God Made Man creators, Kayla Olson and Nate Locklear created a Pinterest board that served as their “look book” for the film. Olson had been adding to it for years while she crafted the original draft of the screenplay. Later, Locklear was added to the board and began pinning as well. Look books are often created for films to help the filmmakers get on the same page as to how the film should look and feel. Pictures, paintings and artwork created by other artists are usually what is used. It can also help illustrate the intended film to potential producers, studios and financiers and serves as inspiration.
Locklear took it a step further and created a set of rules that he and his lighting team would follow while shooting the film.
GMM Cinematography Rules by Nate Locklear
1. Use available light when possible (street lights, indoor dramatic light, lamps, practicals, Xmas lights, neon etc)
2. Make light seem natural if not natural (i.e. pump light thru windows w/ blue gels, or colored gels for neon signs)
3. Light should bloom. And flares are good!
4. Use in camera filters as much as possible but also leave room for heavy post color grading
5. Use unidirectional lighting (with a distant backlit source) as much as possible (see Bill Henson photography)
6. Use negative fill
7. Use as much saturated colors as possible
8. Think of interesting ways to add colors to scenes (even if it breaks rules 1-2)
9. Use shallow depth of field but also use wide angle lenses for texture and curvature
9b. If wide angle on Close-up of a face- try to shoot 45° angle (above actor)
10. All camera work must be handheld, shoulder rig mounted or steadicam (unless for special optical effects). Dolly/wheelchair is permitted but no tripod
11. Use prime lenses as much as possible (no quick zoom in for effect unless absolutely necessary)
12. “Drifting” is encouraged but also find that “handheld stillness”
13. Try to plan out shots more (in accordance with drama/story) rather than just getting coverage. Try longer takes.
14. Try to block actors in interesting ways to change shot sizes (see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe)
15. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Slivers of light are good. If unsure on light amount err towards trusting your gut rather than pumping in more light.
16. No matter what, get eye light in every shot, especially darkly lit shots (unless there is a reason for no eye light)
17. Refer to look book often but don’t be afraid to get creative
18. Shoot consistent f-stop f2.8-f4 split unless too extreme shallow depth of field- then stop down. Critical focus is a must. But don’t be afraid to have subjects move in/out of focus
19. What’s interesting is what’s important. Shoot what is stimulating rather than just what’s happening
20. Try china-balls on boom pole (with battery power) for traveling face light
21. Don’t ever let the cinematography style detract from the story or emotions. It should help enhance them
22. The point of this movie is to capture intensity and movement- character movement and camera. Majority of shots will be Close-up (see Blue Is Warmest Colour and/or John Cassavetes films, 21 Grams)
23. Any of these rules can be broken but only with an inspired reason