“God of Commerce” Shoot

This summer, Cinetheologian is working on a new film called “God of Commerce”. It is the first in a series of 1-minute commercial-style films about the various false gods that we worship.

The character of Commerce, played by Cris O'Bryon.  It is staged to look like a "Message from the CEO".“God of Commerce” has a unique structure, as compared to our previous films.  Much of the film consists of various video clips in the style of a television commercial, with a voice-over by a man who calls himself Commerce.  At some point, members of the “Resistance” interrupt the transmission in order to alert viewers that Commerce is deceiving them.

On Saturday July 20th, we shot the part of Commerce.  I directed. Raphael Melgar was our audio engineer.  Kevin Schumacher, a former co-worker of mine, was our cinematographer and lighting designer.  And Jessica served as Production Coordinator.  We took special care to make the footage look very polished.  After all, Commerce has all the powers of the commercial video production industry at his disposal.

Our lighting setup with a Kino Flo light and blacked-out window.In order to achieve this look, Kevin recommended that we use a Kino Flo light.  I was initially skeptical: Kino Flo lights use fluorescent tubes, which made me think of the horrible-looking fluorescent lighting found in office buildings and grocery stores.  But Kevin quickly convinced me that these lights were of quite a different caliber.

We wanted to be able to precisely control the light on our actor, Cris O’Bryon.  So we blacked out the window nearest Cris, and used daylight-balanced tubes in the Kino Flo light to simulate daylight.

Toward the end of the film, it is clear that there is something sinister about the Commerce character.  So we wanted to change the lighting to reflect that.  Kevin came up with the idea that we could place a softbox light below Commerce.  The softbox is tungsten (indoor) balanced, which means that the light is much warmer than daylight, which tends to have a bluish tint.

The Commerce character, with softbox lighting from belowWhen we first see Commerce, the daylight-balanced Kino Flo is at full brightness, with the tungsten-balanced softbox very low.  Both lights were on dimmers.  At the critical moment when things turn sinister, Kevin dimmed down the Kino Flo while Jessica dimmed up the softbox.  The result is that we get to see the transformation of Commerce from benevolent to malevolent.

In addition to their roles above, special thanks to Kevin for the equipment and expertise he brought to the shoot; to Raphael for getting us our location; and to Jessica for taking care of food and makeup, and for her assistance with the lights.  Thanks also to Tonya Lehman, who helped us run auditions, and to St. Andrews Lutheran Church and Pastor Andy Taylor for providing an audition location.

  1. Tim says:

    Really cool. I enjoy the walk through the lighting process. Mainly because I forget all of the different variables that go into each shot. I think the light is used to a wonderful effect.

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