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DP with Lighting gear


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#1 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 09:23 AM

Is it uncommon for a smal indie producer to seek DP with lighting gear? Here's where I'm coming from:

 

We have an 8 day feature shoot coming up in early April in Austin, TX. One location shoot. I know I'm raising a few eye brows here with such a compact schedule, reality is, that is all I can afford. Granted I won't be able to get ideal visual coverage, but my hope is that with compact shotlist (mostly Master with very few punch in's), storyboard, right blocking, usage of SteadyCam/OTS & planning lighting per location/shot would help. Plus, sound design & post work will bridge missing gaps. 

 

At my level, I would love to consolidate Camera and Electrical department where DP brings his 2 person crew to assist plus is equipments. While AC, 2nd AC, Grip, Best Boy, Gaffer etc. would be ideal, smaller production like our does not have $$ luxury. 

 

thoughts?


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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 10:44 AM

Is it uncommon for a smal indie producer to seek DP with lighting gear? Here's where I'm coming from:

 

We have an 8 day feature shoot coming up in early April in Austin, TX. One location shoot. I know I'm raising a few eye brows here with such a compact schedule, reality is, that is all I can afford. Granted I won't be able to get ideal visual coverage, but my hope is that with compact shotlist (mostly Master with very few punch in's), storyboard, right blocking, usage of SteadyCam/OTS & planning lighting per location/shot would help. Plus, sound design & post work will bridge missing gaps. 

 

At my level, I would love to consolidate Camera and Electrical department where DP brings his 2 person crew to assist plus is equipments. While AC, 2nd AC, Grip, Best Boy, Gaffer etc. would be ideal, smaller production like our does not have $$ luxury. 

 

thoughts?

 

So you expect to be able to shoot a feature in 8 days with a DP and only 2 other people comprising the entire camera department???...


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#3 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 10:57 AM

Bill, that is correct. While there will be a few PA's to help out, key photgraphy crew will be 3 people. It's 84 page script all confined to one location. Most scenes will be Master shot only. Granted, designing each scene will be a challenge. Again, it's not by choice. It's by necessity. cheers


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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 11:22 AM

I would be more concerned right now with story-boarding every single shot and going through intensive blocking rehearsals to nail everything down.  Regardless of whether or not it's by choice, you have virtually no margin for error with that kind of time pressure.  I basically did this for a 4-day shoot of a short film.


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#5 joshua gallegos

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 06:49 PM

You're really going back to the time the language of cinema wasn't fully discovered by filming everything in master shots, it's just not cinematic. I would recommend turning your feature into a short film and then go on Indie Go Go or some crowd funding website and raise some money for a feature length version after you've made the short film version. Nobody will be able to work in such frantic conditions, I remember listening to Darren Aronofsky's commentary for the film 'Pi', and they were making so many mistakes on set, because they were running out of money and had no time to finish. Shooting 10 pages a day sounds terrifying! Good luck. 


Edited by joshua gallegos, 01 March 2015 - 06:50 PM.

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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 09:32 PM

Hell I'd do it just to see if I could; just to face the challenge. Is it going to be back breaking, ball busting, yes. It is going to be wonderful, probably not. But this isn't to say It couldn't be. I think a lot would depend on discussions with the director on the specifics of the project. A lot depends on really what's happening on 84 pages. 

Let's say, for example, you have a scene, a 3 page scene, of two people taking on a couch about some memory they share, and it's tense, awkward, then hell sure, one long take of that, and break it up with inserts of something-- depends on what that is, but could even be timelapse etc.

 

Point being this, early on in your career, you might as well try some crazy thing,hit towards your limits, and see what you can do, make more with less, and experiment.

 

Granted, I may well be the odd one out here, and i'm 100% not an important or notable personage at all, but just because something hasn't been done well, doesn't mean it can't be.


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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 12:13 AM

One thing you could do is to block the scenes to play in long single takes. Eight 10min 'oners' is 80min of coverage, at a pace of one shot per day. So it's definitely possible to accomplish. Get a few reverse angles, close ups, and inserts for coverage.

Hire a full G&E crew to prelight the whole location a few days before, then keep two keys for the shooting days to tweak setups and turn predigesting lights on and off. Have the AC pull focus wirelessly off a monitor. Have them just pull cards as they fill up and download the footage yourself everyday after wrap. So that's a crew of 3, not including the DP. Realistically, that's probably as small as you can possibly go.
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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 12:27 AM

That should be 'preset' lights, not predigested :)
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#9 Josh Tree Park

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 01:54 AM

The replies seem to be kind of going off topic from OP's post. It is not crazy rare for DP's to own all the lighting gear, but they are hard to find. Sure, there are some guys who basically are a small rental company him/herself, but to answer your question, no, it's not crazy to ask for DP's with lighting gear. But just know that there aren't that many out there. Granted, you probably won't find a DP with multiple HMI's and crazy diverse grip package. At the most someone with a 2 ton truck...


