SUNDANCE UPDATE - KILLING GROUND - 2nd Unit Shoot

KILLING GROUNDS, a horror film I shot 2nd Unit on in 2015, has just screened at the SUNDANCE INT. FILM FESTIVAL and has been a Press favourite:

ROLLING STONE'S 25 MOVIE'S WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE AT SUNDANCE

SLASH FILM'S 30 MOVIES WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE AT SUNDANCE

VARIETY

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

INDIEWIRE

FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

WE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT SUNDANCE REVIEW

DAILY DEAD'S SUNDANCE REVIEW

SLUGMAG SUNDANCE REVIEW

NERDIST SUNDANCE REVIEW

VULTURE'S TOP 18 HORROR'S FOR 2017

Check out the TRAILER HERE.

IFC Midnight Picked it up!

----From my 2015 blog post----

Working with director Seth Larney, I shot 2nd Unit on DP Simon Chapman, ACS's Killing Grounds. 

  • Camera - ARRI Alexa
  • Lenses - Angenieux 24-290mm zoom

Produced by Lisa Shaunessy

© Seth Larney

Ink for Documentary - ENDO&US Take 3

First project of the year!

Shot overlay for the Endo&Us doco to go with the previously shot high speed dance sequence (click here). 

8 hours with a fish tank, a couple of lights and painters ink.

  • Camera - RED Dragon
  • Lenses - Cooke S4s
  • Lights - (2) fluorescents and Mole Richardson Tweenie
CLICK FOR MORE INFO

CLICK FOR MORE INFO

My assistant Ben 'stands-in' while I line up the shot with the Dragon and 75mm Cooke S4. (2) mini fluorescents keep him warm.
© Katie Macqueen

LAZERS for RÜFÜS Music Video

First job of the year!

I operated B Cam for Dan Freene, ACS on this Toby&Pete music clip for Aussie act RÜFÜS.

Shot throughout one night in the forest.

  • Camera - Sony F55 and Fs7
    • I loved how the camera rendered the colour. It's not often you see the monitor displaying what your eye sees with digital cameras and colour.
  • Lenses - Canon 4K Primes + ARRI/Zeiss Master Primes
  • Lighting - LED Washers, Clay Paky Sharpies and 7.4 watt Rob Projectors (and a larger than life sized disco ball). 
    • The Sharpies threw beams into the sky that an aircraft would need to be cautious of!
    • The Washers created a nice even 'wash' of colour on the trees.
    • The Projectors (aka Lazers) and the smoke worked beautifully together creating this amazing wall of swirls and clouds through the air, and rolling clouds when along the ground.

DAN FREENE, ACS MEASURES THE LIGHT

THE BAND GETS INTO POSITION IN FRONT OF THE LAZERS

SONY F55 LINES UP A SHOT WITH THE DRUMMER

PHANTOM 4K HIGH SPEED - COLOUR - DANCE

 
      

      

I shot the 2nd part to the Endo&US doco - a dance sequence to express the emotion behind the Endometriosis experience.

Choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance Australia finalist Lauren Seymour

STORY - a young woman fights her Endometriosis

BRIEF - to feel the physicality of the dance, to feel the physical impact between the dancers.

CAMERA - Phantom 4k
I tested it against the Weisscam and the colour science is quite different. Phantom's colour and skin tone rendition surpasses pretty quickly.

FRAME RATE - 1000 frames per second (fps)
I tested up to 2000fps. Besides the fact that we didn't have the lighting arsenal to expose for that kind of setting (requiring double the amount of light), we found that movements were overall too slow for us to go higher than 1000fps. Though I did find find that at 1500fps material looks like flowing, silky water. 

LENSES - ARRI/Zeiss Master Primes

COLOUR - the director and I are all about colour. It looks good and underpins the emotion we wanted to display. Specific colours were chosen based on what felt right.

