Right now we are in pre-pro for some drug advertising for Bristol Myers Squibb. The casting is being done by my long time casting director Stephanie(who also produces sometimes for me). She casts in video for me because I like to see how well the talent can act. I canÔÇÖt just go with a face from a still. Will they be able to play the role? Steph and I work out a role to play for the casting and sometimes do a pre-cast from cards. That way we can maximize the time we spent with the talent on camera. After she completes her casting day, the shoot is uploaded to a website so that the AD and I can pick out selects.
Stuart Hart of The New Cruelty is the crack producer on this job. HeÔÇÖs extremely detailed oriented and not beyond getting his hands dirty scouting and triple checking the location before we get there. Stuart has hired location scout Mark of WhereÔÇÖ bouts. Mark has culled his files to find us some locations based on our initial discussion. This helps us narrow down what we want before he goes out and physically scouts the job.
Well,we are in a big daylight studio on a big sunny day but that doesnÔÇÖt matter because the set is dark and my only sun is to come from the large HMI I set up. A fine school room set was built by Micheal Bednark. IÔÇÖm not a big set person because I like to move around and try different angles but this was much easier than going to a real school. We could control the light and shoot at normal hours rather than at night or on the weekend as a school would have made us do.
TodayÔÇÖs location is in Brooklyn. IÔÇÖm using 12k HMI to simulate the sunrise. I work with Hot lights because I want to instantly see what the effect is of the light as the actor moves around. Also, I think the quality of light is cleaner from these lights than from strobe. Photography is all about the light. I love to light a set. IÔÇÖm very into motivational light. I want my light to feel that it is coming from someplace real. Maybe IÔÇÖm too sensitive but when I see a movie in which the lighting is unreal I canÔÇÖt get into the story. Maybe thatÔÇÖs why I donÔÇÖt like situation TV comedy. The sets are almost always lit flatly so you can see the actors face at every turn.
For todayÔÇÖs shoot, IÔÇÖve pre-lit the living room for several set-ups. We had to bring in a truck mounted generator for power. Sometimes I feel like we are doing a small movie and maybe we could if I swapped out my Contax for an arri. I shot this with my Contax 645 adapted with a Phase back.┬á I love the lens on this camera and prefer the brighter F-stop.┬á Today we are tethered to the computer but many times (particularly with the Canons) I am shooting to cards to upload “contact sheets” periodically.
We are having some awesome weather here in the East. The nights are cool and the days are not too high. You can feel the seasons changing. ItÔÇÖs one reason I like the Northeast. September always fires me up to re ÔÇôexamine things and get back to work. Currently, I am working on a re-design of my website with my web guy, Chad Portas. Chad has been taking care of my website for many years. His first design got noticed by PDNÔÇÖs Photography annual. In my currently running version, I have pop-ups that are written to give you an idea of how I work. When I write those pieces I do it in a way to make it feel like I am describing the photo to you directly. When I first started taking my book around I loved sitting down with someone and describing my work. This website enabled me to do that. But itÔÇÖs time for change. We currently looking to make the images larger and get a cleaner interface. Here are some of ChadÔÇÖs designs:
This is the one I like:
Do you know that I have never met Chad in person. We carry on all our dialog thru emails and phone calls. I liked a website he did many years ago and we got in touch but never personally met. ItÔÇÖs working out so well maye we should never meet.