Lazarus Brewing Breakdown - Part 2.1 - Production Day 1
This is Part 2 of the Lazarus Brewing Breakdown, where we'll go through Day 1 of our shoot.
You're stepping into Part 2 of a multi-part blog breakdown of this commercial we did for Lazarus Brewing - Click Here for Part 1. This post is going to focus on Day 1, as the post would be way too long if we did everything in one go! Plus I have more room for pictures now ;)
Day One - 3am
We've finally come to the first day of the shoot - I spent the night before packing gear including my Chimera Pancake, some audio gear, my Zeiss Contax set, and the Alexa Mini. I woke up way too early (like 3am) to catch my flight from Bradley to Austin, and thankfully slept almost the whole way there.
Flying with gear can be scary at first, but thankfully I've never had any issues. Everything delicate/mission critical (Laptop, Drone, Camera, Lenses, Etc) goes in carry ons, everything else like cables and clothes gets checked. It's often worth paying the like $15 for priority boarding so you can ensure you have overhead space.
When I landed in Austin around 10am I promptly picked up bags and headed to get some breakfast tacos with my producer Denis, and then picked up some snacks and drinks for the shoot days. You should always have snacks and beverages around for crew.
We left the grocery store, showered and got changed, and headed to the rental house where we picked up our final gear kit -
- 1 Amira EF Mount
- 1 Sachtler v20 Tripod
- 4 Anton Bauer Batts/Charger
- 1 Joker 800
- 3 650w Fresnels
- 4 Baby Stands
- 3 50' Stingers
- 1 DF50 Hazer
- 1 Dana Dolly
- 4 C-Stands
- 1 Combo Stand
- 1 Matthboom
- 1 6x6 Frame
- 1 6x6 Ultrabounce
- 2 Combo Stands with Lollipop Grip Heads
- 2 24x36" Flags
- 4 20lb Sandbags
- 4 35lb Sandbags
- 3 Furniture Pads
Once we had signed all the paperwork and made sure everything was there, we headed to our location for the rest of the shoot around 4pm - basically a large empty warehouse type room with some pillars in it. Obviously the first project was loading all the gear out of the car and getting our stands staged and lights ready, and I started running our hazer to get some atmosphere floating around our large room, which quickly started to form beams through the windows as the sun came down.
We ran the hazer intermittently for the whole rest of the shoot, including the brewing and the party - this creates an atmosphere which helps diffuse light, and also adds cool opportunities for light beams on hard sources.
As far as rigging the camera goes, I had Anton Bauer Cine-Batteries on the back of the Mini, and an EF mount on the front. I ran my Genus Bravo follow focus on 15mm rails, and ran my SmallHD 702 off the top handle. The Mini EVF was mainly used for controlling the camera.
Scene One - The Blueprints - 5pm-6pm
The first scene on the schedule was the team going over the plans for the brewery. They had made a cool table out of an old door and two sawhorses, which we moved to the middle of the room to put our newly found beams behind them. In order to create some depth and help them pop off the background I lit them with a Joker 800, which is an HMI. You can read more about HMI technology here. Long story short - it's a really really bright daylight source, but it's very small which means it's a very hard source. By shooting it into the 6x6 bounce I was able to make a much softer source.
I put the key at a 45 degree angle from our talent and a few feet out, and put the camera on at least a 45 degree angle on the talents other side - this downstage keying creates contrast and drama in the image, where if I shot from the same side as the key the image would be really flat.
Overall this scene probably took about 15 minutes to get lighting where it needed to be.
If I remember correctly I was mainly shooting on my 28mm and 50mm for this scene - they tend to be my go-to focal lengths with the Contax set. Once I had picked off a few wides I swapped to the 50 and had the guys start pointing at specific things and flipping pages for our tight shots.
Scene Two - Marcus Interview - 7pm-7:45pm
Once we had some decent coverage of them going through the plans we transitioned to setting up our first interview (and taking a brief pizza break). David our grip arrived around this time, with Richard the sound op following shortly behind. The period from 6-7 was spent slowly moving lights around while everyone ate and we ran the AC, so it wasn't our fastest setup.
In order to make sure we didn't have any issues with sound we ran 3 redundant systems - slating each take, running scratch audio to the camera, and jamming timecode. Richard provided his little box for jamming timecode and wireless scratch audio into the Wooden Camera A-box, and we provided a slate! We also ran Lav and Boom mics on every interview.
