This week on the podcast we are taking a behind the scenes look at a recent tv spot where things didn't always go exactly as we had planned.

Weather is always top of mind when doing exterior location work and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't.  The real question is what do you do to make the most out of a situation either way.  Hopefully this podcast will help you out if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

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: Causeway

I know I said we would do Shantaram this week on the breakdown episode but I jumped ahead in the queue and ended up recording an episode on Causeway shot by Diego Garcia.

It has a seemingly simple approach but  as we know those are sometimes the hardest to pull off and maintain for an entire piece of work.

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.

Weather Days- The Spot

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

The filtration was a 1/8 BPM throughout.

The Spot - Shot by Shot

Shot 1 - The Walk In Entrance

The Shot

Our hero talent walks towards camera as it dollies backwards tracking him along the beach.

The Lighting

The lighting here was dictated by the weather conditions more than anything else.  The bay we were shooting in was so windy it made the location look terribly uninviting except when we were looking in one specific angle.  This angle.  

So we did the best we could with adding some wrap from the very side-y sun light and lack of any negative fill being available.

The Result

Set Up #2 - The Wide VFX Shot

The Shot

The camera tracks counter to our hero as he walks through the VFX portal.

The Lighting

Again the overcast day ruined any shape we might have been able to maintain without much equipment.  The weather also dictated the height and angle of the camera because if a sky replacement was necessary we wanted to keep the horizon free from contamination.

The Result

Set Up #3 - The City Reveal

The Shot

Our hero talent exits the portal and is dropped into the lobby of a fancy hotel in the city.

The Lighting

We had the camera backed up out the door of this hotel lobby to get as much scale into the image as we could.  We are on a 25mm tracking forward as the talent walks away.  

We had a 6k HMI going into a 4x4 CRLS reflector for the key coming from frame left.  To add some sopfter wrap to that we had an M18 pushing through a 4x4 frame cmaera left.

Then to get some contrast in the space we had negative fill running down a wall camera right.  

In the background are various tubes and LEDs to help highlight points of interest and add as much shape as possible.

The Result

Set Up #4 - The Repeat

The Shot

Same as shot #1.

The Lighting

We scheduled this shot to be second up after the wide and we would have been rushing at this point if it was a clear day.  The overcast meant that we could take our time but it also meant there wasn't much hope of contrast.

There is no lighting or grip here, just an overcast day and a 50mm lens wide open with 10 stops of ND in front of the lens.

The Result

Set Up #5 - The Wide VFX

The Shot

Same as Shot #2.

The Lighting

See above.

The Result

Shot #6 - The Turn Around

The Shot

Same as Shot #3.

The Lighting

This was a giant light filled restaurant with windows that run floor to ceiling behind the camera.  First thing we did was black all of that out and we decided to shoot into the location instead.

In the kitchen we had a series of skypnales through 4x4 frames to keep the side lighting consistent over the hero characters entire walk.

Above we had a series of titan tubes to act as a top/backlight system.

We had one LED light down the back to add some color and contrast and all of it was balanced to a skylight in shot that we couldn't black out frame left.

The Result

Shot #7 - The Repeat Intro

The Shot

Same as Shot #1 & #4.

The Lighting

The difference here between the other two intro shots is this was done in Perth where we had access to the normal film tools.

We ran a 12x20 of negative fill camera right and added a 12x12 Ultra Bounce frame left to help wrap some of the backlit sun around on his face.

The Result

Shot #8 - The VFX Portal

The Shot

Same as shot #2 & #5.

The Lighting

The clouds rolled in so we had to do the same trick as shot #2 in case a sky replacement was needed.  The only difference here is we had enough blacks and stands to try and fight against the flatness by surrounding the set with negative fill on all sides not seen by the camera.

The Result

Shot #9 - The Finale

The Shot

Same as shot #3 & #6.

The Lighting

We used the Skypanel through the 4x4 frames trick camera left and then blacked out the clear windows at the back to help maintain a darker mood inside.  There is a mix of LED for ambient out the back behind the halfwall camera left in the background.

We also had the titan tubes boomed in overhead to provide some top backlight as the talent walks into the scene.

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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