Working in film will often challenge your resourcefulness and creativity. While much of what we see on the silver screen these days is shot with a massive crew using huge green screen sets, and elaborate and expensive lighting, you don't need an elaborate production to create a film that's visually rich.
In this video, from commercial cinematographer Spenser Sakurai, we find out how to recreate some of the lighting and mood from Spike Jones' 2013 magically absurd story of loneliness in a near future where artificial intelligence has become a surrogate for human intimacy. While the humanity of the characters is derived from the excellent writing and brought to life by Jones' mature direction, what really elevates the movie is the production design by K.K. Barrett and the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema. It is these two areas, where we are transported to a warm and quirky urban utopia, that Sakurai explores in his scene recreations.
The core take-home from Sakurai's video is that one doesn't need expensive gear to pull off a similar look to some Hollywood movies. I'm sure some of our readers are tired of hearing this, but the reason people write and make videos about it so much is because it's true, especially in this era of gear envy. Yes, the Aperture 120D MKII costs $750, but to have that power output and functionality for that price would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. He uses this as his main light while making use of what he has for practical/motivational lighting to add depth and ambience. Couple that with the very affordable Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K — and ingenuity for replicating some of the set design — and Sakurai really pulls off an impressive look. I especially love what he did with the ceramic colander.
Have any of our readers tried using their bare wit to pull off a look from a Hollywood movie — for stills or video? We would love to her about your efforts in the comments.