The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #384 – Negative Fill, Positive Vibes
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New week, new commercial to breakdown.

This week on the podcast we look at a spot I recently shot that didn’t go exactly as planned.  Some times the weather is your friend and some times it isn’t.  

On this episode we look at some pivots we made on the day to get the job in the can and how those changes altered the final look of the piece.


The latest course went live last week and I couldn’t be more excited to get this content out in to the world and start getting feedback on the system.

The course continues the exploration of my own system for blocking and coverage that I call the BODVO system.  I use it on every single scene I shoot but I haven’t shared it in great detail here on the podcast because it can get so complex.  

This particular course is Volume II and it centers on the most common scenario which is the Office Scenario.  The name office has nothing to do with the physical location of the scene but rather the orientation of the characters relative to one another.  

Once you see the system, you can’t unsee it.  

Nothing has improved my cinematography more than leaning in to this methodology and so far the feedback has been nothing short of amazing.

If you want to learn more about the course and the BODVO system you can check it out here:

A Cinematography System: The Playbook Approach – Volume II

There is more to this job than meets the eye and over on Patreon this week we explore some of the ideas and complications on this job that I didn’t have time to get on the main podcast.

One of the reasons I enjoy working in the commercial space so much is that you never know what is going to get thrown and you next and you have to be quick on your feet.  This job was no exception.

If you want to hear the podcast or check out any of the past content you can find it all by clicking the link below:

The Greenscreen DP Podcast Patreon

Shot #1 – The Classic Cop Shot

The Shot

Our hero police talent zeroes in on a speeding car coming down the highway.

The Lighting

On a shot this long and on a day this gloomy there wasn’t much to do except try and add as much contrast in the foreground as possible.

Either side of the camera there is a 12×12 Neg to help kill all of the ambient light coming behind camera.

The Result

Shot #2 – The Reverse Approach

The Shot

Inside the car we see the driver notice the policeman and pull over to the side of the road.

The Lighting

We had planned to shoot this backlit if the sun was out so we shot in the same direction as the previous set up.  We also had to shoot in that direction because facing South was unusable because of location issues.

The only lighting  inside the car was black duvetyne wrapped on all of the windows. 

The Result

Shot #3 – The Cowboy Wide

The Shot

Our Policeman approaches the car and sees the child in the backseat.

The Lighting

Again this shot was placed in the schedule to coincide with a sun in just the right position out of frame.  The clouds made that fact unimportant and we had to readjust our look.

Frame left and behind camera there is Negative Fill to crush the ambient light.

The Result

Shot #4 – The POV

The Shot

This is the POV of the officer as he scans the car from front to back.

The Lighting

We went against the classic framework here and lit the car interior from the short side.  This meant we brought in the negative fill very close frame right to cut down on any ambient leaking through and destroying what little contrast we were able to capture.

The Result

Shot #5 – The Long Single

The Shot

The tight of the moment of realisation for the speeding driver.

The Lighting

Same as above but now we added negative fill inside the vehicle to help control the contrast on the face.  

We balanced the shot to the light we were able to get from the overcast sky on the drivers cheek and then killed the ambient in the car to taste.

The Result


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