Edited by Josh Tree Park, 02 March 2015 - 01:55 AM.

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#10 Sabyasachi Patra

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 06:55 AM

10 pages a day for several days is a bit too much. So better to do single long takes as suggested above. Allow the actors some freedom to improvise/change lines as per the flow and their ability. Having an AC is perhaps a luxury here as you can't shoot in the conventional mode. Let the camera dude shoot with the new C100 Mark II with face detection using STM lenses. That way you will not misfocus and be ready with each take and will be able to complete the shooting. 


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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 04:09 PM

The replies seem to be kind of going off topic from OP's post. It is not crazy rare for DP's to own all the lighting gear, but they are hard to find. Sure, there are some guys who basically are a small rental company him/herself, but to answer your question, no, it's not crazy to ask for DP's with lighting gear. But just know that there aren't that many out there. Granted, you probably won't find a DP with multiple HMI's and crazy diverse grip package. At the most someone with a 2 ton truck...

But the question is, are you gonna get a better deal from a DP who also runs a rental company? In my experience, these guys are very business savvy people and are not looking to give crazy deals on gear. They're in it to make money.

You're more likely to find a DP who own a small lighting kit for interviews, but that won't be enough to prelight a whole set. Best case scenario is swinging a deal with a young gaffer just starting out with a small truck and minimal lighting package. Or a hiring a DP who has a good relationship with a G&E house and can call in a favor for your production.
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#12 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 04:57 PM

Many thanks for keeping this alive and insights. To answer my own question, yes. I was able to find someone in Virginia who has a full service company. He's been in the game since the 80's and owns lights that should be enough for my needs. In addition to basic 1000/650 watts tungsten, Kinos, gels, flags,several c-stands, dolly etc, he also owns 3 1250 wats HMI that I plan to use for night scenes. He will bring his lights, c-100 camera (including steadycam). set of prime lens plus 2 grips to this 8 day gig. Thanks, raj


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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 03:37 AM

Seriously?! So you found a DP who was willing to drive his grip truck from Virginia to Texas for a no-budget 8 day feature, and also to bring along two crew members (I'm assuming from Virigina as well)? That's truly amazing in every sense of the word. Let us know how it all turns out.
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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 04:34 AM

There does tend to be a lot of variation in what people think is a "small" lighting package.

 

P


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#15 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 11:03 AM

Guys. If it's too good to be true, it 'probably' is not. Having said that, my expectations from this dude are way low & for the $$ & time I have, I'm by no means looking for someone to shoot "Lawrence of Arabia" for me. Reality is, as long as he is good at framing and pumping that c-log file with higher bit rate, I have a shot at post color grading etc. Granted, not an ideal shoot but will have to do. Images for me are a luxury (It is a personal choice, no offense) and will always take a back seat to Story, Acting and Sound.

 

Plan is to have rehearsals. Get shots in order of priority within a specific window. Will be shooting wide shots with my Black Magic Production Cinema Camera as well (second camera). My bigger concern is talent and their readiness & MUA. Otherwise 60% of Master Shots with a few close ups & inserts for cutaway.

 

Wasn't "Little Shop of Horrors" shot in a day and half?


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#16 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 09:12 AM

Update:

Been a month since we wrapped our 8-day shoot in Austin, TX. Without 2 cameras, it would not have been possible. DP showed up with Canon 100, sound equipment and more lights that we could have used. Cutting trailer now and will post link once done. Footage shot on 1080P Prores 422 except one shot for VFX shot on 4K. Have about 1.6 TB of footage (I'm sure 30% will be junk). Plenty of coverage, I think. Total of 12 locations, 13 speaking parts, 9 crew members (DP, Art, AD, Sound, Makeup, Grip plus 3 PAs). Average of 11 hours per day. Shot 4 days. Break. Shot the remaining 4. There were pockets for 2 days where crew was ideal for 2 hours each waiting for Sundown to shoot night scenes. Ended up using 2 1250 watts HMI for a few night scenes. 2 rental generators were live savers (Honda 2000 & 3000). Flew in April 3, DP drove (22 hours) April 5, began shoot April 6, wrapped April 14, Flew back April 15. Initial colored footage on DaVinci looks great. Don't take my word for it. Be the judge once I post trailer link by June 15.


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#17 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 06:25 PM

Photography gurus:

 

As promised, below is link to a few images.

 

 

Raj


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#18 JD Hartman

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 08:37 PM

Very very nice.

 

Where in Texas did you shoot the town scenes.


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#19 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 09:01 PM

Congrats, Raj!


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#20 Raj Kowoski

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 07:28 PM

We shot in Manor, Texas. A place called Ghost town. A lot of what you see are VFX. Thanks. Raj
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