using limiters to maximize creativity
entry no. 22
I've always found limiters to be beneficial in creating projects. The name itself gets a bad wrap because it sounds like you're holding back, but I've found them to create more consistency and opens up as much creativity as I want within them. The "Old Friends" project took a very minimalistic approach to what many would consider a simple performance video and gave it a fresh look with a designer approach.
Upon hearing the track, the old-time vibes painted a picture of a multi-screen layout. The song fit the idea, and Ross already had an aesthetic from set design and lighting in mind, so I brought my unique touch through how we would shoot it, the shotlist we would need, and giving me everything I needed for a different edit in post-production.
Ross's general direction was to take Heavy Things practice space, a tiny room, and transform it into a wall of flowers. He had previously shot some promos and designed the artwork around this theme, so we built the video to match creating more purpose for it. This saved them money in location and let us focus on singular lighting, keeping our lighting package more minimal. We decided to dig a little deeper into the lensing department for a Zeiss ZF2 with 1/2 Pearlescent filtration, which created soft highlights in-camera. We chose this to match the old-time vibe and to feel like an old band TV show. All in all, it pulled a unique look, kept things affordable, and achievable with a minimal team.
For lighting, we decided on two different looks. The verses and bridge of Old Friends have a more moody vibe, and the chorus is warm. Again, Ross had already built two looks around the flower wall, so it was just matching those two looks and elevating them a touch farther. This would allow us to keep members in the same spot and to double each take with separate looks. Making these choices is always a big time saver in production and post-production for coloring.
In crafting the shot list, we decided to shot more compositions than usual and lock every shot off on a tripod. This limiter gave each shot a specific intention. Each member got 1-2 wide shots and 1-2 tight shots in each lighting look. In shooting this way, we take a bit more time nailing down the lighting and set up front, and then we can fast track each person through quickly. The variety of shots to choose from in post-production is where most of the creative decisions happened.
Before we started the project, we created a handful of rough frames to sample to the band in the rough cut and all, but one of them remained the same. As we worked through the song, we laid out all the chorus looks, and verse looks in correlating sections and from there pre-created cut points to place the frames. As we wanted to make the frames more random, we used verticle and horizontal flips and did cuts within frames to create endless edit options. In total, we only had 11 different frames for the whole project.
This wouldn't be one of our blogs without at least mentioning how we did the lighting. The room was very small with white walls so we started with adding two large 4x4 floppies, creating 8x8 coverage, as negative fill on the right wall. We used two Kino Flo Select 20's on the left frame. One was used as a key light for band and the second was a background light. On the left side of frame we used a Quasar 2' Rainbow as a back rim since we wouldn't need as much punch from this light. The last touch we added was a YongNuo 900 with 2 layers of 1/2 diffusion as a close eye light for Will's clean shots. Realistically a simple lighting set up, but still a lot for this tiny room. We chose the Kino Flo's as the front lights becasue we could program the color looks and the clean looks with the four pre-set buttons and for the quasar we would just take the saturation of the teal from 70% on the colorful scenes to 0% on the clean scenes. In addition the Clean scenes we used only the 1/2 diffusion on the Kino's and the colorful ones we used the 1/2 diffusion and the eggcrates for more direction of where we wanted each color to go.
This project is what we strive for, so often, simple ideas executed dynamically. There's nothing that re-invents the wheels, but it was about trying something slighting new with a simple production so we could craft up something we believe to be fresh and fun for a band we love. The Heavy Things guys are so trusting and some of the most top-notch individuals we've worked with.
Ross Theisen | Director
Josh Emerick | DP/Editor/Designer
RED Scarlet W 5k
Manfrotto 502A Tripod
Zeiss 50mm ZF
Arri Matte box
2 - Kino Flo Select 20
1 - Quasar Rainbow 2’
2 - 4x4 solid floppy’s
5 - Matthews c-stands
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