My buddy Adam Bradshaw wants to direct/produce a feature documentary on a guy in Texas that used to rob banks about a decade ago and then when he found out he was having a son he decided he needed to wipe the slate clean and turn himself in. If that interests you, check out his book, his name is Clay Tumey
In an attempt to get some grant money, we flew to Dallas just the two of us to get some footage. Couldn’t bring the size of package I usually would want, so we made do with my rolling suitcase camera bag from lowepro and an oversized pelican that had a few light stands, sport model c-stands, and various grip gear as well as a aladdin 1x2 LED. These lights are great for travel because of their low profile and portability. As well as speed for being a decent size source with the diff on the front, low power draw and bi-color. On interview shoots like these I also always bring a 300w little dimmer and a couple 60w tungsten bulbs because I like to put practicals in the background or just out of frame and most people always have CPL now and I can’t dim them.
My camera package was a Canon C100 with atomos shogun flame recorder to get a much cleaner and more malleable file as a 422 high bit rate ProRes file. Also just helps with workflow. Exposure and focus tools are good on the shogun and I used the HDR feature to help me exposure the C-log in different lighting conditions. I was able to see how much I’d be able to pull some of the levels around. Recorded sounded straight into camera with my rode NTG 2. Was good lesson is packing light and using whats around in the room, natural light and practicals.
Last short film I shot was for Director/Writer Chris Valenti and Producer/Actor Michelle Loucadoux in association with We Make Movies collective who financed this film.
The script was a very funny story called Subtext which was about a blind date gone wrong because of a text sent to the wrong person. Basically all taking place in one location and with 2 actors sitting across from each other we were able to shoot 8 pages in just under 12 hrs that included full set dress build and tear down.
We shot on a bar stage at LA Film and Center Studios. The only good practicals are above the bar, so basically everything else was either overhead florescent which was no good, or no light at all. G/E budget was low, which usually means, if I don’t already own it, home depot here I come.
As mentioned I lit the bar and background pretty much all with practicals. I bought this little 50w spot par bulbs from home depot and had them all on one universal dimmer. Behind the beer/wine bottles I put a couple of these LED tubes I buy off amazon. Their color actually isn’t bad, they have 3 levels of brightness, and battery is internal rechargeable that lasts a few hrs. Got that trick from another DP, now I find myself using them often. Below the bar was a 4x kino with daylight tubes that I think we put some quarter CTO and 1/2 diff on as well. I had white napkins or plates on the bar to also help light faces
Lighting in the restaurant I have several china balls rigged in the ceiling for 250w tungsten bulbs and dimmers. For the mine talents I had a 24in china ball for the 12in elsewhere. This one I put a 500w bulb and wrapped it further in diffusion. I also used black trash bags to cut the light around the sides so it didn’t spill every where. The bags were far enough away from the bulb to not be in any danger on melting and were easy and lightweight to rig on the drop ceiling we had to work with. I had a litepanel backlight placed for Michelle and usually a fill with a litegear mitemat with 1/2 grid. For closeups I brought in a 6x silk frame and stuck it underneath the chinaball. I lit background with a couple fresnels and/or homedpot worklight on the ground just to create spots of highlight.
Outside I had to blackout cause we shot during day and needed night. The one window we tented so we can push some of our own light through. The night ext. we shot with michelle on the phone we did on a doorway dolly on track, with a 6x unbleached muslin bounce using a 2k open face. Had a bottomer on it and a litepanel for when she got closer to camera.
We shot on the Scarlet Dragon using rokinon primes. Not my favorite lenses but that is what the budget allowed. I used my Flanders Scientific 171 monitor to light from using false color and my trusty sekonic 758cine meter.