LYADA (Lankan Youth Anxiety and Depression Australia) is a community youth initiative aimed at assisting the Sri Lankan Community identify cases of Anxiety and Depression in youth, recognise its negative impacts and respond by accessing essential professional mental health services.


The short & sweet

Was a Director of Photography for a charity. Developed some shooting guidelines. Helped a mate.


Working as a DP

I got involved in this project at a bit of a last minute. I’d just flown back in from overseas, and my old Manager, Mitty had let me know of a shoot coming up soon for his charity. The intent of this conversation was to gain access to some of my lighting equipment, more than happy to oblige. Knowing that most student directors are not taught how to effectively create emotion by use of the catchlight, I decided I’d also volunteer my time to his charity. Too easy.

Although I’ve worked as a DP before, my role was usually bundled in with a whole load of other responsibilities. This was my first ever shoot where I was solely a DP, and it was a welcome relief. In saying that, I was working closely with a Director whom had little experience directing talent on screen, and an audio recordist who showed up late. These are the sorts of things I have come to expect working with charities.

The shooting schedule was tight, and I was quickly flicking back to the memories of every QUT CI students’ nightmare that is Creative Projects. But this gave me an opportunity. As I’m sure you’ve noticed thus far, I’m a real fan of the technical aspect of cinematography, rather than the production design side of things. Leaving a DP by themselves to plan production design… well. It’s never going to end well.

The lax crew environment created the opportunity to spend more time getting the talent in a comfortable state of mind, and meant we had plenty of time to nail the story.

Cinematographers are often laughed at to a certain degree by our photography counterparts. The amount of equipment we carry in comparison is often three or four times that of photographers. This shoot once more, reminded me of this reality.

Equipment wise, I kept it simple. Two octoboxes with 500w Tungston lamps (one never made it to the destination), and two softboxes with 600w CFL lamps. I also packed a few other tools in my kit bag, such as my ZOOM H5, and a handful of lenses that usually fit these sorts of shoots.

On arrival I found out the audio recordist did not have an audio recorder in his inventory, so bringing the ZOOM was definitely the right idea. In terms of lighting, the access to natural light was limited, so the additional lights were necessary. A simple three-point lighting system was setup, with the plan to create two catch lights in the eye, one rectangular across the bottom of the eye, and one small circular in the top right.