We haven't had a good ole fashion breakdown episode for a bit so this was fun to jump back in to discussing what it takes to put together a job like the one we are looking at today.

Fairly straightforward from a concept point of view, the ad plays out in a single room as a family has dinner.  There were a few location and logistical challenges but other than that it was a fun shoot to try and push some lower levels.

Enjoy the behind the scenes look!

A Cinematography System: The Playbook Approach

You like the breakdown episodes and you want to be a better DP?  Would you like to hear how I think when it comes to cinematography and steal the methodology I built up over the years?  

OK.  Check out the course I created at the link below:

A Cinematography System: The Playbook Approach

My mindset around cinematography has morphed and changed over time as I am always seeking the most efficient workflow to get the best results I can.  In the course I lay out exactly how I breakdown a scene to make sure I am maximizing the tools I have available to me.

This is the closest thing I have created to a cheat code for up and coming DPs to bypass the years of trial and error I had to put in.

Patreon Video: Dope

I got ahead of myself when I was recording the podcast this week and mentioned the Patreon breakdown would be Kleo but in fact I forgot I had already done a breakdown of the film Dope shot by previous guest of the show Rachel Morrison ASC.

Lots of interesting fixes in this one and you can definitely see Rachel angling to get max value on the screen from production, lighting, and location angles.

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.

Permission to Tent - The Spot

We shot this ad on the Alexa Mini LF paired with the Sigma Cine Primes.

The other camera info was we used a base ISO of 1280, shot wide open for almost everything, and used a 1/8 Black Promist to open up the shadows.

The Location - Day for Night Interiors

This whole spot plays out in a single room and apart from one shot all plays out looking at almost the same background.

That meant we had to fight quite hard to get a location that had some character because without it we didn't have any fancy camera tricks or movement to fall back on to keep it interesting.

The great part about this location was, besides the look, it had a wall of windows on one side that we could sheer and add our own ambient night light to help create some color contrast with the warm interiors we were planning for.

The Spot - Shot by Shot

Shot 1 - The Initial Wide

The Shot

Our hero faimly passes dishes around as they sit down to a nice meal.

The Lighting

We used the same base lighting throughout the spot.  The key over the table was the Dedolight Panaura Octobox with a grid dimmed way down.

Outside we had a series of Creamsource Vortexes for the ambient night spill.  Inside we used some practicals on dimmers to create different pools of light and in the back room frame right we had an Aputure of some sort or another.  It was really just to highlight the door frame to create some shape.

There was a practical in the kitchen that we ND'ed to bring it down in line with the other levels in the room.

Add some sheers to the windows and doors plus a ton of haze and voila.  We were done.

The Result

Set Up #2 - The Full Wide

The Shot

Same as before but now filled with extras.

The Lighting

See previous set up.  

It is a bit easier to see the different pools of light in this example because of all the people sitting around the main table.  You can see how fast the level drops off.

The Result

Set Up #3 - The Reverse Opening

The Shot

A quick follow shot from behind Dad as he sits down at the table.

The Lighting

Same as previous set ups but seen from the opposite angle.

The Result

Set Up #4 - The Two Shot

The Shot

Here our hero son and daughter converse with their father.

The Lighting

We netted down the Panaura closest to camera, added some 4x4 floppies camera right and then placed a cool LED frame right to help extend what was happening at the window naturally.

We also added a 4x4 bounce to help get the overhead light under the eyes a bit more.

The Result

Set Up #5 - The Request

The Shot

In this shot we see our hero daughter ask her father if she can have a drink.  We will match his angle of this shot to play off one another.

The Lighting

Same as the previous set up but from straight on now.

The Result

Shot #6 - The CU

The Shot

The CU of the previous shot. Used to punch in for effect.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Shot #7 - The Response

The Shot

Matching single on the dad as he responds to the daughters request.

The Lighting

Same as before for the daughter except we went a bit heavier on the neg for Dad and a little bit lighter on the bounce return from camera left.

The Result

Shot #8 - The Stand Alone

The Shot

We had a few minutes to gather up a few reaction shots of featured extras.  This and the following shot are examples of that.

The Lighting

No change to the wide shot when all the extras were in place.  We might have adjusted a few levels quickly but this was move in and shot as fast as possible.

The Result

Shot #9 - The Last Shot

The Shot

Same as above.

The Lighting

The only change we made here was as it was the final shot of the day we de-rigged the panaura from above the table and used it lower to the ground as the key to help carry the light a bit more to the talent.

The back light is the practical overhead in the kitchen which still has the ND on it.

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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