Listen to the Podcast

On the show this week we are looking at the making of a recent television commercial.  I wanted to focus on an anamorphic cinematography as more and more people are asking questions about shooting with anamorphic lenses.

There are a few things to look out for and to embrace when shooting anamorphic and hopefully the break down of the lighting and lensing will help illuminate some of these points.

Patreon Podcast: Finding the Next Level

The Patreon podcast is all about listener Q&A's this week.  We touch on a wide variety of questions from how to test lenses to understanding why your night exterior doesn't look like the movies you love.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the link below:

Patreon Extended Podcast: Episode #106 - Q&A

Patreon is a great spot to ask questions and participate in the live streams.  I am very proud of the community developing there and looking forward to the live streams for 2018.  Lots happening for supporters so make sure to check it out if you haven't already.

The Gear - Anamorphic & Alexa

Most of the time we glance over the gear but on today's episode we are focusing on the anamorphic elements so heavily that I thought it would be prudent to lay out the full kit list.

Below is all of the gear in the camera and lighting teams that we used to make the shoot happen:

Camera Package:

  • Arri Alexa XT (Arriraw 2.8k 4:3 Ana mode) 33.333 & 50 FPS
  • Hawk C Series Anamorphics (perhaps just rebadged Lomo Round Fronts)
  • SmallHD 703 On Camera Monitor - Still holding calibration
  • Teradek Bolt Wireless System
  • Arri WCU-4 Follow Focus Kit
  • Arri MB-20 (Gigantic and only needed because of the lenses)
  • OConnor 2075 Fluid Head
  • DIY Camera Cart/Make shift Dolly

Lighting Package:

  • Arri SkyPanel S-60
  • Area 48 Soft LED
  • Small kit of 4x4 Diffusion Frames and Floppies
  • 8x8 Frame w/hilite & 1/4 grid

The Concept - Trains, Planes & Automobiles

The main goal of the ad was to capture the excitement of people traveling to a stadium to watch a sporting event or concert.  The goal trickled down to the cinematography and created it's own set of challenges as we had a very tight schedule and a ton of material to get through.

We had to tailor the look of the piece to the tools we had access to as well as the amount of time we had on each set up.  

To pull it all off and to still keep the visuals up to an acceptable standard would require a number of scouting trips to make sure we were using the best light and schedule to our advantage.

The Spot - Anamorphic for the Win

Sequence #1 - The Young Fan

The Shot

This was the opening shot of the ad.  We see a young fan in her bedroom getting ready to head out to the stadium.

The Lighting

We had scouted the house and scheduled ourselves to be there mid morning to take advantage of the sun's position.

On the french doors camera left we have an 8x8 of 1/4 grid providing the soft key from the sun and camera left we have two 4x4 floppies up against the white walls to kill any fill.

The Results

Sequence #2 - The Train Experience

Shot #2

Shot #3

Shot #4

Shot #5

Shot #6

The Shot(s)

The young girl's story line followed her from her house to the station.  We followed along inside the train and needed shots of her entering and exiting the station.

The Lighting

There wasn't much time or room for lighting on these shots.  It was almost all about schedule, time of day, blocking and camera positioning relative to the sun, and keeping our fingers crossed.

The Results

Behind the Scenes

Sequence #3 - The Travelers- Trains

Shot #7

Shot #8

Shot #9

Shot #10

The Shot(s)

We needed to see the various groups making their way to the stadium on the different train systems.  The schedule was manic but with some serious coordination by the AD team we got everything we needed.

The Lighting

There was minimal lighting inside the train and the biggest decision that led to the final look of the train sequences was shutting off all the existing interior train lighting.

The Results

Sequence #4 - The Travelers - Buses

Shot #11

Shot #12

Shot #13

Shot #14

The Shot(s)

The bus shots followed four groups of various people making their way to the stadium.  We were shooting from midday to sunset and wanted to use the changing light to help seperate the groups and the looks.

The Lighting

Inside the bus we taped over the majority of the internal LEDs so they didn't contaminate the scenes.  Then on the sunset/night sequences we used some 4x4 diffusion to help soften the levels and keep the contrast in check.

The Results

5 Responses

  1. Simon

    great post!! anyone else noticed the guy showing the finger in the back of the first BTS? šŸ˜‰

  2. Brendan

    Sick breakdown. Love the images!

    Hey I’ve got a question for you – I’m not sure whether you want to answer here or on a Patreon podcast. If you own your own camera package where do you go for camera preps? Do you have an in with a local rental house that’ll let you prep there or do you go into a house when you travel? Thanks!

  3. Chris LaMark


    Love your work man. I would like to sign up to be a Patreon supporter but just so Iā€™m clear, when you say per creation does that mean $5 per podcast? Thanks bro.

  4. Leighton

    Thanks for sharing once again! Amazing what you pulled off in that time. Quick question, do you shoot 33.333 for 25fps delivery?