How I Shot a BEAUTY FILM | SONY ZV E1 | NEO MODEL MANAGEMENT

Hello, in todays blog post I am going to talk about the creative process behind a Make Up Beauty Film.

 

My inspiration for the beauty film stemmed from a desire to craft an engaging showcase of glamorous, high-shine makeup in a manner that not only celebrated beauty but also captivated viewers in a commercial context. With aspirations to market my skills to brands and agencies for commercial beauty films, I aimed to infuse the project with a sense of vibrancy and sophistication. The core of my vision was to employ poppy and glam beauty lighting, meticulously crafted to accentuate the allure of both the models and the makeup they adorned. Additionally, I sought to explore the dynamic interplay of movement, experimenting with various choreographed motions to enhance the visual storytelling and create an immersive viewing experience. Through this creative endeavour, I aimed to not only showcase my technical prowess but also to convey the essence of modern beauty in a fresh and compelling manner.

This film was also an experiment in creating something that looks very high end with what little resources I had available. I used the living room as the studio, using coloured light to create a warm hue behind the models. Over the years I have built up a camera and lighting kit that allows me to be able to put together a shoot like this without having to hire any equipment. Owning my own equipment allowed me to be able to make this film without a budget. I was quite impressed and surprised by how high end a video it was possible to make with the small resources I had.

 

So lets go over some of the pros and cons of buying your own filmmaking equipment.

 

Pros:

Control: Having your own equipment gives you full control over its use, maintenance, and customisation according to your needs. You can organise your equipment specifically for your needs and have a streamlined set up.

Convenience: Owning equipment means you have it readily available whenever you need it, without the hassle of renting or borrowing. It makes it much easier to be able to create work and practice your craft whenever you want.

Cost Efficiency: Over time, owning equipment can be more cost-effective than repeatedly renting, especially if you use it frequently.

Familiarity: Using the same equipment consistently allows you to become intimately familiar with its features and capabilities, potentially improving your workflow. The camera and lighting for a filmmaker is the paint and brush for the painter. The closer you are connected with it, the better work you can create.

Flexibility: You can experiment and practice with your equipment at any time, without being constrained by rental schedules or availability.

 

Cons:

Initial Cost: Purchasing equipment requires a significant upfront investment, which may be prohibitive for some filmmakers, especially those on a tight budget.

Maintenance: Owning equipment means you’re responsible for its upkeep, including repairs, maintenance, and storage, which can add additional costs and time commitments.

Depreciation: The value of equipment typically depreciates over time, so you may not recoup your full investment if you decide to sell it later.

Limited Variety: Owning equipment restricts you to what you have, potentially limiting your ability to experiment with different gear or adapt to changing project requirements.

Storage Space: Equipment takes up physical space, which may be a concern if you have limited storage options or work in a small studio or home environment.

 

Advice on owning equipment.

 

Don’t rush to purchase equipment if you are starting out, the cost of what you can spend can easily add up to a very significant amount, so think deeply about what your needs are and how much the equipment will help you achieve your goals. Definitely try to rent equipment before you buy it so you can make sure its the right fit for you. It’s also worth considering how the equipment fits into, and is viewed, by the industry as a whole. As having specific equipment that is reputable and trusted will be easier to make the money back by charging for it on jobs. For example Sony cameras will be viewed as more legitimate than Panasonic, Arri cameras are regarded much higher than Canon etc. So if you are spending your money on equipment that has a better reputation then it is a safer investment over time as you will be able to make more money back on it as well as selling it used when you have finished with it will be easier.

 

The Lighting Setup

 

For the lighting concept of the beauty film, I aimed to evoke a warm, glowing atmosphere imbued with richness and depth. Central to this vision was the strategic placement of lights to eliminate harsh shadows on the faces of our models, ensuring a flawless and ethereal appearance. Soft lighting techniques were employed judiciously to infuse the scenes with a gentle glow and a sense of softness, enhancing the overall allure of the makeup and models. Warm lights were meticulously selected to envelop the subjects in a flattering and inviting ambiance, adding warmth and sophistication to every frame. Through these deliberate lighting choices, I sought to create an immersive visual experience that not only accentuated the beauty of the makeup but also enveloped viewers in a world of luminous elegance and glamour.