    LIGHTING - 18K HMI + 6K HMI for the coloured look, 20K + 10K Tungsten for the neutral

    • Tungsten has a lovely quality to the light that fit the soft aesthetic of the final, neutral sequence. We also didn't want to use the gels with this colour of light.
    • Colour gels will make the colour of light look different based on the colour temperature of light going through them (warm tungsten vs. cold daylight) and we preferred how the colour looked with our gels mixed with the daylight. HMIs pack more of a punch (due to their bulb and design) so would work best with the light-losing gels, as well as providing the colour temperature that would work best with the gels. 
      • *There are mixed reviews about using HMI lighting with high speed due to issues of flicker and Arc Wander (essentially a pulsing in the highlights due to the camera seeing the electrical movement in the bulb). Electric ballasts are there to eliminate flicker, as well as using bigger lights (which don't have time to cool down and therefore flicker). However, Arc Wander is something that can just sometimes be seen. There are some tricks that seems to work to fix it on the day. *We didn't have any issues until the end of the day when I noticed a gentle pulse to the bright areas of the frame - the Wander. We had been shooting for hours at this stage so it was a surprise - I believe it was due to a power surge, which can be one of the triggers. 

    It's going to be a beautiful project, especially now that we've shot these overlays.

    courtesy of Red Apple Cameras
    #endoandus

    THE SHOT THAT NEVER WAS...

    The last set-up. Our leading lady wins the battle. Steps into a soft close-up.

    I've always wanted to use a Briese light (perfect for beauty work) and Gaffer Finbarr Collins provided something similar - a Broncolor Para Umbrella Reflector - which we cinemised (it being a photography flash unit). 

    This was going to be the perfect use of the light. It was the type of shot that we all looked at on the day and thought - YES!

    Unfortunately, the Phantom camera magazine corrupted and lost the data. So this frame grab of mid lighting set-up is all that's left. 

    Next time!

    © Katie Macqueen, director 

    © Benjamin Ryan, best boy

    Documentary 'After The Swill' - Filming Rock Royalty and Cocktails

    I've been shooting a feature documentary for over a year about the pub and bar culture in Australia since "The 6 O'Clock Swill' - a slang term from the 60's for the last-minute rush to buy drinks at a bar before it closed. The tradition stems from WWII when pubs would close at 6pm in respect of those fighting the war. Men would come straight after work (no women were allowed in pubs at that time) and hammer as many drinks as possible before the pub closed. The results were debaucherous and are thought to be the reason for Australia's drinking culture as we know it.

    THE BRIEF - The director would send me a brief explaining what he wanted each interview to feel like, how he wanted the subjects to be presented and characterised and how it fell within the story. Not having been raised in Australia I didn't know many of the subjects so I'd research and then formulate an approach to bring to the table.

    SCOUT - We'd take this info into the scout. As we'd only have a total of about 3 hours to set up and interview, we needed to nut out our approach exactly while scouting. Especially with choosing gear that could fit and work in such small locations which were:

    LOCATIONS - almost every iconic pub and bar in Australia, and the odd music studio and parliament house. So you can see the challenge there..

    APPROACH -  I would need to decide on all of the gear, and quickly, so my producer could wrangle. Frugality was especially the name of the game. The gear had to:

    • fit into a small rental car
    • fit into a tight set up time
    • fit into the tight physical spaces
    • fit the aesthetic 
    • be handle-able by the minimal crew we had under my sole instruction. (I was my own Gaffer ;) )

    CREW -  Myself, the director, the producer, sound recordist, the rare assistant to slate and carry gear. I pulled my own focus.

    CAMERA - Canon 5D Mk2 and the Sony A7 series for the later 2nd Unit footage of the bars at night, for their low light capability. Canon 24-70mm and 70-200mm - one for the wider, one for the tighter shot.

    SUBJECTS - Australian Rock royalty, crowned best bartenders in the world, famous publicans with the odd politician and critic.

    Next Time - Would I use the same lighting approach if I was to do this again? I got great results at a quick pace and will continue to use some of my techniques. However, the experience opened me up to a more efficient way to light. It all depends on the budget and gear available, of course, but I will be applying what I've gained on the next project that calls for this. 

    The doco is in post-production but here are some <ungraded> snippets :

    THE ANGELS
    BRIEF - The Angels videos and posters have always had a low key look splashed with red. Try and emulate this idea in a grungy dive bar, two old rockers sitting in a booth reminiscing about the old days.
    © After The Swill 2015

    © After The Swill 2015

    ANGRY ANDERSON OF 'ROSE TATTOO'
    BRIEF - It's got to be dark and shady, low key. Emphasise Angry's toughness.
    © After The Swill 2015

    © After The Swill 2015

    MARK GABLE of 'CHOIRBOYS'
    BRIEF - The lighting and the look of their videos are all have a distinct look of black with a cold blue light. Let's see if this will work in the studio.
    © After The Swill 2015

    © After The Swill 2015

    SUZE DEMARCHI of BABY ANIMALS
    BRIEF -
    Give it an industrial feel.
    © After The Swill 2015

    © After The Swill 2015

    TIM PHILIPS - AUSTRALIA'S AND WORLD'S BEST BARTENDER
    BRIEF - Bring out the warm tones and feel as if we are talking to him in a quiet bar at the end of a long night.
    © After The Swill 2015

    © After The Swill 2015

    and the many other renowned bartenders and publicans..

    MY FIRST FEATURE FILM

    Sound Mixer - Phil Heywood at Spectrum

    Sound Mixer - Phil Heywood at Spectrum

    UPDATE (DEC '16):

    Post Production Underway (pictured).

    UPDATE (AUG '16):

    Screen Music Award Nominee - Thomas E Rouch , Composer

    Screen Music Award Nominee - Thomas E Rouch , Composer

    The film will be finished at Spectrum Films, one of Australia’s longest standing post-production houses with over 50 years of experience. Major productions including: The Matrix, The Great Gatsby, Wolverine, Candy, Dead Poets Society, The Piano, The Sapphires and most recently the next Alien film with Ridley Scott.

    --SEPT 2015--

    Foley at South Australia Film Corporation 

    Foley at South Australia Film Corporation 

    I've completed my first feature film! 

    Shot on the RED Scarlet it's a story inspired by the 2008 terrorist attacks on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai following a group of hotel patrons as they undergo a terrorist siege. 

    Directed by Lliam Worthington of NewRealms Films.

    SEE BEHIND THE SCENES.

    Release set for 2016!

    SCI-FI 2nd UNIT + OPERATING

    I was 2nd Unit DP and B-Cam Operator on this near-future sci-fi feature film for Dan Freene, ACS.  

    • Camera - RED Dragon
    • Lenses - Cooke S4s + Angenieux 24-290mm zoom

    Pre-Production - 4 weeks. I was Dan's right hand, involved with the workings of the film from the ground up. 

    • attending location scouts
    • editing scout photos
    • collecting references
    • putting together the mood board
    • liaising with crew
    • attending every meeting Dan did, including Design and Shot Lists
    • shooting tests

    Production (5 days a week) - when 2 cameras were not shooting main unit 2nd Unit Director Stephen McCallum and I would 'splinter off' and shoot action, cutaway shots, and body double elements. 

    Production's 6th day - on the 6th day of each week I would pull focus for Dan as a limited crew of a producer, director, DP and me would shoot what was unable to be scheduled during the week.

    The experience reminded me what an invaluable input a Cinematographer had for a project and why it is that I love to do it.

    Director - Ben C. Lucas (Wasted on the Young).
    Starring (in leading roles):

    SUNSET TIMELAPSE W/ THE ANGENIEUX MOTHER OF A LENS

    STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WITH THE ANGENIEUX AND OUR STEEL GRIP, CLINT

    CINEMATOGRAPHER THE CELEBRITY

    ARRI Australia sponsored me to go to Bydgoszcs, Poland for the annual Camerimage International Cinematography Film Festival so that I could cover the event on behalf of the Australia Cinematographer Society (ACS). 

    This is the most prestigious Cinematography Film Festival. The biggest films nominated and screened there every year, the best DPs in the world attending, judging, speaking on panels. Where the DP is the celebrity. Read my article below to find out more :)

    It turned out that, at the same time, the first ever Education in Cinematography conference was being held by IMAGO (The European Federation of Cinematographers) in Belgium. So, the ACS sent me to represent the Australian Film and Television Radio School (AFTRS) with Andrew Hyde (the president of the Northern Territory chapter of the ACS). 

    We partook in the discussions of what the future of teaching Cinematography should look like. 

    The Australian Cinematographer magazine featured both of my articles!

    Click to read article..

    Click to read article..

    Click to read article..

    Click to read article..

    LIVING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD

    Before Universal Studios closed the UVS1, I had some time as a Virtual Assistant there. 

    Visual Effects Artist Ron Fischer trained me in virtual camera and on-set and I assisted him on productions that went through the stage.

    I first met Ron while I was Co-Ordinator at the Global Cinematography Institute where he taught the Virtual Cinematography class.

    It was an invaluable experience to gain the knowledge and confidence of Virtual production. I haven't come out an expert but I certainly know how to work with VFX artists, how to speak with them and how the interplay between virtual and production works.

    Ewan McGregor's SON OF A GUN

    © WBMC 2014

    I shot Additional Photography for the feature film SON OF A GUN, starring Ewan McGregor, Alicia Vikander and Brendon Thwaites. 

    BRIEF - shoot inserts that were missing from the main shoot. 

    APPROACH - working with 2nd Unit Director Michael Spiccia, I had to match to the look of the lighting and locations while shooting with minimal lighting (I had a Kino) in the Panavision prep rooms, and with flats in the parking lot. 

    Main Unit Director Julis Avery supervised, along with Producers Janelle Landers and Tim White of WBMC and Southern Light Films. 

    Check out the trailer..

    CO-ORDINATING THE GREATS

    At the beginning of 2012, Cinematographer Yuri Neyman, ASC approached me to help him with the set up of his new school for Cinematographers. He had partnered with Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC with the idea of developing a curriculum of Modern Cinematography. 

    So besides the fundamentals of cinematography, he would also include such classes as Digital Cinematography and Virtual Cinematography, and get specific on lighting such as Music Videos. 

    Yuri would involve a breadth of instructors from current working TV, Cinema and Music Video Cinematographers to VFX artists and Lighting Designers. 

    I not only Co-Ordinated the classes, instructors and students but Yuri also incorporated me as a consultant. We worked together on curriculum, choice of instructors and how to run classes. 

    GCI has really evolved over the years and now incorporate instructors such as Seamus McGarvey ASC BSC, Mandy Walker ASC ACS, and Bradford Young, ASC.

    Vilmos Zsigmond, ACS teaching a lighting class
    © GCI 2012

    Ron Fischer teaching a Virtual Cinematography class
    © GCI 2012

    First class, 2012 on the RED Studios lot
    © GCI 2012

    GRADUATING THE AFI CONSERVATORY

    I graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory with my Masters in Cinematography.

    The prestigious school that takes 28 Cinematographers from around the world every year, and I was one of them.

    I can't express the honour I still feel everyday of getting my start at this legendary place and joining the Alum of such DPs as Matthew Libatique , Janusz Kaminski, Robert Richardson, Wally Pfister, and Directors such as Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, Terrence Malick and Chris Nolan.

    I honestly pinch myself every day.

    The Cinematography Class of '11

    The Class of '11

    That's bloody Hellen Mirren and Spike Jonze up there!!