Astra shoot a few months back

A few months back we shot two films for Astra Jewellery. What a huge day it was! Trying to get two, 2minute films shot in a 10hour day was full on, especially as the main male talent wasn't available until 3pm! The purpose of this blog entry is record what I learnt from it.


1) Production Assistants are irreplaceable.

Corey - dream Production Assistant

Having planned out the day in half hour increments, it was imperative I had accurate time-keeping on set. Corey was incredible. Along with keeping me on track and meeting the new talent every 30minutes, he had a calm demeanour that completely put me at ease. Which brings me to my next point...

2) It's OK to find MY crew.


Meaning; booking people based on how their personalities will balance on set is GOOD. Not just good but perhaps necessary. In order for me to work to my best abilities, I need calm people around me. I wish that my creativity weren't as fickle as this but unfortunately I am too sensitive! 

3) Nothing beats natural light - but know how to use it!

Corey lights our runner, even from a greater distance it was impacting.

I'm used to shooting in natural light because I don't have any other lights. But what I've only recently discovered is the importance of the flecci. I've often used one, but not considered it imperative. As in, if I'm in a rush and think about it just as I'm leaving, I wouldn't turn around and grab it. Big mistake though! In order to get that beautiful backlit, sun flare look I always aim for, I need a different light source on the subject's face! SOMETIMES. This is subjective remember. But boy, did it help. 

Me and Jono trying to believe it's warm as we all freeze our buts off!

Me and Jono trying to believe it's warm as we all freeze our buts off!

4) Bells and whistles are not imperative.

This is the Sony A7S - and yes, that is a dirty old glide-cam. But that there, is Jono. And he knows how to USE THEM. TANGENT: Now Jono and I are totally different in how we approach our creativity. When I look at his screen on the camera, I see all the info displayed, all the zebras on and focus highlighting; but I can't see the frame. That's how he shoots and he knows how to look past them when he needs to. It enables him to be accurate and I guess frees up his thinking, knowing that all his t's are crossed. I love this because I am a no-info person. I don't want to see anything on screen other than my final image. Which interestingly, might be why I find it hard to let go of the flat, S-log look in post, as I've accepted on set that that is the look; I grow to love it. Grey is whimsical! I enjoy being able to trust that the image is "correct" and I can focus on the frame. I just ask him to switch the info off when I need to see it. END TANGENT! 

Back to the point: On that glide-cam we got some beautiful images. When you're watching a film, do you stop and say oh that was definitely not shot on a gimbal, no way. Probably not. I think, oh that was a nice smooth shot, oh that was handheld and matched the emotion of the scene etc etc. Now I can't use the glide-cam as I explained in my previous post, but I love how it looks when used. Most people use it for wides, moving through forests and the like. I love pushing it to a shallow focused frame and wrapping around the subject. If you can nail it, what a great image! Looks as good as any gimbal! Not when I'm operating mind you.

The Sony was a treat, new to me though. I took it out to shoot some B-roll on the lunch break but couldn't figure it out. I have since had some time with it and really appreciate it. It is light-weight and easy to use (now). So really, on set we had a tiny DSLR camera, A glide-cam and a flecci. And it was great and looks great. End.