Bee Keepers Day 1&2
Posted 10 October 2005 - 03:23 PM
As AC on this project I am stepping a little more into the DP role, as the DP has been with the project since I came into it, but he has far less experience than I do. Its a good working relationship, I let him call the shots pretty much, I put my 2 cents in here and there and let him decide. I raise flags when they are preparing to break an axis rule or something large like that, but they give me latitude to light the scene, one of my passions. Its nice to be on a well organized project like this, so I dont mind taking a back seat to someone with less experience, I think jesse (DP) looks at things with a fresh eye so he comes up with stuff I wouldnt think of.
Since we all have full time jobs and dont have full time access to the camera we shoot on weekends, so the 2 days we have actually spanned about a week.
INT. day, video rental store. Pretty simple settup, just a shot/reverse and a few cutaway shots. Lighting on the main charecters was a 500 watt omni (lowell) with the unbrella (i like the ultra-white look of the unbrella, it lets the key go a little orange.) The key was a hevily stopped down 500 watt omni (i think we had 4 or 5 layers of diffuser, and one daylight orange gell to cheat daylight comming in the store.) The background was lit with an omni with a daylight filter to warm up the greenish looking tape racks (painted blue with floros i couldnt turn off) and behind that a 1000watt dual head shop light with daylight blue gels on those, just to turn up the color contrast behind the charecters. it is a comedy afterall. We got through the shoot in a few hours, with the crew of the video store laughing between takes....an encouraging sign.
INT. day school.
This was a tough one to get done, being in a covered walkway with windows so large. it gave horrible contrast problems and the background was overpowering the actors. To make matters worse it included a 20ft dolly move (straight back) and the dolly we got from a local TV station(not mine) had only 5 ft of track to work with. we ended up 'borrowing' a bookcart from the library and having the DP sit on that and go handheld while a PA pulled him back. I walked along the dark side with a 500 watt omni with a 5600 blue filter (not much light comming out, but enough) this became quite a challenge though, as there were only enough to work sound, dolly, and camera. I ended up pulling my own wire, carefully reaching down ever 5 feet to grab the next loop before my tether catches frame, though after one take I became quite good at keeping the lighting rock solid as i reached for my next length of wire. when we went to the two shot I doubled my efforts with a 500w tota and 500w omni, both with daylight correction. because of the angle of the shot I didnt have to pull wire (THANK GOD!!) and we ended up getting some convincing shots.
Day 2 after crew move
We moved to the radio production room for the DJ scenes. This proved to be both trickey and a huge time saver. Since 4 or 5 scenes were in this one room we were able to get setups done quickly. Unfortunatley because of the size of the room hiding lights and cables and equipment became a huge factor. I am very sore from 6 hours of jockeying all the gear around, and fitting that 5ft dolly also became quite a problem. In the end it looked good and was totally worth it. The light was a 500w tota with the unbrella, a 500w omni with 1/2 diffuser, and on the floor i put large peices of cardstock I bought at a local store. One was golden looking, one silver. Pointing a 500w tota from about 1ft away it bounced a very pleasing organic shadow and highlight pattern, which i could control by putting creases in the board (this trick will follow me into my daily work) I matched the gold board to the wood tones behind the DJ, and the silver board cast light on the blue acoustic foam, breaking up the monotony. The DP refered to this lighting as 'sexy lighting' which cracked me up.
we had only 1 scene in there with any large amount of people so when we had all 4 in place i lit for simplicity, 2 500 w totas with unbrellas for fill and one omni to kill the only shadow in the master. when we cut to the 1 and 2 shots I ajusted the lighting slightly just to make it more a more pleasant image, without being so different than the master that it would jump out at you. that scene went very smoothly. (we have no flags or mounting options for a flag, other than duct tape, so usually i ended up being the flag stand once we had the lights set.
Oh, incidently I also figured out the universities max power handling, as I tripped the breaker trying to add a 4th light to the setup. yeah 4 lights is too much the power went out at the end of a take, almost on cue. We talked to a school security guard who said he would look into it, but end of the day we still had no power. I ended up running cables from another room to power the shot, and limited myself to a max 1500w of light.
The dolly shots were tough to get done in such a small room, but they looked good and were very effective. being a radio station production room it had 2 mics already in place, and i brought a 3d radio style mic for the large scene, which greatly simplified audio on set. and in a matter of 8 hours we got through 15 settups and about 8 pages. (read that to be equivalent of a 10 day shoot for this 81 page masterpiece.) anyways I hope to get screenshots of the movie on these boards possibly.
And this is for all you verterans out there: I shoot and edit every day. I have professionaly since I was 15. I shoot for the news to spend my weekends making features (either my own that I will DP or others where I put my experience to use where its needed) What is the best way to transision into theatrical feature projects. I ultamatley want to helm the photography of deep dramas. Think Fightclub, seven (any fincher really) requium for a dream. I love films that can be both gritty with a mutted color pallete but at the same time vibrant and organic. If anyone can help me it would be very very much appriciated.
Posted 11 October 2005 - 08:58 PM
Edited by Michael Collier, 11 October 2005 - 08:59 PM.
Posted 16 October 2005 - 11:10 PM
Posted 16 October 2005 - 11:17 PM
It sounds like you should be getting a co-DP credit, not an AC credit.
OK, here are some pics. tell me what you think. These are quarter ress (720 down ressed from 1080) and they are JPEG compressed, but you get the idea.
The image looks good, nice resolution, smooth tonality -- but also has that deep-focus look that small CCD cameras give you.
Posted 17 October 2005 - 12:00 AM
It will never look like a 35mm camera. so I am trying to work with the format to get the best image possible. that shot was on a slow dolly to replace the romantic feeling grain and dof would. I cant shoot the whole movie like that because the comedic scenes need less romance and more funny, but its a great scene to start with.
also its funny to note how creative you have to be on an independant. today i put garbage bags in the floros overhead to bring the levels down on the wall simply because I didnt have enough ND (lot to mention no neg-green)
heres some more pics from the same scene.