Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Short Film, "Talking to Yourself"

In july of 2007, we shot Oon Jit Fongs thesis film for NYU, "Talking to Yourself".
"Talking to Yourself" begins with an old man dining and talking to himself in a restaurant where the protagonist, Jiasheng, works as a waiter. After this encounter with the "Crazy" old man, Jiasheng is dared to try talking to himself in a restaurant after he had been stood up by his girl friend. He soon realises that by talking to himself, secrets of his past come to the surface forcing him to confront his suppressed feelings. This helps him to realize his love for his girlfriend and the beautiful relationship that they share.We shot the film on location, in 2 restaurants, along banks of the Singapore River and on a bus, using the Panasonic HVX202 with the Redrock 35mm lens adapter. We used the the set of nikon prime lenses ranging from 20mm to 105mm.The biggest challenge for me was the lighting. I was working on 100ASA and i wanted to be on f2.8-f4 most of the time. So a well planned preproduction was needed to think up the lighting plan for the shoot. The most complicated lighting set up was the wide shot of the restaurant restaurant scenes. We had 7 arri 1k rigged on auto poles creating pools of light on each of the table, a 2k blond bounced for a bit of fill, florescent tubes placed in the back ground for blurred highlights and a 2k blond through 251 behind the bar highlighting the bottles. On the shoot, my gaffer Brandon Lee helped alot by taking care of the rigging, electrics and commanding the crew. Another great help on the shoot was my CA, Nick Chu. He had the task of pulling focus on the old Nikon lenses where the depth of field is extremely shallow on the longer lenses. even for the long tracking shots he kept it in focus the whole time. My hats off to him.

Shot with Panasonic HVX202 and redrock adapter 1080i 25p

Director: Oon Jit Fong
Producer: Charmaine Seah

Monday, October 1, 2007

UIC TV commercial

On the 12 September i shot a TV commercial for UIC, a house hold washing detergent Brand here in Singapore. This is the second TV commercial we have produced for them. Our director, Aod Thanatchai came down from Thailand to help us direct the commercial.
The crew: Jeremy Desouza, me, Simon Tan, Brandon Lee

Our producer Alex had the difficult task of making sure we didn't over run. Sadly for the freelance crew we couldn't afford to over run because Aod had to fly back to Bangkok at 2030 and i had to fly to Tokyo at 2330 that night. Thinking back to our previous commercial for UIC, where we OT for 11 hours, i was skeptical that we would finish on time. But we did, in fact i think we finished ahead of time.
We employed the service of Chris Leong who helped us to build us a kitchen set, where all the scenes would take place.

Using the 4k space lights was a first for me. The light provided me with more than enough fill for the scene with an overall of f5.6-5.61/2. After that, we started adding in the high lights. We bashed a 5k fresnel through a window to create patterns on the back wall and another 5k through a grid cloth for a bit more frontal fill. We had 1k fresnels with 251, creating the back light on the actors.
After a postmortem with Aod, i learnt that next time i must keep an eye on the over exposed areas of frame. And always keep it soft.
We shot with the Arri 435 200T vision 2 5217

Directed by Aod Thanatchai
Produced by Alex Feng

Monday, March 19, 2007

ANZ Blue Spot

Towards the end of January 2007, i traveled to Phenom Penh, Cambodia to shoot a TV commerical for ANZ (Australian Bank). I had never been to Cambodia before so naturally i was very excited. The camera crew (Camera Assist, Loader, Video split, and gaffer) Directors and producers were all from Thailand. I had heard that Thai crew were world class, so i was looking forward in working with them. I feel i have so much to gain from their experience.
I had to do all my preproduction from my office in Singapore. This was a little difficult, as there was a slight language barrier. I would liaise with the Thai producer, Rungrat, for the camera and lighting and grip equipment we needed, then she would relay that to the Cambodian production house.The first day in Phenom Penh was for recce and pre production meeting. This day was very useful as we could lock down a lot of the things that had been in the air until this point. Next morning, calltime was at 6:30 at the production house, where we could finally check all the lighting and grip equipment.
On the morning of the shoot, i realised we dont have sandbags, polys, silks, diffusion, any clamps, cutters, nets, c stands, and my smallest light was a 2.5k HMI. Just to put things in to context, we are doing a soft, lifestyle commercial with a lot of beauty lighting.
All the camera equipment was flown over with the crew, and was in excellent condition.

So as you can see this was quite a challenge. But a very fun one at that. I learnt a lot on improvising with what we have, and making the best out of a 'not so ideal' situation. I discovered the meaning to the phrase, 'necessity is the mother of all inventions'. After the TC process i was happy with the results.
The most memorable experience was the second day of shoot, where we were shooting a scene on a boat along the Mekong river with the Royal palace in the back ground. That was pretty cool.

The Crew from Thailand was excellent (as expected). They are without a doubt, the best crew i have worked with, and i learnt a lot from them.

We shot with the Arri 3, Eterna 250D 8563.

Directed By Aod Thanatchai Kanjunhom
Produced by Rungrat Namjun

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Becoming Royston"

Becoming Royston was a short feature i shot in July last year. It began as a short film, but as the script became more and more complex, the duration lengthened. It was an intense 14 day shoot all over Singapore telling the story of a simple village boy trying to find his place in the world.

We shot with the Panasonic HVX200 P2 camera, which i guess would have been considered new (almost un-trialed in singapore) technology back then. Because of this, Panasonic sponsored the camera to us. So it was a win-win situation. We get to use cameras for free, and Panasonic gets to see the cameras potential before marketing the HVX200 for sale. We used 4 x 8GB P2 cards to record our footage. P2 at that time was new to me so i was weary about not recording on tape or film. We were very very very very careful with the footage transfers, to the point that we delegated the most responsible man we knew, Alfred, to dedicate himself to been the P2 transfer guy. It ended up being a full time job for him on Becoming Royston.

We started in an island off Singapore called Pulau Ubin. This I think was one of our most beautiful locations. We shot at a rustic prawn farm, and a rundown house. Most of the photos you see are from Pulau Ubin.

14 days, several locations, many coffees and laughs later, we completed the shooting process of Becoming Royston. Then i passed the baton to my editor to begin her long journey of editing a feature.

We achieved a nomination in the Asia Festival of First Films for best script, Best Cinematography.
You can watch Becoming Royston at www.becomingroyston.com

Monday, February 12, 2007

Millennium Copthorne

Today i post up some behind the scenes photos of a TV commercial i was shooting in August 2006 for a hotel chain, "Millennium Copthorne". This was the first time i was shooting in a completely green studio. The only 'real' thing i was shooting were the actors, and the chairs they occupied.

Sony Digibeta DVW709

The premise of the commercial is set in a heated board room session. The board room members seem like they can not come to a compromise after a long night of debate. However the leader of the session (boss) starts to lose interest and allows his mind to drift to a more serene and happy place. As he allows his mind wander further in to his dream state, the surronding board room transforms to that happy place where he can finally relax.

Cam assist Andrew Mok and animator Yongy Fongy and I.

This production was quite basic for me as a DOP, but very heavy for my animator. We shot the entire scene against green. The rest was up to my team of animators. Rather a team of one, my friend and and hero Yongy Fongy. He had 2 weeks to model, texture, and animate the board room, the boardroom table, the items on the table, the hotel room (including the bed, paintings on the wall, lamps, vase and flowers, and all the other things you would find in a hotel room).

The hardest thing for him was to animate the transformation from the board room to the Hotel room.

This project was shot on the SONY Digibeta DVW709 with a set of digi primes. f stop base at 2.8.