Making of a PSA: Interviews with DP Bryant Fisher & Gaffer Jerred Sanusi

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DP Bryant Fisher (behind camera) on set of Little Leading LadiesImage courtesy of Adorama Rentals.

This is the third installment of a five-part series co-presented by New York Women in Film & Television and Adorama Rentals.

ARC Blog Editor Kelly M. La Rosa interviews Little Leading Ladies Director of Photography Bryant Fisher and Director of Operations at Adorama Rentals and Little Leading Ladies Gaffer Jerred Sanusi.

Little Leading Ladies was shot on the Sony F55—what made you choose that camera for this project? 
BRYANT: I had used the F55 on a previous television project and found that it was incredibly versatile, reliable, and it gave me great control in post. I like how well it responds to skin tones, and in particular how well it worked with the LED lighting. I was able to shoot raw with a very easy post workflow.

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DP Bryant Fisher checking out the Sony F55 at Adorama Rentals. Image courtesy of Adorama Rentals.

What was your favorite shot? Can you walk us through the the process of achieving that shot from conception to execution?
BRYANT: If I had to really narrow it down, I’d have to say it’s a toss up between the two dolly shots. One is where the three girls are on the playground walking toward the camera in a V formation. We did that with natural light, and were able to really pull some great detail out of it in post. Aubrey (Director) wanted to feel the power of the young business girl and her two sales girls. To put that sense of pressure on the viewer, I had them walk toward the camera and assemble on each side, displaying them as a power trio.

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DP Bryant Fisher (on dolly) and Gaffer Jerred Sanusi (behind dolly) on location shoot for Little Leading LadiesImage courtesy of Adorama Rentals.

The other is the talk show host intro, where we dollied from left to right, showing the boy’s hand on the camcorder to reveal his sister on the homemade talk show set. I wanted to show two stories in one with this shot. By including the younger boy’s hand then rack focus to reveal the sister, we understand she’s talking to someone off camera, revealing this grand, child-size set.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from your experience with this project?
BRYANT: As with any production, the biggest lesson I learned was to go in with a concise idea and communicate clearly with your crew to get what you’d like to achieve in order to get the best finished product possible. Your personality and behavior dictate the vibe of the whole production.

Can you give us a run down of the lighting changes you made to Bryant’s equipment list?
JERRED: Bryant had provided me with a lighting list during pre-production which consisted of primarily tungsten and Kino fixtures. I took the list and gave it a modern twist. I replaced all the lights suggested by Bryant with modern LED lights. The majority of which were recently released items. The list Bryant provided was a solid list so coming up with their LED equivalent was an easy task. 

I switched out the Kino Divas for Kino Celebs, the Mole Tungsten lights for Mole LEDs. I also included the Cineo LEDs as our powerhouse lights. 

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Director of Operations at Adorama Rentals Jerred Sanusi’s lighting check out changes for Little Leading Ladies.

Why did you make those changes?
JERRED: I chose to go with the Kino Celeb over the Divas and 1x1s because they have the same light characteristics as the Diva. The celebs create a nice soft single source light which is far better than the multiple source Light of the 1×1. Mole had recently released their LED line and Adorama had, of course, acquired them to their inventory. I wanted to take these LEDs out for a spin. I replaced our 300 tungsten with the 150 and 100 Mole LED. The 100 has a light output equivalent to a 650 tungsten and the 150 has an output equivalent close to a 1k tungsten fixture. The Cineos were added to be our powerful soft light, in case we needed a bright, broad source of light.

How do you feel it benefited the production process in the end?
JERRED: The two main benefits of going with LEDs are the low power consumption and low head of the fixtures. This allowed us to use as little power as possible in places like a school room and to keep temperatures down in a small studio where we were limited to running the air conditioning in between takes. The Cineo came in handy as a fill in most scenes. It faired well outdoors as a fill and indoors as a key. All of the LEDs we used have high CRIs which allowed them to seamlessly blend together. I was not an advocate for LED lights prior to this project but this was the first shoot I did completely with LEDs and I would have to say it made me a fan. 

Please join us Wednesday when the series continues with interviews with Little Leading Ladies Production Designer Deborah Zawol Smyth and Makeup Artist Jennifer Snowdon. Catch up on Monday’s post Interview with Little Leading Ladies Writer/Director Aubrey Smyth and Tuesday’s post Making of a PSA: Interview with Casting Director Jessica Daniels.

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