On the show today we go behind the scenes on a recent commercial and take a look at when good plans go bad.
Weather is always a challenge for cinematographers on exterior set ups and this spot is the perfect example of what can go wrong. We needed to film a spot over two days and changing conditions made things more complicated than we would have liked.
Luckily for us we got there in the end.
Enjoy the behind the scenes look!
Advanced Cinematography: On Set Training
This will be the second to last time you see this link as the new course on interior lighting is due out by the end of the month. Can't wait to get it out and see the progress people are making.
In the meantime if you haven't checked out the exterior lighting course be sure to get up to speed before the end of the month.
This course follows a project from start to finish and you get to come on a virtual set and see how all the shots are designed. The positive feedback from students has been overwhelming and the new technology that runs the course and allows you to see lighting and framing decisions in real time has changed the way cinematographers will learn forever.
Patreon Podcast: Tales from the Loop
Tales from the Loop is the subject matter we are breaking down over on Patreon this week.
I can't believe it took me this long to get to this series as there is some beautiful camera work in it.
I also thought after doing a throwback episode a couple of weeks ago it might be a nice compare/contrast to see what the cutting edge of cinematography is producing these days.
You can find this week's Patreon content by clicking the link below:
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.
Will It Match? - The Spot
What on paper seemed like a nice and easy shoot ended up being quite the challenge as weather and changing conditions made working on the water very interesting.
We shot this whole series of ads on the Arri Alexa Mini LF paired with a full set of Zeiss Supreme Primes.
The size of the Zeiss' are perfect but they definitely vignette. Just a note if you are doing green screen heavy vfx stuff that they are definitely not perfect.
The Location - Weather is Not Your Friend
This whole spot plays out on a dock on the side of a river.
We shot over two half days for schedule purposes and the weather most certainly presented it's fair share of challenges.
Luckily for us the commercial cut between a number of different "time" scenearios in the same location so it almost worked to our advantage.
The Spot - Shot by Shot
Shot 1 - The Final Celebration
Son jumps for joy upon seeing the dad rock up on his lotto winning boat ourchase.
The weather hosed us here.
This is the worst angle and set up you can imagine for a shot like this. Backlit is always good but sun in the frame plus overcast plus sun between the small sliver of no clouds equals terrible.
We made do by sucking up as much ambient as we could with the Neg and then exposing for the sky in the BG.
Certainly not ideal.
Set Up #2 - The Product Reveal
Dad points to son as the boat of their dreams passes in the BG.
The only positive here vs. shot #1 is that the angle of the boat and shot meant we weren't looking directly towards the sun anymore. This allowed us to lift exposure a little and we could move the Neg in a little closer to add some shape.
Set Up #3 - The Dolly Out
The camera dollies out to reveal the father and son sitting on the dock.
By this time the sun had started to spin around and was quite high in the sky.
The morning clouds were burning off and again all we could do was bring in as much Neg as could fit on the tiny dock.
Set Up #4 - The Back Chat
This is the previous shot to shot #3 in the edit. We cut on a figure wiping the frame in the foreground to reveal an outfit/day change.
The sun had totally popped at this point and we brought the neg closer with the increase in focal length. We also added cross key 4x4 polys behind the talent to help wrap some of the harsh sun around on the faces.
Set Up #5 - The Wipe
Same as above.
Same as above but the sun disappeared again. Here it wasn't too bad because we were trying to emphasize the cut and the day/outfit change anyway.
Shot #6 - The Golden Ticket
The credit card shot.
Neg behind the camera and playing the soft overcast sky as the key light from frame left.
Shot #7 - All Aboard
This shot was of the father approaching the sun on the new boat.
We didn't have the time in the schedule or the gear to be able to pull off a moving shot on the water so we did a sim travel with the boat parked at the dock.
The lighting for this couldn't have been worse conditions so we did what we could given the time of day and the drastic weather change from the morning.
The dad stayed under the canopy and we bounced in as much light as possible then added some Neg frame left to try and squeeze a little shape out of it.
The Frame Lines: Center vs Offset
Shot #8 - The Dock
We did a whole series of this set up with a large variety of outfit and gear changes.
This was all natural as we only had one small barge to work off of in the water so no lighting or bounces. Straight natural for the win.
Shot #9 - The Solo Dock
Same as above but without the father.
The sun started to pop as the day pressed on so we went with it. Didn't really have another option at this point given the width of the frame and the size of the dock.
Shot #10 - The Tight Version
Downstage Lighting Single.
The only change here was we moved some Neg in closer frame left and then moved the talent back a little on the dock to make room for a 4x4 poly frame left to help wrap some of the harsh sun around the face.
Shot #10 - Last Light
Final shot of the day.
Ambient light as the sun was setting.
Easy to be moody here when the sun isn't in shot as you set the level of ambient you are happy with.
No tools just straight sky light.