Search Bar is an original sketch comedy show produced by Brad Gage and Anna Akana, available exclusively on the Fullscreen app. Thankfully, they brought me on as the Director of Photography. It was my favorite type of job: making fun stuff with talented friends. Luckily, I was provided a generous budget for crew and equipment, so most of the sketches were actually too big to include on a blog about using one light kit or less. There was one sketch, however, where I only used three lights, so here’s what I learned from that one.
Another Search Bar sketch, called Truth Or Dare With Rape, that’s available on Anna Akana’s Youtube channel in case you’re curious:
CREW: (2) camera operators, (2) 1st ACs, (1) 2nd AC/DIT, (3) G&E.
LIGHTING: Three 1’x1′ LED panels
CAMERA: (2) Canon C300 mkii, Dana dolly
LENSES: Canon cinema primes
COLOR: Davinci Resolve
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPFIRE
BEHIND THE SCENES
Search Bar was the first project on which I have utilized official color palettes. Since I was working with several other department heads, like Costumes and Art, I figured it would be best to create some basic palettes that they could reference when buying their materials to help keep a consistent feel for each sketch. I googled “color palette generator” and decided on Coolors because I liked the look, simplicity and options that it provided. Here are the other palettes that help illustrate the differences in each sketch:
Since Search Bar was shot with two cameras, I tried my best to design lighting setups that would look good from any angle and wouldn’t require having to constantly move stands around. It’s tough when you don’t have the means to rig a bunch of gear to the ceilings, but it’s a fun challenge and it forces me to compromise in the name of efficiency, which is one step closer to helping me cure my perfectionism.
In the case of the Social Media Campfire sketch, we used the topography of the location to hide our lights and the technological advances of battery-powered units to save ourselves from the constraints of generators and cable. The main challenge was dealing with the fire. The heat waves weren’t ideal on a telefoto lens and the blowing smoke definitely wasn’t ideal for comfort. At one point my 1st AC and I hid under a blanket just so we’d be able to keep our eyes open long enough to finish a take, but it was a sacrifice we made to avoid moving a burning fire and replacing it with a lighting gag. It was a relatively quick shoot, so we felt it was best to just keep the fire going strong and use the beautiful light that nature offered us. Thanks, Mother Nature* 😉
*Though Mother Nature did, indeed, create the concept of fire, we actually used Duraflame logs and newspaper to get that baby lit. When you’re on a time crunch, you resort to desperate measures. I’m not proud of it, but it got the job done.