Technical Breakdown: Living With Type 1

 

In this blog post we're going to discuss the look of our 2017 video for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the ways we went about achieving that look with camera, lighting and digital grading.

 

Camera

We knew going into this project that we wanted to shoot our interview subjects with two cameras rolling simultaneously. Doing this gave us some leeway in editing and we didn’t have to worry about jump cuts, if there was a moment when an interviewee paused during a sentence we could just cut in to the close up or pull back to the wide shot and make a seamless edit. This also makes for a more visually interesting production so you aren't locked down to only one angle per interview.

Justin Kueber setting up the two Canon c100 cameras.

Justin Kueber setting up the two Canon c100 cameras.

To do this we brought out our two Canon c100 cameras and placed them side-by-side on our Manfrotto tripods. A Cam was equipped with an 85mm Rokinon Cine DS lens and B Cam with a 50mm. We recorded in ProRes using our Atomos Ninja Blade and Ninja Star recorders on the cameras and matched the cameras by shooting in Wide DR mode, identical iso settings and a white balance of 4200k, this maintained a nice warm image with our tungsten lighting.

 

 

 

 

Lighting

A paper lantern acted as a key light for the interviews.

A paper lantern acted as a key light for the interviews.

The setting was planned to be at the Hauger family home so going into this we knew we wanted to embrace that home feeling with warm tones and soft lighting. Our main key light was a soft paper lantern with a 150w bulb and we used a c stand and arm to position it close to our interviewees. The spherical shape of the lantern creates a light that wraps evenly around the face and provides a nice eye light as well. A 300w Fresnel on a dimmer with 251 diffusion gel gave our subjects a hair light while a practical placed in the background on camera left acted as a source light. A pretty simple set up that enhanced the natural feel we were hoping to achieve.

 

Digital Grading

As always we exported an xml file from Final Cut Pro to DaVinci Resolve to perform our colour corrections. There are two different locations in the video: the Hauger family home and the hockey arena in Leduc.

The DaVinci Resolve project timeline.

The DaVinci Resolve project timeline.

The interviews at the home we didn’t change a lot but rather enhanced what was already there in the raw footage. We found a nice balance by adjusting contrast, giving a bit more separation in the skin tones and the bluer tones and pulling some of the yellow out of the whites.

 

 

Some before and after shots:

A look was established using this shot. The job then became matching everything else in the arena as close as possible to this.

A look was established using this shot. The job then became matching everything else in the arena as close as possible to this.

The arena segments were a little more challenging. Being shot in a very documentary style with only practical lighting each shot had to be tweaked on its own. We started by taking one shot of Rylee and Jessy, establishing a look and then correcting the other shots to get them as close as possible to that look. In some instances we had to adjust the “exposure” by increasing the gain to better expose for the person on screen. The problem is that being in a hockey arena where everything is white it can be very easy to push the highlight too far to the point of clipping. Shooting in Wide DR protected the highlights considerably and using nodes later in the chain of our correction we were able to bring the highlights down to avoid clipping without affecting the brightness of the mid tones.

Here's an example of the raw footage, the footage graded and then the final image with the clipped highlights corrected:

 

Hopefully this gave you a little insight into what we were hoping to achieve visually for this short documentary. We want to thank the JDRF Edmonton chapter for bringing us on board to make this piece and, of course, the Hauger family for being so honest and kind while we spent time with them. The video is below and if you haven't seen it yet I hope you give it a watch. Working on productions such as this is a very rewarding experience for us here at Guerrilla.

-Sam Reid