The Making of Mourning Routine

A recap of last year's episodes.

We wrapped up another exciting day of filming our second vignette of 2019. It was a long but extremely productive day on set with a tremendous cast and crew. If you haven't seen the episode yet, check it out on our home page or head over to Vimeo.com.

We wanted to share the behind the scenes work that went into this episode. It's also a good reference for us to look back to when we shoot future episodes and can't remember what we did to get a certain look or shot.

In this post, we're breaking down the gear and the props. In our next post, we'll show you the set up for each scene and the script breakdown.

The Technical Details

For Mourning Routine, we switched out our camera and lenses for a different tone. On Snow and Dedication, we shot with a Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro. Andrew Santin, sound engineer extraordinaire, loaned us the Arri Amira along with a boatload of other gear. Combined with the Angenieux glass , we came away with fantastic, dark and eerie vibe for this episode. The vignette and flares captured in the dark set scenes were on point and gave us the right vibe in the final edit! Just like Denise's state of mind, we wanted an off balance and somewhat unstable point of view. The lighting, combined with the glass gave us an unsettling look and feel.

For our camera movement, we utilized the the dolly to give our bright set kitchen a nice, crisp smooth feel pushing the audience into a place where this feels like any other morning. But we also utilized the dolly in other scenes with a different tone in mind. The "dark set" bedroom shot was a critical scene where Denise reveals her husband is gone and she's completely alone with her mannequin children. Fig executed a perfect dolly zoom with a pan to reveal another "child" in the doorway giving us an off kilter feeling that plays into Denise's breakdown.

  • Arri Amira with master grips

  • Angenieux 25-250 t3.5 zoom

  • Angenieux 35-140 t4.4 zoom

  • Tiffen white pro mist filters

  • GPI Pro Cinelive stabilizer sled

  • Tiffen master series arm

  • Heden Carat follow focus system

  • Quasar Science Rainbow tubes - 2 2' and 1 3'

  • Arri tungsten fresnels 2k 1ks 300s

  • Source Four Lekos

  • Sachtler systems tripod and head

  • Romans Cine Gear Dolly

  • Odyssey Directors Screen

Prop Notes

We needed to have mannequins or something similar to stand in for the mother's children in her mind. I didn't realize how difficult to locate and expensive mannequins can be until we needed them for this episode. Even at a local flea market, no one would part with them regardless of offer. If you need a side hustle, seriously consider the mannequin business. However, Amazon.com came to the rescue and two adorable, yet creepy, mannequins arrived days before the shoot. Originally I was going to create my own homemade torso to hold the masks. Two days into planning it out, well, there's a reason companies exist and make the real thing.

After the mannequins were acquired, the strange look wasn't enough to satisfy what should be going on in her head. The idea for the masks is based on the nicknames that mothers, including my wife, call their kids. A quick search on Etsy, the Owl and Fox were born. The patterns were downloaded, a trip to the craft store- which is always ends up turning into a shopping spree for other ideas - and the production was ready to to get started. And it was slow - syrup on a sub zero day kind of slow - to build them but well worth the effort. They turned out amazing and gave the episode that twist we were looking for.

In our next post, we'll break down the scenes including lighting, camera placement and scene changes on the fly.


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