Lighting up downtown Calgary

A true indie experience, last September we were in Calgary for 3 weeks working on a film with local cinematographer Aaron Bernakevitch. The experience re-equainted us with filmmaking outside of Vancouver, where the dream is still very much alive! In fact, local businesses were friendly and the city was inviting. It appears that without a lot of big productions in town, everyone was just happy to see us filming there.

We didn’t have an experienced locations department or any of the typical production support we are accustomed to from our hometown of Vancouver (a hollywood spin-off with a large production infrastructure), despite this we were were able to use our experience to safely create big budget lighting in a town that rarely got to see it.

Among our accomplishments: We flew a condor in front of the Bay at night in the heart of downtown Calgary. The production was able to get a water truck to make the streets shine for the shot, further enhancing the effect.

We did a stunt shot to simulate an actress’s drug high by using a man-cage attached to a forklift on a downtown street. A steady-cam ran backward framing a medium shot of the actress as she stumbled forward. Camera and talent both step seamlessly into the man cage of the forklift, we safetied them discretely, and it raises up 20 feet in the air giving the illusion that the actress is walking forward, then floating up as the camera stays seamlessly on her and the sidewalk vanishes as the building perspective raises.

We also built another process trailer from the ground up, something we seem to do on all our out of town shows. This one we organized a 24′ trailer towed by our producers pickup truck. We loaded our 10k diesel generator and two HMI ballasts in the back of the truck. Then we hitched up the trailer and built a scaffold pipe safety railing around one side of the car and the camera area in front. We outrigged one of our 2.5k HMI par along the drivers side window of the car and mounted a 4k HMI Par in the foreground on the deck by the camera position. We also mounted a pee-wee dolly for the camera platform so they could get the slow camera boom up shot from the grill of the car to the windshield as the rig travelled down the street.

About the author: TALCO