is way more fantasy based, but kinda scary/surreal… There may be some inspiration there.

I can't really give you specific lights/lenses/positions because A- I don't know what you have access to, and B- that takes all the fun out of it :P You've gotta make these choices, even if they are the wrong ones.

Some other things you and Production should be thinking about: The most important part of a Vicky's spot? The girl. I'm sure you don't have access to a top modeling agency, but be sure to get somebody who is not just beautiful to the eye, but photographs well, has good skin, is well groomed, and (most importantly) is really open to being half-naked in front of a film crew, under hot lights for a whole night. Be sure to have a great make-up artist (someone who can cover up that blemish that pops up the morning of the shoot). Let your talent know that if she stays out drinking the night before, it will show! Have changes of wardrobe, a changing room or flats, and a place to warm up (its fall, and you'll be out in the woods overnight). I know all of this may seem like a bit much, but if you're going to have talent put themselves on the line for the shoot, be prepared to take care of them!

And for God's sake: PLAN PLAN PLAN your set-ups, storyboard, and know how long it will take you between set-ups! The very last thing you want is this poor girl standing around set in her skimpy underwear while the crew picks their noses and tries to figure out what they're doing. That's just unprofessional ;)

Best of luck, and Electricians: feel free to school this AC on the lighting advice I gave!

Edited by Rory Hanrahan, 10 October 2008 - 04:06 PM.

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#3 Chris Saul

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 04:21 PM

Well, the two lighting styles are at cross-purposes, but I suppose with some creative mojo (and very specific composition) it could work.

Conisder this: VS-style lighting is very soft -- large sources are used to wrap light around the subjects in order to suggest soft, supple texture (yeah, getting close to purple writing here, but we are talking lingerie?). The models often have very distinct eye-lights, and use of softening filters like Classic Soft or Pro Mist is almost guaranteed. Horror lighting -- and I'm thinking of Friday The 13th-style slasher film stuff, something intended to illicit fear -- tends to be somewhat harsh: smaller, more specular sources, hard-cut slashes of light, pools of darkness? Mixing these could be tricky without proper planning, and some compromises are going to have to be made on both sides.

A horror scene done in a glamour-shot style could work though; a lingerie commercial done in gritty horror-style probably less so?

If I were shooting this, I'd use the best of both worlds: Go with the predominantly dark vistas, allow selective background to go black even, but be sure that your light sources are soft enough to suggest a velvety texture to emerge from that blackness.

For her (EXT), I'd suggest a book-light as key, maybe with a harder edge to suggest direct moonlight. Also, outside of the car will she be lit by "car headlights"? To Die For comes to mind, but maybe a bit more stylized. For the main werewolf, try a harder key (the moonlight "edge" from before?), but soften the edges of the light slash with flags, etc.

I'd also take another look at the old Björk video "Human Behavior", which is way more fantasy based, but kinda scary/surreal? There may be some inspiration there.

I can't really give you specific lights/lenses/positions because A- I don't know what you have access to, and B- that takes all the fun out of it :P You've gotta make these choices, even if they are the wrong ones.

Some other things you and Production should be thinking about: The most important part of a Vicky's spot? The girl. I'm sure you don't have access to a top modeling agency, but be sure to get somebody who is not just beautiful to the eye, but photographs well, has good skin, is well groomed, and (most importantly) is really open to being half-naked in front of a film crew, under hot lights for a whole night. Be sure to have a great make-up artist (someone who can cover up that blemish that pops up the morning of the shoot). Let your talent know that if she stays out drinking the night before, it will show! Have changes of wardrobe, a changing room or flats, and a place to warm up (its fall, and you'll be out in the woods overnight). I know all of this may seem like a bit much, but if you're going to have talent put themselves on the line for the shoot, be prepared to take care of them!

And for God's sake: PLAN PLAN PLAN your set-ups, storyboard, and know how long it will take you between set-ups! The very last thing you want is this poor girl standing around set in her skimpy underwear while the crew picks their noses and tries to figure out what they're doing. That's just unprofessional ;)

Best of luck, and Electricians: feel free to school this AC on the lighting advice I gave!


Thanks for the great advice! We were thinking that her key light would be from the headlights. Should I just diffuse one big light source or should I get two lights and place them as if they are headlights? For the moonlight I have a 9light maxi brute with medium bulbs, Is that okay or should I get something larger like an 18kHMI? As for lighting her with a key light does it matter if I diffuse fresnel or open face lights, is there a standard? Thanks for all the great info!
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Glidecam

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Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Opal