Drama film short
Filming: 21st to 22nd March
Director: Mehek Azmathulla
Location: Studio PG25
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses Used: Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95
Lighting was key for this production of Aaran Aaronson. Set in the studio PG25 I used only the lights booked for this production. This meant for the key light I used a Cinelight Kit 850W fitted with a soft box and 2 Litepanel LED lights for the fill and backlight. I set these up in a typical 3 point lighting configuration but augmented this with another Litepanel LED light when required. I decided to use only the Voigtlander lens as it gives exceptional performance in low light with the Panasonic.
Of even greater surprise was how close you can get with the lens and remain in focus (less than 30cm) perfect for extreme closeups.
There were 3 dance sequences for which I fitted the litepanels with gels, a different colour each time for effect. Finally I set the camera at its lowest point for the actor to appear from 4 different positions into the scene for effect.
I used the tripod loose head so that I could follow the movements, adjusting the friction wheels to give a smooth action.
Some ideas, for example changing the colour balance of the LED lighting although worked could have been as easily created in post production.
Team: Great team everyone throwing out creative ideas to try. There is a lot of improv on screen even though the script was closely followed visually much of what you see was thought of on the day.
Unrest (Short Film Drama Unit)
Filming: 14th to 15th March
Director: Listya Widyasari
Location: Kinson Cemetery
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses Used: Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95; Nikon 20mm F2.8
Used the H Frame Dolly Track for the opening and ending sequences. Filming was problematic throughout the day with the changing weather conditions. The morning was extremely foggy which created all kinds of exposure issues. I made the decision to film when at all possible with an exposure of F5.6 or smaller to give a wide depth of field to allow for focus changes during the camera movement on the dolly track. I used a more open aperture when shooting closeups or when the camera was tripod mounted.
In retrospect it was a mistake to film in the foggy conditions, something to be avoided whenever possible or to use artificial lighting to over come the overexposure effect caused by the sky being bright in all direction in effect shooting into the sun. Next time I will recommend finding shade and avoid filming against the sky, which in foggy conditions would be featureless anyway.
We also had issues with sound to which we attributed to faulty equipment. The sound in some recordings was poor to the extent that we had to dub over some of the video clips at the end of the shoot. In retrospect I also suspect we were experiencing problems with the camera regarding exposure and focussing as the final footage was definitely not up to my usual quality and disappointingly had to be used in the final edit.
Team: Great team everyone worked hard to produce this film overcoming poor filming conditions and equipment faults. Actors also worked hard one having a bad cold at the time, but as they say the show must go on.
Drama Short Film
Unrest (Drama Short Film)
Filming: 7th and 8th March
Director: Norman Gregory
Location: Parkstone Cemetery and All Saints Church Branksome
Camera: Canon C300
Lenses Used: Canon 24mm to 105mm, 200mm, 50mm
Unrest short film was shot extensively using the Libec Jib and Dolly and apart from some cutaways using the Tripod every shot included some movement either tracking or combination of tracking, panning and tilt. Some of the shots had to be shot into the Sun I first tried to use the reflectors to light the actors faces but the angles could not be achieved so I used the Litepanel Lights.
I thought carefully about the depth of field for each of the shots as it is impossible to focus while self operating the camera on Jib and Dolly, so for big movements I went for a small aperture to give greater depth and for less moving shots opened up the aperture to give a shallow depth of field while also considering whether it was appropriate for the scene. That is did I want to reveal or hide the background.
It was a very sunny 2 days, shooting early in the morning or late afternoon gave the best light but time constraints meant that I had to shoot with the Sun directly overhead, which meant finding shady locations or using the Litepanels as fill lights. This was mainly successful but not 100%, I would have preferred not to film during these times.
Rushed through the setup of the Jib etc. in order to catch the early morning light and mist in the trees, would have preferred to shoot the entire Drama using this light.
Sound was problematic and lost us a half days footage, so I suggested that we would connect the microphone direct to camera and adjust levels using the cameras settings. This worked well and resolved the problem of poor sound quality.
Official Full Version
The Man Who Fell
Filming: 4th and 5th March
Director: Kelly Soulioti
Location: My Garage
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses used Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95; Nikon 20mm F2.8
Shot mainly on tripod either fixed or loose head. Some shots handheld but not too many of these as shooting with wide aperture so focussing was problematic.
