On Set With Shane

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Thousands of people have asked me, “Can I be a part of your team? Can I learn from you?” Unfortunately, I can’t bring everyone on set with me. This document shares the immediacy of what I experience every day on-set by virtually immersing you like never before.

On Set With Shane is jam packed with visual aids, location pictures, links, and lighting schematics that will share in my decision making process. You can immediately apply these techniques to your workflow whether you are a one man band or a seasoned veteran. Welcome to On Set With Shane.


Shane_Header2On Set With Shane Day 1

Day 1 on Fathers and Daughters started with with a MoVI shot, pushing in on Amanda Seyfried, who plays the character Katie in our film. We pushed in on this character as she’s having sex in a bathroom at Columbia University.

We walked the MoVI, which is usually done in majestic mode, where the operator pans and tilts the camera with the use of his hands. As the operator tilts, you tilt the MoVI and it tilts; you pan the MoVI and it pans.


Shane_Header2On Set With Shane Day 2

On Day 2, we had a very weird kind of split.  We were in a beautiful mansion with the actors Diane Kruger who played Elizabeth, and Amanda Seyfried who was Katie. We started there in a tearoom scene.

It was all perfectly set up in terms of the timing. The plan was to shoot when the sun side lit the background and the sky was blue.  With the sun off to the side and a blue sky in the background, I was able to do minimal inside lighting.


Shane_header_day3On Set With Shane Day 3

This was a very interesting day. It was our first day with Aaron Paul. He plays Cameron, who falls in love with Amanda Seyfried’s character Katie. They meet at a loft party, and then go to a restaurant to eat burgers and talk. 

We set this up, and I was able to light the scene by putting all the right practicals in the right place. This truly is the power of the Canon C500. We selected a beautiful background, which happened to be 15 feet wide by 18 feet high, back lit whiskey bottles.


Day4_headerOn Set With Shane Day 4

We started out in a psychologist’s office, which was on the 13th floor on the Alcoa building. The whole building is made out of aluminum. Fancy that. We had a standard office with windows that were very weirdly shaped. It almost looked like we were in an aquarium, and we really embraced that.


shane_day5On Set With Shane Day 5

As a cinematographer,  you are always asked to make compromises. This was a lower budget film. With Gabriele Muccino’s vision, and my ideas for lighting and camera, we were taxing the budget to the absolute limit. 


shane_header_imageOn Set With Shane Day 6

This is about a shot that we conceived within the first week of prep on Fathers and Daughters. Our director, Gabriele Muccino saw these videos with the MoVI, and we wanted to come up with the shot that showed the unique ability to be able to pass this camera off from one operator to the other. Now, we’d seen all the videos on YouTube of people handing it off of hooks, draping it down ropes, and doing all that stuff.  But what was it going to tell in our story?


shane_day7On Set With Shane Day 7

Today we were at Cameron’s (played by Aaron Paul), apartment in Brooklyn. The apartment was a kind of shotgun concept, where you walk in the door and you walk into the living room. Right next to that is the bedroom, and to the right of the living room is the dining room. To the right of the dining room is the kitchen, and to the right of the kitchen is the bathroom. You have to walk through four rooms to get to the bathroom. 


shane_day8On Set With Shane Day 8

These are the days where you feel very frustrated by the East Coast weather. You wake up in the morning, the weatherman says it’s going to be 40 degrees. All of a sudden it’s 12 degrees with a wind-chill of zero. 

The idea on this day was for the characters Katie and Cameron, played by Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul, to be jogging. It was like a first date. They tell each other their stories, and there’s a wonderful moment between the two of them. 


shane_day9On Set With Shane Day 9

We have a scenario where we needed to pick up the Cameron (played by Aaron Paul) and Katie (played by Amanda Seyfried) jogging scene which was their little introductory first date. We were adding that onto an already intense day, but we made it work. The day began with our original scene where Katie walks by her old school, spots a man who looks like her dad, who is played by Russell Crowe.