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Expression meets Depression

midwest weather project

entry no. 11

Expression of art meets depression.

Many artists can relate with the experience of feeling a sense of high after creating something, only to find themselves on a low when things aren’t actively happening. We painted a picture of Midwest Weather as a character through Jordan and Tizzer’s physical representations. Jordan’s character is dealing with the stressors of being an artist and not finding satisfaction, while Tizzer is the vision most people have of art and the happiness it brings. We focused on mood and shaping light for this project. This all worked together to create the unpredictable brand of Midwest Weather.

The two ideas we are dealing with, feel polar opposite, but actually go hand in hand. Creation, has a warm feeling. Designing these scenes, we felt we should amplify available light and feel natural. We kept the scene with fairly neutral in tones and this let the paints vibrant colors jump a bit more. To add drama to the scenes, we negative filled talent towards camera and pumped a lot of haze into the background. This small touch let us bridge the gap between each character’s scenes.

Moving into Jordan’s scenes, we play with less natural light and introduce a surreal feeling through cold blues and touches of yellow with higher saturation but more dramatic negative fill. These scenes were meant to feel isolated, cold and depressing. This character is dealing with that lack of direction, external factors that halt the creative process and the unknowing low that many creatives feel. Between the two scenes we used blue and yellow as our primary tones to keep the vision consistent.

We introduced another female character into the mix and used her as a subliminal break up to the edit on the scene transitions. We shot a mixture of color lighting for these scenes that were all pulled from the paint tray used for the artwork. We thought this would be a nice way to not only break the film up, but tie all art together. Her character symbolized a mixture of the effects of relationships and how being creative can affect them and be affected positively and negatively. We worked through several emotions to create this feeling.

From a production standpoint, we simplified our tools and spent more time really sculpting our light. For the natural scenes we used one KinoFlo select 20 to amplify the natural light at 5600k and then two 4x8 floppies as negative fill. The rest was all set design to eliminate distracting obstacles in the background and adding the right amount of haze for mood. The dark scenes were existing light fixtures and swapped with 3200k bulbs for the yellow, and then balance the KinoFlo Select to 5600k, with an increased saturation to 70% and a hue degree of 150 for a deep blue. In most of these scenes, the light was ranking from behind or to the side of the subject.

We shot this project on the 1dxmkii and kept the cinematography on a Sachtler Ace tripod for smooth cinematic motion. For a few of the more emotional shots, we switched to a shoulder rig to add a more real movement. Nothing jumps off the pages like gimble work, but the motion is simple and elegant and that’s what we felt complimented the track the best.

We birthed Midwest Weather with "AM" and feel very good about helping them set a visual foundation. We hope you enjoyed this look into the project.


Josh Emerick | Cinematographer, G&E, Art & Editor

Ross Theisen | Director

Taylor Tigner | AC + Gaff

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