Preproduction Shooting Tests


New member
Hello, Mr. Mullen,

I'd like to know more about shooting tests before starting production.

From your experience, can you tell what tests you mostly do?
What tests did you shoot for "Northfork" and your other bigger productions?
Do you shoot all tests and then watch, or shoot a test, watch, then shoot another, watch and so on...?
Where were the tests shot? What are the budgets?
Do you test before shooting commercials?

Thank you in advance!

Dian Zagorchinov
Since I usually can't afford to shoot extensive tests over multiple days, I have to limit myself to what can be done in a few hours over at the camera rental house with a few lights. So I try to come up with a rough idea of how I want to shoot the movie and shoot some variations on that, some alternatives.

Besides testing any special processes, I will often shoot a basic key-to-fill lighting ratio test, and an over and underexposure test just to get a sense of the normal look of the stock, unless I already had experience with that stock. I also test different strengths of diffusion filters if I'm planning on doing that.

On "Northfork" I tested the two types of Fuji stock I planned on using (125T and 400T), using different percentages of flashing on the Panaflasher, combined with different strengths of ProMist filters, both outside in sunlight and indoors.

On "Akeelah and the Bee" I tested using the Expression 500T stock in daylight with no 85 correction for the early, sadder scenes, and I tested to see how the Primo anamorphic lenses reacted to having lots of lights pointed into the camera.