Jump to content


Photo

Road Movie - Feature - PreProduction


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Matt Lazzarini

Matt Lazzarini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 53 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, ON

Posted 14 October 2005 - 09:01 PM

Greetings all,

Inspired by the production diaries of Mr. Mullen, Mr. Zanit, et al. I present the start of a production diary for a feature I have recently been hired to shoot. Right now it's without a title, so I'm calling it Road Movie. This is my first feature so I'm both excited and scared, which is good, I think :rolleyes:

First, some stats:

It's ultra-low budget. Camera/lighting/grip has been allocated roughly $3,000 CAD. Our shooting sched is 15 days, three Wed-Sun weeks starting Oct 26th. Obviously the budget's stretched pretty thin.

We'll be using the XL2, for the main reason that it's being donated for the shoot. The more I research this camera the more I like it. I'll have it for about 5-6 days prior to Day 1, so I'm going to test the heck out of it. We'll shoot 16x9 (native for this camera - yay!), 24P.

Here in TO lens options are limited, so we're going to rent the 14x manual lens. We're also going to test a wide angle adaptor the director owns for a different camera and see whether it'll work.

I've been looking into options for filters, and will probably opt for the Cokin P filter system. I know it has some drawbacks, but (and ofcourse testing will ultimately determine everything) I think it's the best bang for the (cheap) buck. We'll toss a pola on there and possibly a black net filter. I'm also going to test a very light warming filter and a very light cooling filter, should the situation/need arise.

PS here in Toronto has been very generous, giving us quite a cut rate. So far the lighting package consists of a 1k Baby Baby, 2 Redheads, 3 650w Peppers, 3 300w fresnels, a 4x4' fluoro bank and a 2x2' fluoro bank. Kinos are lighter but way more expensive, so we went with fluoro banks. I'd say a good 90% of the locations are small, so I needed a smaller lighting package that also fit our tiny budget.

I'll also bring some ghetto-gear, like a 1000w worklight from Home Depot, some cheapo-flows, and an unofficial ringlight (from Canadian Tire ;) There's a chance that during the 2nd or 3rd week of shooting I'll have a Par64 can to add to my kit, which would be nice. Gonna pick up some Chinese lanterns from IKEA and a cheap mirror for a mirror board (IKEA sells these little mirrors that you can place randomly on a piece of light wood and presto - a broken up mirror board :P

Grip-wise nothing fancy, flag kit, 1 4x4 floppy, 1 4x4 frame, and a 6x6 frame w/ 6x6 silver - considering the time of year I figured I needed to maximize the light for the exteriors. Ofcourse, stands, bags, clamps, etc.

No budget for a dolly, though the director's aesthetic is more static shots. We could always pull out the ol' wheelchair :o

We have a variety of shooting locales:

School classroom and hallway (Night int.)
Various day exteriors
Large paint supply warehouse
Cafe (we're using the employee area of said warehouse)
Restaurant (very classy place. Used in Four Brothers)
Club (we're using a small area of a giant reception hall and cheating it as a club; basically just 4 characters sitting around a table and talking)
Sub sandwich shop
Bus day int
Small (I mean small) apartments, day and night.

With the possible exception of the warehouse scene (which is a short scene, luckily) most of the locations are quite small. Hence, no big lights. I was hoping for a 1.2k hmi but again, no $ for it.

The warehouse is lit by overhead fluoros which cannot be individually turned off. I don't think I have the juice to light the whole thing with what I've got in my package (though if I get that Par64 I could theoretically use it, the Baby Baby, and the worklight and maybe pull it off). My backup is just to shoot under the fluoros and throw my own bank in with some plus green, as this location is supposed to be the main character's work, which reinforces the notion that this character is stuck in a rut.

Whenever possible I'll be simulating daylight through windows, or cheating them when we don't see them.

There's always the possibility of a 35mm blow-up, but I'm more inclined to light for what 99% of the audience will see it on - DVD and TV. That's why I'm not terribly concerned with adding a touch of soft filtration to the image in-camera. And I can't count on much post time either, though I will fight for it.

One of the good things about the sched as it is now is that there are barely any location moves. Only 1 or 2 of the days have a move. Obviously this'll give me more time to light each setup.

