Is this a challenge? Filming 9 people in LIVE action scene. at

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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:47 PM   #1
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Is this a challenge? Filming 9 people in LIVE action scene.

Hey gang. I just thought I'd throw out a little riddle on technique.

By the time I see any real response to this thread the shoot will be over, but I've been presented with an interesting challenge for a shoot tomorrow.

I have a client that wants to shoot an interactive IMPROV scene with 9, yes NINE, actors in a large room. Windows on 3 sides.

Ideally they would like for me to light it in a natural appearance so that any extraneous lighting doesn't call attention to itself. Also they would like to have quality audio from all 9 potential sources... realizing that they won't be at equal levels of course, but still high quality dialog that can be processed in post if needed.

Ok, within this shoot I need to gather and convey emotion from each person, but there will be a primary focus on a central character.

I'm planning to do this as a 2 camera shoot and AT LEAST a 2 mic shoot... maybe 4.

The REAL trick is this: They want to have LONG shots of uninterupted dialog between ALL 9 characters and it's up to me to gather interesting and high quality footage... all the while not including shots of studio lighting and boomed mics OR the other camera...

So what do you think? Sound like a real challenge? Is this an impossible scenario? Oh don't EVER say that... They ask, I do.

But my question is... How would YOU do it?
Matt Gettemeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2004, 09:19 PM   #2
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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You are going to need to light from the ceiling! If they are improvising, there's not a lot you can do to create truly theatrical lighting, but you will need to provide exposure. A series of softlights on the ceiling (Kinoflos would work nicely) to build up the level, but keep them a distance from the walls. You could set a series of backlights above the windows to give some separation to the actors and create a little motivated light. A few practical light sources around the room might be nice (yes, even in a daylit room!) like table lamps, to add some contrast. You will likely have to gel the windows, both to color correct and knock down the exposure. 85ND6 is probably a good call, depends on what the view is outside the windows (will it look at a directly sunlit view). On the day of the shoot, you could have a couple of handheld soft fill lights at low intensity that could be carried alongisde camera to add a little eyelight or fill in dark areas as needed.

So it's a good-size prerig, but that lets you shoot in any direction on the day without fuss. Obviously this won't be dirt cheap but then again--you did ask how I (i.e. any of us) would do it!
Charles Papert
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Old June 15th, 2004, 10:55 PM   #3
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Of course it's not impossible!

Besides lighting techniques, I think it would be possible with two cameras as long as you generally know what's going on.. I guess since it's improv there's not much to know, but you said there was a primary character. I would have one camera staying almost primarily on them, and have the other camera wander, picking off close-ups and wide shots when called for (eg. reacting to the other people in the room). You should get pretty good coverage that way.

So, I'm guessing the shoot's over by now, let's hear how you did it!
Alex Taylor is offline   Reply

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