The Making of The Janitor Sequence From “The Last 3 Minutes”

When Canon and Hurlbut Visuals teamed up on this joint venture, we wanted to put together a trilogy of Behind the Scenes videos where I narrated about what goes on inside my head as a cinematographer. We also wanted to show that even though there is a planning process before the shooting begins, there is a certain spontaneity that just happens in the moment. We hope you find this Janitor Sequence to be both informative and inspiring.

“The Janitor” episode ONE is the first of three which takes you on a journey of  how we captured, lit and shot William’s custodial duties leading up to his heart attack. Then, you are thrown on his emotional roller coaster ride of memories from his young wife leaving him backward in time until his birth.

You see problem solving, thinking on your feet, and lighting with instruments that you can build or things that you can buy at Home Depot.  This was lit very simply.  I wanted to inspire you with tools that anyone would have access to and not big Hollywood lights and generators.  I was using lots of practical lights to my advantage in the office space and there were some that I could not turn off that I had to deal with and you see that thought process.  I  break down the whole scene as it played in the short film, by labeling each shot with a lens and an f-stop so that you can see the depth of field. The fact is that I light most of my films from purchases at Home Depot and Grainger.  So, using a good amount of practical light and shaping it so that it has mood and can assist in telling the story is paramount.

I want to thank you all for your amazing comments and support on this little short film.  We are sending it to all the film festivals and will be giving you details on where it will be shown so that you can see this baby on a big screen. It will blow you out.  Enjoy!!

  1. Bill 6 years ago

    Let us speak of Memory Card workflow.
    Card is full or it is a good time to get a new one.
    It goes to the Media manager they…
    Copy it to multiple hard drives (Hopefully)
    Then what? Do they erase the card return it to the camera to be re-formatted? How often should you re-format? Should/can the card be formatted in the computer? Inquiring minds haven’t a clue what to do!:)

    Thank you,

  2. Bill 6 years ago

    Oopsie, found the answer on another blog!

  3. Marc 5 years ago

    Shane…I cannot begin to say how inspiring you’re site and what a breath of fresh air!. I have been shooting on the 5D
    since Nov 2009 and learned lots! but this site is so comprehensive and you’re decision to go through the Janitor sequence and show the T-Stops and lenses was worth its weight in gold.

    I am extremely interested in Noise on the 5D (comes from battling a Z1 for two years!) can you explain why the ISO figures you listed are cleaner than a setting only a few clicks up the dial?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Hi Marc, If you sign up for the Inside Track newsletter and go to archived newsletters. I do a whole break down on the noise at all the different ISO’s on all of the Canon cameras. Check it out. It demonstrates it better than I can describe. Thank you so much for your awesome comments. I love what I do and my passion is what drives me as a filmmaker.

  4. Joe Miller 5 years ago

    Hi Shane, great film really inspiring for an aspiring film maker like myself! I really love the ECU of the janitors eyes shot on the 100mm macro at f3.5 I was just wondering would it be possible to replicate this shot with a long lens as well i fyou dont have the budget for both? Would using a longer lens get you the same result? Thanks for you time

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Joe Miller, yes to some extent. But you won’t have the intimate feel that you get being in there so close and personal.

  5. Francisco Bulgarelli 4 years ago

    Hello Shane,
    I was wondering, you know how the 5D has such limited depth of field at low apertures.
    What’s your general approach to deal with these limitation? nothing worse than a soft shot.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Francisco Bulgarelli, The 5D’s sensor is over 2X as large as the 7D, so that image area reduces your depth of field. I try to stay around a 2.8 to a 5.6. Never dipping below this unless it is a lock off shot or a macro shot that you are looking for this shallow depth of field look. I have focus puller’s that make me shine bright with this.

  6. Evan 4 years ago

    How do you mount the hp monitor to the top of the Pelican case?

  7. Kashif 2 years ago

    Brilliant,,,,,,, Beautiful

    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      Kashif, thank you so much for your kind words.

  8. Alexis Evanoff 1 year ago

    Wow… I watched that at least 3 times in a row because there was so much information packed into this about your thought process (and state of mind). Thank you so much for being so generous and sharing so much! Beautiful results!

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