This shot hails from FAILSAFE my last film in 2016. The classic top down shot of a reporter organizing papers containing a very controversial story. This film was shot as the last of a monthly narrative series on the youtube channel The Control Room.
Starting off with lighting, I knew I wanted this scene to feel uncomfortable in some way. My first instinct was to go with a cooler tone, however because the following scene takes place in a cool white daylight, I decided I wanted a more sickly, warm color scheme to contrast what comes next. To get the color I wanted, I used spring yellow gel over tungsten bulbs of a fatboy (2x4 Kino) rigged directly over the table (behind the camera). I also believe I had the white balance set to around 4000K to push things even warmer.
For composition, FAILSAFE’s director, Jon Levert, and I landed on the idea of surveillance feeling shots to help push the sense of eyes being on the reporter as he works. This top-down shot really emphasizes the importance of the story he is putting together while maintaining the feeling of eyes from a higher power. I also allowed the camera to fall off the table at the top of the frame just to create a little bit of depth to really drive home the idea that there is deep importance to the papers on the table. This angle was achieved simply with a C-stand armed out with mafer clamp attached to the top handle of the camera (picture below). It does not get more indie than that!
I also have to mention that I cannot tip my hat more to the production designer, Ania Bista. She blew me away with every frame in this film even after only being signed on the night before principle photography.
See the full film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o95Y2Uay-l8
See the BTS here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL4_ivsTSOM
Camera: Sony A7sII
Lens: Zeiss B speed 28mm