Jump to content


Photo

Smash


  • Please log in to reply
43 replies to this topic

#1 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 05 January 2012 - 10:09 PM

I've been in NYC since late August working on a musical drama called "Smash" for NBC. The pilot (shot by Shelly Johnson, ASC) airs Monday, Feb.6 at 10PM.

There's some footage of our crew at work in the middle of Times Square just before Christmas:
http://bcove.me/2cmi1jtj

Extended sneak peek video (mostly BTS footage from the pilot shoot but there's a few moments from the series shoot):
http://www.nbc.com/s...ak-peek/1373227
  • 0

#2 Ram Shani

Ram Shani
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 735 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • isreal

Posted 06 January 2012 - 07:11 AM

looks great !

can you expend more about the camera choreography

and how did you handle all the camera moves on the studio with all the windows and mirrors in term of lighting and exposure?


thanks
ram


  • 0

#3 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 09 January 2012 - 12:21 PM

I'll be interested to see how this does. As it's NBC, I assume they are hoping to gain major audience share, however I have a feeling the musical/glee phenomenon is in decline. I also question the mass appeal of a show about the production of a musical on the subject of Marylin Monroe, I can see why that might have some traction with the gay demographic but is that really going to connect with other potential sectors of the audience? This series also seems to feature characters a bit older than the high school musical/glee type shows but maybe that audience is older and still into musicals?

Glee was able to connect strongly across the youth/gay/female sections of the audience to build a large audience. I'll be very interested to see if this manages to gain similar cross demographic appeal.

I guess a lot will depend on how much the actual stories will draw the audience in at the end of the day too.

Anyway, Ill be keeping an eye out for it to see if I'm completely off the ball with my theorizing!

love

Freya
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:05 PM

This promo piece has some more footage from the later episodes mixed in with the pilot's scenes:
http://www.nbc.com/s...f-smash/1377698
  • 0

#5 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 22 January 2012 - 05:35 PM

Oh, and I didn't mention that the wall opposite to the windows is a huge row of mirrors, which creates a whole other challenges, especially when doing 360 degree Steadicam moves in there. The mirror panels can be rotated side-to-side a bit but then you risk seeing a crooked reflection of the room, but sometimes we'll cock one of those mirrors a bit to create a hidden space for the cameras.


:)

That's funny! The first thing I was wondering about was the mirrors!
Sounds like they were the least of your problems.

I was thinking the same thing watching black swan tho!
On the one hand I just try and avoid mirrors altogether but on the other I feel drawn to them, the idea of reflections just seems to have so many cinematic possibilities but yes when you have a room with a whole wall of mirrors, how on earth do you hide the camera! The rotating mirror trick sounds handy but I wonder how they handled it on black swan and if that was also a set?

...and presumably the real location in the pilot didn't allow you to move the mirrors either, so did you have any special tricks you used there?

love

Freya
  • 0

#6 Kevith Mitchell

Kevith Mitchell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 48 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:53 AM

Pretty cool!!! That actor with angel wings must have been FREEZING!!
  • 0

#7 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11947 posts
  • Other

Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:26 PM

You give Jack Davenport back!
  • 0

#8 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:04 PM

I removed the set photos and posts because NBC recently sent out some group memo saying that we shouldn't post stuff like that, even though it was pretty dry stuff...
  • 0

#9 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:30 PM

Can't you just put us on the dailies screen-grab email list?
  • 0

#10 timHealy

timHealy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1252 posts
  • Other
  • New York

Posted 25 January 2012 - 07:09 AM

Although I never post photos of something I'm currently working on until after it is released, the whole Studio/Network/Agency paranoia drives me crazy. I work in NY mostly, and if you are shooting on the street, the production is fair game. Look on You Tube from the new Batman NY shoot recently as an example. You can't keep this stuff a secret. I also worked on War of the Worlds where they kept saying no crew photos, no crew photos, but after the first week of shooting (The Newark scene where the first pod comes out of the ground) there must have been 500 photos on a Tom Cruise fan website. Mixed among those photos taken by people on the street, were clearly shots taken by the company's set photographer and "leaked" out by the studio.

pardon my rant.

Tim
  • 0

#11 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11947 posts
  • Other

Posted 25 January 2012 - 12:27 PM

I think if I were directing something that went on for a long time and attracted a lot of attention, I might prefer that behind-the-scenes stuff didn't come out until, say, the DVD release. Rather destroys the mythos, otherwise, no?

P
  • 0

#12 F Bulgarelli

F Bulgarelli
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 409 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:08 PM

Hey David
Hope you are well
Why did you pick the Alexa vs RED, I noticed you had done some work on the Red earlier.
Also, was the pilot shot on film? Or Alexa as well?

