RED Dragon Commercial Part V / by Matt Mahoney

Today we're going to look at some pickup shots that we shot very quickly with our actress from the kitchen scene. She was available a few days after the house shoot and was so generous with providing her own wardrobe and makeup. We needed her to play a high school student on her way back from class. So she's walking home and using an application on her iPhone. It's the same app that she was using on her iPad in the kitchen scene. The idea is that she is using the app across multiple platforms and multiple days in order to complete a college application. 

So we had her bring two outfits to shoot two quick scenes.

1. She walks home from school using her iPhone and goes inside her house. 

2. She sits in a park using her phone while studying. 

I chose to shoot these scenes late in the day around 6pm. It's summer here in PA and the sun stays higher in the sky a little longer which gives nice light to work with because we weren't using any fixtures for these shots. I didn't have a chance to scout the park that we shot in so I found a tree that would serve our purposes and placed the actress so that the sun was at a 3/4 angle to how she was sitting. Here's a look at a frame grab of the wide.

The light at this time of day is soft and the sun was dipping in and out of the clouds. The idea here is that our actress is studying in a park and is able to use her app to apply for college, playing up the idea of the apps mobility. The wide shot here is underexposed, probably due to the fact that the frame I pulled was from when the sun hid behind a cloud. Here are some more frame grabs.

A bounce board is the only modifier at work here. I situated the board right in front of where she was sitting, not from the opposite side of the key (the sun in our case). This wraps the light around her face and allows the light to fall off more naturally.

You can see the light hitting the tops of her cheeks which gives a nice aesthetic yet still looks as we would expect it to look.

In the close up the bounce board was moved to camera left, you can see the difference it makes bouncing light from the opposite side of the key as opposed to wrapping it around the face like we did earlier. The bounce board just didn't fit in front her with camera positioned in the front as well, and I knew in the grade I could fix that. This is a good example of why it's a really good idea to become familiar with grading software. Once you become comfortable with the limits of what you can do in the grade as well as what your camera's limitations are you're armed with more knowledge on set, which can speed up the process and help you make your day.

Color correction and grading are two very different things and they should never be treated as a band-aid for sloppy lighting. I would encourage everyone to get the images as close as possible in-camera. Ultimately this will save you time in post production and make your clients happy. Which should get you hired again. Which is a good thing, right?