PROJECT: Initiative


A few times a year, across the country, cities take place in the 48 Hour Film Project. It's one of those project where a bunch of filmmakers gather together for 1 weekend (the 48 hour part) to work on a something fun and creative juices flowing. And everyone is on the same page on compensation - it's food, nd ungodly amount of stress, a fun time (especially if you have the right team), and an finished film (which can be rarity sometimes.)

How Does A 48 Hour Film Project Work?

How a 48 Hour Film Project works is that every team is given two different genres at the start of Friday evening. They then have to make a film in one or both genres while also making sure to use the provided character, include 1 specific line and have 1 specific prop somewhere in the scene. This is all chose on Friday evening. The team then has the rest of Friday into early Saturday morning to write and cast. On Saturday they shoot, and on Sunday they start editing, do any pickups, and have it turned in by Sunday evening. The films then premiere at an event, people choose their favorites and then judges judge for awards.

Who did I work with this year and what did they get?

For the 2023 Pittsburgh project I worked with Gaff Tape and a Prayer. The team was found by Bill Lyon and a few of his friends, but I was brought on by Carley, who is Bill's wife and who is also a friend from college who I photographed during college theater productions.

This year the team was given the genres Fish Out of Water and Game Film, and being the complete nerds everyone on the team is we decided game film meant Dungeons and Dragons. So we spent the night brainstorming, then Mac, one of the founding writers started writing and the next day we went out into the woods to shoot the first half of the short which was followed by shooting in a basement for the actual D&D session.

The final result was a film that was nominated for 13 awards and won two of themP best supporting male actor for Bill, who played the DM, and best special effects.

Watch the film for yourself and then check out some of my favorite photos from the shoot below.


Behind the Scenes

What DID I learned?

A few months prior to this film I upgraded my main camera from a Canon DSLR to a Sony Mirrorless. This was the first set I was able to test out the full kit, including the brand new (but used) 70-180mm Tamron lens and all.

In the game session part of the film, after looking through the photos the following day, I noticed banding when we were in the basement. I knew to expect banding on mirrorless and I hadn't noticed on the back of the camera when I checked. But apparently the LED cinema lights that are super common on sets, which in this case for me was a single Amaran light, can cause really bad banding if you don't hit the right shutter speed. And after asking to a Unit Stills group I found out this is very common on set, especially for the Sony A7IV, which is the camera I use.

So I'm definitely learning to look more closer to photos on set, double check for banding, and I finally set up a button on the camera to switch to mechanical to mode for BTS photos where my camera going off isn't a problem for the sound operator.

If you have any tips for handling the banding, reach out to me at @thoseinmotion on Instagram. I'd love some tips.

Side note: I want to shout out YM Camera, which is the sort of local (over the border in Ohio) camera store where I basically buy as much gear as I can. They are where I got most of my Sony kit and they are super helpful and lovely and I want more people to know about them. I pinky promise this is sponsored at all. And I also want to shout out to my friend PJ Gaynard who is the city producer for the Pittsburgh 48 Hour film project.