Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Director of Photography: Short Film- Blackstone (Day 2)
___The second day of production took place at a private residence that we used for a total of 5 different locations in the film. In the interior of the house, we used a bedroom and a living room (more affectionately coined the "murder room") and the exteriors took place in the front yard, a storage shed and a small alleyway at the side of the house.
The scene I was most proud of on Day 2 was the "murder room" (ABOVE). When we did the original location scout, I saw that the room had a fireplace and immediately wanted to incorporate that into the scene. I knew that it would be a great motivation to use some creative lighting techniques. One of the main goals I had with this production from a lighting standpoint was to mix color temperatures. I had done very little of this in prior projects and it was something that I really wanted to explore. In the scene, a mother and father are tied back to back on the ground by numerous "assailants" who circle them ominously before going in for the kill. We shot the scene day for night so all the windows and doors were tented to eliminate any sunlight spill. We left a small portion of a window uncovered in order to key with a 1.2 HMI through 216 diffusion from outside the house. We gelled this with 1/2 CTB so that it would play as moonlight. We added an additional 1K Open Face with full CTB as well to bring out some more detail in the book cases. Then we hid a flicker box with a 650w fresnel gelled with 1/2 CTO on the ground behind the two subjects. This was our motivating fire light. It provided a nice flickering hard edge. Our last light added was a pepper shooting up from the floor also gelled with 1/2 CTO to fill in the mother's face with a soft orange glow that was also motivated from the fire.
The set dressing was amazing and the Christmas lights added a nice touch to the background elements. Overall, the scene came out almost exactly the way I had envisioned it in my head, which is great. I loved the way the blue moonlight looked mixed with an orange flickering edge as well as a soft orange fill. We ended up having to open up all the way to 1.3 on an 80mm lens at the end of the scene in order to save time. I was extremely lucky to have 1st A.C Austin Ahlborg there pulling focus as the depth of field was insanely shallow and he nailed it all the way. Camera Operator Garret Williams also did great work as well as Gaffer Stephen Chang who quickly became the other half of my brain on set.
Director George Tunis commanded the whole operation and did a great job despite the tremendous amount of pressure that must have been on him to complete a 15 page short with "name talent" in 2 days. Producers Eric Goldrich, Ian Wallace and Adam Kuyt also worked extremely hard getting everything organized. I don't think Eric slept for the entire week prior to shooting. 1st A.D Jon Melick and 2nd A.D Brianne Richards did a great job keeping us as close to on schedule as humanly possible. Everyone on the crew was amazing and there are too many names to mention but as I said before, I was extremely lucky to be able to work with everyone and hopefully "Blackstone" is just the beginning of our collaboration together.