Welcome good people of the podcast world. We are back at the breakdowns again this week on the podcast and we are going big.
We are breaking down 41 shots from a recent low (read no) budget project and talking about how we made our weaknesses into our strengths.
It is always fun to stretch yourself a little thin and try something different and today's commercial is no exception to that.
Hopefully there are some things you can pick up from the lighting and use in your own work. Also if you still don't know what the opposite of a sun sandwich is after this episode there is no hope for you.
Enjoy the episode!
Patreon: Feature Film Location Scouting
On the Patreon podcast this week we are looking at potential locations for various scenes through out the feature.
You can download the images and view exactly what I am seeing as we work through which locations are going to work for the movie and which are less than ideal.
Locations are everything (especially when you are low on budget) and this film will lean on our ability to choose locations wisely.
Be sure to follow along on Patreon if you are interested in what goes in to making a feature film from a DP's perspective. The journey is already starting to take shape.
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.
Low Budget Filmmaking - The Ad
No money, no problem.
This is one of those times where it is handy to own all the gear. I got the call, reached out to some people I thought would be hungry to help out and have some fun (including the Wonderboi from podcast fame) and we set out to make something in 72 hours.
We had zero extra cash to throw at this thing so it was really a labor of fun and experimentation.
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, no gaffer.
We used 1 x Aputure 12d with a Light Dome and 1 x Aputure LS1.
Plus 3 4x4 floppies for negative fill.
Low Budget Filmmaking: The Map & Sun Path
Because we had zero budget we really needed to make the most out of low sun situations and then when the light got bad we could move inside to do any locker room or interior set ups.
We got lucky with one day of sun but the other day was cloudy so wee missed our chance for the long shadow look.
The good thing about being so light is that we could move really quickly between set ups and chase the sun when it was good.
Low Budget Filmmaking: The Set Ups
Series #1 - The Mound
Our first set up of the ad. We wanted sun and we got cloud. Cloud is always hard even when you have all the toys as it is very hard to create any contrast/interest.
We were finding our feet on this set up but it got the ball rolling even though none of the shots made the final ad.
3 4x4 floppies was all it took camera right.
Series #2 - The Overcast Batter
We wanted to get some tight stuff of a right handed hitter as shooting that direction worked best for the time of day we needed to be outside.
We got a little crazy with the 35mm and the +2 Diopter but I think it added a unqie look for a few of the shots.
I forgot the 4x4 Poly bounce at home so we had to improvise with blocking the action in the right spot, using a white folding table as a bounce source, and then adding our 3 4x4 floppies for neg fill.
Behind the Scenes
Series #3 - Low Budget Filmmaking: Outdoor Workout
We had no idea what we were going to get this player to do when we got to the gym area. We thought we were only going to film inside but once we saw the angle of the sun relative to the BG we knew we had to have him doing something outside.
We grabbed the lightest piece of equipment (the stationary bike on wheels) and we drug it out so it was just catching the last rays of low sun.
We added a ton of haze just before and during rolling and we were off.
We chose a backlit perspective, added the folding table bounce from frame left and the 3 4x4 floppies frame right.
The haze helped knock down the sun.
Series #4 - Low Budget Filmmaking: The Gym
We lost the light for the day so we moved inside the gym. We tried a few different exercises but the lighting and framing really never changed.
This was the first time we actually threw up some of our own lights.
We used the Aputure 120D as our key light raised up as high as we could get it. It was dimmed way down then we added a Aputure LS1 with some red gel for an edge light coming from the opposite corner of the room.
Also a ton of haze.
Series #5 - Low Budget Filmmaking: Day 2 - Morning Workout
We needed some faster paced workouts after we looked at the footage from the previous day.
We knew we could get some OK stuff while the sun was low out on the field so we ran our man threw about 5 different execises.
The sled looked the best.
The good ole morning sun and a 4x2 piece of white cardboard.
Plus 4x4 floppies down camera left side.
We had to fill a time slot when the sun was starting to get toppy. We chose to go in the south facing dug out for most of it and use the soft ambient sky as our get out of jail card.
Pretty simple really.
Shoot into the sun when outside, neg everywhere the camera isn't looking. Repeat.
In the dug out we chose the one that wasn't getting direct sun so the light coming in to the du out woul dbe much softer. Our assumptions that this would make the lighting look nicer turned out to be right.
Add a floppy and handhold the bounce and we were good to go.
Series #7 - Low Budget Filmmaking: The Coach's Room
As the sun rose higher in the sky we headed in doors to our locker room.
It took a bit of quick set dressing but we got something that looked passable in a few minutes.
We wanted the coach at a table and we grabbed some things that were laying around and threw them on the table to make it seem like a legit coaches desk.
We added the Wonderboi in full extra's costume and the scene turned out working ok.
There was a small set of windows frame left that we covered up with a folded over 6x6 of 1/4 grid.
We then added our Aputure 120d in the light dome frame left and the Aputure LS1 frame right with the smae red getl as the previous day.
Haze and shoot.
Series #8 - Low Budget Filmmaking: The Locker Room
Same room about 15 minutes later.
We rearranged the lockers and set up for the classic athlete getting ready number.
We kept the windows directly above the lockers covered just as before.
We boomed out the Aputure LS1 to get a bit more reach out of the day light then added a bounce on the ground to get some return from the LS1.
Add Haze and shoot.
Series #9 - Low Budget Filmmaking: Afternoon Mound Session
Eventually we were going to run in to shitting lighting.
This was our time. The sun was in the wrong spot and we couldn't really do anything except make sure it wasn't on screen to long.
3 4x4 floppies and the sun.
Series #10 - Low Budget Filmmaking: 4 Guys in a Van
These shots were a last minute addition as we found out they would let us drive Wonderboi's car on the warning track.
He has an old white van with sliding doors on each side so we flung them open and did some low fi tracking shots.
The real bummer about this set up was the fact that the tracking van was white.
There is a reason all the russian arm cars are matte black.
The white car sun sadwiched a shit load of return bounce from the sun and killed the mood in this series.
Beggars can't be choosers.
Series #11 - Low Budget Filmmaking - The Last One
The grand finale.
By this point on the second day we had our workflow down.
Everyone knew where to put the bounce, the neg, when to swing the diopter, etc...
Our last batter had one shot we needed for the finale of the ad and the lighting wasn't ideal with the position of the sun.
The other stuff is all nice as we could turn around and shoot in to the sun.
We used the sun as a back light/edge, bounced from the same side as our edge then negged everywhere else.
is it 15mm or 50 mm LOMO you have used? 😀
Man. You are so under rated. Thank you!
I’m amazed what you can pull off with some black cloth and a folding table. This looks incredible. Where would you even buy these lenses? and do you have some sort of guide to what makes a good investment in video gear?