A big week of celebration here on the podcast as it is the 9th birthday of the Wandering DP Podcast.

Lucky for us it happens to line up with a breakdown of a recent commercial spot that has, what is most likely, may favorite location I have ever walked in to.

This place was perfectly oriented for the action, it had all the right windows relative to the rooms, perfect décor, cool wall paper to suck up stray light bouncing around.  It was epic.

We didn't end up using it exactly as I had envisioned but the spot turned out great none the less and it was a fun one to be involved with.


The Wandering DP Birthday Sale - Save 25% on ALL Courses

To celebrate the 9th birthday of the Wandering DP we are bringing back the B-day Sale.

For this week only all courses are 25% OFF.

You can use the following promo code at checkout:


The courses have been one of the most positive aspects of this journey and it is always an amazing experience to hear from people that have taken the courses and applied the systems in their own work.  It is great to see how these techniques can have such a universal impact on helping people create better images.

If you have been eyeing up any of the courses and looking to up your skills now is the time.

Check out all of the courses using the link below:

The Wandering DP Course Catalogue

Patreon Podcast - Going Deeper

On the Patreon Podcast this week we talk about first impressions, how to spot a great director and what to do when you do find one, and a whole bunch of other nonsense that relates to this job.

I've gotten quite a bit of positive feedback on these less formal podcasts that center more on the job in general and life in and around set.

If you have specific questions or topics you'd like me to touch on please reach out over on Discord.

If you want to hear the podcast or check out any of the past content you can find it all by clicking the link below:

The Wandering DP Podcast Patreon

My Suggestion - Doesn't Always Work

These location scout stills are the orientation inside the space that I was so excited about.  It had it all but in the end didn't quite fit the bill.

It's always interesting to see what the first thing that draws you in about a space or a location and in this case I really loved the old school sliding doors.

In the end they did play a little in one of the wide shots but I will keep this location in the back of my mind next time something like this pops up.  This location hasn't seen the last of me.

Location Scout - Video

The Spot - Balance Is Key

Shot #1 - The Wide

The Shot

The hero talent sits alone in her living room sipping a cup of tea when her son enters to find a stranger in the house next to her.  It is her newly hired rollerskating coach Rodney. 

The Lighting

For this set up with had a 4k HMI through a series of small diffusion outside the sliding glass doors frame right.  Inside the room we had a Creamsource Vortex in an softbox with a crate on it to help control the spill.  

Also camera right is my favorite new light the Area 48 LED Source 4 clone that we used the entire day as a room tone rig.  Perfect for cutting into the ceiling and upping or lowering the overall contrast of a scene.

Add a bit of haze throughout the scene and that was it.

The Result

The Location Scout 

Shot #2 - The Static Mid Shot

The Shot

This is the opening of the ad.  A single on the mother as she notices her son enter the house.

The Lighting

We used the exact same set up as the wide but as we move in we were able to manipulate the contrast a little bit more tightly by adding a frame of diffusion between the 4k and the subject plus bringing the Creamsource softbox in tighter.

We also added two 4x4 floppies frame left to help create a bit of shape on the shadow side.

The Result

Shot #3 - The Reverse Wide

The Shot

I loved this location.  The wood frame of the kitchen and the bench provided a nice frame for the talent and the curtains in the background coupled with the yellow tiles really added to the look.

Here the son says hello and queries the mother as to what is going on.

The Lighting

We took the 4k that was previously in the other room on the reverses and threw that same light frame left here.  The diffusion was swapped out for something a bit more crunchy and then raised so we could get that SOFHOB effect across the talent.

There is the Creamsource again frame left and we used the Area 48 LED again but this time in front of the talent on the room to help lift some crunch out of the scene.

You can see the level of haze by looking frame left in the light pouring into the room.  Thankfully the room where the 4k is was large enough to get back far enough to get the right downward angle that we needed to make the sun look work.

The Result

Shot #4 - The Best Shot

The Shot

The son character spots the teacher and he waves hello.

The Lighting

Exact same as above but we added some negative fill via floppies frame right.

This is my favorite shot of the day.

The Result

Shot #5 - Shoot Low

The Shot

A close up shot of a pair of roller skates pushing along in unison on the road.

The Lighting

The sun is behind the talent and a small 4x4 poly is being run alongside frame left at about half power.

By half power I mean we aren't blasting the max bounce that we can but rather angling the poly so a bit misses the talent.  It makes it fell less source-y and out of place that way.

The Result

Shot #6 - The Wide Flares

The Shot

Now that the sun had rose out of the back of the frame we could jump out to the wide.

The Lighting

There is no lighting here apart from the angle of the camera making sure the sun isn't in the shot and the colored flares in the background to help reduce some of the contrast.

There might have been a 12x12 ultra bounce frame left but I don't think we are close enough on the travel of the shot here to feel it.

The Result

Shot #7 - The Lift

The Shot

Rodney the coach holds up Mom as she floats through the air.

The Lighting

This shot is less about the lighting (there is a 12x12 of Ultra Bounce that is missing the talent a little here to help wind back some of the direct sun that is hitting the talent) and more about the dolly rig that was set up by the grip.

We had a Panther dolly attached to a western dolly with the latter holding the two talent that were sat on apple boxes.

The camera was on a small job arm attached to the panther and on a Ronin 2 for operation.  

The key here was to make sure there was a bit of interest in the background and not just empty road while obviously not seeing the dolly set up below.

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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