That's a wrap on our latest BFI short film!
We've just finished work on our BFI funded short film.
'There Are Lights', directed by my friend Nadia Emam, follows Menna as she takes us around Whitby on the night of Halloween.
Menna and her father are Egyptian migrants new to the UK and it's customs. Whilst her father struggles to trust this new way of life, Menna assimilates through a love of the Dracula tale, going as far as taking her friends out for a spooky reading from the book in the shadows of the gothic abbey, unbeknownst to her father.
I worked as Director of Photography on this short film and began pre-production over a year ago. The covid-19 pandemic certainly caused a delay meaning we couldn’t actually film on halloween, but the following March. It did however mean we had the streets to ourselves for the most part and could work safely on set with social distancing.
Most of the core crew drove up from Sheffield with members of the producing team coming down from Newcastle. I also work as a promotional videographer which means I have a lot of my own kit such as primes lenses, broadcast camera gear and studio lighting. However we did need to rent a substantial amount more.
Because the budget was quite tight I shot on my Sony Fs7 with modified vintage glass. I really wanted to push away from the Fs7 look so knew vintage glass and filters would help this.
I recently purchased Iron Glass ‘Anamorfake’ primes, which take classic lenses like the Helios 44-2 58mm and give them an oval bokeh filter and wire that causes horizontal lens flare similar to classic anamorphic lenses of the past. This cheat look isn't for everyone but I like imperfections in film and really wanted anything that could give this film character.
I embraced lens flare and demanded more grain in post. Paired with the Black Pro Mist 1/2 filter I got really soft edges and beautiful milky skin on the actors.
The reason I wanted to fake this look is purely budgetary reasons. We couldn’t afford to rent a camera and monitors that would de-squeeze normal anamorphic footage and the lenses themselves come with a high price tag.
All in all I knew these lenses would have enough character to get the style I was looking for even if I had to shell out for them myself. However I see them as an investment for future projects.
I’ll be posting more about the project soon and outlining some of my lighting plans.