Posts Tagged ‘Susie Lee’

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 »

Swimming The List

I had the chance to work with Seattle based artist Susie Lee on her latest project called Swimming The List. It was a really fun project for a few reasons. 1) I have always wanted to shoot dance and never had the chance to. 2) The concept of the dance was right up my alley. 3) The light was really cool in a few ways.

For a long time I have wanted to shoot dancers. It started when I was in college and attempting to capture ballet. There is something really powerful about the body moving so quickly and fluidly that has been stuck in my mind. I don’t think of ballet in terms of a bunch of small steps on tip-toes across a stage as a fairy. I think of long strides with legs that act as catapults to jump like a Jaguar. It has been this type of dance that has most intrigued me.

Susie Lee’s Swimming The List while isn’t filled with big movements it is very dynamic the dancer moves according to tasks that fill her daily life. What is most interesting about the piece though is the dancer’s vocal parts. As she speaks she talks about the trials and tribulations of being an artist. Struggling with who she is in relation to who she would like to be. This strikes a cord as it is something I too struggle with almost daily.

As a cinematographer the piece had some elements that were very interesting. The light used in Swimming The List isn’t light cast from a Leko or Fresnel. Rather, the key light came from two projectors that allow an artist to paint onto the X and Y axes in real time. This gives the dancer the ability to interact with the light in a way that isn’t possible with standard stage lighting.

When watching this interaction your mind makes connections to and with the light that gives it the appearance of having tangible mass. The light is ‘picked’ up, moves and plays with the dancer so that it becomes another player in story. It was really challenging to capture this light in a way that will make it translate to the screen. While easy to do when the light stays on a plane it is very difficult to truly convey the way it looks when it is moving across and through planes.

It all made for a really fun project. Stay tuned for links and clips from the final project.

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Posted in Adam Forslund, Cinematography, Color, Uncategorized 1 Comment »