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Top Sekret No Longer! Behind the scenes theater poster shoot for Traveling Light. - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Top Sekret No Longer! Behind the scenes theater poster shoot for Traveling Light. [Jul. 13th, 2013|04:26 pm]
kyle cassidy
[Current Location |the antipodes]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Eisbrecher: Kann Denn Liebe Sunde Sein?]

Brian Epstein and Joe Orton walk into a graveyard....

That's not a joke, it's actually the setup of the play Traveling Light by Lindsay Harris-Friel (aka ms_violet) which I saw a few years ago while it was being workshopped and now it's in full blown production in Philly, directed by Liam Castellan (link is to a video of Liam playing Malvolio in the 12th Night, which is funny & you should watch it), opening at the Adrianne Theater on Friday, September 6th 2013.

The premise of the play is that the Beatles hired Orton (strangely brutally murdered at the peak of his talent author of "What the Butler Saw") to write a play for them and for various reasons, it's rejected. Orton and Epstein end up meeting in a cemetery and have the sort of epic conversation you'd expect two such great minds to have. It's a difficult thing to pull off, because first you have to be able to think great thoughts and then you have to think great thoughts like other people would think great thoughts.

Trillian and I loved the play when we saw it and I'm super happy that I got to work on the publicity photos for it.

When Lindsay called to ask if I knew of any epic cemeteries I was happy to suggest Mount Moriah and its caretakers were super helpful, especially Ed Snyder who runs The Cemetery Traveler blog.

We drove into the cemetery and up a side road which ended in a forest with stones in it. There was a perfectly secluded spot (the graveyard itself is very secluded, but I wanted a landscape that suggested intimacy, a place where someone could have a private conversation, so some overgrowth and trees were in the cards for us.)




Click to enlarge



You can see from Lindsay's behind the scenes photos that it's actually daylight when we shot this, which meant that I needed an initial exposure high enough to be completely black (which was about 1/160th of a second at f8 or f11) and then to fill in the things I wanted lit with flash. There are two flashes here, one a gridded spot on the two guys in front (Bob Stineman as Brian Epstein, Doug Greene as Joe Orton) and a second flash being held by Kyra Baker (as the police officer) in lieu of a flash light. (Why in lieu of a flash light? Because the flash has variable power and a flashlight would have been a constant we would have had to work around to make a proper beam.) So Kyra's light is coming from the side of the granite monument (Really? Yes. We're using a grave marker as a reflector) and the two guys are lit by the gridded spot. If you're wondering, I shot it with a Panasonic GX1 (currently selling for $249 on amazon.com) and the 40mm f 1.7 pancake lens. Mostly because I'm still trying to force the Micro Four Thirds format into working for me as a pro system.)




Photo by Lindsay, click to enlarge




The result looks a bit theatrical from the gridded spot light on their faces, which may or may not be desirable, depending on how they ultimately decide to go with the advertising. So I also did a more realistic version so there would be options. The play takes place (I may be paraphrasing) "When it is too late to be night but too early to be morning"). In the second one, Bob and Doug (who'd never heard of Bob and Doug McKenzie -- I'm dating myself I guess) are lit by the ambient light which I toned down enough with the exposure that it looks duskish.




Click to enlarge



We did a vertical and a horizontal, one for post cards the other for a poster. The setup on this is one gridded spot on the talent set at about 1/32nd power and one bare flash raking across the tomb in the back also at about 1/32nd power just to let it pop out at little. I had to fight myself, wanting to put a third flash behind them to give them a little rim light and pop them out of the background but would have created one of those "I can buy that their faces are lit up by a street light or car's headlights, but where is that other light coming from?" paradoxes that I always hate when I notice in movies. So ... all pretty simple lighting setups.




Click to enlarge




Lindsay blogs behind the scenes here.

The Facebook invite for the play is here.




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Comments:
[User Picture]From: moon_chylde
2013-07-13 11:05 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say that I always love your "how I lit and took these shots" posts.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-07-14 12:24 am (UTC)
yaay! thanks. it's always the sort of thing that i'm curious about when i'm looking at someone elses photos.
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[User Picture]From: moon_chylde
2013-07-14 01:34 am (UTC)
Meant to ask you, have you ever seen the movie Prick Up Your Ears? It's about Joe Orton and covers the Beatles and how he got killed. Gary Oldman plays Orton. It's a good movie.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-07-14 04:26 pm (UTC)
I have not. I know very little about Joe Orton, except listening to actors talk about him, and having seen What the Butler Saw. I know the vagaries of his life & how he died. but that's about it.
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[User Picture]From: inkista_
2013-07-13 11:43 pm (UTC)
Psst!.... 20mm f/1.7 pancake, (not 40/1.7).

