Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

Heavy diffusion

One of the more challenging challenges of lighting involves older actresses.

Since, in Hollywood world, men are allowed to age but women must forever look 19, even when they’ve officially qualified as a dowager for a few decades and makeup can only do so much, so we in the lighting department have to pick up whatever slack we can.

It’s not as difficult as one might imagine.

A large light through multiple layers of heavy diffusion will, in effect, remove wrinkles.

The light has to be large as a small light through multiple layers of heavy diffusion results in no light at all, which also makes wrinkles difficult to see, but not in the way we want it to.

So today’s photo is a BFL (big fucking light – 9 light variety) shining through two layers of very heavy diffusion in order to make our 40-something actress look dewy and gorgeous.

Not pictured are the other two BFLs (10k variety) doing the exact same thing from two other angles, also through heavy diffusion.

It’s a lot of work for us, but boy does it make said actress look gorgeous.

So the next time you’re tempted to feel bad about yourself because you don’t look as amazing as 40-something actress, remember that you don’t have a lighting crew following you around all day :)

Filed under: Photos, Work, , , , , , , , , ,

Not getting what I want

As the TV season winds down and the work starts to dry up, I become concerned about hours.

Can I, in any given week, get enough hours to keep my health insurance (now that it’s harder to qualify), and beat what I’d make were I on unemployment.

It’s doable on two days a week, but hard on one. So, yesterday, when I went in for my only day of work this week, I checked the call sheet and was very happy to see, in the director’s slot, the name of someone who is notorious for being excruciatingly slow.

This particular director not only does too many takes, but tries to get creative with the coverage, which is almost never necessary.

The camera doesn’t need to emerge from a bowl of soup and slide past the actor’s dental implants to further the story. Trust me on this one.

It’s television. Master shot, two shot, close up. That’s all one really needs, and it’s all the editor really wants.

Normally, I just shrug and try to stay off my feet as much as possible, but with only one day this week, I was ecstatic at the possibility of a significant amount of double time.

Then, I looked at the page count and saw that we were scheduled to do just over NINE pages.

Five pages are a normal day for a TV show, so even a fast director would have a long day with nine.

My first thought was how bad my feet were going to hurt at the end of the day, but the dollar signs quickly took over.

Hey, if I’m only going to get one day, it might as well be a good one, right?

Except that the producer stayed on set and cracked the whip on said director so we were out in 12.5 hours.

Damn.

Oh, well, Maybe next week.

Filed under: Uncategorized, Work, , , , , , , , ,

Friday Photo

Poor man's process

Normally, scenes which feature actors in a moving car are shot using a process trailer. The advantage of using a process trailer is that since the car containing the actors is being towed around the city, the shots look, well, real.

Sometimes, though, process trailers are impractical – either the show can’t afford them, the show isn’t shot in the city in which it takes place or there simply isn’t enough work in the car scene to justify the hassle (get trailer, rig trailer with lights, drive around, de-rig trailer. It eats the better part of a day, and requires extra equipment and manpower, so it’s not worth it for one short scene), so then we do what’s called a poor man’s process.

Poor man’s process is when the car sits stationary on a stage and we use lighting to create the illusion that it’s moving.  In this photo, we’re using a projection screen behind the car which really helps to sell it on film, but many people skip this step. There are lights placed around the car, and each light’s got a crew member (usually a grip, but since this process is labor intensive, the electricians help out, too) with it waving a solid flag in front of it periodically in order to mimic the shadows that fall across a car as it moves through traffic.

When done properly, it’s damn near impossible for the viewer to tell the difference.

Here’s a really excellent video showing (and doing a better job of explaining) a poor man’s process.

Filed under: Photos, Work, , , , , , ,

Friday Photo

Fake roses

When the roses on a particular bush just aren’t photogenic enough.

Filed under: Photos, Work, , , , , ,

I am so ready for summer to end.

It’s time for the annual heat wave (now with extra humidity!) that turns Los Angeles into Miami West. Although this seems to have taken everyone by surprise, it happened last year and the year before that and the year before that. Before that, I forget. Must be the heat.

Huge thunderheads hang in the sky east of the city, and while they’re very pretty (as clouds go) they’re making everyone completely miserable and smelly. I keep getting invites for afternoon events and there’s just no way in hell I’m going to even bother putting on makeup and trying to look human.

Every morning I wake up early intending to get in a workout and a bike ride before the heat gets really bad, but I’ve just not been able to do it. Maybe it’s because it’s not actually cooling off in my house at night. This is just cruel and unusual, if you ask me. If I had any energy, I’d fire off an angry letter to someone.

What I have been doing is seeing a lot of movies, but I have to be careful because I don’t want to run out of movie passes. I buy them every time I work on a lot where they’re sold (and save them for occasions like this), but I only have a few left so I’ve got to ration, which takes away one source of free air conditioning for a few hours.

Tomorrow, I have my first appointment with the therapist (who seems like a nice lady and I’m not sure I should subject her to me), who will hopefully have an air-conditioned office. After that, since we’re in for at least 8 more weeks of heat, I think I’m going to have to shave my pussy.

Seriously.

She’s obviously really uncomfortable and has been following me from room to room scolding me whenever I happen to be home – you know, just in case I didn’t already know that it’s hot and sticky and she’s wearing a heavy fur coat. She’s also shedding like mad. She should be bald already, but since she isn’t I’m starting to doubt that there’s actually a cat underneath all that fur.

The only problem with this plan should be obvious. The last time I tried this (with a former cat) I ended up in the emergency room. My sister suggested filling the water bowl with whiskey, but I’m kind of afraid to try it – what if something happens mid-clip and I have to take her to the vet?

Then he’ll ask why the cat can’t stand up and I’ll have to explain that she’s drunk. He already thinks I’m horrible because of the whole eye incident, so I think a kitty blood-alcohol level would make him call the PETA hit squad.

You know, the more I think about it the more I become convinced that it’s a really bad idea.  I think I’ll just use my last AMC pass and go see IMAX Batman.

There are rumors of work Saturday night, which, while I’ll have to try to get turned around (since I’ve been going to bed* before 10 every night), will at least be not too hot.

In other news, Los Angeles county is threatening to require that calorie counts of meals be posted on the menu right next to the price, which I predict will, at the very least, cause mass confusion around here (“wait. The hamburger’s 800 dollars? What? It’s only ten dollars? Well why do you have that number there if it’s not the price? I don’t get it”)

*What I really mean is laying in the bed with the fans turned on high, sweating profusely and wishing I lived in Greenland.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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