Shot the Drama in 2 halves basically because of the lack of space but also the lighting for each scene would differ dramatically from the other. I used the DEDO Lighting and 1 Litepanel led light for the real time scenes and used the Litepanel LED Lighting for the recorded or Hologram scenes.
The Voigtlander was used in the main fitted with a Cokin Filter Holder. I used the Blue gels in the kit for 2 of the Litepanel the other without. I also fitted the Panasonic with a filter holder and Cokin filter Blue 20A. For the opening scene I used a Cokin MASK 345A and operated the aperture from fully closed to fully open to create the iris effect.
Worked really well as a team. The shoot progressed really quickly and by the end of the day some 84 shots were achieved. Space was very tight but with careful planning and everyone positioning themselves to be most effective this did not cause too many problems. Sound was an issue there was a mysterious technical fault where an electronic buzzing was heard particularly loud near the lighting, so we guessed interference but we discovered that by just touching the microphone this buzzing would go away for a while.
Filming: 25th to 26th March
Director: Beatriz Delgado Mena
Location: Student House in Winton
Camera: Canon C300
Lenses Used: Canon 24mm and Canon 50mm
After a test shoot I decided that the best lenses for the shoot would be the 24mm and maybe the 50mm mainly due to the location and light levels. On the actual shoot I rarely had reason to move away from the 24mm lens as I was shooting hand held for all the shots it was just a matter of moving the camera closer for close ups and shot variations. The only time I changed lens was when I wanted to reduce coverage and avoid the crew and kit appearing in the scene.
Day before the actual shoot the Director sprung a major change to the lighting setup, which while I was initially sceptical about having filmed something similar before using rapidly changing lights, which really did not work on this occasion worked really well. I think this was due to the relaxed changing of the colours whereas on the other shoot they were changed too quickly.
In addition to the main lighting setup I added 2 practical lights, the Christmas Tree and an angle-poise lamp on the table (fitted with a red gel) to specifically light the gun. I expected to get the Bokeh effects from the tree lights and I used this to bring into focus the syringe hanging from the tree in one scene. The Directors choice of lighting was inspired by the 2009 film Enter the Void. We made cardboard gel holders and assigned crew to rotate the different colour gels in front of a window recesses litepanel led light changing colour in sequence every 5 seconds to simulated an external neon sign. Setup a DEDO Light in the windows recess fitted with a blue gel to simulate moonlight or streetlight illuminating the wall at an angle. I also positioned a DEDO in the doorway to replicate the same moon/streetlight coming from a hallway window. Finally in the final scene a red gelled litepanel was set into the hallway space for the exit scene highlighting a message on the wall.
Used depth of field changes, dutch angles and hand held camera movement to add interest to the scenes and represent the actors mindset in this performance. Stood on Peri cases to give height to the camera, particularly when the actor was sitting or laying on the floor. In 2 scenes positioned the camera on the floor for dramatic framing which worked particularly well for the final scene as the actor exits through the doorway.
Filming: 16th March
Director: Ian Hunt
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses Used: Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95, Nikon 85mm, Nikon 50mm, Nikon 20mm
I decided on using this location from photos that the Producer supplied and while I felt this was an excellent choice the natural light on the day caused some issues.
At the start of the shoot the sun was directly overhead with this changing over time until the point that the Sun was coming in directly through the windows, which caused some exposure issues.
Another issue I’d overlooked was with mirrors. One whole wall was made up of mirrors, it was a challenge to film and not show the camera in the shot and there where also some light reflections that were unnoticed until post production.
The shoot was planned for 4 hours and there were times when it seemed we would go over, which of course was not possible. Without this time constraint I probably would have filmed more sequences for post production.
I used the 20mm lens for the wide shots for the commercial and for the cloning sequence which was later discarded from the final edit. For the closeups that is the makeup scenes I used the 85mm and 50mm. Although I had some lighting with me the litepanels from the previous days Drama shoot these proved to be underpowered to compete against the strength of the Sunlight coming through the windows. To work around this problem I moved the camera and subject to get the best light although I was fighting continuously against the high contrast light coming through the very large windows. Closing the curtains cast a bright yellow light across the subject so this was not an option.
I made one use of a slider for the reveal of the picture scene.