I'm going to try to snag my girlfriend's digi cam so I can post some setups. Hopefully they won't look too amateurish compared to some of the pros on the board here.
  • 0

#2 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 14 October 2005 - 09:23 PM

Not sure what to say. I'd grab some Home Depot specials tho for extra lighting. The FD lights shouldn't be too much of an issue, just remember to white balance the things, or use an FD-L filter.

And frankly, how the setup looks doesn't matter, it's what the finished film looks like that does. I've seen some super-pro looking setups that turned into junk on the camera, and cheap-junk setups that looked like a million dollars. Have confidence in yourself, and if you have questions, just ask.
  • 0

#3 Matt Lazzarini

Matt Lazzarini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 53 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, ON

Posted 15 October 2005 - 05:03 PM

Not sure what to say. I'd grab some Home Depot specials tho for extra lighting. The FD lights shouldn't be too much of an issue, just remember to white balance the things, or use an FD-L filter.

And frankly, how the setup looks doesn't matter, it's what the finished film looks like that does. I've seen some super-pro looking setups that turned into junk on the camera, and cheap-junk setups that looked like a million dollars. Have confidence in yourself, and if you have questions, just ask.


Thanks for the reply. I picked up another 150w worklight from Home Depot, just in case I need a spot of light in the bg.

I know that there'll be some shots that I won't be happy with - I think that's just the nature of this kind of low budget, rush production. The important thing is to get the best results possible with the film in the can. Having just done a tech scout I'm pretty confident about the majority of the locations and what to use to light them.
  • 0

#4 Tim Tyler

Tim Tyler

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1291 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Olympia, WA (US)

Posted 15 October 2005 - 06:49 PM

Not sure what kind of light your budget flo's will put out, but I recommend you get a decent tungsten soft source that you can use to key close-ups. Like a 24x36" photoflex/chimera with a 1k tota in it. It's a couple hundred dollars, but you'll make good use of it. Maybe you can find one to rent cheap or borrow too.

Or are the 'fluoro banks' pro lights?
  • 0

#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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

Posted 15 October 2005 - 09:35 PM

Hey,

I read your post, and you seem really on top of your game for a student. One thing, how are you going to simulate daylight through windows? Not w/ the redheads, I hope. The blue gell will soak up too much light, and then the gell will melt. Otherwise you seem very well prepared. Good luck!
  • 0

#6 Kevin Zanit

Kevin Zanit
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1223 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • LA

Posted 15 October 2005 - 09:41 PM

Sounds good.

Hopefully one advantage to the limited gear will be that you can move quickly.

I would also second the idea about you trying to get a small chimera. They are super useful in these tricky situations like small locations.

Good luck,

Keivn Zanit
  • 0

#7 Matt Lazzarini

Matt Lazzarini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 53 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, ON

Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:04 AM

Thanks to everyone for the replies. This forum is truly remarkable. I never stop learning!

I just realized that my profile still says student; as of 5 months ago that is no longer the case, though I still have a lot to learn.

RE: The chimera - must've forgot to put that in my firts post. My apologies. I'll have one with me for one of the redheads.

As for simulating daylight, how I go about it will be a little different for each location, and for what I white balance for. Most of the time I'll probably shine the fresnel (or the par can if I acquire it) through some light diffusion, then break it up some what with flags/foamcore. If I need to gel it blue I'll gel the frame.

Or are the 'fluoro banks' pro lights?


Yup, they're pro lights. Like a heavier kino flo.

Overall this film will be a real challenge to shoot. Lots of different, interesting situations with little time to light each. Ah, the fun of low budget production! :lol:
  • 0

#8 Matt Lazzarini

Matt Lazzarini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 53 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, ON

Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:36 AM

Quick update -

Turns out the XL2 package came with a 16x manual lens and a wide angle lens, which is a nice plus. Currently undergoing camera tests, specifically with the filters. Shoot starts in less than 2 days :blink:
  • 0

#9 Dudu Stoz

Dudu Stoz
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 39 posts
  • Student
  • Los Angeles

Posted 24 October 2005 - 04:27 PM

For the PAR64 issue - well you can simply buy one and it may be cheper than renting it.
The PAR64 is a very low cost reflector - hood + lamp may cost somewhere around 100$!
here is a link you may check or just search the net for online ordering
PAR64
hope this helps.
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

CineTape

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

CineLab

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

CineTape

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc