TTOU: Halfway update
Monday marked the half way stage of shooting The Three of Us.
Photo Credits: Myself & Mathew Hodgkin.
Thanks to the TTOU production team for the use of these images.
France has been amazing so far. This location is spectacular and describing it as the 4th character is very fitting.
We had some temperamental weather at the start, and the schedule is being rearranged daily, but yesterday the clouds parted to reveal the most sensational sky. We shot some amazing footage of the clouds and sweeping hills as our actors cycled by. The actors we have on film are a huge pleasure to work with. They are a perfect mix that boils together on screen, combined with a very thought out shooting methodology, that brings together the idea of ‘The Three of Us’ to life.
Ellie Turner is yet to shoot a take in France, but has been with us every day adding energy and life to the set. Her work in London was worthy of the big screen that we all aim for. Her background is mainly in theatre which is adding a dimension to the character of Ella, which I’m not used to shooting, but relishing the opportunity. The way she expresses emotion through small details in her face and body movement is unexpected from someone who works in an environment where projecting to an audience is part of the act.
Anna Åström, our Swedish Mia, has brought the depth she established in London over to France and has hit the ground running. The first few days with her involved little to no dialogue. A lot of this films story is told visually with Director Gabriel using a lot of intelligent tricks which will come alive in the edit. Capturing these moments are effortless with Anna. Her mind is always at work, analysing the environment and character. I see this through the lens every take. I’ve grown very insistent on shooting her on a 135mm, which fits our methodology for Mia and also gets the best out of the incredibly talented Anna.
Lastly, George Blagden is taking the character of Charlie off the page, and developing him with a life that I couldn’t imagine when I first read the script. This house feels like its Charlie’s, as George walks the halls. Everything fits. The are some obvious advantages to having a successful actor such as George on a project, especially at the tail end. But for me, working with someone so aware of the cameras position and where the lighting falls within a room is nothing short of a pleasure. Without asking he will reposition himself when aware that the camera is blocked in a shot, and this is done with such ease that it feels part of the staging.
On an indie film such as this I rarely have time to see full blocking and light with stand ins. But I like this. I like to light environments not staging. I let the sun tell me what’s happening and I like to use this as a starting point. The film is about emotion and moments for these 3 characters as they move within the environments within a time frame. It’s a moment within their lives when a huge cross road is met with a large shake up by the people they interact with. With this in mind, lighting the environments and giving the actors the freedom to explore as much as they desire, I hope, aids their performance. Letting them concentrate on their character and not needing to nail a mark is a big part of what I do as a Director of Photography.
It also fits in with Gabriel’s way of shooting. He loves to be able to shoot 360 in a room, and I’ve achieved that on a lot of our scenes. There’s always a limit and we work well together with it.
Lighting through windows has been a pleasure, the LitePanels Sola 12 has helped hugely. Its output doesn’t quite match its size, but having a larger light source adds a wrap and shape that my smaller Fresnels can’t achieve.
The Astra has played a huge part in this film, especially as power isn’t the best here. I will be reviewing both lights over the next week and posting them here and on YouTube.
The second half of the film starts today after a day of rest and reorganising the kit room.
On a final note, as a one man band, having help from everyone on set is a huge plus. But when one of the producers gets involved and shows no sign of inexperience, it helps the whole film run much faster and smoothly. Alex Gibbons, the associate producer is at times a Spark, Gaffer, AC and runner. As well as all of his other jobs he is also a fantastic friend, and as it’s the first time we’ve managed to get him on one of our films from start to finish and I find myself wishing and wondering why it’s taken this long. I’m very glad he’s here by my side.
Thanks for reading