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WORDS 丨Feature Film Shot with Pictor丨Interview with DP/Colorist Curtis Boggs

If Words are Weapons, These Guys are Unarmed.


1.Can you tell more about you?(career/major/hometown/hobby…)

I specialize in capturing unique and stunning images of lifestyle, fashion, various editorial, advertising and corporate assignments as well as feature film. My work has appeared in numerous international publications and TV, including National Geographic, Outside Traveler, Scuba Times, Rodale’s Scuba Diving, Traveler, Caribbean Travel, and many more.

My work has won numerous Telly, Addy, national and international awards and have been featured on several magazine covers and feature stories.
My work has since taken me on expeditions all over the world, documenting underwater scenes and beach scenes beyond imagination. I continues to produce cutting-edge images in places like the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Mexico, and the US but I currently concentrate on film / video. My favorite work is lifestyle based.
I grew up in an art family, My mother ran the art department in an advertising agency and was also a wonderful painter. I learned the importance of being true to art and the wonderful beauty our world holds. I also learned the intricate detail of how art and film effects us emotionally in advertising and narrative film and the importance of technical skills.
My early film influence came from watching Sydney Pollack direct The Firm in Cayman Islands. Seeing how he worked with his DP John Seale, Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman and the entire film crew left a lasting impression. Sydney was a wonderful leader with a keen sense of teamwork. From those days in 1993 on I dreamt of being a DP and working with directors like Pollack.
I’m Well Known for a high level of technical skills together with an artistic vision.

2.What is your position in short film " Words" ? Could you share the idea/ brief storyline of this film? 

I was the DP / Colorist on WORDS.  It was a fun shoot with a fantastic crew.
We shot in Coastal Collective studio in Virginia Beach.
John Forte Jr. is the writer / director. He had this wonderful concept of mafia hit men trying to educate themselves by learning “big words”.
Of course the comedy of the situation ensues.
The dynamic between all of the actors really brought the concept to life.
It was hard to operate the camera and not laugh.

“If words are weapons, these guys are unarmed”

I Loved working with actors Enrico Colantoni, Robert Hallak, Dan Lauria, Nina Bergman and Tony Passaro. They are amazing.

3.The short film seems to really emphasize the importance of words, how do you associate these scenes

This was a very dynamic cast and they played off of each other so well.
The comedy of a pair of gangsters trying to incorporate their big words education into their daily routines of being hit men meant I had to frame loose and give them room to perform. 

I used a lighting design so they had pools of light to work around, giving the actors freedom to move around the set. I used a combination of wider frames on dolly and moving to hand held for the close ups. The hand held gave some dynamics and movement to the closeups that helped bring you into the conversation.

4.How to make the shooting plan and equipment selection, etc.?  Do you have any funny experience during filming can be shared ? 

My preparations for a project can get pretty in depth. I’m not just a DP but also a colorist. So I design a look based on a lighting plan, lens choices and then create a show LUT. I like to handle the image path from capture to final.
Typically I do a look book of representative images and present that to the director. Some directors like to be involved in that process, others do not.

This was my third film John Forte and I did together and for the most part he let me handle lighting design and colorgrade.

All of the equipment choices are made to support the story, the look and of course the budget. I like the modern smaller camera packages we have now that are easier to rig for multiple applications. I have a great deal of experience with both Alexa and Red Raptor,. I chose Red Raptor for this because of the dynamic range and the resolution. The 6k footage allows us room in post to stabilize and reframe.

We used a lighting plan that had a general pool of light in the center of
the warehouse where 99% of the film takes place.
I typically use several mixed color temperatures of light to create some depth. Theres daylight LED on the actors but also a light mix of tungsten to fill out the color pallet. And of course I used a touch of teal in the BG as my little nod to the John Wick series. There’s also several pools of tungsten.
I obviously like mixed lighting to try and create depth.

5.What factors make you choose Pictor 20-55 mm as main lens in this film?

Lens choices are 100% the most important decision I make.
The character, look and feel of the glass sets the base look of the film.
That gets burned into the image and some things you just can’t duplicate in post. For this film I found the DZOfilm Pictor zoom lenses had just the right amount of character. Using zooms also allowed us to move must faster on set.

6.How is your feeling when you shooting with the DZOFILM Pictor 20-55 mm cine lens  (color rendition/resolution/natural characterist/ etc..)? Any impressive moment that DZOFILM Pictor 20-55 mm brings to you?

I use the Pictor zooms a lot, I enjoy their character. I also enjoy how versatile they are. I can shoot wide open at T2.8 and have a lot of character or I can close down to T4 and have a cleaner image.
Build quality is also very very good.

The 20-55 is my favorite. It covers S35 sensor size so I use it at 6k on my Red Raptor quite often as well as on my Red Komodo. It’s really a beautiful combination. I like to be in the wider focal lengths.

When doing corporate or commercial work the Pictor zooms are nice and sharp at T4. They “clean up” a little giving me a very versatile lens set.
The 20-55 and 50-125 is a fantastic set for documentary and interviews.

One of my most favorite things is filming interviews and to have a nice set of matching zooms that didn’t cost more then my car is a joy.

7.What’s is the most important thing for a nice filming from your point of view? What do you think about the "cinematic sense" ?

That question everyone seems to debate, “what is cinematic?”
No one thing makes a “cinematic” image,  it’s many elements. While camera choices are important it’s way down on the list of important for great images. 
These days the cameras are all very good. What has become more obvious is the importance of what’s in-front to the sensor.
Your choice of glass and it’s character “burns in” the look to your footage post can’t do. But also just as critical if not more important is what’s in-front of the lens.

There’s no substitute for great lighting, great art & set design, skilled actors, costume etc. Real “cinematic” images are made in-front of the camera and not made BY the camera. 

8.We are looking forward to seeing your next project, can you tell me something about it?

I have several projects on my desk but many are waiting for funding.
John Forte has written a wonderful feature script about growing up in the surfing community of Virginia Beach. We are looking for funding.

I’m currently working on some documentary projects under my production company Barking Chihuahua Media.
I’m most excited about a documentary about guitars, musicians and how custom guitars are made. And a documentary series looking behind the curtain of auto racing teams and their struggle to win.

I’m currently entertaining offers for Narrative projects.