Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shooting Actor John Bach for Fortune Theatre

After my shoot with veteran Kiwi actor John Bach for the Fortune Theatre earlier this year, I can say John is a really hard working guy.
  John Bach

We were shooting promos for one of this season's productions, Red by John Logan, which is about abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko's struggle with a significant work. Now that the season has been premiered, I can share a few of the pictures with you.

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My lighting setup had four parts, a shoot through umbrella for key, high and camera right, an Orbis ringflash adaptor for just a little fill, and for rim lighting, one bare flash rear of John cam right, another in a small softbox, rear camera left. It gave a nice edginess to the pictures shot against black, plenty of dimensionality, and just a little flash flare, something I've been meaning to play around with.

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It's a two man play, kind of intense, so I wanted those rim lights, and was pretty happy with the effect I was getting. What I didn't figure on was the intensity John bought to the shoot. He was amazing. Gradually working into the role, you could see him crawl into the character, deeper and deeper. It was almost scary to watch, and it's a bit of a cliche, but it really was a privilege to work with such a pro.  Then we noticed the paint dripping at John's feet, so played down there for a while, where John got positively Gollum-like. I recommend you click on some of these to go through to the larger versions on Flickr, and really see John at work, it's cool.

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What a shoot. What a model. In the end, the designers ditched the lights and flare and added a little more negative space to the shot, so I've approximated it below. It shows a man struggling, alone with an act of creativity, pressures, questions. Inner conflict is the most interesting kind, and John really delivers. When they revealed the shot last night at the premiere, folks took in the picture but then you could hear as people started to recognise him behind the painted hand. It worked so well, and I think it's a great choice and treatment.

John Bach

Red, by John Logan, Fortune Theatre 14 April-5 May. I'm planning on seeing it. Maybe you should too.

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