7.18.2016

Fair Fight part II: A DC Comics fan film

This past weekend I helped out some of my friends who were shooting their DC Comics fan film, Fair Fight. This was part 2 of the project, with my fellow DP Scott Baker handling the first installment. We utilized the same location and camera, a BlackMagic Pocket camera. While I've shot with BlackMagic cameras before, this is the first time I've used the Pocket Camera. The one I used had a speed booster and included a set of Leica still lenses with a Duclos Cinemod.

I shot handheld primarily on the 25mm and 50mm, with a couple shots on a 100mm and a single shot on the 24mm. The B-cam shot on a 14mm or 35mm Rokinon on a small Glidecam-style rig. Matching the settings from part 1 as closely as I could (ISO 1600, F2.8, ProRes 422, 120° shutter), we shot pretty much everything with two cameras at a time. I'd occasionally shoot ISO 800/F2 when I could, but tended to stay at a 2.8 to give myself a little extra leeway since I was pulling my own focus off of the tiny Pocket Camera screen.

Since the original shoot was unable to recall if they shot with the flatter "film" profile and then graded, or shot straight to the "video" profile, I opted for the flat "film" profile, as it's easy to get the video look from that footage, while the reverse isn't true. They were also unsure about the color temp, so I went with 4000K, as the first part had pretty orange tungsten while the blues were fairly blue. By splitting the two temps, I gave them warmer than average tungsten and kept my blues nice and strong.

I believe these grabs are off the ungraded screenshots. I kind of like the muted color scheme, as it fits the darker and grittier nature of the content. Part 1 has a lot more saturation and contrast, so these will probably get graded to a crunchier look for the final product.






6.06.2016

A few more screen grabs

And here's a few more screen grabs from my shoot in Indiana.







Also, I spent this past week working on a shoot out in Palm Springs. We shot primarily outdoors for four days, with the temperature getting as high as 115° F! So how did we keep cool(er)? By grabbing a pool umbrella and creating a makeshift camera cart mobile shade station!


5.28.2016

May update

Since it's been a while since my last post, I'll just update with the most recent, as most of my jobs the past two months have been simple things like interviews and some event coverage, so nothing too exciting. This week, however, I worked on a pretty fun suspense/horror project.

I just got back from Indiana, where I shot some test footage for a possible feature with Lionsgate. We shot a couple scenes over two days for a script they had optioned. This was one of my first shoots where I had to hire an entirely local crew, but I managed to find some great people to come on board.

When choosing a camera, we decided to shoot on the Alexa Mini, as I had it on a gimbal for quite a few shots and needed to use a camera that was lightweight enough for the Ronin. I had also considered a RED Dragon, but knowing that we would be shooting a bunch of night scenes and only having a 1-ton G&E van package for lighting, I went with the Alexa as it offers a pretty clean image at ISO 800 and 1280. Keeping in mind the need to stay lightweight and wanting some vintage softness, I opted to use a Zeiss Super Speed Mk3 lens set and I aimed for a T2 (+/- a half stop) to get a little softness in the image with shallow depth of field.

For being a quick shoot with a minimal crew and lighting, I'm pretty happy with the images we got. While waiting around the airport for my flight back home, I did a quick color grade in Photoshop from some screen grabs I snapped of the Log C footage, so these aren't necessarily representative of the final color grade.

Tech specs:

Alexa Mini
Zeiss Super Speeds Mk 3
ProRes 4444 Log C
3.2K framed for 1.85:1 final image






3.09.2016

The Man From Death

Here's a strange little shoot that I worked on quite a while ago, as it had a long post-production process. I started out as a camera assistant on the shoot, but much later, well after principal photography had wrapped, I came back to DP the FX unit (my credit is 3rd Unit DP). I handled the ECU exploding eyeballs, slow-motion bullet coming out of the barrel of a gun, and the bullet hitting the match. As with the main shoot, which utilized the RED Epic Dragon, I also shot the FX sequence on that camera as well.

When we shot this, I had no idea just how weird the final product would be. It's interesting to see how it came together in the edit. We may have sweated it out in the hot sun to get it made, but we had fun doing it.

The Man From Death from Stream Team on Vimeo.

3.02.2016

Nike Run Club spot

Working with director of photography Chris Saul, I b-camera operated and second unit DP'd this spot for Nike. It's the one that's playing in Nike stores and was shot in the "sideways" 9x16 aspect ratio for use on the store displays, which utilize screens with this same orientation. We had a lot of fun and I'm happy to be able to now share the finished video.


NIKE from Chris Saul on Vimeo.

2.25.2016

Action scene: additional screen grabs

Here are a few other screen grabs from the action shoot I recently completed.

The nameless "men in black".

Letting the shot go Daredevil dark.

Since we only had one side to our "alley", we flipped our set and lighting to reuse the one wall we did have, playing it as the other side.

A little water is always nice.

Since we didn't have a real alleyway, I let the background go black and added in some haze to help hide what was really back there. Also, the atmospheric haze picks up some of that back light and helps pop the actress off the dark background.

A7S shot. It's a little mushy, but for the quick edit it'll do. I really like the color difference between the two practical lighting sources.

2.23.2016

Action scene for actor's reel

I just finished up a short page and a half scene action sequence for an actress looking for some additional material for her demo reel, as well as getting a story concept developed. While I had tons of gear at my disposal, the time we had to shoot was short and the crew extremely small, so I tried to keep it as simple as possible.

Keeping in mind that we'd be shooting night scenes, I opted to use the Sony FS7 for it's clean image at higher ISOs, though I ended up running it at 800 the whole time, with only a single shot at 1600. The other reason I shot FS7 was due to us also using a DSLR on a Ronin. Knowing that the A7S offers great low light capability and matches well with the color science of the FS7 (this shoot isn't getting a color grade, so matching in camera was fairly critical), it made sense.

Since I knew that we'd be a small crew (myself plus two others), I wanted to avoid swapping lenses, so elected to use the Zeiss 28-80 T2.9 Compact Zoom. That would cover the full range of what was needed and would also match nicely with the Zeiss 18mm ZE lens on the Ronin/A7S setup.

This shoot was made possible by local rental house EVS: http://www.evsonline.com/

This is what we used for the alleyway scene.

Our alleyway created in the area pictured in the previous photo.

Top lit with a 650W fresnel through 4x4 opal, with another 650W top lighting the far background and a Source4 dimmed down and shot through 1/2 CTB for a back edge and to bring out the boxes on the shelving. A 1x1 LED lightpanel bounced off a 2x2 foamcore provides some front fill and an eye light.

Don't mess with a girl and her knife.

A7S on Ronin, utilizing practical lighting.

Same lighting setup as the third picture, just flipped.