Everyday Us ~ "Indie Talk" Blog

This is where we share and explore the independent filmmaking journey.

Heidi ~ a faithful retelling of a Christian classic is now in post-production and with an expected 2019 release date.

Staring Tim Kaiser (Christmas Grace, Legends & Lies) and introducing Emily Dunphey as Heidi.


01.09.18 |

"I can't get that line right!"

Even though we work hard on set, we do occasionally have fun. (Ha, Ha, its all fun!) Here is Emily Dunphey (HEIDI) and Rosalie Pippin (THE GRANDMOTHER) making faces and laughing over a blooper!



Fraulein Rottenmeier
01.06.18 |

Fraulein Rottenmeier, played by Renee Builes

Fraulein Rottenmeier is not pleased with Heidi. (Her fabulous hair and make-up were done by our superb artist, Laura Bancroft.)



We've Got Snow!
12.30.17 |

"I'm glad you've got some ideas of your own."

After a bit of a hiatus from shooting, we are excited to get back to it in January with the return of Tim Kaiser! A Blessed New Year to you all from the HEIDI cast and crew! (Production still: Tim Kaiser as the Grandfather tells Heidi he is glad she has some ideas of her own.)



Behind the Scenes
12.07.17 |

Beautiful BTS shot of Lindsay Hayes, who plays Clara, looking into the camera after the take while David Theuerkorn operates our Canon C300 camera on the Ronin-M.



Heidi and the Organ Grinder Boy
11.03.17 |

Filmed at the Frankenmuth Visitor's Center!

Thank you Frankenmuth Visitor Center! We got this cool shot over the weekend with our new camera crane in Frankenmuth, MI!



Frankfort, Germany??
10.05.17 |

Frankenmuth, MI Visitor's Center

We're excited to be shooting some scenes this month in Frankenmuth, MI. Thank you Frankenmuth Visitor's Center!



The Train Station
9.26.17 |

Buckley Old Engine Show

Our thanks to the Buckley Old Engine Show for allowing us to shoot on their grounds! All aboard!



Calling Extras for Train Scenes
9.24.17 |

The Train Steward's Uniform

We still could use a few good men to be extras is the feature film Heidi, which could see a nationwide release next Spring. Tomorrow, Sept. 25 any time between 3:30 and 7 at the Buckley Old Engine Show grounds. Email casting at PreciousLightPictures dot com if interested.



VFX: Sky Replacement
9.16.17 |

BEFORE: northern Michigan and AFTER: the Swiss Alps!

To demonstrate how we'll turn northern MI into the Alps, here's a BTS shot (by Amy Spitznagel of Idyll Farms) of Peter, Heidi and the goats with mountains added into the sky digitally.



Looking Ahead
9.15.17 |

Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

While we work hard to finish up our shooting schedule (some far away locations are coming up), we are setting our sights on reaching the finish line in Spring of 2018! Thank you all for your support! (photo: Tim Kaiser as the Grandfather)



Behind the Scenes on Location
8.20.17 |

Backing Up Our Work!

Uploading footage from a great day shooting yesterday at our quaint room at the Sunset Motel. Back at it today chasing trains and horse drawn carriages! Have a blessed Lord's Day everyone!



2nd Unit Photography
8.19.17 |

Chasing Michigan Steam Trains

2nd Unit is in position and we're ready to film some steam train goodness! Later we got some great "dolly" shots, chasing the train in the mobile unit.



Location, Location, Location
8.14.17 |

Lunch in Northport, MI

One of the perks of location scouting... great food. Kimberlee, one of our production assistants, concentrates on her lunch at The Tribune in Northport.



VIDEO: Steam Train Test Footage
8.11.17 |

Trains, Carriages and Stations

We are visiting various locations around Michigan next week to get reference photos and footage for planning upcoming HEIDI shoots. Pure Michigan film fun! #michiganbusinessesarethebest



8.05.17 |


Who thinks this shot should be on one of the coffee mugs and t-shirts? Tim Kaiser as the Grandfather and Emily Dunphey as Heidi.



Production News
8.04.17 |

60 Minutes of Rough Cut Finished

Sitting down to watch the first SIXTY MINUTES of rough cut!!! Taking notes for pick-up shots. We start shooting the second half of the movie and the pick-ups next week. Your prayers are appreciated!



On Location
7.24.17 |

Grace Episcopal Church

To celebrate having 1/3 of the film edited into a Rough Cut, here's a great shot of some of our additional players (extras). What a great bunch of actors we had for our church scene. Many thanks to Grace Episcopal Church for allowing us to shoot in their gorgeous church!



Behind the Scenes
7.18.17 |

Our Director

30 minutes of Rough Cut finished means we are one quarter of the way through the first edit of the film! Photo: BTS shot of Director Lynn Moody guiding Emily Dunphey as Heidi through a scene.



Meet the Cast: Emily Dunphey
7.15.17 |

More Rough Cut Finished

Heidi (played by Emily Dunphey) is happy that we're one sixth (20 minutes) of the way finished with the Rough Cut of the film!

Emily is just getting started on (we think) a long acting career. Aside from acting in film, she also loves performing in theatre productions. Go Emily!



