Pilot season for me has begun! I was brought on by Valiant Pictures as the Cinematographer for their new show, "Renick & Swelee Save the Day". The basic premise is that Producer Matthew D'Amato and Director Vincent Lin take Renick & Swelee into different scenarios, teaching them a new skill and then implementing that skill the very next day. But like any good TV show, there is a twist, usually on the unsuspecting duo lol.

For this pilot, my job was simple: Make everyone look good. We started with the interviews.

Renick unprepared, but excited for what will happen over the course of the next 2 days.

With Renick, I placed a 4-Bank Kino (Daylight bulbs, of course) to the (camera) left and right of him. Since he faced away from the window, I just needed that natural light to wrap around his face a little more. I left his face in shadow a bit because he was in the dark at this point as far as what this whole process was going to be about. All he knew was that he was going to learn how to be a clown. I wanted to also make him feel like a target, so I composed him center frame. Look how uncomfortable he is! That feeling is enhanced with how we framed him. For lenses, I used Leica primes, in this case a 35mm. 

Swelee sits, waiting to hear what his day will be like...

So, with Swelee, I had a similar idea for framing, lighting, and lens choice. The main difference is the art direction. It's much more loose (as opposed to confining like in Renick's shot). This was a nod to their individual personalities. Swelee was much more laid back, so I wanted to match that vibe.

Producer Matthew (left) and Director Vincent (right) secretly set up the twist for tomorrow...

This room was dark! So, you would think, "uhhhh, Ty...you have those giant windows behind them. Why not open the blinds?" Story trumps easy exposure choices any day of the week. From a story perspective, this is a secret meeting where they want to keep the information to themselves. So, of course, I'm going to imply that visually. So, to balance the lighting in the conference room, I used a single 1200 Par HMI pointed at the ceiling. My goal was to enhance the fluorescent bulbs above them. For lensing, I chose to stay on the 35mm. I wanted the audience to be part of the action, but not too close b/c remember, the audience has no clue what's going on either. They just know SOMETHING is going to happen.


So, that's a quick look at the setups in the opening scene of this pilot. Do you have any questions on anything I didn't cover. ✌️

Ty Hunt