We are back at it in 2019 with the breakdown episodes and in today's episode we take a look at how you can lean in to your lack of budget/time/whatever is causing issues and make the most out of it.

We are shooting in a parking lot with tons of old overhead fluros and we needed to create a look that bought in to those practical fixtures.

This spot was also filmed entirely on a gimbal and if you are a veteran listener of the podcast you'll know that was not by choice.  Lots of interesting aspects to analyze so let's jump straight in to it.

Enjoy the episode!

Patreon: Feature Film - The Days are Going Fast

Not long now until we are turning over for the very first take on the feature film.  So far it has been all about pre-production and that trend continues this week over on Patreon.

We take another extensive look at some of the scenes and the main locations we are shooting at.  i share my lighting plan, location stills, artemis photoboards and more as you can follow along and see how things are shaping up.

The real fun should start next week with all the camera tests but make sure to head over and check out the plan so you know the look and style we are going for over the next 9 weeks.

You can find this week's Patreon content by clicking the link below:

The Wandering DP Patreon Group

If you are a fan of the podcast and want more video content the patreon group is the place to be.  Each and every week I release an exclusive podcast, video, or live stream just for the Patreon members.

Patreon members also get access to the Private Facebook community for the show.  The podcast couldn't exist without the Patreon support and I do my best to take care of the supporters.

Practical Lighting - Lean In to Your Problems

Here we are again with the same issues we always have.  Not enough time, not enough money, and not enough crew.

This was a challenging location, an ambitious script, and a brutally fast schedule to try and pull it all off in.

We managed to get some interesting shots and I'll let you be the judge on the final images.

Below, as always, you can check out the gear we used on this shoot.  If you have any questions make sure to leave them in the comments below.

Camera Gear:

Check out the gear I use on all of my commercial shoots by clicking the link below:

Wandering DP Commercial Cinematography Gear

The only kit not listed on that page is the set of Lomo Anamorphics.

Also not on that list is the lighting we used.  No truck, no generator, just a gaffer and one assist.

We had a very small van package that was mostly LED with 2 skypanels and one Arri M18 just for fun.

The other key LEDs we a small set of the Astera AX1s and a few Litemats.

Practical Lighting: The Set Ups

Set Up #1 - The Wheel Shot

The Shots

Our ad opened up on a trolley cart wheel stuck as the cart gets pushed at a rapid rate inside a dimly lit car park. 

The real challenge with this shot was the rigging and gettng the camera in the right spot to be able to pull it off.  With a little help from the grips and the Movi team we managed to nail it.

The Lighting

All practical lighting except for two skypanels on the camera side for wheel reflections.  It was more about what we turned off than what we added.

The Result

Set Up #2 - The Wide

The Shots

From in tight we pulled back to a wide to reveal the location and our hero talent.  This shot was the whole reason we chose this location as you can see a few of the good elements we talk about in the podcast at play.

Nice practical fixtures and alignment, reflective floor, nice existing color palette, and we can see the darkness in the deep background.

The Lighting

Again this shot is all about what existing lights we shut off to try and force some shape in to a very bland location.

The Result

Behind the Scenes

Set Up #3 - The CU

The Shots

In order to see our hero talent and be able to move with her we put quite a strain on the grips, movi team, and the first ac.

With diopters on anamorphic lenses the DOF becomes very tricky.  We came up with a system that made the focus achievable and then ran with it.

The Lighting

Here again the majority of the work is done by turning fixtures off that were already in the space and then aligning the talent's action in a very specific section of the road to get the shadowy look we were going for.

The Result

Set Up #4 - The Car Shots

The Shots

In this section we wanted to use some common car spot shots to sell how fast our hero was racing around this car park.

The Lighting

A few Astera AX1s and a little bit of blocking go a long way in this series.

The Result

Set Up #5 -The Smash & Grab

The Shots

This sequence shows our hero practicing to raid the aisles of the shopping center.  We used a few different angles to sell the speed and intensity of the action.

The Lighting

The one bummer here was the most graphic opening frame meant the lighting couldn't have been any harder.  It put our talent right under the practical lights which wasn't the prettiest but sometimes it is about compromise and defining what makes the most impact in a sequence, the frame or the light.

The Result

Set Up #6 - The 2nd Wide

The Shots

More of the same, woman racing around trying to make it feel fast and dynamic.

The Lighting

More of the same in lighting.  Turn lots of practicals off, ask the talent to run on the camera side of the lights running down the middle of the road.

That is it.

The Result

Set Up #7 - The Security Guard

The Shots

Classic sequence of old mate the security guard watching on the cameras as he sees this woman zipping around the car park.

The Lighting

This was the last set up of the day and we popped the movi rig in to handheld mode and threw up a few litemats and Astera Tubes on his shadow side to make it all happen.  We used a Skypanel in the BG for a bit of accent and that was it.

The Result

Set Up # 8 - The Home Stretch

The Shots

This was the key sequence in the ad as it all comes together and it is revealed exactly what has been going on the whole time.

The Lighting

We brought out all the goodies on this series of shots.  

We had the M18 going for the main straight as a back light, the Asteras playing for accent and interest, the Litemats as the keys, and the skypanels for a bit extra in the shadows.

The Result

Set Up #9 - The Reprise

The Shots

Now after the graphics roll we see the husband in a wide shot giving the course a go.

The Lighting

Fitting that the last shot in the car park is where we killed most of the lights in the place.  It was almost all practical here with the addition of our 3 Astera Tubes just for some accent lighting to try and create a bit more interest.

The Result

About The Author

Cinematographer and host of The Wandering DP Podcast. You can see select examples of work at my personal site or follow me on instagram.

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4 Responses

  1. Quan

    How did you get the skin tone to not be fucked up in those shots where she’s being hit by the fluorescents? Or was it the colourist, also, any flickering problem?

  2. Adam

    Can I ask about your White Balance? Were all of the practicals just normal florescent tubes?

  3. Aone

    Love these breakdown Videos – Mr Patrick before the start of this advert was there a STORY BOARD?