This is a movie about a bong. You've got to have an opening bong intro shot! Here you see the tail end of a long dolly in on "Lombardi" the highly revered blue bong among this film's group of friends. I placed it conspicuously amidst all the less colorful glass pieces to make it stand out, since this is its time to shine.
Most of the film is an extended night scene when the three main characters go out to smoke in their car. Since the scene takes a lot of twists and turns we ended up shooting practically 360 degrees around the vehicle. This is just one of the shots of the kids getting into their smoke session before things go wrong. I knew that the scene should feel really dark because there's a sense of paranoia that overcomes them before the cops show up. They have a feeling that at any moment they could be caught, and there's something pretty foreboding about the preponderance of blackness in the frame.
We spent a while in pre-production deciding how we would cover the extensive dialogue that happens in the car. The final product was really an amalgam of techniques including handheld, singles, two shots, French overs, and pans. Here we catch a moment when two of the boys have an exchange as they pass the bong from one to the other.
I think the choice of aspect ratio is one of the best ways to bring meaning out of the photography. For me it's never an arbitrary choice. We did 2.35:1 (widescreen) here because we knew that we would have lots of shots of three or more people in the frame spread across the x-axis. Shots like this were really helped by the aspect ratio, otherwise we would have had a lot more room above the actors. The other great thing about this shot is that it shows how much we were able to get out of our mixed lighting sources. We have the strong orange-ish streetlight coming from frame left with the red and blue police lights coming from frame right. Then inside the car we have the more forgivingly cool blue LED lights coming off the dashboard. The sources are all placed so that they each cover a specific area and aren't competing or blending into each other.
We used a four point star filter for the entire night scene because we knew we would have a ton of hard point sources of light from the headlights, police lights and flashlights. I wanted to make all of those sources feel more present and imposing as the cops come in and ruin their good time.
It was pretty funny that with all the coverage we got, there were hardly any shots of the three boys together, partially because one of them had to leave the car. When all was said and done there was somewhat a sense of relief to put them all back in the car together in one frame. Even if nothing else they still have each other.
Since this film is a comedy, after the extended night scene we needed something to lighten the mood. Here the shift to something photographically lighter matches the change in the content.