Thursday, September 13, 2007

my name in lights

tonight was the premiere of 'turnaround'. the theater was mostly full, which was encouraging; the director noted that when you invite all the extras and their friends, it's easy to do that. it's good advice: my high school choir director advising holding your first concert in an elevator, so that you can have a packed audience. [and it really was an 'extras showing' in essence; when they had all the crew stand up, i think there were three of us standing, though i know at least two who remained seated. not that that's saying much; we had about an 8-person crew total]

this was my first opportunity to shoot a feature, and even though it was a little low-budget shot-on-video strait-to-video for a niche market movie, i felt like notifying the american society of cinematographers when i was offered the job. and considering that when i saw the movie i directed at the byu student film festival, i spent whole 7 minutes in an upright fetal position, i was curious how i would take exhibition of my work.
it went well. and i took it well. it was actually quite fun seeing my work up there [i have to confess, it was also pretty cool to see my name at the start of the movie]. projected from a dvd on that large screen, the image was painfully pixely; we knew we would have focus problems with the confusing equipment we were using, yet there were some scenes that never seemed to have any plane in focus; and the colors were often inconsistent between shots within a scene. yet underneath all of that, i was often quite happy with the lighting. and doubly so when i remembered how grossly underpowered our lighting package was. it looks like as if we had lights four times bigger than what we really did. i'm working on updating my d.p. reel, and there are several shots that i'm planning on adding in.
how was the movie itself? i really can't say. i was too close to it, too involved to really think of it as a movie on the whole; i watched it from the same standpoint i shot it, bouncing back between remember what was happening when we shot a certain scene and critically studying the cinematography, analyzing what worked and what i would do differently were i to shoot that same scene again.
that's the surprise reason that i'm most eager to get my own copy of the movie; to see where i can improve and do better next time.

afterwards they were giving away posters and the cast was available for autographs, and i was glad that so many people lined up for it [enough that after waiting in line for too long i said heck with it and just had the producer hand me a couple from behind the table]. my date wanted one and had me sign it, and i think i'll give the other one to my mom; finally, her son's name is on a poster.
by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.



Em said...

You seem to go back and forth a lot between loving what you do, and wondering where it's taking you.
Kind of like me, only different.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeff, I did a google search for something (don't remember what now) and your name turned up somehow. I worked on some short films with you at BYU and I just got done as 1st AC on my first feature film, and boy was it nerve-wracking. We shot on the Panasonic HVX200 with a RedRock 35mm lens adapter. Not only was the Depth of Field much less forgiving than the 16mm stuff we shot in school, but since we had very few lights (ultra-low budget indie shoot), we were shooting F1.8-F2 as much as possible, making things even tougher. It's still being edited, but they tell me the footage looks sharp. What a relief. I would be interested in watching your online reel if you wouldn't mind. Shoot me an email:
-Kyle Wright

Anonymous said...

...that is, I would like to check out your DP reel if it is available online...
-Kyle Wright