Clowning Around

The blog has been relatively quiet for the past month as work piled up. Fortunately, in addition to the normal corporate stuff I also got to do some narrative work as well as a new documentary called Droppin' Pieces

A Real Clown Show

My three man crew headed to Harrison, New York located in Westchester County to shoot the pilot for a new web series that features a dysfunctional clown. (I don't write this stuff, I just shoot it)

We worked our way through multiple locations in two days starting with a local bar in Harrison.

Even clowns need an afternoon drink from time to time.

With only two hours to shoot we utilized some of the natural light coming through a large glass window as a key. Then we used some LED lights by Aputure to give our bartender a better key and our clown a nice back light. We're cutting a lot of light off the bar behind the bartender. There are some practicals running under the bar giving a warm kick to all those bottles.

This was a challenging scene to light due to the small space inside the bathroom. I'm standing just outside the room shooting over the clown's shoulder. We've got a 1K panel sitting inside a small window frame to the actor's right and my gaffer is Hollywooding another small panel across the actor's face towards the wall to the left of the actor. It was white so we were getting a soft spill off that to slightly fill in the shadows on his face.

In the middle of our second day we found this grimy looking little underpass. I liked this location a lot more than the originally location which had this actor sitting in his car on a suburban street. I think this setting can tell us a little more about his character and his motivations.

 I like to work with directors when trying to find a nice composition in an unplanned location. Unfortunately, for this scene, the director and producer had an argument which led to this framing. It's a shame because there were better angles available, but sometimes the best you can do is voice your opinion.

Another difficult bathroom scene. This was our final shot at the end of two long days. This shot starts as a tracking shot in a hallway and ends up here. The only available light in the bathroom were some lights above the sink which we definitely did not want to use as practicals, so we decided to bounce a 1K into the white ceiling. It gave us a nice diffused light that seemed more natural for the room and time of day.

The images were graded pretty heavily in Premiere. I started with a base clog to rec709 Lut, followed with some basic corrections for white balance, contrast, and saturation. I then applied a creative LUT to an adjustment layer along with Filmconvert and Red Giant Universe's Finisher plugin. Lastly we have a 2:35 letterbox.

I'll post the final video when it's available.