The Higgins, “Free Like Love”

Factoring in 41 years of inflation since Woodstock ’69 LOVE has somehow managed to stay free in Canada suggests, The Higgins, in their first single from their second album, Dreamers Like us, which is scheduled for release in Spring 2010. [media id=33 width=600 height=330] Official music video for “Free Like Love” by The Higgin. Directed by multiple award-winner Stephano Barberis and produced by Arkadia Pictures Inc. Scroll down for a technical lighting summary of the setup. Lighting Summary: We rigged the stage for cinematographer Ron Williams C.S.C with a 4×8′ softbox above the band. The rig consisted of 3 blondes and a frame of 216 diffusion. It was built with pipe and burtons from a goalpost allowing it to “pendulum” down so the angle of light would be less overhead and more in the eyes of our talent. Due to the weight of the rig our goalpost consisted of three 20′ schedule 40 pipes (1 1/2″ Aluminum) joined together into a triangle formation using Modern Studio Equipment mini-truss brackets. We cranked the rig up in super-crank roller stands (12.6′ max height). The wheels on the stand allowed us to roll the entire rig closer to the camera to make the lighting more frontal for the closeups. Of primary concern to Ron was beauty lighting for the band’s two female musicians. In addition tot he softbox over the stage we filled from over the heads of the crowd using a 10k fresnel through a 6×6 frame of half grid cloth. We used solid blades and flops to cut most of the spill off the crowd so it would project over their heads into the eyes of our band. There was also two tungsten units on the ground through diffusion frames to fill from below the stage in front of the band because that was the direction they would look down at the crowd. These units were hidden from camera between the crowd and the stage on the ground. Technical Notes: If doing a similar rig consider using a specialized truss lifting support from the theatre/live event industry in place of super-crank stands. They are usually load rated much higher then super-cranks and some of them can go upwards of 20′ in height which would be a huge asset if the stage was any higher (compared to 12.6′ for a super-crank stand). Also consider using real truss for less sag across the span. We used ropes and pulleys from the truss of the studio to safety our rig but if you didn’t have access to a lift to get up there you’d certainly want to make your truss more rigid.

Arkadia Pictures: Doc Walker/Greg Hanna 35mm

We have discovered two more videos by premiere 35mm country music video production company — yes this is probably our 15th one with them — Arkadia Pictures the collaborative duo, director Stephano Barberis / producer Alex Galanis. As with all of Arkadia Picture’s beautiful country videos, much of the magic in the cinema is brought out by senior Technicolor Creative Services colorist Gary Shaw in a 2K film to digital transfer session. The details are extracted from the 35mm work print. The end result is delivered digitally to the TV networks. The film latitude and the extensive digital timing allows us to get by during the shoot with more available light and less time consuming setups then typically on a feature film shoot. This helps offset the huge time constraints of trying to cram an entire narrative story and live performances into a single days shoot. [media id=24 width=425 height=245] Above: The charming (dare I say sweet) “If I Fall” by Doc Walker — cinematographer Ron “Rocket” Williams presiding. Below: Another timeless combination…girl’s and power tools!  Greg Hanna – “It’s a Man’s Job”: [media id=23 width=425 height=245] The first was filmed with an Arri 435 by Rocket and lit with a 6k HMI Par and some custom string lights. The background was a 20×20 painted backdrop suspended on location in a barn. The second video was filmed by producer Alex Galanis himself using an antique Arriflex 35 film camera with a rotating turret of prime lenses. We shaped available light with grip gear and did not require a movie generator or HMI for our interiors to produce a quality video on a tight budget

H1Z1: Zombie Flu wraps

[singlepic id=166 w=450 h=320 float=left]The Zombie Flu reaches Vancouver with a recent horror  film, H1Z1, by director Tim Lok. We filmed extensively in the forest out on Pipeline Road with a few scenes around downtown Vancouver. Shot on RED Camera by DOP Randy Che we had to maximize our production value with minimal equipment for what was predominantly a night exteriors shoot. The production was self-funded by the director. We couldn’t afford condors or use any of the typical large area lighting we would have wanted. Instead, we pulled it off with a 12k honda diesel “hog” generator, a couple of 2.5k HMI PAR, 1k JEM BALLS, and some 750 watt SOURCE FOUR PARS. The heavy fog was accentuated by backlight/crosslight from our HMI. The campfire fill was a poor-man’s helium balloon light. It was created by suspending the Jem Balls above our campsite location on a giant 30′ menace arm/mambo combo built from schedule 40 aluminum pipe joined together with a Modern Studio Equipment boom kit. We could have flown the Jem Balls with rope and pulleys from the trees,  but the menace arm allowed us to easily reposition the light close to our frame for coverage and was quicker then climbing up in the trees to set ropes (we had to wrap and return to the same location over several weekends). The lanterns radiated outward from the centre of the campsite creating a warm glow from the set and leaving lots of shadows on the outside. We struggled for exposure on our background from our 2.5k HMI (we needed at least a 6k for the area we were trying to light) so we had to fill in the near background in places with the Source Four Pars. They were punchy enough but had to chase the camera around depending on which direction we looked. For scenes that took place without a campfire we raised a 6’x6′ Bounces into the air and filled it with an HMI so the fill would be more directionless (emanating from above the camera, rather then glow outward from the center as it did with the lanterns. [nggallery id=4] These sweet photos were taken by stills photographer, Mike Mander of sublimephoto.

