Sienna Burning Production Notes
Sienna Burning Production Notes
All principal photography for Sienna Burning was done on a Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. Rokinon cinema prime lenses were used exclusively. We shot it in CinemaDNG RAW at 4K resolution. Having a short schedule of only three days, it was necessary that we be fast and efficient in production utilizing minimal lighting setups and natural light. Shooting RAW provided more latitude in the dynamic range for times when we needed to shoot low light or had no time to stop down bright windows. Both of these scenarios presented themselves.
One of the things that was hardest for me was to shoot one actress as two characters, since Ruth played the parts of twins Suzanne and Sienna. This was a first for me. Doing my shot list was the hardest thing because in my mind I was thinking of two different people playing the parts when in reality they would be played by one. Once the shot list was done it was just a matter of following the list. The original shot list included two composite shots were we would have Ruth play Suzanne and Sienna shot separately then composited in post production to have her on screen playing both parts at the same time. Unfortunately, those shots had to be scrapped because of time restraints and our need to stay within a 12 hour day each day. However, our double, Ann Marie Soltis did a great job in the shots where the two sisters are on camera at once. Makeup Artist Wendy Brown also did a fantastic job of creating three different looks for Ruth: Suzanne, Sienna during addiction, and Sienna in recovery.
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Day 1 we were at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Center. Shooting on a Saturday allowed us to have the place to ourselves. The final scene of the film with the twins as adults was shot in a hallway brightly lit with ambient light. We used a Desisti 575 HMI as the key light on Ruth when she was playing Suzanne. Backlight was from a 1k Arri tungsten open face.
For the reverse shot of Ruth as Sienna, we augmented the ambient light from the window with the same Desisti 575 HMI as a rim light. White foam core bounced ambient light and the HMI to act as a key. We wanted Sienna to be mostly back lit to highlight her hair to represent a change or enlightenment in her life. We kept her face dark since she was the wayward twin though.
Interior shots of the house were lit mostly with practicals augmented by a 1×1 LED, a couple of 300w Arri tungsten fresnels, and a 4×4 Kino Flo. Most of the shots were done at night but for those that were in the day, we blocked all of the windows to prevent sunlight from entering the shots. Our goal was to keep it dark visually and emotionally since this sequence was a flashback to unpleasant memories. This sequence was a little taxing on the BMPC 4K, as it’s not known as a super low light camera. This is where shooting RAW was helpful as it allowed me to push the footage in post to get more out of the darks.
- For full cast, crew, and production info, visit the IMDB page.
- Sienna Burning Post Production Notes and Production Stills.
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In The News
- For more about the film and how it came together, read about it in the Arts and Extras section in the Roanoke Times.
- Read about the partnership between the film’s producers and the Roanoke Rescue Mission.