Lights, Letus, Locust

Three War Stories (and lessons) from the "Pink" shoot:

1. LIGHTS - On our first day of shooting we were at a small farm south of Fort Worth. Most of our setups were outside, although we did have one short scene to shoot in the house. This shoot had been planned for several months remember, but as I've said many times if things can go wrong they often do... Midway through the morning a TXU truck pulls up to the property looking for the owner (his name is being withheld to protect the guilty). :) I told the TXU guy he wasn't home and he proceeded to tell me he was there to turn off the power. Yep. Shoot planned for months. The one day we're actually shooting TXU shows up. To turn the power off. I love indie fimmaking. I tried to offer to pay the bill but he couldn't accept money. I then asked him if he could come back later. Even offered to "buy" him lunch. No takers. He went ahead and turned the power off. So, the shots we needed to shoot in the house... well, we did them guerilla-style with available light. Ended up looking pretty good though. ALWAYS make sure your location's electric bills have been paid!

2. LETUS - This was my first time to use a 35mm lens adapter. We used the Letus35 Flip Enhanced. What this does is allow you to use 35mm SLR lenses on video cameras (we shot on a Canon XH-A1 HDV camera). The footage you get with this looks amazing. Very, very film-like with the shallow depth-of-field. The thing is you have to remember to turn the thing ON before you shoot. By turning a small motor on it make the ground glass vibrate and thus creates the film-like images. However, if you FORGET to turn the ground glass motor on the footage looks like you're looking through a dirty window at it. Well, we forgot to turn the motor on twice. Bad thing was it was on two scenes with actors and we had to reshoot them both. One was MOS and the other did have dialogue. Luckily I watched dailies everyday, so I caught it and were able to shoot again. Just remember, IF YOU USE A 35MM ADAPTER MAKE SURE YOU TURN THE MOTOR ON. We're actually creating a label to put on the adapter to remind us in the future.

3. LOCUST - Okay, so we're shooting a scene in my backyard. It's summertime in Dallas. Behind my house is a fairly large wooded area. A small forest actually. I scouted it for the shoot several times and thought it would work great. And it did. Well, almost. The one thing I didn't take into consideration was the locust singing their tune. They were so loud that we almost couldn't hear ourselves think. We got the mic very close to the actors and so I think it sounds okay. Plus, the sound is constant, so I should be able to notch it out with an EQ. Or I can always ADR the scene, but that cost money. It's a good lesson to remember - ALWAYS check your locations at the time of day (and year) you'll be shooting - not only for light but for sound.


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and And speaking of, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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