Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A collection of portraits on the 10 fabric backgrounds L.A. Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin used in the photo studio at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Clockwise from top left: Eric Wareheim, "Wrong Cops," Julia Garner, "We Are What We Are," River Alexander, "The Way, Way Back," Alexander Skarsgård, "The East," director Ben Lewis, "Google and the World Brain," Michael Cera, "Crystal Fairy," Amanda Seyfried, "Lovelace," January Jones, "Sweetwater," director Daniel Hoesl, "Soldate Jeannette," and Leslie Bibb, "Hell Baby,"

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times on Main Street headquarters, located near the Park City town ski lift, allowed for a centralized location for our photo and video studio at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

The empty room that would become our L.A. Times Photo studio at the Sundance Film Festival, 2013.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin steams his 10 fabrics before securing them to foam core and creating moveable backgrounds for the photo studio at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

Nine of the 10 fabric backgrounds constructed for the L.A. Times photo studio at Sundance, plus a slice of the 10x10 black, textured background, center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

With space being tight, L.A. Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin worked on editing his portraits in the only space he could, downloading during a break in the schedule.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

Over the first weekend, a crowd would gather outside the L.A. Times photo and video studio on Main Street, hoping for a glimpse of celebrity.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times videographer Myung Chun, right, prepares to record an interview with L.A.Times staff writer Mark Olsen, center and Jeremy Lovering, director of the upcoming film, "In Fear."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

A collection of Fuji Instax prints from several subjects that came through the L.A. Times photo and video studio at Sundance, 2013.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Times videographer Myung Chun, left and photographer Jay L. Clendenin, outside the doors to the L.A. Times photo and video studio on Main Street at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times photo and video studio at Sundance

It all began with a little idea. Well, I guess it was actually a BIG idea. I wanted us – the Los Angeles Times – to have a photo and video studio at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I covered the event last year, having to run up and down Main Street seeking out locations for on-the-fly portrait shoots and all over the small mountain town for events. It would be the first time the paper ever entertained the idea, so my editor said, “Sure. See what you can find out.” With that green light and the help of Wire Image’s Jeff Vespa, a central location was found and the little idea turned into a full portrait studio, video interview room and warm place for our team of five writers, one critic, a film editor, myself and videographer Myung Chun to gather and tackle the year’s first major film festival.

Knowing we would have a lot of people coming through for portraits (we had three of the seven days booked from about 9 a.m.to 5 p.m., in roughly 20-minute increments), I asked several colleagues for ideas on how best to use my space. I settled on using two 4 feet by 8 feet, ¼-inch-thick, foam core sheets secured together with binder clips. I then draped a piece of fabric over each one, used gaffer’s tape and more binder clips to keep the sides tight. In total, I had 10 4 feet by 8 feet fabric backgrounds, one white-sided 4 feet by 8 feet sheet, a solid black and a 10 feet by 10 feet patterned black background.

The majority of my lighting and equipment, including the all-important foam core, was shipped to Park City by truck, leaving only my cameras and Myung’s video equipment for the plane flight from Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, the day before the official start of Sundance, Myung and I built out our spaces, including steaming all the fabrics and creating the 4 feet by 8 feet movable backgrounds. This took about 12 hours.

Thursday was our lightest day, with only about 200 pictures to edit and process. The rest of the days we were pretty busy, averaging more than 1,000 images a day. At the end of seven days, I had shot about 178 individual portraits and more than 100 group portraits of two or more people, filling over 160 gigabytes on an external hard drive. Myung produced more than 30 video interviews during the festival.

In the end, my little idea kept me from seeing much of Park City, but I was humbled to have had such incredible collaboration with the multitude of talent I was able to shoot.

– Jay L. Clendenin

Technical notes:
Equipment:
Cameras: A Canon EOS 5D Mark III and two Canon 5D Mark IIs.
All images shot in RAW format.
Lenses: Canon 24-70mm II, 85mm and 45mm tilt shift.
Lighting gear: Two Dyna-lite 1,000 watt packs, two Chimera strip soft boxes, a medium Chimera softbox overhead, and a small Chimera softbox on the floor for fill.

View a photo gallery with a selection of images shot at the studio.

See also complete Times coverage, including video, of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

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