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.
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!
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.
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.