LDD case study: preparation meets execution
entry no. 19
Every project we do feels like the next evolution in work. I think as creatives, we all feel this way. I guess with the Gossip project; it feels this way because we worked in new territory and succeeded. It's just a great feeling seeing our team work hard, to be appreciated, work with great talent, and to see it all composed together into a film we're incredibly proud of.
In this project, the overall goal was to showcase the band and an idea, gossiping. Within that theme, our Creative Director, Ross Theisen, developed it in a playful way that would let us move through the song in a more specific manner and let the band do their fair share of acting alongside the Gahanna Jefferson Theatre Department. He developed the idea of gossip playing out in an 80's, 90's, and modern-day era, symbolizing that gossip always exists in one way or another.
This created some fun problems to solve. Filmmaking is all about solving interesting problems, and anything era oriented has it's hurdles. The biggest here was finding locations that matched our era, Wardrobe, and matching those looks with lighting and camera aesthetics. Having these obstacles let us choose our team pretty quickly, as we knew who would be trusted and fit on the project. The art department took priority with Ross collaborating styling duties with Maggy Mogan. She led the way in hair, make-up and styling choices for talent and the band, accompanied by a few trusted stylist.
The styling made scheduling a bit more tricky. Still, due to Maggie and Ross's organization and communication style, they kept the day moving ahead of schedule and had a fully engaged theatre department. Until this project, we typically keep talent to a minimum for efficiency and being transparent lack of directing a large group well. In the past, we have failed in small ways with larger groups, creating some nerves leading to this project. Upon wrap, we found all the talent engaged, cooperative, and fulfilling for us as a team. Gossip has been one of the most significant examples of growth for us and a peek into what we can start to do more of in the future. A huge thank you to the Gahanna Jefferson Theatre Department and their instructor for such professionalism.
In considering all of this, we wanted to match a production team that could move several pieces of gear from place to place, keeps all our lighting looks organized, and do it quickly. We built our team heavy on lighting with Trevor O'neal, Trent Bourke, and assistant Noah Hines. These three all embody organizations, understand how we light for post-production, and communicate exceptionally well, freeing up many decisions throughout the shoot.
With it being a full band project and having a large group of talent, we used more than our typical lighting kit, pairing Kino Flo Select 20's, Astera Titans, Quasar bi-color, Arri L7, and a Source 4 Leko light. It was a solid variety of soft to hard lighting. These lights are all nice because they have specific values we could dial in and build from there to match color and keep color grading simple in post-production.
Day one, we worked with the band shooting specific sections of the song and dialing in our looks and technical details of the lights and the filtration. We started with Modern-day to light the brightest scene first, keep the band's attire simple and to pre-plan our harder setups while knocking out the more straight forward aspects. We used all but the Asteras for the modern-day, and lensing we added in a Streak filter to give that trendy flare to the scenes. The L7 and S4 combined as rim lights on the band as well as flares into the lens.
Moving on, we worked into the 90's look and pushed all of our lighting from one side to create more contrast and used backlighting to overexpose a bit. Also, we paired the glass with a pearlescent filter to exaggerate the glow from highlights. The only thing we wished we had done differently was to add haze; however, the sprinkler system was fully functional and unable to be disarmed, so we had to exclude that for this project.
We saved the 80's look for last and used all the lights for this one with the Asteras in the bleachers shooting up the walls for an exciting light show. For filtration, we paired the pearlescent and streak filter together to glow and flare the exposed bulbs, creating a unique look.
In each look, the band did a stellar job playing the part from look to body language. We planned on only finishing the full band aspects on day one. Still, with wrapping that two hours early, we moved into shooting some additional ideas DP, Josh Emerick, had for individual member shots, within the story. It set the tone for day two.
All in all, this film took a tremendous amount of work in prep, but in execution, it felt relatively easy and fun. We love music videos and the challenges they present, and lately, the work we've been attracting has had challenging ideas that have kept us sharp. We're excited to see what types of projects "Gossip" draws for us, to work with the LDD team again and to see everyone moving forward.
You can watch the full video below. Let us know what you think!
Ross Theisen | Director/Art Director Josh Emerick | DP/Editor/Colorist Maggie Mogan | Lead Stylist HMU + Wardrobe Trevor O'neal | Gaffer/Grip/Programmer Trent Bourke | Best Boy/Electric Noah Hines | Production Assistant Luis Bazan | BTS Video
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