Behind The Scenes: DUE/AL My Rode Reel 2016
The goal of DUE/AL is to make the audience feel as though they are in that location and witnessing the three-minute event right in front of them. Basically to achieve anything close to that description I just gave we decided early on in preproduction that the camera needed to react as opposed to knowing exactly what was going to happen at each step.
We instructed our cam ops to move and capture what they wanted for each take. They were only instructed on the storyline and could witness the action during a brief dress rehearsal before the actual takes.
Because the camera could move anywhere at any moment, I needed to be able to light 360˚. The plan early on was to go very minimal with the light choices, relying mainly on the practical trench light to motivate any other light choices. To help with accent the trench light and fill in some of the darker areas behind the rock, I opted to go with a hanging batten light and a makeshift covered wagon to diffuse the living crap out of the strong directional light.
Now I loved the look that the batten light was giving me. The way it opened the shadows and revealed some of the subtle nuances of the set just really got me going. However when we decided to try a take without it on, it quickly became clear the light was not needed and in fact made the footage too “pretty.” It turned out using only the practical added to the dark aggression that was happening on screen.
I personally believe in cinematography that fits the story. In this case the story deserves lighting that helps sell the anxiousness you feel while watching. It just shows that yes, you can go in and light with 10 HMIs all bouncing off some bead board to illuminate a part of the forest. Or you can light with one 45w halogen bulb. The choice is obviously yours, but what will accent your story more? It’s easy as a cinematographer to want to use everything at your disposal, but what I’ve learned over the years is that the greatest in our field take lights away instead of continually adding more.
To add a little extra intensity in post we decided to add some organic lens elements. That’s a fancy way of saying we added our own lens flares in post. I filmed using a multiple cracked UV filters or filters smeared with Vaseline to create some unique flares and organic distortion elements that I could layer over the footage in post. This gave us custom unique flares that no one else would have.
DUE/AL is one of those projects that allow you as a creative to let loose. So often we are constrained by whatever forces are paying our salary that a project of this caliber reignites the flames of creativity and pushes it’s way into our personal lives, making us happier and feeling fulfilled. I’d like to personally thank Joey Gast, the incredible director for trusting in me enough to share this story and allowing me an opportunity to light and lens it. The cast and crew who froze that night with us up in the mountains, you will forever have my gratitude.
That leads me to my last point: when you’re passionate about something, people can feel it. They will become passionate about it as well because they see how excited you are. It leads to a production that doesn’t feel like work but one of a group of friends filming, the same feeling we’d all get filming our friends when we were growing up.
Never stop creating – CH
Listed in: Behind The Scenes