Posted on July 26, 2016

By Matthew Skala

An indy vampire drama in San Francisco

On the darker side of things, I shot this indy vampire drama–Sacred Blood–in San Francisco for director Christopher Coppola. Some 2nd unit work shot by Andrew Gianetta in the country of Georgia in Russia illustrates the back story at around minute 12.  

A lot of the film plays out amongst night exteriors. We had a very small crew with extremely limited resources and needed to work fast. So I was only able to have one battery operated light source.

We were able to augment our one light with donated AC powered units for some of the bigger interiors. But our crew size was still small so we could only handle so much.

A lot of work was done during prep and production to achieve a consistent look despite these restrictions. We shot on the Blackmagic Cinema camera and a Blackmagic pocket camera. Time for prep was also limited. So, we focused our efforts on how to best expose for the night exteriors without any augmented lighting. Secondly, we worked out how to match the two sensors and two lens systems between the two cameras. We pushed the sensors as far as made sense for the story. Thankfully, a certain amount of grain was helpful in evoking a dark and seedy indy vampire drama theme. And pushing the cameras at high iso’s became our modus operandi. We could have dialed it down for the interiors but I opted to expose them the same in order to retain the same texture (grain). Similarly–for the day scenes–I used ND and the f-stop to rate the cameras as high as I could within our parameters.

A lot of this detailed work was significantly compromised because I wasn’t given the opportunity to supervise the final colorgrade. However, I was able to make adjustments to the selected shots in this montage where I hope you can see the original intent.

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