Thanks

Francisco
  • 0

#13 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:20 PM

The pilot was shot on the Alexa and they didn't want the look to change when they hired me, so I stuck with the Alexa. I think it's a great camera for TV series work, simple to use.
  • 0

#14 Roberto Hernandez

Roberto Hernandez
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 69 posts
  • Student
  • Orlando, Florida

Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:00 PM

SMASH - I just finished watching the pilot and the first few episodes to get caught up. It looks amazing and I was ecstatic to catch David's name in the credits! I hadn't checked into the forum for over a month and was out of the loop. The advertisements for it during the Superbowl really peaked my interest especially with Angelica Houston and Mr. Spielberg's name attached to it. I was even more thrilled after watching the first two episodes to see the quality of work and great story telling AND THEN to catch M. David Mullen in the credits! Haha Congratulations, David! The show has interesting characters and a great story set around creating a Marilyn musical. What a great premise, and for the show to be actually shot in NYC, I can actually see myself anticipating a trip to New York with some friends to see the Broadway Musical!
  • 0

#15 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:25 PM

Thanks for watching!
  • 0

#16 Roberto Hernandez

Roberto Hernandez
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 69 posts
  • Student
  • Orlando, Florida

Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:28 AM

I have finished the 1st season of Smash. Congratulations to everyone involved! That show has drama! The final episode "Bombshell" was filled with so much tension and frenzy. I loved the scenes with Julia and Tom, their confrontation and then writing the final segment. The writing and performances were incendiary, it was dramatic and incredibly funny respectively. Overall, this first season was fun to watch, getting Uma Thurman was a treat. Although, I would have loved to see Madonna or Gwen Stefani play Rebecca Duvall over a 3 episode arc but the script called for a movie star not a singer. I also liked the rivalry between Karen and Ivy throughout the season. In the beginning, I would have been happy to see Karen upstage Ivy because I didn't much care for Ivy's personality/ruthless ambition. As the season progressed I saw both their strengths and weaknesses. Musical television shows are quite rare and thanks to Glee it has opened the doors for shows like Smash. I myself am not a Gleek but Smash has taken that recipe and spiced it up, what that high school show was missing was a little more class ;) Smash is a more mature show and thankfully - with one exception (Michael Swift singing to Julia on the steps of her brownstone) the songs did not take me out of the story but instead enriched the show. In fact, the songs were so good they are worthy of a real Broadway musical! The cinematography was also key in keeping me in the story. The location, staging, and lighting were essential to the show and beautifully executed.

A look back at some of my favorite shots from this season of SMASH (DP: M. David Mullen).

Posted Image

David I would love to know what were some of your favorite experiences on the show? Also I was intrigued by the scene with Debra Messing outside in the rain (shot shown above) what was your technique? P.S.. Just wanted to say I loved the few times I saw the use of nets on the show ^_^!
  • 0

#17 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:55 AM

A look back at some of my favorite shots from this season of SMASH (DP: M. David Mullen).


I really like the top right hand one. For some reason it reminds me of bladerunner and I expect the umbrella handle to be fluorescent!
So much interesting stuff in that frame! Love it.
Also like the bottom two a lot as well.

This is all in spite of the fact I don't really like this washed out kinda low contrast look thats trendy right now. Those frames are really magical tho.

love

Freya
  • 0

#18 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:01 AM

I certainly don't aim to be washed-out, the blacks are always set to "0" (black) when we color-correct as long as I am not crushing anything. It's just that some set-ups have less contrast in them than others, and a few shots get lifted naturally -- sometimes due to smoke or long-lenses, or a light is flaring the lens, etc.

The look of the non-fantasy sequences is basically supposed to be naturalistic but somewhat muted in colors but the blacks are normal. There was only one scene in the entire season where I deliberately lifted the blacks in post, which was that flashback on the Brooklyn Bridge were Julia and Michael first kiss, I wanted a slightly ethereal feeling of lightness.

Now sometimes the lighting can get a bit flat but that's because that is what is natural for the room, like the fluorescent-lit rehearsal rooms -- it just doesn't make sense to hold dance rehearsals in a shadowy room. In fact, in real life, those rooms would be even brighter and flatter. And I light most interiors with soft light because it looks natural and is flattering to the actors.

The shot of Debra Messing on the street was done with a 1'x1'x1" acrylic plastic block on the left edge of frame in front of the camera, at an angle. This distorted the passing headlamps in the background. I also had a #1/8 Classic Black Soft filter on the camera.

The shot of Ivy in the blue hotel room was a fantasy moment where I dimmed the room lighting out and faded in this moonlit look. For this moment, I used a black net filter + #1 GlimmerGlass filter, plus smoke in the room.

The fantasy of Marilyn singing to Jack at the desk used a black net + #1/8 Black Frost, and the backlight from a 1K Parcan was flaring the net filter as we tilted up. We dollied 180 degrees around the desk and I set up backlights using spot Pars that faded up and down depending on the camera angle. There is no fill light, the detail in the shadows is just how the Alexa sees things, it has tremendous latitude.

The Times Square sequence was all available light.

Roberto, how did you grab actual frames from the broadcast?
  • 0

#19 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11947 posts
  • Other

Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

Some sort of DVB decoder card on a PC, or one of those set-top boxes that lets you dump the MTS to a file, or just an HDMI input device with some way around HDCP?
  • 0

#20 Travis Gray

Travis Gray
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 209 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Boston, MA

Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:24 AM

Some sort of DVB decoder card on a PC, or one of those set-top boxes that lets you dump the MTS to a file, or just an HDMI input device with some way around HDCP?


Or you just download it.
  • 0


Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

CineTape

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Opal

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

The Slider

Wooden Camera