Growing some "Midnight Flowers" with The Dig

Director: Tyler Greco

Director of Photography: David Kruta

Recently, the Abandoned Palace At 5 Beekman Street in New York City played host to the last production ever to shoot there - a surreal trip through the fanciful and playful mind of director Tyler Greco, set against the haunting notes of "Midnight Flowers" by New York City's own The Dig.


“With one hand deep in roots rock and roll and live performances that lift you up and leave you ragged, The Dig are building a reputation as one of the best young bands in New York. The songs on their new EP, Good Luck and Games, produced by Bryce Goggin (Pavement, The Ramones) have energy and intelligence matched only by their heartfelt swagger. See them now so you can say you saw them then.”



Steadicam played a pivotal role in helping us achieve over 50 setups for the day. We traveled from floor to floor to complete a series of vignettes, in addition to several main performance pieces featuring the band. The vignettes were part flashback and part imagination and followed the story of a couple in love as their romance falls apart. Michael Fuchs, Local 600 Operator, cranked out shots all day while Gaffer Omar Addassi and Key Grip Teresa Rhinehart helped prep the next scenes.



We lit primarily with 2 ARRI 1800w HMI PARs, which were either used as our key light or used to create fill against the powerful sunlight streaming through the windows. This package was supplemented with 4 750w Lekos and a small collection of tungsten units ranging from 300s to 1K open-faced lights. My DeMaitre Radiance haze generator was pretty much on full blast for the entire shoot.



One of the most challenging and rewarding scenes to light was the nighttime party sequence. The room we were in was comparitively small and we had no time to rig anything above. In the end, I lit the main part of the scene, our actress wrapping a passed out partier in Christmas lights, with a single 300w through a door. The rest was lit with 4 40w practicals around the room, a spinning disco light and additional Christmas lights strewn around the floor. The highlight of this sequence came when I noticed 1st AC Dave Brickley looking for something with his flashlight and how it illuminated our actors' faces. Immediately I asked to borrow it and handheld the flashlight to light different bits of the scene.


The performance sequence relied heavily on moving light. My first impressions upon seeing the location were that of deja vu - it looked almost exactly like the toymaker sequence from Blade Runner. I instantly wanted to replicate that feel, so the motto of the shoot became "light it like a happy Blade Runner". I went for a 1800w 2 floors up being moved during the take, and another at floor level for fill, being blocked by an exceptionally strong grip with a 4x4 floppy for numerous 6 minute takes. Overall I think this approach made what could have been a standard performance sequence a bit more interesting.




In addition, I had our playback man Tim Haber create several versions of the song, and we would play the song at 200% while shooting at 48fps. When played back later, the footage would appear to be in slow motion but the lyrics would match up with the original pace of the song. This helped tie the vignettes, which were entirely shot off-speed, to the performance piece.


Above, Director Tyler Greco walks me through a shot.



Watch out for the track "Midnight Flowers" along with the video to be released in early 2012. Special thanks to Carly Nahigyan for the behind the scenes photos.