Monthly Archives: June 2019

Truly Seen

I’m thrilled to share this short video, which I made in collaboration with the amazing story team at UW Medicine Advancement. I’m truly honored to work with people so profoundly dedicated to healing.

The story reveals how Mary Larson, a nurse for 23 years at UW Medicine’s Pioneer Square Clinic, has found a very special way to truly see her homeless patients.

For this project, we set 3 GoPros running over a 2-month period to capture Mary’s artwork taking shape. Everything else was shot on a Sony FS5. Nothing fancy, just SLOG0-2 8-bit 4K internal, graded with Alister Chapman’s lovely Venice Look LUT pack.

This is another in a long line of projects that uses my never shoot interviews methodology (for the primary story subject, at least). For the rest, we had an exceptional fine space to film our interviews in – the empty top floor of the Pioneer Square Clinic.

Here’s a sample frame from that interview. Looks almost naturally lit, doesn’t it?

Interview frame

But no! Any time you have a large window in the background of a frame, you know you need to bring a big gun to bring up your subject to match those background levels. Here’s the setup:

UW Medicine shoot w/ Mary Larson and subjects. Photo by Doug Plummer.

This technique is called “carrying the light,” which results in a very natural, almost imperceptibly lit look. We used a single Aputure 300d bounced into a 4×4 foam core, over which we draped a 1/4 grid cloth 8×8 fabric. We had to flag it off aggressively to keep the light off the background with a piece of black foam core that you can see tight against the side of the diffusion. But that’s it – one big light for one beautiful result.

It’s also another example of a framing technique I teach my students: For a pleasing frame, it’s often a good idea to frame your subject in a corner. Not literally – best to give them plenty of distance from the corner – but by lining up the corner behind them in the frame. This adds depth and dimension to the composition. And when you have a window, it’s frame naturally cuts the light off the wall, giving a pleasing light fall-off.

Focusing on food

Big, naturally lit locations help make food pop in Nordstrom restaurant recruiting video

Nordstrom has released a restaurant recruiting video that I had the pleasure of shooting for director Kent Worthington a few months back in Seattle and LA.

For this project we shot documentary style, moving quickly. Almost all of the shots used available lighting, which in our LA locations was absolutely beautiful, north-facing window light. Whoever designed the two LA restaurants was obviously thinking about light, and it shows in the clips.

I used a Sony FS5 with Atomos Inferno to shoot in SLOG-2 at 4K DCI.

Lenses were vintage Zeiss primes, with the 100mm Planar Makro seeing a lot of action.