Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

The nine moveable, fabric-wrapped foam core backgrounds and a painted canvas (bottom right), used to shoot 281 portraits over five days in the L.A. Times photo & video studio at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 17-21, 2014. Our subjects, clockwise from top left; Kristen Stewart, in "Camp X-Ray," Dan Stevens, in "The Guest," director Rose McGowan with, "Dawn," Flea, in "Low Down," Maika Monroe, from "The Guest," Michael Pitt, in "I Origins," Selena Gomez, from "Rudderless," Matthew Gray Gubler, in "Life After Beth," Joey King, in "Wish I Was Here" and actor and director Jemaine Clement, from the film, "What We Do in The Shadows."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Jay L. Clendenin photographs actor Michael C. Hall on one of nine movable backgrounds in the L.A. Times photo and video studio at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

"Camp X-Ray" cast members, from left, Peter Sattler, Payman Maadi, Kristen Stewart and Lane Garrison.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

A diptych with actor Richard Ayoade, left, at Sundance with the film "The Double," and actor Scoot McNairy, with the film "Frank."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actor and musician Flea. He appears in the film "Low Down."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actor Dane DeHaan ("Life After Beth") and actress Ashley Aufderheide ("Infinitely Polar Bear").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actor Aaron Paul ("Hellion").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey ("I Origins") and actor Chris O'Dowd ("Calvary").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actress Catherine Keener ("War Story").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actor Noah Silver ("Jamie Marks is Dead") and actress Aubrey Plaza ("Life After Beth").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actors and co-directors Jemaine Clement, left, and Taika Waititi ("What We Do in the Shadows").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Actor Jason Schwartzman ("Listen Up Phillip") and Elizabeth Banks ("Little Accidents").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Cloth backgrounds and cameras we used in our studio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Fuji Instax prints of actresses who visited our studio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Fuji Instax prints of actors.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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Behind the lens | Jay L. Clendenin creates a portable studio at the Sundance Film Festival

by Jay L. Clendenin, Los Angeles Times

We had put together a successful photo studio at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, so the decision to do it again was a no-brainer. After securing the same space we used last year and becoming part of the Village at the Lift, a central point of the raucous media blitz and party at the base of Main Street in downtown Park City, I hit the fashion district of downtown L.A. to search out backgrounds.

Working to repeat my multiple, movable backgrounds, I purchased nine fabrics, each about 4 feet wide and 9 feet long. These would be used for single shots, and a 9-by-12, painted canvas would be used for group shots, as well as singles. The majority of the studio gear was shipped by truck to Park City, allowing me to transport the most important part of the movable aspect: a box containing 18 sheets of 1/4-inch foam core, which would be wrapped with my fabrics and secured with binder clips and gaffer tape.

Because space was limited, I went with a lighting setup similar to last year’s studio: a medium soft box (36 inches by 48 inches) for the large background and a small soft box (24 by 32), with a white bounce/fill card around chest level, for single portraits against the fabric backgrounds. Each light was powered by a Dynalite 1000w pack.

Over the course of five days, I shot 281 portraits — 184 singles, 42 doubles and 55 groups — with a total of 70 films. At the same time, I created a collection of Fuji Instax prints, which are similar to the old Polaroid prints. Each shoot usually lasted four to nine minutes, allowing for 20 to 40 frames (between three cameras) per subject.

As happened last year, I didn’t see any movies during the festival, but being able to meet and photograph so many of today’s and tomorrow’s actors and filmmakers proved a challenging and rewarding collaboration, worth the long days and short nights of sleep.

Gear list:

Cameras
2 – Canon EOS 5d Mark III
1 – Canon EOS 5d Mark II
1 – Canon 24-70mm II 2.8 lens
1 – Canon 85mm 1.2 lens
1 – Canon 45mm 2.8 TS lens

Lighting
2 – Dynalite 1000w packs
1 – medium soft box
1 – small soft box

1 Comment

  1. February 28, 2014, 5:24 am

    incredible shooting jay! even folks like us in ohio appreciate your excellent work!

    By: davidconnell

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