Equipment List: 

Budget: 200 Bucks

Camera Dept: Canon 70D + Panasonic GH4

Main Lens: Sigma 17-50mm + Canon USM 50mm

Lighting: 2 Tweenies, 4x2 Kino, Road Rags, Gel Scraps, some C47's. 

Purpose: To light some badass stills, and direct a loose story line for a possible film. 

Hard Start: Noon

     Our first location was inside Shannon's house in Hampden. The majority of equipment was already unloaded, so we took our first half hour scouting the indoors (Shannon was cam op and resident, so less of a scout, more of a tour). Our Hard stop was 3:30 to move to next location, so we locked down 3 scenes, leaving about an hour to light and shoot each setup. 

Note: Lighting with windows and a shifting sun midday posed a few challenges. Having a solid flag and a thick black sheet made all the difference, giving us the ability to block natural light. 

Scene 1

Our first setup was standard. A spotted tweeny acted as a warm edge light for Andrews face. We snuck a Kino to the ceiling and let it fall onto his face and shoulder (Right side). We loosely replicated a still we agreed on, and ended up with this result. We were fortunate to have great art on display in Shannon's house already. It matched our aesthetic goals and made framing a bit easier. 

Scene 2

Moving to the kitchen was where we realized the true power of blocking light. White walls bounced natural light every which direction, so we started by cutting windows, and worked up a simple kino motivation from the back. This setup was pretty quick and dirty, but we knew the excitement lied within the next scene. 

Scene 3

The same pattern usually occurs when you fall into the lighting groove, and I believe this happened during our last setup. We sat Andrew on these authentic wooden stairs, and softened a kino to start for a Key. We dragged the two tweenies upstairs and assembled one directly above Andrew as a scrimmed hairlight. The last tweeny shot across the back wall as an accent we were all really excited about. That shot, accompanied with 3 Dominos Pizza's, definitely boosted morale before moving to our outdoor location in the city. 


Scene 4

We knew we had about 1.5 hours of clean golden light to work with, so we started shooting immediately when we arrived to the overpass. Shannon had Operated a majority of the indoor scenes, but we decided to assemble 2 cams for coverage and variety for the exterior shots. The shot list for the outdoor scenes were pretty loose, accompanied by general ideas. 

"Kara, get in the drivers seat. We're going to drive while Andrew sprints across the Lot". This is where my favorite shot of the day happened. 


Scene 5

After daylight vanished, we regrouped and decided on our night scene. Seeing as though we had a huge open space, and very little outdoor lighting options, we had to use our resources strategically. The original plan was to blast the headlights from my 98 civic into Andrew as our main source, then accent the area with emergency flares. Needless to say, I think the results reflected our decisions of placement. 

And that's it. My solace came in the form of great coverage, enabling a film to be a product of this shoot. In the edit came liberty to try new ideas with blend modes and such. You can check that out and the full film in the link below. 

Enjoy the video at

Also, check out Shannon's site and all of her amazing work. She is a talented cinematographer and editor. Hoping for more collaborations with her in the future.




Joel Flora