Friday, May 13, 2011
Gaffer: Short Film- “Last Words”
____I recently gaffed a short film entitled "Last Words" staring Mark Pellegrino (LOST, Supernatural) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead). Friend and fellow D.P Jess Dunlap asked me to come on board and work as his gaffer on the project. Jess and I have collaborated on a few pieces together in the past and I really enjoy working with him. The short, written by Dan Perrault and directed by Tony Yacenda, is a comedy about a dying civil war soldier’s not so profound last words to his comrade.
The film consisted of all day exteriors so our main goal was to utilize and shape the natural light to create contrast. In the early morning hours there was cloud cover so the light was relatively flat and diffused. We used a 6x6 frame of griff plus scraps of duvetyne that were hung from the bottom of the frame for negative fill. As the sun rose higher and the cloud cover cleared we switched out the griff in the 6x6 for full silk and used it to knock down the harsh sunlight. We brought in a 4x4 bead board to bounce for a key as well as a smaller show card to wrap the key even further. Eventually we had to tabletop the 6x6 silk as the sun rose directly overhead. To avoid seeing the hard edge of the 6x6 frame shadow on the ground, we cut off branches from a nearby bush and clipped them to the edges of the frame so the shadow would blend in naturally to the shadows already thrown on the ground from a nearby tree.
Everything looked great based on the few times I was able to see the frame. The location worked well as a civil war setting as the framing was kept relatively tight to avoid any nearby houses, power lines etc. The wardrobe and hair/make up was spot on, I really believed that these were civil war soldiers in the midst of battle. There was even a battalion of 7 fully outfitted extras bearing muskets as well as one on horseback. I’m sure the “battle sounds” that will be added in post will really help bring the scene to life even more. Overall, it was a good shoot and it was great to work with some new people. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.