With interviews for a video like this you're balancing two big things - making them cool/dramatic looking, and making them inviting/friendly people you want to like. This led to the decision to have everything relatively filled in, and to mix warm/cool color temps in a way that was very subtly keeping things feeling friendly.
I was initially a little timid about heavily featuring the beams in the interview setups, as I was worried the sunlight was going to change and we were going to get screwed, but Marcus had a short chunk of text and was confident he could nail it, so I went for it! We had him sit on this old luggage chest which we placed on a furniture pad to help kill noise. For a key light I took that Joker/Bounce combo and make it into a booklight by adding a 6x6 silk hanging from the top of the 6x6 frame. When the joker hits the bounce it turned into a big source, and the silk allowed that source to cast a nice diffused light that would fill the room. We initially had some issues with the Joker flaring out the lens, but throwing a black flag in there killed that nicely. On top of the key we added a 650w Tungsten behind him on the same side as the key - this gave us a double hard/soft source that was both tungsten and daylight. Camera WB was at 4800k for the mixed temps.
Filmed with the 28mm and 50mm again on the Dana Dolly - I believe it was 10ft track we had.
As far as running the interviews, everyone had their scripted chunks of dialogue, so they would usually peek at their sheet and then deliver their lines to someone on the client side who was sitting in as a face to talk to. We'd run takes until we had a few solid options, and then move onto the next chunk.
Scene Three - Matt Interview - 7:45pm-8:30pm
Once we had Marcus in the can we moved on to our brewer, Matt. Given that we had one room it was a little tough thinking of something that wouldn't look overly similar to Marcus, so I switched us to the other side of the room, far away from our pretty beams and windows. We added some background props in the form of grain bags and brewing tools, and gave him a folding chair.
We flipped his eyeline to create some variety between him and Marcus, but we kept the general lighting setup the same so that they would feel consistent. We used the hard/soft booklight/650, but obviously on the other side of the camera. The only other thing we added was a second 650 - which was behind Matt and offscreen frame right. We shot that 650 onto the grill and bags to help cut them out of the background a little bit. The audio setup remained the same as well as the focal lengths and general plan of attack. Overall it probably took us 20 minutes to change setups.
Scene Four - Christian Interview - 8:30pm-10:30pm
Matt breezed through his lines quickly, and we let him and Marcus go home and sleep while we transitioned into our final setup for the night - Christian's interview. This was the big opener and closer to the piece, with a lot of content in the middle. We moved everything out of the way, and set up his interview in the middle of the room. Lazarus had rented the cool chair and brought all the books, chest, and lamp. Since we had a practical lamp in the shot, I wanted our key to feel motivated off that lamp - as if it's possible that the lamp is casting the light on Christian (though it isn't).
My original plan was to put our Joker inside my Chimera Pancake, but unfortunately the rental house gave us the wrong adapter, so instead I used my Chimera Mogul Base Speed ring, which I believe had a 1k tungsten bulb in it at the time. The pancake is basically a big china ball with a black skirt around it. The skirt can be rolled up and velcro'd in place on each side, so you're able to decide exactly where you want light spilling. We keyed Christian using that pancake on a boom arm.
Once I had the pancake up as key, we pulled the second lamp (which you can see in the gallery below) out of the frame, and threw a line dimmer on the smaller lamp and pulled it down to just shy of being off. I played with somehow utilizing the booklight, but found it unnecessary. We did leave some overhead string lights on just to give a little ambient fill to the room since we didn't have a big bounce spilling everywhere. I then added another 650 off behind Christian frame left and gelled it blue to add a little kicker on his shadow side. One thing to note is that as you dim tungsten lights they tend to warm up as far as color temperature goes, so I shot at 2800 to keep everything from getting way too warm. I think the other lamp was only gelled half CTB, but relative to the dimmed tungsten it was plenty blue. Changing from Matt to Christian's setup took us about an hour between set and lighting changes.
Once we had lighting dialed in we recorded the opening and closing lines, dollying in for the intro and out for the outro. After we had those two scenes locked we moved the Dana Dolly more in-line with what the framing was like on the other interviews, sideways along Christian.
When we wrapped it was around 10pm, so we only ended up about an hour over our rough interview schedule (not bad!). We quickly took down anything that had any tipping potential and packed up the Alexa, but we left all our lighting and grip at the location for our early morning start Wednesday, which we'll talk about in the next blog post... COMING SOON!
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