Sam

"Sam" a short film directed by Ari Blinder is about a man who is struggling with his real identity, being born a man but truly a women. 

We shot this project with a very limited budget but got really great results. I found a great motel in Green Port Long Island called "Silver Sands Motel". All vintage furniture, wood paneled walls and a very pink bathroom. The owner was nice of us to use it for the day for basically nothing. 

The idea for this short started off to be very complex, A man who walks into a motel room and sees a women in the bathroom, she is undressed and teasing him with looks. She slowly starts put clothes on, make up and eye lashes. We're not sure is she's a prostitute, wife, girlfriend or if the guy just as an obsession. By the end of the short the man walks into the bathroom and comes out a women. He was staring at himself the whole time and just seeing the beauty in what he could be. 

Lighting wise for the bathroom, there wasn't much room for anything so I kept it really simple. I changed the bulbs on the practical light to two 75w added some opal and black wrap to cut off the walls. I occasionally added a bounce board for some fill. 

For the motel room we wanted it to be super dark and just have the bathroom light be source. I put a LiteMat 2L over the character standing in the doorway skirted to keep it off the beds and let the bathroom light do the rest. Like I said we didn't have much, basically just bulbs and two LED lights. 

Shot on the Alexa MINI and Leica R lenses

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Sleep Tight

My first feature. Really grateful to be giving the chance to shoot a feature and especially one that had an awesome story line.

"Sleep Tight" is a thriller/horror movie directed by Orr Bortman. It's about a young girl, Susie, with some major social anxiety who has to get all of her wisdom teeth taken out. To get comfort she signs up for an online support group who's main focus is sleeping issues. She quickly befriends the creator and host of the group "sleep tight". Over the days the host starts to get attached to Susie, stalking not only her but also her grandma. 

This was a super low budget feature, we didn't have much in the lighting department, a few LED panels, china balls and my homemade covered wagon. Thanks to my good friend Aj I had some grip gear including a dana dolly free of charge.

This was my first time using the Lite Mat 2L I had just bought for this project and it was a life saver. You can velcro, tape and whatever else you may want to do very easily. I definitely recommend having it as part of the lighting package, especially if you're stuck in a tiny apartment for 2 weeks. 

We used my Alexa Mini with the Canon cinema primes, I tried pushing for some Lomo anamorphics. Having the anamorphic 2:35 to really show the anxiety in the spaces, making her feel small in these wide frames. I felt that this project deserved a different feel instead of the standard sharp 16x9 look, but do to budget we just couldn't swing it. I couldn't be happier with what we got all said and done. 

Do to limitations with the dentist office we had we couldn't add too much light into the spaces. This is lit with a few house fluorescent lights skirted and made more direct. It also has that big moveable dentist spot light on her mouth, It was was too bright so I had to black wrap and ND it. 

Love this frame and scene, A lot of fun to watch this play out on camera. We set up the Dana dolly on two combo stands, ratchet strapped the plate onto the rails and pointed down. 

This is one of my favorites of the film, Shot with an 85mm lens with add macro extenders. A pretty difficult shot to get when the hallway is 4ft wide but we got it!

50mm f/2.8. This is inside a homemade tent, I had the production designer build some of it out of muslin so I could shoot light through it and get a natural soft warm edge. Lit with a 1k parcan on outside shooting through the muslin and a practical bulb wrapped in opal for her key. 

Grandma's house. 50mm f/2. This is mostly natural day light with the help from the Lit Mat giving her a harder edge and a bounce board tape to the wall to give her more fill. 

So this is my official favorite shot of the movie. A dolly shot starting from back moving in on her as she is fighting the pain of her recent wisdom teeth removal. The production designer did a great job with the envelopes, it really adds to the scene. I used an astra LED panel w/ opal to light the wall with two 2x3 flags cutting down on the spill and giving more of a strip of light. On her I used the Lit Mat w/ full grid and the egg crate to make her pop a little more. 

Hopefully not giving the ending away, this is when it really turns to the dark side. Lit with a practical on the floor (lamp falls on the ground), the Astra LED on the wall and the Lit Mat on her both with a little cyan to give a more ambient moon light effect. I didn't want it to just be one tone and have the orange glow fall off into complete darkness. I think its just enough without being to distracting. 

Meet Up

A short film directed by Mark Abramowitz about a young man who gets stood up at a bar but meets a loner outside who's asks for a ride home but ends up being crazier than expected. 

5 day shoot, starting with a process trailer ( uhaul trailer) and ending with a long night in the woods. Shot on the Alexa mini and canon primes.

Couldn't of done it without the help of my gaffer AJ DeSimone and my AC Ed Pages. Good dudes. 

Process trailer lit with a Litemat 2L covered with 1/4 grid. The stills below shot with a 50mm at f2.8 800iso.