Underslung Red Camera Peewee/Jib Rig

Behold, a RED Camera underslung on TALCO’s Porta Jib standard. The picture may be old, but we thought it looked neat enough to post. It’s turning into a busy summer. The dolly belongs to Peter Reynolds and is an Italian made version of Chapman’s Peewee Dolly. It crabs and has an excellent hydraulic boom movement. Notice how we have triangulated the legs on the dolly (front wheels square at 90 degrees, back wheels parallel at 0 degrees) for a smoother dance floor style move — a trick we learned from Peter himself. On the subject of old photos, here’s another one of the Italian peewee dolly in action for us.

Feature Film brings Iran to Vancouver

[singlepic id=19 w=320 h=240 float=left]Update: Principal Photography is complete and new photos have been added below. Here’s a few photos following the first weekend of shooting the second half of Persian Director Ellie Fox’s feature length film “Under the Apple Box“. The first half of the film took place in present day Vancouver but the story is interwoven with a dark past following a young girl, Leila, who grows up in Iran as a non-muslim orphan captivated by the seductive imaging power of photography — during events preceding the Islamic Revolution — known as the ‘birth of the muslim nation’ — where the child’s innocent exploration of artistic photos leads to a controversial judgement and subsequent exile from the muslim world. For the second half of the film we have been working primarily with Persian and other middle-eastern child actors. Cinematographer Randy Che operates his privately owned RED Camera with Zeiss Super Speed Prime MK2 lenses. We use Tobacco filters on the lens and water based haze from a Radiant Hazer with strong window light sources to create the sunny yellow tones of Iran while on location in typically overcast Vancouver, BC. The film showcases authentic clothing and decorations which the director collected on her recent return trip to Iran following 15 years of exile.  We have been particularly Impressed with child actor Jane Lowery who is making her acting and feature film debut as the young Leila. Working with young children is nothing new for Director Ellie Fox, who’s  short film, ‘A Flower In The Sand’ screened in the 2005 Cannes Festival Short Corner Selection. The gallery for Under the Apple Box below will be expanded as more pictures are posted from the “Iran” portion of the shoot. Most of the photos below take place in “Vancouver”. [nggallery id=2]

Rumi, “Nevermind” Music Video

EMI recording artist Rumi of Clairvoyant Pictures has posted his new music video for the song, “Nevermind” — about an Isreali and a Palestinian romance not to be (until the end of course). The artist wanted a Brooklyn loft style theme to the video so we filmed at the Ironworks building in Gastown which hosts many a music video performance. The lighting was conventional music video style with a key through a 6’x6′ light grid frame. Smoke, backlight, etc. Single kino flo tubes were mounted vertically along the back wall. We did build a nice little pipe rig for our Source Four Par backlights. They were framed in the shot which and encouraged to flare with the ‘streak filter’ on the lens. The rig consisted of a 12′ length of Schedule 40 aluminum tube fastened to a support beam using our adjustable C-Clamp kit from Modern Studio Equipment. Picture a regular c-clamp split into two parts, each with a pipe coupling so they can slide to any width, and then bite down onto the pipe with set screws. You can watch the video below: note: we only did day one so don’t blame us for the nasty reflections in the condo high-rise shots, they did most of the inserts on day two run-and gun style around downtown Vancouver adding an available light/home grown aspect to the video. Format was 4k RED Camera. [media id=14]

The Higgins “Second Hand Car” posted

Award winning director Stephano Barberis posts  facebook notes on several music videos, including one we did with his production company Arkadia Pictures, for a country music video artist trio – The Higgins. UPDATE 2009:  The video has been disabled for embedding (probably by the label) UPDATE 2010:  It’s been reposted in HD and can be embedded again, here it is below: [media id=13] And here are some photos Stephano had posted which happen to show off some of our grip gear: Above, our Modern Studio Equipment pipe boom kit (menace arm), which we built into a 14′ length using Schedule 40 Spec aluminum pipe. We placed this on a mambo combo stand with add on studio wheels. We use this thing on just about every music video we do because it is quick to adjusts with ratchets and glides around on a studio floor with ease. Cinematographers love it because it can easily boom soft light in close to the performers face for flattering sex appeal guaranteed to make their agent’s (and groupies) pleased. You can also see the GI Track we laid for the dolly. This is the cadillac of track because it is rigid and all the parts, including the capping we ride on, is replaceable with bolts and screws without having to ship the whole unit back to the the manufacturer at great expense to us. The track is sturdy enough to lift 2 or 3 lengths connected together at one time for quick repositions, which is always important for the high speed shooting style of music videos. The photo below demonstrates a lighting setup by cinematographer Ron Williams CSC (the rocket) utilizing several 20′ goalposts and a duvatyne teaser to slow the front light off the background. In this particular shot we keyed the performers with a 12’x12′ frame of Lt. Grid Cloth using 2 10K Fresnels. We wanted the biggest softest light we could create and the largest distance from the background to let it fall into darkness.