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I Decide: Anatomy of a No-Budget HD Spot

Wherein a great group of people come together for a good cause

By Art Adams | September 29, 2008

This was the first project shot for California's No on Prop 8 campaign. In an attempt to reach out to young voters I recruited my cousin Catherine, and her best friend Austin, to record an appeal for youth to get up and vote down Prop 8. They're both politically active and immediately said "yes" to the project.

As we were unable to secure a free stage for the project we turned Catherine's mom's living room into a green screen studio. DP Simon Sommerfeld volunteered his services as gaffer and offered the use of his lighting and camera equipment, and Neil Tanner volunteered his teleprompting services. Phil Turner, newly arrived sound recordist from the UK, also volunteered and did a great job of recording usable sound around traffic noise.

We used Simon's HPX-500 camera, which did a great job on flesh tones but wasn't the best camera in the world for green screen. The chip is not native HD and uprez's the image considerably. Normally this is a process without noticeable artifacts but we discovered some flaws during the green screen composite that forced us into a look that we hadn't anticipated... but it turned out pretty darned good.

First, let's talk about lighting on the next page...

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