Loop Principal


Bringing Ophelia to Life

LOOP was shot over the space of four hot July summer days in the desert heat of New Mexico. In retrospect, July is not the best month to be outside shooting, but my work schedule would have prevented me from shooting this later in the fall, so July it was – which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because two days after we wrapped principal photography I discovered that we were going to be embarking on a whole new journey halfway across the country to a state with no mountains OR deserts – so if we’d waited I would not have had the chance to shoot this. 

With actors Ron Harris and Christine Nguyen fresh from the airport the evening before, and flanked by stunt supervisors Johnathon Johnston and Lyndsay Brown, the crew consisted of director Alan Chan, DP Aaron Sena, producer Lynn Brasher and makeup/prod designer Nicole Padilla. A 6am crew call meant that we would maximize daylight hours – action and vfx plate shots invariably take longer to plan and set up, which meant we had to hustle if we were going to shoot 230 shots in four days..


(The measly set of tools we had)

Principal photography was done with a Canon T2i with two sets of L-series lenses, with T1i backup camera making up the rest of of the gear. A laptop was used for ingest, and two backups were made of each dataset immediately, to be stored in the car (unfortunately the coolest place during the entire shoot).

Aaron and I shot some tests in the weeks leading up to the shoot, to determine that we need 2x ND filters to stop down enough in order to achieve the depth to field that we wanted. Unfortunately we only managed to get 3 filters for both cameras, so we typically made sure that A-camera was always properly ND’ed while the B-camera was not always as shallow DOF as we wanted.

Because of the number of setups, we chose to go handheld as much as possible, setting down onto tripods mainly for the shots requiring vfx composites. Action scenes were typically choreographed and shot with both cameras for backups.

We also devised a method to preview shot setups using a laptop and a USB link, but that very quickly fell by the wayside as we discovered that it slowed down our setups since it required more coordination. We ended up doing it the old fashioned way – Aaron would set up the shot, I would take a look through the lens and then we would just roll camera..


(They really do enjoy throwing themselves on the ground)

The great action sequences that you see in the short can be attributed to the fantastic stunt planning and choreography of Stunt Supervisors Lyndsay Brown and Johnathon Johnson.

The dynamic duo worked tirelessly with Alan to design and create visceral fight sequences, rehearsed repeatedly with Ron and Christine to execute the actions with precision, and then worked closely with DP Aaron to set up camera placements that would help sell the action, and when a hard hit or fall would be required, they were the stunt doubles for Ophelia and the Gman.

KAPOW! Did you feel that? You have Lyndsay and Johnathon to thank!


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