The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #60 – White Cyc
In this episode of the podcast we discuss a recent commercial I DP’ed and how the production dealt with the project from start to finish. This is a bit of a long one so strap in and hopefully it helps.
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Here are a few images from the spot we will be breaking down:
For this episode I wanted to go one step farther than we usually do for these break down episodes. After a bit of back and forth and after quite a few listeners requesting to see the preproduction documents I use I have decided to show a few pages of the actual material I used on this job.
I show these documents with the hopes that they will help you get better and that perhaps you will improve upon them and then I will be able to steal back the ideas from you.
Step #1 – The Pre-Production Stage
The booking is confirmed and the project materials start to trickle in. There were a few technical challenges in the original scripts so we had to hit the ground running on this job.
The first thing to do is get the script and the treatment from the director to see what they have in mind. Once that gets a look over there is generally a call with the producer and the director to get a lay of the land and also talk about any tech issues involved so we can start to get some options or solutions sooner rather than later.
Once that conversation has been had the ideas generally start flowing. Based on the conversation with the director I will start to formulate my initial thoughts into a document to share. I do my best to make it short and to the point as during prepro directors have tons of stuff being thrown at them so it is in my best interest to keep it brief.
Step #2 – The Lighting/Tech Document
This is where the fun begins. My set up is very basic and the template allows me to throw these together in just a few minutes. I prefer to keep the layout to one issue per page (ie key light or backlight or background or composition). Takes away any clutter and confusion.
So let’s take a look at the actual document I sent through for this:
Bask in the glory ladies and gentlemen.
Step #3 – 3D Lighting
Using a 3d lighting program I am able to build the set and start lighting from the comforts of my own office. As there quite a few technical challenges and questions these virtual builds got everyone on the same page and answered a huge amount of questions for all departments.
The dancers were going to be on a purpose built pool of water. The cyc was being built as a one of. The question was how big did both have to be? Hard in a pre virtual world but it took 10 minutes for me to model up my thoughts and send them through for the build.
Here is what I cooked up using different angles/heights/focal lengths:
Based on the info provided in these shots art department were able to build exactly what we needed.
Now on to lighting in 3D:
Step #4 – Studio Time
Step #5 – The Results