Night shoots are always fun and this week on the podcast we break down a recent commercial that called for all the usual tricks.

We pulled most of the stops out on this job with the overhead crane set up, the wet down, the cheated angle and more.  Follow along with the frames below as we go over all of the decision that led us to where we ultimately ended up with this look.

Enjoy the behind the scenes peak!

Give Me the Night - George Benson

A Cinematography System: The Playbook Approach - Volume II

The latest course went live last week and I couldn't be more excited to get this content out in to the world and start getting feedback on the system.

The course continues the exploration of my own system for blocking and coverage that I call the BODVO system.  I use it on every single scene I shoot but I haven't shared it in great detail here on the podcast because it can get so complex.  

This particular course is Volume II and it centers on the most common scenario which is the Office Scenario.  The name office has nothing to do with the physical location of the scene but rather the orientation of the characters relative to one another.  

Once you see the system, you can't unsee it.  Nothing has improved my cinematography more than leaning in to this methodology and so far the feedback has been nothing short of amazing.\

If you want to learn more about the course and the BODVO system you can check it out here:\

A Cinematography System: The Playbook Approach - Volume II

Patreon Podcast: Crew (The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly)

The niche podcast train is continuing to roll this week over on Patreon as we delve in to the world of crew hire and management.

It is incredibly difficult to make quality images and only possible at the highest level with an enormous amount of teamwork and collaboration.  If you want to elevate your results you need to be able to find competent crew and keep them motivated to bring their best on a project.  

We go over some of details in this week's podcast.

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.

Shady Business- The Spot

We shot this ad on the Alexa Mini LF paired with a set of Sigma FF lenses.

The Location - Night Life

Night exterior's are always a challenge when it comes to pre-production and scheduling and this campaign was no exception.  The location options meant we only had a few different angles and options to choose from but we made it work in the end.

It is always a mix of determining where you can get the most bang for the buck and what is actually feasible given the size of the sand box set out by the realities of the production.

In this case we wanted the wide looking down the long end of the street with the most interest in the background and then we would place the overhead crane in the car park so as to keep it off the road and out of the wide shot.

The Spot - Shot by Shot

Shot 1 - The Wide

The Shot

Our hero group of talent exits the car and heads towards the police car in the background.  The camera booms up on the crane to reveal the size of the scene.

The Lighting

We had the overhead rig which was a 12x12 skirted from a bucket with 4 Creamsource Vortex's inside.  Down the road in the background with had a mixture of various LEDs to help add some shape and depth in combination with the police light practicals.

The wet down allowed the light to give us that much level with the reflections and the up light from the road itself.

The Result

Set Up #2 - The Approach

The Shot

The hero talent waves the cars through as she prepares to administer a breath test.

The Lighting

Everything we had in the wide shot we kept for this set up but we did add some ambient light from the ground to help lift her face levels when she wasn't being illuminated by the police lights.

The light was an LED panel (another Vortex I believe) through a frame to soften it up and blend it in with the environment.

The Result

Set Up #3 - The Back Shot

The Shot

The reverse of the previous set up.

The Lighting

Here the main challenge was that we wanted to avoid looking to directly down the road itself which meant we had to shoot at a steep angle than previous shots.  

We moved the action up the road a little as opposed to moving the overhead rig simply because it was quicker.  We also placed some small battery powered LEDs in the BG to provide a little twinkle in an other wise flat frame.

The Result

Set Up #4 - The Vehicle Series

The Shot

A quasi-POV shot of the office administering the breath test to the driver of the hero vehicle.

The Lighting

WE used the same overhead set up as previous shots but then used a series of 4x4 frames near the windshield to help carry some level inside the car itself.  Behind the diffusion is LED panels.

There was very low level needed because we were trying to balance everything to the streetlights that were already in place.  

There is also an eye light in the set up but it doesn't read at this angle in the freeze frame.

From behind we had another LED panel doing the police siren effect with the alternating red and blue pattern for a backlight.

The Result

Set Up #5 - Down the Line

The Shot

Tighter on the previous shot.

The Lighting

See above.

The Result

Shot #6 - The Finale

The Shot

The quasi-POV reverse of the police officer approaching the window of the vehicle.

The Lighting

WE used the same set up as above but shifted the position of the fixtures around so as not to add to much fronty level to her face.

We also repositioned the vehicle itself so we avoided the base of the crane which is just off camera right behind the tree and the arm is actually behind the tree.  It is shallow enough wide open to not even be able to recognize the arm at all.

The power of a full frame sensor and T1.5 lenses.  If you don't want to see something just kill it with shallow depth of field.

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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