I knew I had to do it sometime, and I was dreading it.
In this best-of-all-possible, wired/multimedia/rich-content world, photographers are being asked to shoot motion in addition to stills. What? But I shoot decisive moments and artfully crafted tableaux! Video is outside my comfortable bubble!
Then two friends of mine, a husband and wife who have written for television for years, asked me to be director of photography on their new project: a trailer for their screenplay. I read the script, a noir thriller with a bit of horror and a darkly comic edge. Not my bright, poppy commercial work, but the kind of thing I love to watch. I signed on. Forget getting your feet wet; this was total immersion in the deep end.
I began with research and testing. Then the lighting design from the ground up. Then the look and feel of the footage. Then came the immersion: 25 long days of filming, some of the best working days I’ve ever had. Distilled to the two minutes below, whose every second I lit and shot. I also worked as second-unit director on all the B&W segments of the trailer, creating the scenes and directing the actors in addition to handling the lighting and cinematography.
And I realized: You know why people make violent movies? Because, in part, they are a lot of fun to make. It’s pretty mind-blowing to capture a room being lit up by machine-gun fire or bodies being being buried by car light.
I’m omitting the film’s and actors’ names at the request of its creators, who are still editing it. It’s going to be great, and not for the squeamish.