In this economy one has to stretch every production dollar as far as it can go. This doesn't mean compromising on quality, though: keeping things simple can yield huge dividends. This includes knowing when it's okay to shoot with available light, and when natural light needs a little help.
I got this job via my web site, which is always a nice boost to the ego (and a financial justification for its existence). I'd never worked with director Mark Holthusen or producer Jason Santos, but apparently the combination of my portfolio and the helpful notes I gave them about their boards paid off in the end. I have a habit of giving out a fair bit of advice when going over boards for the first time, and most of the time my comments impress the clients enough to get me the job. I don't play my entire hand before landing the project, but I do try to be helpful and show that I know what I'm doing.
In this case that strategy paid off wonderfully, resulting in a second shoot with Mark and Jason: a music video for the macabre band The Tiger Lillies. This spot for the Commonwealth Club, our first project working together, was an exercise in budget-stretching, and by shooting with the RED and working simply with available light whenever possible we pulled it off.
The RED can be a huge pain to work with, but it also offers the opportunity to get away from the traditional three-chip depth-of-field-forever Rec 709 "baked-in" look that I've been battling since I started shooting HD. RED can add a lot of production value to an otherwise inexpensive project--as long as you have a great camera assistant and a very talented colorist on your side.
Here's the 60 second version of the finished spot, soon to be running on cable TV and in movie theaters in California: