Written & Directed by Brad Riddell
Directed by writer-director, Brad Riddell, "Ten More" tells the story of a concert pianist recovering from a traumatic brain injury, which threatens his entire identity. While he struggles to deal with his disability a mysterious stain appears in his bedroom and becomes a looming symbol of his fading independence and mortality.
The defining aesthetic of "Ten More" is one of decent from warmth to blue-grey into blue-green. The first scene of the film shows us the warm and energetic "before," then slaps us with static blue-grey and deep contrast of the aftermath of the character's injury. To facilitate the transition with a tight camera budget we decided to use what we had at our disposal and shoot the first scene with warm and mild contrast Cooke Mini S4s, then transition to cool and higher contrast Ziess CP2s. Typically I would have carried the warm lenses through both moods with a change in lighting technique, but part of our “aftermath” strategy was shallow depth of field and the mini S4s don’t perform well under T4.
Most of our interior locations would be studio builds, which afforded us more control over how we motivated light. We had a relatively compressed schedule, so the studio also allowed us to make better use of our time as we were not tied to lighting studies and using natural light in many scenes.
Within this we landed on a strategy of deep contrast, reverse keys and three quarter backlighting to present half a man in the aftermath of the injury that began to strip his life away.
After the gliding opening we set the tone of the aftermath with statics and camera motion became much more deliberate. Being in the studio, most of the statics were shot from a PeeWee hybrid and we either laid track for the longer movements or used a 4' or 6' heavy sliders for short movements, including some combinations of both for more complex compound moves.
I am very much an on-location dp. I like doing lighting studies and finding opportunities in locations that may, on the face, seem incompatible. However, this film was a reminder of the advantages of studio shoots. Studios can be very limiting, but they also provide a level of control that free you to be more on the offense when planning out your scenes.