Loooove that you're using the GX1 for this--even with the sync speed forcing smaller apertures upon you (sigh). BTW, The GX1 rumored successor, the GX7, is said to have a built-in corner EVF: upshot, you could use the EVF and the flash hotshoe at the same time (main reason I got a G3 instead of a GX1).
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-07-14 12:24 am (UTC)
20mm fo shizzle.

i've been watching m43 rumors like a hawk waiting for the successor to the gx1, was excited to see that it might happen in august or september. the ELF and the hot shoe ... joy joy joy. a 1/250th flash sync would be nice too, but i'll take what i can get.
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[User Picture]From: inkista_
2013-07-14 01:06 am (UTC)
Hate to say it, but you may need an OM-D (sync speed of 1/250, 5-axis IBIS, built in EVF and decent AF performance). Too bad you can't grab one of those for $250. (sigh). Or the Fuji X100s--1/1000s sync speed (leaf shutter), built-in 3-stop ND filter--you can kill sunlight with it with ease, apparently and have on-sensor PDAF. Why is it that mirrorless has all the features we want--just not all in the same camera? :/

BTW, if you wanted HSS; Oly flashes work on Panasonic bodies. The R ones have the Oly version of CLS and SU-4 mode. Panasonic has no version of CLS. (sigh). Oh, and if you have a Canon TTL cable lying around--you can use that on MFT. MFT/FT and Canon have their hotshoe pins/contacts in the same places. MFT/FT just has one less contact. Easier than finding an Oly/Panasonic TTL cable.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-07-14 04:27 pm (UTC)
Nah, I have a d800 already if I want a camera that big. The x100 looks nice & I considered it, but I have a fisheye and a 1:1 macro for my GX1, and I can put my 300 2.8 on it....

Hoping for an awesome gx7. hitting refresh on DPreview every half hour.
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[User Picture]From: inkista_
2013-07-14 08:04 pm (UTC)
Nah, I have a d800 already if I want a camera that big.

Ummm... just me, but if you add a viewfinder to the GX-1, the OM-D looks pretty comparable size-wise to the GX1 vs. a D800. But I hate the physical look of the OM-D. Prolly 'cause I shot an OM-10 for twenty-odd years and loved it to bits. To me, there's just something "off" about that viewfinder "prism" hump.

And yeah, about the X100 being fixed-lens. And the X-Pro/XE/XM/XA (or whatever the latest spin variant is) don't do the cool leaf shutter/sync-speed/ND filter thing. And the system's spendy/limited compared to m4/3.

I'm with ya, hoping the GX7 is the Panasonic answer to the OM-D. It's looking a lot closer to What I Want in a Mirrorless Camera. I keep hoping the dpreview RSS feed will spit the announcement out at me... but I think we're gonna have to wait until August.

Fisheye? Oo! oo! Is it the Samyang/Rokinon 7.5? I looooooove that lens! I keep trying to find excuses to use it. I love how it's roughly the same size as the 20/1.7 (not to mention the $250 pricetag).

Edited at 2013-07-14 10:28 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ladyblue56
2013-07-14 03:04 am (UTC)
Nice effects, very nice, turning day into night. Wow. I don't understand the professional jargon of how you did it but I am impressed. I do wonder how effects are achieved even if I won't be experimenting.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-07-14 04:30 pm (UTC)
I can explain easily.

Imagine you're standing outside, in the shade. Everything is evenly lit. Someone gives you a pair of sunglasses and things get darker. Then they give you a pair of clip-on's that go on over top of those, so you're wearing two pairs of sunglasses. Now, everything is nearly pitch black, it looks like twilight, although it's actually 4:30 in the afternoon. NOW they bring out a giant spotlight and it's super, super bright, and they aim it at something in front of you, and even through two pairs of sunglasses it's bright, and you can see this thing perfectly, but almost all the light you're seeing is coming from that spotlight now. That's how it works.
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[User Picture]From: ladyblue56
2013-07-15 04:07 am (UTC)
Thank you for the gentle description. It is a fantastic effect.

We saw Neil Gaiman in Nashville last Wednesday evening and I can't stop talking about it! Phenomenal event, got to meet him at the book signing. He was kind and gracious and charming. I feel bad for his poor hand but we treasure our signed books.
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[User Picture]From: hoppytoad79
2013-07-14 05:09 am (UTC)
Great shots! Color me impressed that it's possible to take pictures in broad daylight that look as if it's dusk.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-07-14 04:31 pm (UTC)
Not exactly broad daylight, we were in the shade, if we were in direct sunlight it would have been much more difficult.
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[User Picture]From: hoppytoad79
2013-07-14 06:40 pm (UTC)
Okay, amend that. Taking the pictures in daylight and making it look like it was dusk. I didn't know it was possible to do that, and I'm impressed by the photography magic that makes it possible. Y'all are wizards with all that!
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