I am a simple man.  Give me a day of filming a nice little set up between 3 people in one location and I am happy.

On the podcast this week we are breaking down a seemingly simple commercial and looking at how you can maximize your efforts based on the location and the weather on the day.

It isn't fancy but it gets the job done.  



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Mastering Exposure - The Language of Image Creation

The Spot - Building a Look

Shot #1 - Early Coverage

The Shot

It is common practice in the industry to start with the wide and work your way in.  This approach has a number of advantages so when you don't want to follow it you better have some good reasons for it.

On this job we started with a small snippet of the coverage because of the location and the orientation to the sun.

In this shot we have a back and forth dialogue between our two talent with the camera locked off in a semi- over the shoulder position.

The Lighting

The sun is behind the talent and then we are using a 12x12 Ultra Bounce for the key return and a whole lot of Neg FIll everywhere else to help dial in the contrast.

The Result

Shot #2 - The Wide

The Shot

The Master wide shot where all the action plays out.

The Lighting

The majority of the work is done with the sun and the orientation to the blocking we prepred.  After that there is a wall of Neg Fill surrounding the set to take away as much fill as possible and I think we trialed a little skip bounce from frame right but I can't remember if we kept it on the day or not.

The Result

Shot #3 - Down the Line

The Shot

Our two talent chat back and forth as the foreman wonders why his coffee hasn't arrived on site yet.

The Lighting

Same as above but everything is a little bit closer now.

The Result

Shot #4 - 90s Music Video Wide

The Shot

This shot begins the fantasy section of the ad.  Our construction worker has won the lotto and he has hired his own apprentice even though he is an apprentice.

The Lighting

THe director wanted this music video wrld to feel drastically different but we were always going to struggle for level outside to make a huge impact whitout building a large grip forest.

THe majority of the look is done with the angle of the camera, the wider lens, and then fast movement of the camer while recording in slow motion.

We had two cream source vortexes plus two sky panels doing the strobing light and the warm key from the ground for the fronty fill.

The Result

Shot #5 - The Wide #3

The Shot

Same as above but on a much tighter lens.

The Lighting

Same as above but everything is moved much closer to improve our control.

The Result

Shot #6 - The Last Set Up

The Shot

This coverage played as the opposite angle to the earlier conversation stuff we shot at the beginning of the day.

THis was the foreman's side of the coverage.

The Lighting

The cloud cover had increased signifigantly so we needed to bring out the lights on this one.

THe key is a bounced 12k and the backlight is a 6k HMI through a few different layers.  We didn't need a crazy amount of level because the background was already quite down so we were able to soften and shape to make the lamps feel a bit more natural.

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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