Behind the Scenes: "Leave Your Mark"
This is a part of an ongoing series of blogs diving behind the scenes of some of our favorite projects.
Words we long to hear from a client: 'we want something that is more about the emotional side behind our product.' This was music to our ears when iTeach first came to us about doing a project together. iTeach is an incredible company run by some of the finest people we've had the pleasure of working with. From developing the story to finishing the final edit, we knew this was going to be some of our favorite work to date.
While concepting this story we really had to put ourselves in the frame of mind of a teacher. Thankfully Grant's wife, Emily, is a kindergarden teacher so she was able to offer us valuable insight into the emotional ups and downs of the job. We figured out that In the end, the ultimate payoff in a teacher's job was seeing your students succeed not only academically but also as people. We brainstormed the story and the script quickly came to life. We lucked out in casting our talent for this spot. Evan, the young man playing the student, is one of the more talented actors (young or old) we've had the pleasure of working with. What a fun, cool little kid.
A lot of the look of this spot was inspired by the look and feel of Ryan Booth's cinematography (shout out), specifically the natural feel and a handheld look. We knew that achieving a similar look would be the perfect way to tell this specific story.
We chose to shoot on the (new) C300 Mk. II because of it's 4k capabilities, high dynamic range, and beloved color science. We shot on the full range of XEEN Cinema lenses through 1/4 Black Pro-mist to give the image a soft glow but still keep the C300 Mk. II's sharpness. Almost the entire spot was shot using an EZ-Rig, with a few shots stabilized via sticks on a doorway dolly. We wanted viewers to feel like they are in the action instead of watching as a fly on the wall.
It was important for us to keep a very "natural" feel in this spot. Enhancing and emulating natural light was the name of the game. Our go-to lights were the Leko Source 4's and Arri M18's.
Here are a few select lighting diagrams that go a little bit more in depth:
In this shot we wanted the harsh shadows from the window blinds, and that bright, distinct light from the door frames to emulate the morning sunrise. We accomplished that by shooting a Source 4 with 1/2 CTB through each window. The rest of the light is just ambient daylight coming in the windows.
In the classroom scene it was all about soft, bright daylight. We wanted a setup that we could stick with on most of the shots in the scene. Since we had quite a few kid extras in this scene, it was very important that we had a setup that would be quick and efficient. Thankfully it was a overcast day so the ambient light from the windows stayed consistant. We bounced two M18's into a 12x12 ultra-bounce to give us our daylight. It surprisingly gave the perfect amount of contrast that we needed in the scene, and we ended up not even using any fill or negative fill while shooting. Extremely convincing daylight. We used one Kino 4 foot 4 bank bounced into some bead board to help give a little edge and separation on a few of the shots.