Meet the Cast: Luke Bilderback
7.12.17 |

Luke Bilderback Plays Peter

Luke Bilderback is a very talented young man!

Luke has acted in one other feature film that is still in production and has played roles in various theatre productions. He enjoys exploring, summertime, and acting.



Behind the Scenes
7.09.17 |

Already Editing the Movie

We have 15 Minutes of a Rough Cut edited. 7 more 15 minute sections to go. Of course, some of that still needs to be shot!

What's a Rough Cut, you ask? That's a rough version of the film. It's cut together as a roughed out "first draft" without adding or fixing the sound or adding color correction or color grading. In other words, it's a start!



Behind the Scenes
7.06.17 |

The Many Faces of Tim Kaiser

After wrapping shooting as the Grandfather for HEIDI, Tim's real life grandkids helped him shave and get ready for another film project!



So Long Tim!
7.04.17 |

Wrapped Shooting with the Grandfather

We wrapped shooting with the Grandfather yesterday. What a joy it was working with Tim Kaiser. Not only is he a consummate actor, but he is an all-around wonderful guy, always the encourager on set and setting a high standard for our cast and crew! Thank you, Tim. See you in the movies!

It's always a bittersweet time when you wrap working with an actor. You all are glad that the shooting is done, but you will miss the new friendship. Thankfully, we can easily keep in touch with social media!



Behind the Scenes
6.28.17 |

Never Know What You'll Find on Location

Look what Peter (Luke Bilderback) found while filming yesterday! #nofrogswereharmedinthemakingofthisfilm



Behind the Scenes
6.23.17 |

Getting Ready

Production Still: Grandfather (Tim Kaiser) and Heidi (Emily Dunphey) get ready for a scene where they have a dinner of toasted cheese, bread and warm goat's milk.



Nursing Clara
6.16.17 |

Good Mountain Air and Goat's Milk.

Production Still: Grandfather (Tim Kaiser) and Heidi (Emily Dunphey) nurse Clara (Lindsay Hayes) back to health.



Behind the Scenes
6.13.17 |

 You want me to pet those?

Emily is not as sure about the goats as Heidi. But she came around... nice goat, nice goat (they were nice).



Behind the Scenes
6.12.17 |

"Come down from there, Peter!"

Shooting Peter (Luke Bilderback) in a great big tree today.



Heidi and Grandfather
6.4.17 |

Heidi and the Grandfather.

Some stills of Heidi (Emily Dunphey) and Grandfather (Tim Kaiser).



First Day of Shooting for the Grandfather
6.1.17 |

He's finally here!!

We started shooting with talented actor, Tim Kaiser, as the Grandfather this afternoon! Whoo hoo!



Production Stills Slideshow
5.30.17 |

"Heidi Starts for Home"

A slideshow of recent production stills featuring Emily Dunphey as Heidi, Lindsay Hayes as Clara, Ron Koontz II as Sebastian and Catherine Bancroft as Tinette. HEIDI is filming now with an expected release Fall of 2017.



Cast AND Crew!
5.24.17 |

Actress Renee Builes Steps in to Help Wardrobe

Actress Renee Builes, who plays Fraulein Rottemeier, helps out Wardrobe by sewing a costume during a recent shoot at Country Hermitage Bed and Breakfast. Now that's pulling together to get the job done. Thanks Renee!



We've Been Filming!
5.10.17 |

Thank You Country Hermitage Bed & Breakfast!

We have been hard at work filming some of the Sesemann home scenes. Here's donor and volunteer David Low. He's part of our SUPER CREW. Many thanks go out to Country Hermitage Bed and Breakfast for allowing us to shoot some great scenes here in April and May! It's such a beautiful place. Plan on staying there or telling your out of town friends about it! Heidi The Film



The Grandfather has been Cast!
4.24.17 |

Welcome, Tim!

We are very pleased to announce that the talented actor, Tim Kaiser, will be playing the role of the Grandfather! You can check out Tim's other film credits on his IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4504092/?ref_=nv_sr_1



Heidi has Been Kick Started!
4.4.17 |

We begin Principal Work on April 12, 2017

Thank you so very much. HEIDI is a go! We start rehearsal and test footage on April 12th! With God's help and yours, we will make a ground-breaking Christian film.!

Keep following us here and on our Facebook pages to see how we do this thing!!
Precious Light Pictures
Heidi The Film



Our 2nd Feature Film, HEIDI, is Coming to Theaters in 2019!

Our next movie will be the only truly faithful adaptation of Johanna Spyri's beloved Christian novel, HEIDI, ever made. While there have been a few unfaithful adaptations on television over the years, there hasn't been a HEIDI film on the American big screen in 80 years! We invite you to watch our "Something Big" support trailer above to see how you can become a producer and make this film happen. It will cost waaaay less than you think! So jump on board. Kick Start HEIDI with as little as $10 by visiting our Something Big web page. Thank you!!!



Screen Tests
3.14.17 |

A Still from a Recent Screen Test

Both of these talented actresses have been cast. Emily on the left will play Heidi. Lindsay on the right will play Clara. We are so excited to be working with these young actresses. This still is from a scene they played out for their screen tests. They passed with flying colors!



