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:
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:
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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
Our hero talent walks towards camera as it dollies backwards tracking him along the beach.
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.
Set Up #2 - The Wide VFX Shot
The camera tracks counter to our hero as he walks through the VFX portal.
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.
Set Up #3 - The City Reveal
Our hero talent exits the portal and is dropped into the lobby of a fancy hotel in the city.
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.
Set Up #4 - The Repeat
Same as shot #1.
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.
Set Up #5 - The Wide VFX
Same as Shot #2.
Shot #6 - The Turn Around
Same as Shot #3.
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.
Shot #7 - The Repeat Intro
Same as Shot #1 & #4.
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.
Shot #8 - The VFX Portal
Same as shot #2 & #5.
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.
Shot #9 - The Finale
Same as shot #3 & #6.
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.