It’s not just the script and actors’ chemistry that make iconic kisses sizzle. Costumes, set, sound and lighting all conspire to bring the viewer into the moment. If you want to capture your first kiss of 2017 with style, here are six tips from the filmmaker’s toolbox.
1. Dress the part.
If you’ll be filming at your own New Year’s party, consider a theme. If you choose wisely, your guests will make marvelously glamorous background artists, while not disrupting costume continuity. How about Hollywood’s golden Age or The Roaring Twenties?
2. Find the right place and scope it out prior to the big night.
Whether you choose a cozy speakeasy or a multi-level night club, be sure to do a thorough location scout — for a tech savvy approach, check out our blog post on some useful cinematography hacks. You don’t want any surprises on the big night; you’ve only got one chance to get this right (at least this year)!
3. Light the night.
If you’ve ever been on a film set at night, you know that there is not a whole lot of darkness going on. Even candlelit scenes almost always have some artificial light to boost visibility and soften contrast. To preserve the feel and be seen, you will probably have to strike a balance between authenticity and practicality, otherwise your DP (or buddy with a camera) will have a conniption fit.
4. Consider the lens.
Soft focus smoothes imperfections, so you and your kissing partner can be preserved for posterity as young and beautiful. For the ultimate in low budget, try this romantic effect with a DIY trick for your smart phone.
5. Never underestimate the power of great sound design.
For your New Year’s film, a well-timed champaign pop, and the fizzing of bubbly reminds the viewer that this is not just any party, but New Year’s Eve. There are many SFX websites to help you create the perfect New Year’s Eve soundtrack. Also, chances are there will be music. In order to avoid pushing your mics into the red, this article, by a cinematographer experienced in capturing special moments, suggests plugging directly into the PA.
6. Acting in reality.
Life is not a set (unless you’re on reality TV), so the big moment might begin before you’re ready for action. But don’t worry that the countdown finds your kissing partner across the room, chatting up a Greta Garbo look-alike or filling the punch bowl with yet another tray of flower ice cubes, just go up to him or her and remember why you cast them for this part. You’ve done everything to set the scene, now all you have to do is be present. Even if the film isn’t perfect, the kiss should be.
How will you be recording your memorable moments this New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments below!