Earlier this year, I shot a short film written, directed, and produced by Jan Tussing called The Homecoming. It’s about Jonas, a gay Mormon student who runs away from his problems rather than confronting them head-on.Â To frame a distinction between Jonas’ conflicting worlds as a young gay man and a practicing Mormon, I used lighting and lenses to produce two distinct looks.
Within the house that Jonas shares with a hippy roommate, I used strong backlighting and soft fill balanced to highlight the colorful production design by Marcella Brennan. Wider lenses emphasize the levity and freedom of this world. When Jonas goes to see his Mormon family, I used tighter lenses and did away with the backlight, using only a soft key to play off the muted colors of the location and wardrobe provided by Julius Bronola.
To bridge the gap between these two worlds and give Jan some desired kinetic camera work, I operated the camera handheld for most of the film, keeping the movement subtle so as not to distract the audience. Exceptions were made for aÂ dolly shot which introduces the Mormon home, along with some steadicam work for a hiking montage and a 360Â° shot covering a dialogue scene in a convertible at the film’s ending.