Posts Tagged ‘Behind the scenes’


On this blog, I’ve written many times about the explosion of use for the DSLR cameras ( Canon 5d Mk11)  being used for high end productions.  From such shows as Saturday Night Live, House and numorous commercials, this trend has been growing rapidly.

At the forefront of this explosion is Shane Hurlbut ASC member. I’ve directed you to his blog several times, and this is another perfect time to do so with his post about the shooting of Act of Valor, just released in theaters. Shane and his crew shot all of the action sequences in AOV with the 5d. Take a look at this great post to read in detail of the shoot, including 132 behind the scenes photos.


I can’t wait to check this film out.

Shanes rock’n post: http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2012/02/22/act-of-valor-reinventing-the-action-genre/


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We started our Learning Tree shoot in a class room situation at their offices. I’ve shot several times in this classroom, but we did it a little differently this time. I’ve lit this room several different ways, bouncing heads into the ceiling, soft boxes off camera, HMI’s punching through the windows, but this time I opted for hanging Kino Flo’s from the ceiling, skinned with #250 diffusion.  The client specified they wanted a very nice pool of even soft lighting. For all you grip fans out there, here is my advice for hanging Kino’s from drop ceiling situations. I originally was going to use a scissor clamp, since that’s what they are designed for, but upon my pre-light day to test these out, I discovered not all drop ceilings are treated equally. The scissor clamps did not fit on these ceilings. I opted to mount baby plates on some 1×6 boards and slide them on top of the frame by removing the panel. A much better solution since the weight is now distributed over two of the frame bars, instead of just one. This worked out beautifully. It also keeps the head a few inches taller in frame, which was critical for these low ceilings.

Baby plates mounted to 1x6 boards

Our stage 10

Next, we went to a studio situation. Well, this is even better for control if you have the option. We had a rather large shot list to try and get as many points of view as we can with these scenarios. Shooting on a large cove would allow this. I wanted to surround the talent in the tables with soft light on all sides. We mounted several heads on speed rail for the cove walls, and punched in 4 more heads through a large silk for the foreground. This worked out beautifully. The only trick was to keep adjusting the power output for the narrow depth of field shots (F4) to wider depth of field shots to around an (F11). Assistant Hugh did a fine job sprinting around the cove to adjust power settings though.

Notice the jib for the camera. Certainly not necessary for a still shoot, this is for the smooth flowing video shots. Although, since we were constantly changing angles and heights, it was great to be able to do that on the fly with the jib, as oppossed to re-adjusting the tripod legs all day.

We were able to shoot at the swanky Quixote Studios in Los Angeles. Right next door, were the standing sets for Criminal Minds. Great fun to go explore their sets since they were on location

Wacky Stephanie doing her thing

Hugh doing his thing????

Wardrobe stylist Annett

How the talent get pampered on set

Results of some pampering

Beautiful model

Client and crew shot

Thank you Learning Tree!  Looking forward to next time.

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We’re just off a shoot for The Beverly Hilton. I feel very fortunate to have been asked to photograph such a historic hotel. This is one of Beverly Hills Iconic hotels. We did three long days of lifestyle and architectural shooting. Although very cold at times (well at least I wasn’t the one in the bikini ) and some quite long days, I had another great time.

These are just a sampling of some behind the scenes photos. We’re in the process of retouching the group of images. I certainly will be posting the final images soon.

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Thank god for fun clients! I always have such a great time shooting at Learning Tree International.
Learning Tree is a leading worldwide provider of effective management and IT training.
The concept of these shots was that you can take their classes “anywhere” including your home.
Some of the challenges in a shoot like this are,  that we’re pretty limited to the talent sitting in front of a computer and directing them to act like they’re actually engaged in what they are supposed to be doing ….learning. The client will strip in images on the computer screens later.
Secondly, for this shoot, finding the right home that had what we are looking for. We needed clean, simple decor not too distracting , yet with style.  Also, this home worked out beautifully technically that it had a lot of available light coming in, which we augmented with our lights. I love lighting this type of scene where my aim is to make it natural, but still give it some shape with a directional feel to it.
It also was so spacious that I had lots of room to control the narrow depth of field.  I wanted to concentrate the viewer to the student at the computer and have the background identifiable, but out of focus. You need a good bit of space to accomplish that.
For shooting models sitting in front of computer screens, we have more fun then should be allowed. 


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