Project Life.

I was the Director of Photography on this short film. My role was lighting, shooting and color grading.


I worked with a crew of 7 individuals to create this short film. I was in on the process from concept to completion and had input on creative direction of the short film.

Short Film Crew

The primary goal of the film was to communicate the idea of death and the confusion it brings. My primary role was to light and shoot the film. Chris Weatherly the director helped me a ton when it came to lighting and shooting. I also would go on to color grade the film in post-production.

We shot over a month period at many locations. Our lack of time and lack of location access required quick lighting and decision-making.

We shot the film on the Canon 5D MKiii and used a variety of prime lenses. Used had five kinos and a few arris to light with and diffusion. On set it the director (Chris Weatherly), myself, the writer (Emily Lutrull) a sound tech, the actors, and about 4 PA’s.

Vincent Laforet gave great advice at his Directors in Motion conference. If motion doesn’t add to the film – pull it.

Chris Neal DP

Because the character was so rigid and numbed we decided to start off shooting stagnant. Lots of tripod and non-moving images to create a sense of rigid/boring life.

You’ll notice as the female lead enters and “shakes” the male lead’s world up the camera movement switches to handheld. The camera moves to smooth gliding/tracking movements after the character deals with his issues.

In lighting the scenes we tried to use a large soft key. After positioning the key we would adjust fill. Last we would add room lights to add to the scene if needed. The toughest scenes to light were funeral hallway scenes due to the small spaces. We got creative with bouncing off ceilings and walls and made it work.

Color Grading
To begin the process I talked with Chris to figure out exactly the feel desired for the film. Having shot it, we were both on the same page when it came to color. He wanted a slight indie-film look to the short. He also gave me some creative freedom with it.

I began collecting reference images and starting touching some of the footage in Magic Bullet Looks. After coming up with a few looks, we decided on the following.

While collecting references I did an initial correction to every clip. I made sure exposure was correct and white balance was decent. Then after picking a final “look” I went through with Magic Bullet and adjusted each clip to fit the style desired.

Tools: Canon 5d mk iii, Kino Flo’s, Magic Bullet Looks