Production Journal - ''These Days'' - Week 2




So we just finished up week 2. Week 2 consisted entirely of interior work (except for about 2 hours of day EXT.) in one location.

The scenes were a mix of night and day; we shot in several different parts of a house. Due to several reasons, we shot all of the work at night. Thus, any day scenes were shot night for day.

The location was pretty nice. It was not huge, but not as small as some of the other locations, but we did end up shooting in very small bathrooms, etc.

I think my biggest problem was just getting bored with the same location. Once we dialed in a look for the place, there was not a lot of room for switching things up. Of course, I could make some changes, but generally they had to be subtle.

Another issue was that the director really wanted the ability to look anywhere in a room. Sometimes we had two cameras going that had to be able to look almost anywhere. This was complicated by the fact that we could not use wall spreaders in the location due to the ceiling height, so the big question of the day was where we could put lights. I tried my best the give the director what he wanted, but sometimes I just had to tell him it was not possible to do, especially in a timely manor.

One tricky issue was placing the generator and other trucks (not really my problem, other than the time it takes for the cable run). We were in a residential area, at night, every night for a week thus noise considerations sometimes dictated where we could put stuff. The streets were not very wide, so the generator truck took up over half the street, luckily no one complained much.

We started shooting in a really small bathroom. I needed a day look and a night look.

The day look:

Consisted of a medium sized lighting unit (I honestly can’t remember what it was, either a 1.2k PAR or 2k fresnel) through the frosted window in the bathroom. I then used a 2x1 Kino for some fill. It was a tricky location as it was so small, and we were shooting into a mirror in such an angle that the Kino could only come from a fairly flat place, not the best looking place, but it ended up looking pretty nice. I sometimes just used the mirror to help us cheat a close up when we could not actually get the camera in.

The other look was a night look:

This picture is more contrast-y then the final image, plus the branch and color of the window light was not dialed in yet. But, this was roughly the night look. I just lit the actor at the sink with the bounce back from the Dedo that was armed overhead. I used either a ¼ or ½ (don’t remember) Promist to make the sink glow a little. Out the window was a 2k into bead board with yellow 101 (or something ugly like that).

For a nighttime look in the living room (where we spent most of our time) I used a 10k with ¼ CTO bounced off a 6x6 griff into a large window with curtains (just to glow the curtains):

And then used a 4x4 floppy in the middle of the griff just to break the light up some, because ambient street light (or whatever it is) usually does not perfectly fill a window:

And this is sort of what it looked like:

The truth is the scene really looked nothing like that, but it is the best picture I have. For the two back windows I ended up just bouncing two 1200s with full CTO into a white building next door, and then really netted that down.

For a scene with two characters at a table I used that “night time ambient” look with a Kino coming from a practical’s direction, and a Dedo armed as a backlight motivated from another practical. I then used a wired down 300 into the ceiling for “room tone”, just to bring the room up some. It was a nice low-key night look.

The above pretty much sums up my approach for the night scenes. Ambient light to glow windows, some room tone, a kino or two for key, and sometimes a Dedo backlight. It was fast, and looked nice.

We latter went outside for some daytime park flashbacks. It was quick simple stuff. The girl was supposed to look great. We put the bench she was sitting on against a nice backlit background. I then used a 6x6 Griff and some bounce boards on her. We placed the camera really far and used a long lens to really through the background out of focus.

Then she turned around, and I used a 4x4 frame of grid over head:

We then shot some simple day INT stuff:

I just used a Kino and some negative fill through these scenes. These were also the first scenes with Beth Grant. She is a great actress, and funny.

We finished up the week with one of the most difficult shots I have dealt with. As I said, the director had been really pushing to see as much of the location as possible. For this scene, he wanted to do a 360 dolly move. The move was as follows:
We start at one end of the room, on a very wide lens. An actor walks into frame, walking ahead of camera, towards the other end of the room. We push-in, following behind her. We stop at a couch, as she takes a seat we pan all the way around so that the camera is now looking at the other side of the room (the side we started in) to follow a different actor into a chair. To do the move, we could not use dolly track (as we would see it). Luckily the floor was very smooth. Also, there was a rug and table in the shot that were directly in the way of the dolly path. We could not just take them out, as they had already been established previously. And, when we did the pan around, the dolly grip had to move to the other side of the dolly to continue the move.

So to fix the rug and table problem, someone from art department road on the dolly, and as we got to the problem areas, he would slide them out of the way (they were off camera at this point).

When this move was first proposed I really did not want to do it, and was going to fight it. But, because the scene was a day INT. I knew I could light though the windows, so I decided to agree to it. There could be absolutely no equipment in the room, as we would see it. I could not light from above (for previously stated reasons), thus everything came from the windows.

The scene was shot at about 2am, so it was obviously a night for day situation:

I had a 10k really high up, tilted down through the big window, as well as a 1k VNSP PAR through the same window, but angled in such as way as to light the deeper part of the room. Through the two small windows was a 1.2k PAR through each window with 1000H. The shot worked well, and because most of the room was lit already, the time it took for coverage was very short.

I sometimes just augmented what was there with some negative fill and or a kino:

All and all it was a hard, but good week. We got some real good scenes. My only concern is the amount of coverage we have been getting (a lot). I have been working with the director on trying to cut down the amount of coverage, but it really is just what he wants to do. Thus, there is not a lot I can do. More to come.

Kevin Zanit



These are some of the most informative, interesting posts I have seen here.....

I have so many questions.........I just need time to get them together!

thanks so much,