For the last two years, winter time in Sydney has meant filming After Nightfall, a gritty film noir web series about the death of 18 year-old Troy McLeavey.
GEARING UP FOR SEASON 2
As with any project that has a sequel, or a season 2, you feel the need to step it up from the first season. As Wayne Tunks (writer/director/co-producer) was writing the scripts he kept calling and asking things like: can we devote an entire episode to the funeral and have every character feature in the one scene? “Sure,” I said. I was on holidays, it was still summer, and the logistics of co-ordinating a huge cast including interstate actors hadn’t crossed my mind; can we go back in time and shoot some scenes from before season 1? “No worries,” I said, again having no idea if the locations had changed or if one of the cast had cut off all their hair over summer.
THE NEW RED MONSTRO VV
My mind was also side-tracked because I was in the midst of upgrading camera gear and had settled on the new Red Monstro Vista Vision. After Nightfall would be a great way of working out all the quirks of a new camera including workflow. Speaking to my colour grader and the guys from Dragon Image it soon became apparent that shooting 8k raw would use less data and provide more options in post than shooting 4k Pro Res. Did it seem a little ridiculous to shoot a web series in 8k raw? Yes. Did I do it anyway? Of course.
8 EPS FOR Season 2
So we now had scripts for 8 episodes instead of 6, Ep1 featuring the entire cast together, a massive flashback sequence, fight scenes, deaths and a prison breakout...and we were shooting in 8k raw. So it’s safe to say we were definitely stepping it up for season 2.
Then came the news that one of our key cast was moving to L.A. It soon became apparent what the biggest difficulty would be in season 2. Not meaning to sound callous but first time around we could re-cast around actors availabilities, but now we were locked in so we had to work around the cast.
SHOOTING SEASON 2
We started filming Day 1 of After Nightfall season 2 in May and we finished with Day 16 in September. I think the scheduling of this season came close to breaking Wayne but got there in the end, and what a season it is. The cast was amazing and I can’t wait for people to see what we have in stall for them.
Filming on the Red Monstro was a revelation for me. Shooting large format with full frame lenses and shallow depth of field presented a lot of challenges for a small crew but also gave us some amazing images. Shooting hand held close ups on a 50mm prime and having the focus puller asking which eye would you like in focus can get a bit scary.
One of the most difficult aspects of season 2 for me was pushing the noir feel even though we had fewer night scenes. We decided to embrace a broader colour palette 2 to highlight certain characters and to seperate the time lines. We also used slow-mo for the first time in the funeral procession and then integrated it further throughout the series.
Just after we wrapped season 2 Wayne and I flew to New York where After Nightfall won Best Mystery/Thriller at New York Web Fest. It was an amazing three day festival and it felt great knowing that we had finished season 2 as well. Although “finished” means 16TB of footage, which is quite ridiculous for a web series, but in the end it’s all worth it because everyone involved loves After Nightfall and now we can’t wait for it to be seen by an audience!
DOP | Cinematographer
P. (02) 9427 4444
Nicholas Price is a Sydney based DOP | Producer who has made commercials, video clips, TV, documentary and short films. Nick is a Masters graduate of AFTRS and is always striving to bring a unique visual style to any project he works on. He recently shot the award winning web series After Nightfall and feature film According To Otto.