Here at MB we get the opportunity to help. Whether its finding music, or giving some inspirational thoughts. we always try and be givers of information. So we thought it would be helpful to speak about our process for a specific project. Whether you're just starting out our have been doing all this stuff before we were born, maybe it will still help. We hope.
everything starts here. Its were we everything gets on the table and nothing is left unsaid. It usually starts with some of our creative team sitting around a table discussing what we have coming up, and then begin pounding away at the creative side. We recently starting out on a Music Bed commercial or promo or whatever you'd like to call it. So we start with inspiration.
Going into the project the feeling was clear but the practicals were not. We were getting inspired by this one Spotify piece.
It captured the feeling we wanted. But we wanted to push it a little further into OUR culture. We have a different culture then they do. More business young adult types. creative, young, smart, and driven.
Our challenge would be incapsulating everything our service has to offer as a music licensing company (filter browsing, mood playlist, live chat, wish lists) all in a single 2 minute add. its a lot. So we came up with the idea of following a freelance filmmaker on his way to work, while on his way to work, he could use all the different features while he's looking for music for different client projects. bangarang.
After ironing out the idea, and how the elements would transition together. I started in on Evernote. Evernote is where my brain pours into. Its the best way to be searching for inspiration and to collect them into a single place. And it looks pretty sweet too.
This includes everything. Fashion, weather, mood boards, video references, technical specs.
A big reference for us was a video by Benjamin Loeb called "Ancient Mars". I loved the color pallette and the 48 FPS he was using. And the flatness of it.
After getting all the references we could find, we start developing into our production day. Where we were gonna hit at what times of the day. The types of locations we needed. We narrowed it down into 4 different location spots - a loft, bike riding (downtown Dallas), a train / subway, and a coworking space / agency.
Once we knew what we needed we just started making phone calls. Everyone has a lot of friends, and everyone has a lot of connections that you can pull on. I can count on one hand the times we've actually paid for a location. We just use our friends who are doing the same things we are, usually they want to help us out. So for this we pulled on our friends over at Stripes Agency in Dallas for the office space. As we started asking around for a loft space, turns out Stripes very own filmmaker Rob Martinez has a perfect one, not far from the office.
Location scouting pics
We knew we wanted our good buddy Jersean to be our talent. He's a local filmmaker/photographer that also happens to have a pretty great style. He also just encompasses what the film is about.
ON TO PRODUCTION
The thing that i'm still learning is that no matter what I do in pre production, not everything will go my way. There will be things in the shoot that just don't work when you thought it was a sure fire thing. But its you're job as a filmmaker to push through them, and also be you're best in the midst of them. There are countless things that come up on the shoot but on this particular shoot day it really came down to time, and crew. Or lack there of. We're a small company trying to do our best. But sometimes we gotta run with a small crew. On this film it was Me (christian) Max and Jersean. das it. In hind sight we probably could of brought some other people in, even if they were just there to lift some things. Always learn from you're mistakes!
We shot this film on our Red Epic Dragon at 6k with various lenses, but mainly Zeiss CP2's.
We started out our first day at our buddy Robs house. This is also were the film starts. The loft was a spacious concrete room with white walls on two sides. also a lot of exposed brick. The best part was this amazing morning light that we caught that shoots through the top windows. We brought a D50 hazer with us to haze the room anyways, but we didn't expect it to look this good.
The lighting setup we kept very simple. We Used the sunlight as some backlight (hazed). backlit is neck with a kino flo 4 bank, and bounced a Tweenie off of unbleached muslin 6x6. All the lighting that we do we try and keep it incredibly natural looking. Everything should be motivated. unless it just looks cool then it doesn't matter. :)
First scene down, we moved on to our next scenes. We only had one problem. The setup of this first scene took out all our morning light. We wrapped this location around 10:30 am meaning that the son was a little to high now. We made a call to just go on to the agency spot, then hit the train ride at dusk, and then hit the bike riding the next morning and try and blend them together in the edit to make them the same time of day.
Once we arrived at Stripes we went into our planned lighting setup, which was already planned out due to our location scouting.
The building that Stripes is in, is covered 360 by other buildings. So only at 4 or 5 pm would you get direct sunlight into the office. the office space also has no interior lighting, only natural lighting. It goes with their vibe and color schemes so its a nice fit. but we needed to compensate with some fill light. We picked a light side and a dark side of the room, and set up our kino 4 banks on the light side. The key is to create black somewhere in the image. We did this by directing light into one side, and subtracting it on the dark side. You can subtract light in a lot of ways, using black solids, closing curtains or blinds. Be creative! For this situation we did both. Closed the blinds and put up some floppies.
After we got the wide coverage we moved into the closeups. I find it easier when i go from wide to close. One reason being I always move my lights in for closeups. rearranging them and cutting them and squeezing them to look like what i need. A wide lighting setups most times won't and shoulnd't be you're close up setup.
With everything in the room being so reflective, I needed to subtract some light from Jerseans face in order to create contrast and focus on his eyes. We did this by moving one 4 bank to act as window light coming at him at a 45 degree angle. then keeping one 4 bank fairly far away creating a rim on his neckline, then from one side of his face at another 45 degree angle, setting up a simple floppy to subtract and bounce that may come anywhere. I found my self moving the negative fill closer and closer the tighter I was getting.
Wrapping at Stripes we now moved on to our last scene of the day, which was Dallas's Dart public trans system. Its completely unknown environment, so we striped away everything only took what we needed. So we had the Dragon with a top handle, and two lenses we could switch to. While packing a punch the Dragon is extremely light. Depending on what lenses you have on it, it will most likely be under 12 pounds. fairly portable for a cinema camera.
We got on a train that we new would cross paths with the sun, then knowing where it was gonna hit, we tried to place Jersean on that side, to create a nice soft sunlight. Everything we captured was availble light, no led's or bounces.