Pure Religion - Shoot Breakdown
Sometimes you just need a break from big projects. I love working on involved shoots with lots of planning and lots of gear, but sometimes just doing something really quick can be incredibly refreshing - that was definitely the case with this shoot.
I attend the City Church in Springfield MA, and one of the things we consistently do is short trailers for any sermon series we'll have going on. These get used on Facebook to help build excitement and bring people in, as well as being used as a transitional piece on Sunday morning as we go from music into the message.
The idea for this piece came as I was working on an unrelated project, a commercial for a Brewery in Texas. I was scouting options for religious/historical looking artifacts, and hit up my friends at Westerman's prop warehouse in Worcester MA. They service lots of the big features that come through New England such as Ted, Black Mass, and American Hustle. They have tons of old religious-looking stuff in their warehouse, and I took some pictures and sent them to our pastor with a note that these might be cool for the next sermon promo.
It was serendipitous that I then found out that the new series was going to be called True Religion, based on the book of James. I immediately pictured this variety of old religious artifacts and the connotations various people have with them, as it begs the question of what "true religion" really is. Our pastor and I worked on selecting the verse from Malachi that we wanted to use as the voiceover, and I texted the man/myth/legend that is Robert Ricotta to do the VoiceOver. He did a killer job, and nailed the moody-borderline-creepy vibe I was looking for.
Now that there was a concept and we had recorded our VO, all we had to do was go back and shoot our "artifacts". I was already scheduled to go back to Westermans to shoot some product footage for the aforementioned brewery commercial, so the plan was to tag the promo shoot onto the end of that day. We ended up really cramped on time, and shot the whole promo in about 20 minutes. Mateo Diaz art directed the artifacts, setting up two tables with a variety of crosses, candles, books, and other odds and ends. I then lit the set with back/sidelight using a Westcott 2x1 Flex Light from LensProToGo.com, with diffusion on it. We added some haze for a mysterious atmosphere, and fired away with the Sony FS7 and 100mm Macro on a Benro Slider.
We then pulled out the old bible and found the verses we had from the VO - this stuff was all filmed using some funky close focus diopters on the 100mm macro.
Everything was shot in 60p 1080p Slog2 on the FS7 - I brought everything into Premiere and got the voiceover timed out for a 30s spot, then started playing with exactly how our b-roll would fit together. I graded everything using Lumetri - the general look was an adjustment layer with 2 LUTs on it, one of Lumetri's correction LUTs and an Impulz LUT, then individual clips were luminance tweaked using curves.
Once that was all done, we had successfully made a series promo in about 20 minutes of shooting and an hour of editing, and I think it came out pretty well! It was definitely a fun little aside from the couple big projects I've been neck deep in for the last few weeks.