The shot below is one of my favorites from the whole shoot. Lit with an LED panel on the left, flagged to keep spill off the house, keying the character on the right. On the right side of frame we had a par can for a more edgy key for the character on the left. Some cross keying. Shot at a f/2.8, 800iso 50mm

The woods scene was a little tricky with such little gear and a really small crew. Me, a Gaffer (AJ DeSimone) and an AC (Ed Pages). Luckily I was able to get an easy rig into the budget. This would've been hard with out one. The scene starts with them pulling up on this abandoned road where the one character pulls out a knife, drags the other out and brings him into the woods. Now with just us as crew these constant movements became difficult but we managed and got it done. I used a 2k open face with 1/2 CTS and some plus green for a streetlight effect. I would've done moonlight but with our small sources I didn't think I would be able to achieve the look. We had two moving Par Cans with 1/2 CTB, one mostly pointing in the woods right next to the scene to give some depth, the other was for a moon like edge when we needed some seperation for the characters and the dark woods. We had a fog machine to carry some of the light but since we didn't have a dedicated person to man the machine sometimes we lost the fog look. Overall I'm really happy how it came out.

24mm 800iso f/2

85mm 800iso f/2 (had a pizza box to give some extra fill onto his face)

These next two shots are the continuation of the woods scene. Here I wanted it to just be moon light and keep the street light in the background only to show the distance of how far they are. I Kept these shots closer so I could achieve a dark moonlight effect, very edgy. Lit with two par cans both with 1/2 CTB and 4500 kelvin. 

50mm 1000iso f/2

50mm 1000iso f/2 (a little fill from a pizza box)

Film finally developed

I've had 15 rolls of film, 35mm and 120mm, sitting on my shelf for the longest time. I usually develop my self but haven't had the time to do it all. I had the chance to stop at Unique photo in New Jersey and drop all it off.I have a epson scanner so I just got the negatives done and scanned them all myself. Its always nice when you get to see the pictures and remember some good times, I think thats one of the best things about film, digital is instant, film can hold memories for as long as you want and it'll be there when you're ready to find out whats in that roll. 

35mm was shot with my Nikon one touch point and shoot. My favorite camera, super reliable and really fun. 120 was on an ETRS Bronica 

(scanner does this annoying line across on some images)

"Dead Beat"

Short film "Dead Beat" directed by Jesse R. Tender. About a man who visits his dying father in the hospital after not seeing him for three years only to say things to him that he's been wanting to say his face every since his father abandoned him. Starring Mike Starr as the father.

Hospital room was really small and by the time we got in there the sun was setting making it harder to light with what we had. We also didn't really have much time to tweak lighting for each shot, but all in all it came out good. 

All the outside shots we added a 6x6 solid to get some negative fill. The sky was overcast so that little but of negative went a long way.

Hospital was lit with an Astra light panel in the corner of the room flagged off the walls. Originally suppose to be an HMI but do to space and how much the characters moved around we couldn't fit it in there and we weren't allowed on the roof, which would've been a life saver. I was trying to go for a really edgy daylight feel keeping the characters faces dark towards camera.

Shot on the Alexa mini (3.2k) with canon cinema primes (24,35,50,85,135)

 

Irreversible

Finished the final scenes of "Irreversible"

Top two shots lit with an LED outside the window and a covered wagon for the tungsten edge 

Bottom three were lit with the covered wagon and a small practical on the night stand

50mm ISO 1000 f/2.8

85mm ISO 1000 f/2.8

85mm ISO 800 f/2.8

85mm ISO 800 f/2.8

50mm ISO 800 f/2.8

Waiting for the Sun

Last year I DP'ed a short film for director Chris Eadicicco and it was recently was accepted into the Cleveland International Film Festival. Its about a soldier recently home from Iraq, who is seeing a therapist at the VA for the first time. Questions come up about his adjustments to home life as well as readjusting to civilian life. What he can't seem to admit out loud, continuously plays in his mind. 

Heres a few stills from the project. 

 

Irreversible

Started shooting a short called "Irreversible", directed by Chris Eadicicco. Its about a man stuck between choosing his wife and mistress. As he sits in the car thinking, he calls both of them to figure things out. 

Shot on the Alexa Mini with Canon CN-E primes

We didn't have much lighting or grip equipment. Just the HPS light I made, an LED panel and two 2x3 flags. I Used the HPS light for the street light key with the 2x3 flags to cut of the brush in the background and the driver side pillar, used the LED to give the right exposure in the background so the image wasn't flat. It would've been nice to have a 4x4 floppy closer to the car to give more of a dramatic ratio on his face. 

Here are a few stills

85mm f/2.8 ISO 800

50mm f/2.8 ISO 800

50mm f/2.8 ISO 800

85mm f/2.8 ISO 800

Alexa Mini Test

I recently bought an Arri Alexa Mini and wanted to test the camera out as soon as possible. I invited my friend scott over and we quickly came up with an idea that we could simply do with just me, him and whatever we could find in my apartment. We waited until the sun was almost gone and the clouds were giving us that diffused cold winter look. It was shot with all natural light and we also used the Canon CN-E prime lenses. Somethings are a little out focus, it was hard framing and pulling at a f/2