Michael Helenek  |  Cinematographer

                                                                     Los Angeles |  NYC

secrets & lies

Dec. 4, 2013

 

    Recent cinematography posts:

 

  • One Heart  - may 2016

 

  • Monster in a House  - sept 2015

 

  • Secrets & Lies  - dec 2013

 

  • King Eternal  - sept 2013

 

  • Dungeons & Dorks  - mar 2013

 

  • Doubts  - feb 2014

 

This past August I had the opportunity to work with music video director Saul Herckis and musicians Crystal Lane Swift (CLS) and Rich Ferguson on a music video titled Secrets and LiesSecrets and Lies explores the relationship of an untrusting couple.   Mr. Herckis’s visual treatment of the song takes us into several worlds where we see the couples’ disloyalty.  For the duration of the song, it is unclear to the viewer whether these worlds are reality or simply the couple’s imagination.

 

Our first and most involved setup of the video was one in which CLS travels down a long dark corridor of intimate couples while singing the lead vocals.  Our goal was to create a pleasing dedicated top light for CLS for the duration of her 30ft. walk.   To create a strong visual contrast between her and the background actors, we decided to leave them dimly lit.  Since the industrial space we were shooting in had no overhead grid, we built six 12 foot menace arms off to camera right to create overhead points.  Each menace arm reached over the path on which CLS walked and held one 4 foot 2 bank kino oriented longways in the direction of her travel.  The kinos were tilted slightly up from a completely downward angle, so that CLS’s eyes would not be completely shadowed. The kino barn doors and egg crates were used to control the side spill.  Additional menace arms were rigged to create points above the intimate couples.  We used small fresnels (200w and 300w) on dimmers to light the couples from above.   This lighting was motivated by the practical bulbs that hung in frame.

Crystal Lane Swift performs the vocals for Secrets and Lies.

In another interesting set up, Saul placed Rich Ferguson in an antique and rustic set.  Our lighting setup consisted of a key light and four accent lights.   We used a 1k open face with a chimera soft box to key Rich.  Two 90w halogen spot globes (Home Depot) placed hot accents on the table in the foreground and the chair in the background.  A source 4 leko placed a hot accent on the metal plate in the background.

Rich Ferguson sits in a rustic set designed by Saul Herckis.

For the final scene of the video, CLS and Rich Ferguson lie in bed in the morning.  Ambient daylight entered through the bedroom window.  We gelled this window light with 3/4 CTO.  We used a Leko bounce to key CLS and Rich and another Leko with 1/4 CTO to create an accent on the back wall.

Richard Ferguson and Crystal Lane Swift lie in bed.

The Secrets and Lies soundtrack was written, performed, and produced by Crystal Lane Swift and Rich Ferguson. The Secrets and Lies music video was produced by Crystal Lane Swift and directed by Saul Herckis. The video stars Crystal Lane Swift and Rich Ferguson. It is currently in post production and will be released this fall. Thank you to Crystal Lane Swift for bringing me on to this project. A special thank you to our camera team: Logan Turner (1st AC) and David Mori (2nd AC/DIT), as well as our lighting team: Nik Jones, Jayson Wilkins, and Jeremy Dickie-Clardy (set lighting technicians).  Here are a couple more remaining images that our team created.

CLS and two other cast members sit on a red couch. The lighting setup consisted of an overhead 1k chimera and a 650w fresnel with 250 diffusion for a backlight.   Blacks were crushed in post production and the color temperature was warmed.

 

    Recent cinematography posts:

 

  • One Heart  - may 2016

 

  • Monster in a House  - sept 2015

 

  • Secrets & Lies  - dec 2013

 

  • King Eternal  - sept 2013

 

  • Dungeons & Dorks  - mar 2013

 

  • Doubts  - feb 2014

 

CLS in a shower scene. Two small fresnels with 1/2 CTO bounce into a 4×4 bead board on a flicker gag. Black duvetine lines the far side of the shower to eliminate the return and create contrast.  The blacks were crushed in post and the color temperature was warmed.

Camera technical specs: Canon 5D Mark II with Zeiss ZE primes @ ISO 320/640 and a neutral color profile.

c: 323/819.7218     |     e: michaelhelenek@hotmail.com      |      LA / NYC