Notes on style – John Bradburn


Hello. As you may have seen yesterday we had a preliminary meeting about the visual style of the film. This may have looked like three men drinking in a pub but it wasn’t. Honest.

I’ve shot both of the previous 72 hour films and apart from some small second unit stuff I’ve generally been behind the camera for the whole thing. With The Confusion of Tongues the set up will be a little different as we’ll be running two crews simultaneously for most of the shoot. I’ll be directing one of these while James runs the other. So the need to maintain a coherent visual style is really important.

These is where a good set of rules comes in. I’ve stolen this idea from Terence Malik and Emmanuel Lubezki’s dogma for shooting The Tree of Life. If you’re interested in reading more about this then there’s a great article here.

So these are our rules. We’re going for something honest but fresh to complement the script. We’ll have a storyboard but sometimes things can get a little crazy while shooting at such speed. These are what we’ve set to maintain a visual style even when changes have to be made on set.

1. We shoot at stop 4 or 5.6 always. Never deep focus or very low depth of field.
2. Shutter speed is 1/50.
3. No high or low angles. Everything is shot level.
4. We like out of focus lights in the background.
5. All colour balance is neutral except for night time interiors. These will be warm.
6. We will light the set and use reflector boards.
7. The film is entirely planned hand held. No searching, no reacting.
8. Close ups will always include the shoulders.
9. Where possible avoid silhouettes – our characters are in the light.
10. You can break one of these rules every two hours. Never ignore a beautiful shot.

If we follow these guidelines throughout then we should get a seamless melding of the two units footage. If you’re going to be part of the camera team then I’d like to see this tattooed somewhere about your person.



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