July 18, 2011

Becoming a Director of Photography PART TWO

Perth Showreels Elite Scenes

Recently I officially became a Director of Photography (DOP) here in Perth, Western Australia working under Director Mark DeFriest and you can read my behind the scenes look at my first day right here. I even include some tech talk and explain the lighting. This first DOP experience lasted over two whole days of filming and my previous blog post only covered day one,  so here comes day two!

Day two brought us interrogation scenes! Whoohoo! I love a good interrogation scene, and we had to film three. Once again I was lock & loaded with my 5DMKII rig complete with SmallHD DP6 monitor pictured below.

5DMKII with 70-200mm L 2.8 lens for filming

Above is my 5DMKII riding the back of my 70-200 2.8 IS L series lens, complete with a B+W UV filter. The lens is connected to a basic Genus baseplate with rails and theres a Genus follow focus unit sitting on the rails but not being used. (it was fitted to suit the 24-70 lens but not this lens).

Below you can see up close the SmallHD monitor and the beautiful Sergio standing in while we refined the lighting so the talent can prepare themselves off the set.

SmallHD DP6 Monitor connected to 5DMKII

Ok so here’s the setup. You’ll love this. To light this scene I actually used some old studio lights I own. As in still photography studio lights, and they certainly needed some dusting off after I pulled them from the dark depths of my garage. These lights were only some cheapies(Visico Lights) I bought years ago before I could afford all my Elinchrom gear. They need power and they didn’t get a huge amount of use but still worth the purchase, and they never failed me! Go China!  Anyway… these lights have constant 150W modelling lamps built into them, and after setting up a test interrogation scene in my garage, it turned out that was going to be all that we needed!

Shooting on the 5DMKII shooting at 25fps, with a shutter speed of 1/50th and ISO640 I was able to get about F5.6 which was perfect.

The other reason we ended up using those lights, was because I had a beauty dish to fit them, and the beauty dish was exactly what we needed for our main light above our interrogation table. We struggled to find anything else suitable in the short time frame we had, so knowing I had the beauty dish, I carried out a full simulation in my garage to see if it would work. It did! We still had some other lights on hand as a backup such as a 4-bank Kino flow, some Redheads and a Dedo.

Filming a interrogation scene with Director Mark DeFriest

In the image above you can see the main light with a beauty dish hanging above the table thanks to a boom stand. The boom was stretched out as far as it could go so we could keep the stand out of frame while we shot a wide tracking shot of both actors. On the left in the background you can see another light which was acting as a backlight for Matt who was one of our actors. The black rectangles are cutters, they are hanging off C-Stands thank to some handy grips from Bunnings (USA: Home Depot). These were placed to fine tune where the light was going. I had to try cut down the amount of light hitting the walls because I didn’t want the whole room illuminated, and this is also why I placed these backlights nice and high.

Now here’s me closely listening to the Directors wishes…

Brodie Butler talking with Mark DeFriest

Here’s another shot of the setup but here you see me operating the camera at the back there. You will notice we have the camera on a Dolly, and the rails stretch the entire width of the room so we can track the camera left and right as desired. This was for our master shot, something nice and wide to establish our scene.

Showreel Elite Scenes

Ok last shot…

Here’s a similar shot to before, but we have our actual actor in here now. You will notice the addition of a recflector on the table. This particular shot when our actor had to stand up was getting a little bit too dark so I wanted to bring some fill light in to illuminate his face just a little bit more. Just the tiniest bit of fill light can work wonders and in this case a bit of reflection from our main light worked a treat.

Filming with 5DMKII

So there’s a rough break down from day two of my debut DOP experience. Now I have to get back to editing some other goodies due on the blog soon! Drop me some questions below if you like!