Not unlike building a house.

Copyright Adam Forslund

As a cinematographer it can be difficult to get ready for a shoot. I read the script then re-read it. Make notes and go over those with the director. Everything has to go from a grey fog to a very solid vision in a matter of days, weeks and months. The metamorphosis of words to pictures can be difficult. What appears in my head may not ever exist in the real world or may be beyond the reach and means of the budget.

Which brings forth this analogy.

Making a film is not unlike building a house.

You can think of the Writer/Director as the architect. The Director of Photography as the general contractor. The Director will sit with the client to determine their desires. Is the house red? Should the living room face south? Bedrooms north? Once all those elements are worked out the DP comes in and start to work.

As a DP it is my job to get the crew to take those ideas and put foot to ground and make it happen. Do we need a 10k to make that scene? Should some light spill across that bed? What will happen if that medium shot falls flat?

The Director and Director of Photography working together making compromises where needed and not sacrificing others to build the best film possible.

As in building a house the difficult part is breaking ground. Once that has happened things just kind of happen and everyone moves to complete it. When you wrap a film and see the end credits for the first time it is like handing over the keys. And, when you think back about it you know all the little secrets that are behind that front door.

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Swimming The List by Susie Lee

As I wrote about in an earlier post I had the chance to shoot some dance recently. The project was for Susie Lee and was a real blast. It was the first time working with artists that controlled the light in such a way as to make the light itself a character in the dance. Visual Artist Keeara Rhoades played the part of the light through a set of LCD projectors and some pretty cool software that allowed her to move the light in real time with Ying Zhou the dancer.

As for the cinematography. There was little time for me to shoot before during rehearsal due to logistics. Which meant most of the shooting was done the day before and right after the final performance. The time we spent shooting during the dress rehearsal meant that lighting cues were still being worked out as well as light intensity and colors. We would start to shoot Ying and midway through a shot the light would go from blue to orange. Or, it would drop in intensity all of a sudden. This meant that as I would watch the footage it was all a jumble of mixed light.

Since B&W is immune to color temperature changes…Voila! Make it B&W! Another thing about dropping the color was the editor Ian Louthan was able to boost the contrast and bring some solidity back to the moving light. On a down note going B&W did lead to some noise in a couple shots which is never fun.

In the end it all came together to make a film that is something that captures the essence of the piece and became a whole new stand alone piece too. Everyone was great to work with and I really hope to work with everyone that was part of this project again soon.

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Posted in Adam Forslund, Black and White, Cinematography, DoP, DP, HD, Seattle No Comments »

Somarpho: Update

The documentary with the working title of Somarpho was shot last summer has cleared another hurdle.  I now have Fiscal Sponsorship through IFP Seattle.  With this Somarpho will be under IFP’s nonprofit umbrella and can solicit donations and gifts all with tax benefits to donors.

Somarpho shares with the world a look into the lives of Balti porters high in the mountains of Pakistan.  It was shot and now needs your help to get to the screen.  The Balti are wonderful warm people living in one of the most militaristically, politically and turbulently charged areas of the world.

It is all coming together quickly.  Please stay tuned for details and feel free to contact me regarding Somarpho and how you can help get it to the screen.

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Please Help

As some of you may know I was hired to go to Pakistan last Summer to shoot a film about Vittorio Sella.  Over the course of the last six months the Sella project has slowed and finally stalled.

Now, I am trying to get the footage I shot moving forward in order to make a film about the Balti people.  The negatives have been in limbo at the lab and it is starting to itch my creative mind.  This itch needs to be scratched!!  You can see some of the still images from my trip at the post titled Pakistan: Mountains.

By giving you will help me to not only pay for the processing costs but the costs of transfer and editing.  My needs are meager by comparison to some films but more than I can handle in the moment.

You will see the PayPal Donate button.  Any amount in the tip jar will be appreciated.


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New York Magazine Reviews “Kicks For Cranes”

Kicks For Cranes

Well, it looks like a short film I shot has been reviewed by New York Magazine.  You can see the film and comment on it yourself by following this link.

We shot it on an HVX200 for the main body of the film and the beginning and end is shot on B&W Tri-X Super8.  The shoots were spread all over Seattle and it was a fun time.  It got me back to what I consider my roots and enjoyment of experimental cinema.

Enjoy the show.


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