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Breaking Through

Laura Beth Aug 16

Laura Beth operating hand-held on “Breaking Through”

Breaking Through


Last year, I spent a week in San Diego shooting the drama “Breaking Through” with Writer/Director Silvia Luz.  Leigh-Ann Smith gives a gripping performance as a woman grasping for the end of her rope, and turning to an unexpected place in her time of need.

Silvia asked me to create an unstable, uncomfortable world for the majority of the film.  The “unstable” palette was blue/grey/purple, with oppressive highlights, occasionally jarring handheld, even allowing for drifting focus at times, all in an effort to underscore the mounting pressures and loss of control our lead character was experiencing.  This allowed for an important, stark, contrast when compared to our “happy” scenes, which rolled into warm orangey hues.

We were shooting on the Red Epic with a set of original Zeiss compact prime lenses, primarily hand held.
Kudos to 1st AC Pierce Cook for his hard work and patience, pulling focus on those lenses, they did not have the re-housed bellows!  Really hard stuff.
But, that focus limitation was something we embraced as a visual style for the film.  I always feel that still lenses (because of their “small real estate” barrels, click here to understand what the hell I’m talking about) always have an almost percussive change in focus.  When you add the fact that many of the still lens elements are actually drifting slightly as you pull focus, it’s easy to imagine how you are effortlessly creating a sense of “f*cked up” in the scene every time you adjust focus.

Our locations were primarily day, interior, and we needed to embrace window light for both practical and dramatic reasons.  We mostly worked with a small HMI package, a few LEDs and Source Fours.  The package fit in a cargo van, which we drove down to San Diego.  The entire crew stayed together in a vacation home!  It was definitely my kind of camping.  It was a great team, and we really had a lot of fun on this shoot!

“Breaking Through” has just been accepted into the San Diego Winter Film Showcase, and has been announced that it is a contender for the San Diego Film Awards, to be held in March 2015.  I’m looking forward to supporting the film at both events!  Congratulations Siliva!

LB Love, Cinematographer, San Diego, Silvia Luz

A frame grab from the short film, “Breaking Through”



Thanks so much to Pierce Cook, Matthew Grace, and the rest of our team, for their hard work!

Here is a great little behind-the-scenes video shot by João Pedro Bittencourt:


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