Last week we had a location test-shoot.
Our production group had to have our auditions pushed back a week because not enough people responded to our call for actors (1 person). So we had to push back our shooting days. So with the equipment all booked out for the weekend we were going to shoot on, we decided to take advantage and do a location test shoot. We rocked up at Euan Paterson (our DOPs) house and it was beautiful! Big, spacious, up on a hill with incredible views.
The downside of course being that with the view it had lots of windows which can be a struggle for lighting.
So we got right to it, unpacked the ARIs and the LEDs and set them all up first in Jakim’s room (the new name for the magician). The lighting in his room is so important because it demonstrates his eccentric nature and is the biggest element that separates his life from Jason’s life. It creates another level of contrast between the two characters so we had to get this right. The set up took longer than we planned because we were mostly thinking and experimenting. However with no location test-shoot it would’ve taken hours of the day of the actual shoot that we just don’t have. As I don’t know all the lighting names off by heart (yet). Click HERE to check out a site that I found extremely helpful for recognising and naming them all.
What we did: (in order from left to right, top to bottom)
we placed a small handheld LED behind the bed facing up with a blue gel over the top to add a colourful/contrasting backlight. A panel of fluorescents above the bed to add some more contrast. The next photo shows the LEDs we used……..
We had a basic 3 point lighting plan to work from and then adjusted accordingly. At the front of the room we had one ARI with 2 purple gels over the top. To the left of that we had an LED with a red gel over the top (we found the red gel overpowering which is why we chose the adjustable LED). Behind the bed we had a small portable LED with a blue gel over that pointing upwards and above the bed we have another LED that just added more light because it’s meant to be daytime when filming in his room. We will then be filling the room with satin sashes and drapes and anything that is detailed, bright and beautiful! #breakthebudget
Below is a photo of the room with one of our crew in to see how the light reflected off them. Incidentally he happened to have no top on because it was extremely hot in the house with no fans. But also our actor will be wearing minimal clothing aswell so it also worked out well for seeing how the light jumped off his skin.
For Brody’s room it was more simple (the new name for the fitness guy). I wanted the contrast to be severe so we made it a more tungsten light which symbolised his bubbly and carefree attitude. He is a jock so lighter colours were more appropriate.
We set up up the LEDs as below. We just took the ones from Jakim’s room because we’ll be doing all the shooting of Jakim’s room first, then all the shooting in Brody’s.
So it turned out like this… The first photo of how it looks in a plain room. The second one being how it looks when hitting and bouncing off a human.
We also found a very nice surprise in Jason’s room, the guys room we’re using for it already had plenty of trophies, medals and sporting paraphernalia that we will barely be buying anything else for his room! The budget is saved.
We then tested sound in different parts of the house. Naturally it was more crisp in the rooms that had carpet, but in the hallway and dining room where there was just wood, the sound travelled and echoed. To combat this we will be bringing mats and blankets to absorb the sound. The only thing we didn’t test was lighting in the dining room that is surrounded by windows and light. This is mainly because we will be filming in that location at night time so if we did setup a lighting plan in that room, we wouldn’t be able to test it properly.
The location test shoot still took all day and I’m very thankful that we did it and that heaps of our team came to help out (the gaffer, production designer, director and DP).
Afterwards the DP and I sat down to do the storyboard which was much easier when we were at the actual location. We discussed the psychology behind the shots we were to use (e.g. a low angle to show the character has power in that scene, a single shot to show emotional separateness and over the shoulder shots to show some form of connection). We mainly focused on the single shots and over the shoulder shots. At one point in the script Miraja is trying to form a connection and get Jason to rub cream into his shoulder (which was a stunt to stream to his audience). Miraja is in a frame by himself but as soon as Jason accepts, he steps into the frame into an over the shoulder shot and connection is established through that.
Another fun shot I decided to use was when Brody first goes into Jakim’s room, he spies on him first to check the room out, but Jakim notices him as if expecting him to be spying and it’s meant to be quite an intimidating beat. We played it out with the camera and with Henry (the production designer – in the first photos of Jakim’s room) and made him be distracted until the panning camera was centred on him then he would look up expectantly. Here are the stills from that.
So lots of thought went into each and every shot and I’m yet to do a shot list but it’ll just keep getting better and better. I’m super excited to watch it as every single shot size, angle and movement is thought out and has purpose to it. Hopefully the audience will pick it up and get as excited as I am to watch it.