Lucidity Festival approached Ted to make a film unlike the typical aftermovie that so many festivals create. The beauty of this project was that Lucidity had a 6-chapter story already in place, so Ted weaved together an original poem that ties together Lucidity’s chapter five theme of “crossroads,” their chapter six theme of “eudaimonia,” Teds own philosophies of what it means to live in a “lucid” reality and a few other nuggets of Ted’s personal philosophy.
The biggest challenge for all of the festival films that Ted creates is typically casting. With minimal budgets and the restriction in shooting at a location where people are camping in tents, there is minimal room for real actors, so Ted had to find the proper people and community leaders with the willingness, patience and acting chops to be in this film.
Like all of the festival films that Ted produces, you never know what your set is going to look like until you actually show up. This is the beauty and the beast of shooting at a festival. The sets are always new and unique, but you never know what you are going to get and what the light will look like in that location at a specific time of day. It’s not uncommon to shoot as fast as we can during sunset to optimize natural lighting for a scene. We got lucky with this film because it was overcast for a lot of the weekend, therefore we could shoot practically anywhere without worrying about the sun creating a heavy contrast on our talent. But lighting is one of the easiest parts. Audio and casting on the other hand…
The biggest beast when shooting at music festivals is always the music. Audio is an insane challenge, because everywhere you go, there are the worlds best sound systems pumping out bass that can be heard a mile away. Because of this you must find locations that are isolating, shoot at times before the heavy music kicks in, or simply hope that as line is delivered, the song at the time is in transition or in a chill moment. You can hear in the purple wizard clone scene of this film that there is a lot of music in the background. In all other takes that we shot, the background sound was drum and bass music, which did not really match the vibe of the energy of a scene like this. Alternatively every pic of audio is heavily EQ’d in this film. In the tribal scene there is a drum circle happening right behind the fire that our talent is sitting around. In post we had to apply a highpass filter to lose as much of the bass of the drums as we could as not to intrude on the soft music score that we had arranged.
And then there is camera. Ted shot this film using his Ronin-M Steadicam Gimbal and Sony A7S mk II with the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm lens with a super high f-stop and auto-face detection turned on. This is by no means the best gimbal, but it does give more flexibility over a non-robotic steadicam such as a Glidecam. The lack of a focus puller was a also a non-ideal scenario, as it was dangerous to rely on the camera’s auto-face recognition. But knowing this, Ted set this f-stop super high to keep both the background and the subject in a wide depth of field, since the background is also a big part of the story as we wanted to show tastes of the festivals setting. One big issue we had with the ronin however is its lack of functionality when tilting up or down.
The transition from the crossroads scene to the tribal scene took many takes to get the camera to cooperate as the camera dived into the ground and rose up from the ground in the tribal scene.
And then there is that final drone shot. Having drone blades spinning in your shot makes it very difficult for clean audio, and as much as we tried to isolate and EQ out the drone blade sound, it didn’t sound normal enough, therefore we had to have the last scene be complete ADR.
Additionally, the DJU Phantom 3 Professional drone that we use in the last shot was set to auto-exposure because the clouds were going in and out and the camera itself was going from shade to sun. This leads us to some advanced color correction as Ted individually keyframes various aspects of color, from the darkness of the shadows, to the saturation to the tint and hue. If tou notice in the very end of the film the saturation is super high to make the landscape really pop with color — something that you could not afford to do if you have a person in the shot because you wouldn’t want their skin to look Oompa-loompa orange.
“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Teddy on the short poetic film he wrote, directed, and produced, “The Crossroads to Eudaimonia”, about the Lucidity Festival story line. As the Marketing Director of Lucidity Festival, I engage with many media producers, artists, and visionaries on a daily basis and Teddy’s enthusiasm, creativity, commitment to quality, and professionalism make my experience with him and his craft rise to the top of the pile. At least within the context of Festival Media Production and Storytelling, his work is the cream of the crop, the creme de la creme, beautifully weaving Form into TransFORMation!”
- Jonah Haas, Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Lucidity Festivals -