• Making Miracles


    This was dubbed the Brady Bunch room at some point and the name stuck in my head. It’s supposed to be a living room at night. The band play to a couple on a couch. From the start, this room was intended to clash with the moody lighting of the cocktail bar. I lit this room by bouncing a couple of 2Ks into a piece of Poly above the set to give an even soft toplight. There is a practical lamp beside the couch. We put a 40w bulb into the lamp and gelled it with ND so it didn’t overexpose. Then I bounced another 2K into more Poly, this time from the side to emulate the lamp light.

    We shot two set ups here, one of the band playing and the ‘reverse angle’ of the couple watching them. Both were shot in the same space, so to differentiate I used a couple of diffused 650s as back- lights for the couple. For the close ups of each set up I brought the bounce in closer so there was a bit more shape on the faces.

    The lighting set up for the ‘Brady Bunch’ room, with even toplight and a bounced side key, mimicking the practical lamp. Two backlights were added for the scene with the couple.

    From the Brady Bunch room, we again track to the next scene (passing a cameo by Simon between the sets). The ‘Blue Room’ is very low key, with the light motived by a single practical lamp beside which Maria is sitting. Again, there was a 40w bulb in the lamp, and I bounced a light, this time a 650w into a piece of poly above and slightly to the side of the real lamp. That gave a bit of shape to the light, but it also wrapped around the face so it wasn’t too side lit.

    There were no other lights in the room. In fact, the bounce spilled to the sides a bit more than I wanted, so we took some of the spill out during the grade.

    Single source lighting (aided by a 650 bounced into poly above) for the ‘Blue Room’ scene.

    This was the final room, and actually the first room that appears in the video. The aesthetic here was cold and stark - it’s supposed to be a sort of waiting room. Lighting this was quite simple. I used daylight Kino-Flos rigged above to replicate conventional cool fluorescent lighting. I avoided dif- fusing them so they stayed a little harsh. For the close ups in this scene I used some Poly to bounce the toplight back into the actors eyes, and for the wide shot of the band dancing I just used an extra Kino in front of them.

    We tracked behind a piece of black material which acts as a false transition to the following scene (the cocktail bar).

    We wrapped the and derigged everything as quickly as possible.

    The lighting set up for the ‘Waiting Room’ scene. Four Kino Flos rigged overhead and left undiffused to mimic conventional fluorescent lighting. Right, the effect of the lighting on lead singer Dave.

    In the climax of the video we revisit every scene, this time with paint dripping down people’s faces, objects and the walls. We got these shots before we wrapped each scene. The cast were wrapped with cellophane from their neck down (to save the costumes), and we got really tight shots of their faces as make up artist Love Hawkridge dripped the paint in. To add to the surrealism of this, I played with hovering the lens off its mount, which gives a shaky, blurry effect that’s quite ‘organic’ - it’s more natural than a post effect.

    Adding the paint. Left, Dave is wrapped and ready for his close up. Right, two extras are given the treatment.

    Once Simon had finished cutting the film with editor Paul Schwer, he emailed me an EDL and I graded from the original rushes in RedCine-X. I had already graded and exported some stills, so we used them as a reference and tweaked from there. There was no complex grading, I just added a bit of blue to the shadows (can make it a bit more filmic) and warmed up the midtones, which together with crushing the black enriched the colours a bit. Other than that I just left it as it was shot in camera. The lighting, production design, make up and costume all conspired to make the video work as was.

    Finished video ‘Future Kings’ by Miracle Bell

    Making of ‘Future Kings’ video by 'Present Tense Productions'

    Lady in Black - Maria Tecce
    Man in Brown - Brian O’Riordan
    Directed by Simon Eustace
    Produced by TIDAL
    Director of Photography - Piers McGrail
    Focus Puller - Tommy Fitzpatrick
    Gaffer - Niall O’Connor
    Loader - Aislinn McDonald
    Art Director - Jill Beecher
    Editor - Paul Schwer
    Wardrobe Stylist - Fiona Brownlie
    Make Up Artist - Love Hawkridge

    Unit stills - Gill Prenderville

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Ronan O'Conghaile's Avatar
      Ronan O'Conghaile -
      Fantastic article Piers. Thanks for taking the time to write this up; it's a great insight to the behind the scenes work you had to do.
    1. PiersMcGrail's Avatar
      PiersMcGrail -
      Thanks Ronan!
    1. Ruairiob's Avatar
      Ruairiob -
      Thanks- good article Piers.
    1. markbennett's Avatar
      markbennett -
      God I wish I could make videos as good as yours!!
    1. CRT's Avatar
      CRT -
      This is the kind of budget I wish I had for video... not a lot, just enough to be as creative as I'd like... good article! Something to aspire to!
FilmmakersNetwork.ie is Ireland's largest filmmaking community, an Irish networking space for people who want to make films. For everyone from novices to busy professionals, it's a place to make contacts, share opinions, discuss movies, contribute ideas, discover talent, build creative relationships and make films.