"Within the range of one shooting day we had to shoot four completely different performers."

 

What was your job on “Command Performance”?
Taking into consideration my great experience in music videos and concerts shooting, the producer Les Weldon and Dolph Lundgren offered me and my team to shoot the concert scenes in the movie. It was not an easy task, because four different types of performances had to be shot in different style, different lighting, etc. but I think that the final result is quite good.

How did you get involved in the project?
The invitation came from Nu Image and to be more precise – from Les Weldon and Danny Lerner. I have worked with them before when shooting “War Inc.”. My task there was to shoot the music video of Hilary Duff.

What preparation did you have to do and how did you start working with the director of the movie Dolph Lundgren?
I gave my ideas about how the stage should look like, I discussed it with the production designer Carlos Da Silva. After that I made a proposal to Les Weldon and Dolph Lundgren for the lighting effects, the way everything should be shot. What delighted me the most is the fact that we had no controversial points about the issues I proposed. After a few meetings with Dolph Lundgren we were quite aware how we would like the concert to look like. It is very easy to work with Dolph Lundgren, because he is open for any ideas and he quickly sees the point of view of the opposite side.

Did Dolph had specific instructions to you and how he wanted the concert to look?
Dolph wanted everything to look like a real rock concert and the most important was to look like a real member of a rock band. He trained for two months to become an authentic rock drummer; I worked a lot on the close-up and the expression of his face while he is playing. We used different types of lens – from 6 mm to 200 mm, which is peculiar for shooting rock concerts. In part of the shots there had to be dancers to dance with Melissa Smith. The dancers and the singer had to start working in harmony for a very short time and to look like a team which has worked together for years. I think we managed quite well with this task.

What were the challenges of this project?
Mainly the time. Within the range of one shooting day we had to shoot four completely different performers. The producers were delighted to find that we managed to do it even without overtime.

How did you coordinate with the director of photography Marc Windon and his team?
In fact we were separated in two teams. The lighting for the concert was made by my DOP Silverter Jordanov, with whom I work together for fifteen years. The interesting point in this case was the coordination between the two teams, because while my team was shooting the concert and everything that happened on the stage, Marc Windon’s team was working with the main characters and we were shooting simultaneously.

How many people did you have in your crew?
Twenty-one including the dancers.

How many cameras did you use (which formats) and did each one had a specific function?
We worked with five 35mm cameras, they covered the whole action and in the different takes they were on different positions. We used crane and steady-cam. There were two HD cameras on the stage sending signal to two huge screens on the stage.

Is there continuity issues when filming a concert?
In this case we had no problems, we knew, that the shots from the concert will be interrupted by shots in which the bad guys rush in the hall – i.e. the action might not be consecutive. That is why we rather shot as for a music video than for a concert.

There are four artists and bands performing: did you try different looks for each band? (D2, Melissa Smith, Irson, Piligrim)?
The main difference we could achieve in the appearance was connected with lighting and camera movement. For the two rock bands we made the typical lightning and sharply moving cameras for the rock concerts. The case with Irson was extra special because she was singing a slow song, for which we made warm lighting and very smooth movement of the cameras. We should do just the opposite for Melissa, who had to be the star of the show. Everything had to look much more youthful, in MTV style. The crane, the dolly, the low point of view, quickly changing details, the disparate change of lighting and background – I think all of these created quite different appearances of her performance.

Will you help out in editing the concert scenes?
I used to edit everything I shoot on my own, but things here were quite different. I suppose only short parts of the concert will be used. If I was invited by Dolph Lundgren, probably I would have participated with some ideas in the editing.

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