 

To achieve this concept I used a Forza 500 with a large lantern ball directly above the camera. The lantern modifier created a large light source which allows the light to reach the models face from multiple angles, blending shadows and creating softness. By placing it directly above the camera it stops any shadows from appearing on the left or right of the face. There will be shadows created under the nose and under the chin. So I also places a Forza 60b with a small lantern attachment directly under the camera which under lit the model, filling in any of the shadows under the nose and chin. This also created an interesting otherworldly effect on the models face when she leant into the camera, getting very close to the light, which I really loved. To finish off this super simple lighting setup I added a background light, which is a light that is specifically to control the lighting on the background. I used a Forza 60b with a fresnel attachment, the fresnel is a type of lens that allows the light to be focused into spot and flood. Spot would be where the light is focused into a small circle and flood is where the light is spread out, hitting a large area. Using its bi-colour functionality I tuned the background colour into an amber tone which gives the video a warm and luscious feeling. I also used this light to add some lighting changes which created more interest. Simply by panning the light from the background onto the model I created an entirely different look.

 

Working with Make up Artists

 

I used my network to reach out to find a makeup artist and was passed a number to one that is at the early stages of her career and was very open to any opportunity to build her portfolio and get more practice. She had been training on a Pinewood Studios makeup course. I showed her the reference images for the look and vibe I was using as a starting point which she was very excited about.

 

What are some of the things to think about when working with a makeup artist?

 

1. Communication:

Clear and open communication is essential to ensure that the makeup artist understands the overall vision and aesthetic of the film.

Discuss specific requirements such as colour schemes, styles, and any unique challenges posed by the filming conditions.

2. Collaboration:

Foster a collaborative environment where the makeup artist’s creative input is valued and integrated into the overall concept.

Work together to ensure that the makeup complements the clothing, set design, and lighting, creating a cohesive visual narrative.

3. Portfolio and Style:

Review the makeup artist’s portfolio to assess their style and expertise in beauty and fashion makeup.

Select a makeup artist whose style aligns with the aesthetic of the film and can effectively bring your vision to life.

4. Time Management:

Coordinate schedules and allocate sufficient time for makeup application, allowing the makeup artist to work meticulously without feeling rushed.

Factor in additional time for touch-ups and adjustments during filming to maintain consistency and quality throughout the shoot.

6. Lighting Considerations:

Collaborate with the makeup artist to ensure that the makeup translates well under various lighting conditions, including natural light and artificial studio lighting.

Adjust the lighting setup as needed to enhance the makeup’s colours, textures, and overall impact on camera.

 

The Shoot

The shoot was a really fun process, we put of some fun music and experimented with different poses and movements. Working alongside such talented and enthusiastic individuals made the filming experience truly unforgettable, and their commitment to delivering their best performances contributed immensely to the success of the video.

 

What are some of the processes that I use when shooting a beauty film?

 

1. Pre-shoot Preparation:

Coordinate with the makeup artist to ensure the model is ready for makeup application upon arrival.

Arrange for ample time for makeup application, allowing the makeup artist to work meticulously.

2. Lighting Tests:

Conduct lighting tests during setup to ensure optimal lighting conditions for capturing the makeup and model’s features. And so that I can make tweaks whilst the makeup is being done.

Adjust lighting angles and intensity as needed to achieve desired effect.

3. Constant Touch-ups:

Schedule regular touch-up sessions throughout the shoot to maintain the integrity of the makeup and ensure a flawless appearance.

Keep makeup supplies and tools readily available for quick touch-ups between takes.

4. Awareness of Mistakes and Smudges:

Maintain vigilance for any makeup mistakes or smudges that may occur during filming.

Address any issues promptly to prevent them from detracting from the overall quality of the footage.

5. Model Comfort:

Create a comfortable and relaxed environment for the model to help them feel at ease during the shoot so that they can be expressive on camera and have an enjoyable experience.

Offer breaks and refreshments as needed to ensure the model remains energised and comfortable throughout the filming process.

6. Shooting Different Pose Ideas:

Experiment with various poses and angles to showcase different aspects of the makeup and enhance the model’s features. It’s always best to get more options and variety for the edit to be interesting.

Encourage the model to explore different expressions and poses that convey the desired mood or theme of the shoot.

7. Shooting Different Movement Ideas:

Incorporate movement into the shots to add dynamism and visual interest to the footage.

Experiment with fluid movements and gestures that complement the makeup and convey a sense of elegance and grace. The movements and expressions create completely different moods and can be used very creatively.

8. Shooting Different Looks:

Capture multiple makeup looks to showcase versatility and creativity.

Plan transitions between looks smoothly to maintain continuity and flow in the final edit.

Throughout the filming process, attention to detail, effective communication with the team, and a focus on capturing the beauty and artistry of the makeup are paramount to achieving stunning results in a beauty shoot.

 

Working with Neo Model Management Agency

Neo Model Management played a pivotal role in our shoot by providing talented models who brought our vision to life with their professionalism and charisma. Working with model agencies like Neo Model Management offers several advantages for filmmakers. Firstly, agencies have access to a diverse pool of skilled models, allowing for greater flexibility and choice in casting. Collaborating with model agencies is mutually beneficial as it provides opportunities for models to build their portfolios and gain exposure, while also contributing to the success of creative projects. By fostering strong relationships with model agencies, filmmakers can tap into a valuable resource that enhances the quality and professionalism of their productions while supporting the growth and development of emerging talent within the industry.

 

The Camera Setup

For the filming of our project, I opted for the ZV-E1 full-frame camera, a versatile and compact option that perfectly suited our needs, particularly for shoots without a dedicated crew. Its lightweight design and exceptional autofocus capabilities made it a breeze to work with, allowing me to focus on directing without the distraction of technical concerns. While it may not match the image quality of some other cameras in its price range, the ZV-E1 delivers stunning visuals and vibrant colours, providing a seamless creative process with minimal friction. Paired with the Sony G Master 35mm lens at 1.4 aperture, the setup offered exquisite shallow depth of field and reliable autofocus, ensuring every shot was precisely captured. Additionally, incorporating a 21-inch monitor into our setup proved to be a game-changer, offering unparalleled convenience and detail visibility during filming, even from across the room. This combination of equipment allowed us to achieve our vision with ease and efficiency, resulting in a project we’re truly proud of.

 

The Edit and Colour Grade

The editing process for this video was a straightforward yet meticulous endeavour. Beginning with laying out all the footage on the timeline, I commenced by trimming out any unusable segments to craft a select timeline. This initial pass allowed me to distill the raw material down to its most essential elements. Subsequently, I duplicated the timeline and commenced a second round of curation, removing any redundant or weaker clips to streamline the narrative further. As the editing progressed, I found myself confronted with a surplus of captivating footage, totalling to a daunting ten minutes. To refine the content, I adopted a ruthless approach, eliminating any shots that didn’t contribute to the overall impact. With the selection pared down to its essence, I then focused on restructuring the sequence and introducing match cut moments to enhance continuity and visual flow. It was only after this rigorous process of elimination that I achieved a final edit that truly captured the essence and beauty of the project.

 

In the colour grading phase, I used Davinci Resolve and utilised the Phantom LUTs as a foundation for the process. The combination of these LUTs with the ZV E1 sensor yielded a naturally rich image right from the start, providing a solid base to work with. Building upon this foundation, I focused on balancing the colours and exposure, ensuring a harmonious and well-adjusted visual palette. Introducing a touch of contrast added depth and dimension to the footage, enhancing its overall impact. Additionally, I applied selective colour boosting to accentuate specific hues, further enhancing the vibrancy and visual appeal of the imagery. Through meticulous adjustments and thoughtful enhancements, I was able to achieve a final colour grade that complemented the beauty and sophistication of the original footage, bringing the project to life with striking clarity and allure.

 

Thank you for reading and catch you next time.

 

If you are making your own fashion and beauty films and you would like some help developing your creative ideas so that you can present your ideas to team members, brands or clients, you are welcome to download my *FREE CREATIVE DECK TEMPLATE* Which lays out everything you need to put into an in depth creative treatment as well as an easy drag and drop visual structure. If you would like this then follow this link. 

 

Joe Gainsborough Director of Photography based in London