The Story of a Mic
3.05.17 |

The short story of how a film studio was saved from bad audio. Be a part of Something Big and support our next feature film, "Heidi".



Sky Replacement VFX
12.09.16 |

Heidi is set in the Swiss Alps, but we'll be shooting the majority of the film in northern MI. People often ask how the movie's going to look like it was shot in the mountains. We just tell them Visual Effects, man, Visual Effects. :) Here is an example of the technique called sky replacement. The image to the left is a shot taken in northern MI. The image below is the same shot with some mountains added into the background. It's just that easy!



Test Shot of Canon AutoFocus and Moving Steam Train
10.30.16 |

Unit 2 tested out Canon's autofocus on a moving train, but this try failed. To be fair, this was the one and only test. We lost daylight after this shot. We had no practice, we just went for it. We'll keep testing and may just have to manually pull focus to get this shot. You'll see it doesn't come into focus soon enough, although AF did try to grab it, but couldn't hold it.

We used a 70D body and the 70-200 f2.8 L Canon lens at 200 mm and F-stop 5.6, ISO 640 at a shutter speed of 50.

Even though this shot with its too late autofocus "pull" won't be used in the film, we still think we're getting an awesome look that will be used in the film. Keep trying new things and perfecting your technique!



Heidi will be Shot on the Arri Alexa Mini and Canon Cinema Cameras

We love the Arri Alexa Mini digital cinema camera. Recent films like Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival used Arri digital cameras. We also really like the capabilities of the C300-mark2 camera and its lower price point. The sensor on the C300 will give us great low-light capability, expanded dynamic range, and beautiful, creamy color. We'll really be able to push into cinematic beauty, especially in any fast-action sequences. Films like Rush and Iron Man 3 have used the C300 for stellar action sequences. A 2013 Cannes winner and eight 2015 Sundance films were shot on the C300, and no doubt there will be a slew of award-winning films shot on the C300-mark2, which is more than a step above the C300. In addition, footage from these two cameras can be matched very well!

Not to leave out our beloved dslr's though. We'll be using the new Canon 80D for a third camera and some B-roll, while the faithful 70D will grab our behind the scenes action!



How to Make a Teaser Trailer with 5 Seconds of B-roll


8.11.16 |

As you know, theatrical trailers are made once the movie has been shot. But how do you get people interested in your film without having shot it? Well, some people shoot a few scenes of the film. Some even use different actors than those who will be in the final cast. This can work well if you know what bits and scenes will make the teaser compelling. I think you will find it extremely helpful if you find a bit of production music first, then fit your scenes to it, then shoot the scenes. The music will make or break your teaser as you will see when you watch the one above. It really would be nothing without the music.

I had been shooting some B-roll while I was finishing the final draft of the script to Movie #2. Because it's summer now, and I know the movie will need some establishing and other shots of flowers and fields and summery things. We haven't moved on to production, though. We haven't even begun casting, but I still wanted some little teaser to get people interested.

So I came up with the teaser above using just five seconds of B-roll. Does it work? You be the judge!

Remember that filmmaking is a high art form. Please don't be afraid to experiment and play. I guarantee you will always learn something!



Making Your 2nd Film
8.7.16 |

I am very excited to start this next project. It was actually the first feature I had intended to make, before the idea and script for Sisters came to me. I decided to make Sisters first because its time period was contemporary. That meant I could use locations around me, friends houses, etc., and buy thrift shop clothing for wardrobe. This made it so much easier and less expense to make. I had intended for Sisters just to be a learning film and something to show investors to get my second film made, but it turned out so well, it has deserved distribution in its own right.

Having made Sisters with virtually no crew, I was hoping its success would attract a crew for feature #2, and it has. Thankfully I have a crew for movie #2, and we've already had our first production meeting!

I am not releasing the title of film #2 until we are well under way with production, but you can follow the making of it right here. Once the title is released, we ll move the "Making Of" blog to its own website and will link to it from here.

See you here soon for another update!



Sisters Red Carpet Premiere July 17, 2016

Premiering Your Film
7.18.16 |

Part of your plan should be to get a local theater or church to show your film to the public.

We made it a big deal, invited the press (who did not come), laid out the Red Carpet, invited people (they came in a big way!), and took pictures in front of a backdrop peppered with the Sisters logo. We had over 260 people attend our Premiere!

I cannot tell you what an awesome feeling it is to sit in a packed theatre and listen to an audience laugh and cry at your film. It's indescribable.

And even if your Premiere isn't as successful as ours was, at least you will have photos you can share around to show that you've actually made a film and actually had a Red Carpet Premiere. Don't be afraid. Just do it! And God bless!



Film Festival Submission
06.30.16 |

A great place to get your film some recognition that will lend credibility to you as a filmmaker and to your film is a film festival. If this is your first film, you may not want to submit your film to the larger festivals, unless you can objectively say the production values are high and the story is fantastic. Then by all means, submit to the big festivals. A good number of first-timers have made it big.

But smaller festivals are great places to network, get feedback from judges and audiences and maybe even pick up an award or two. We've gotten over 30 awards so far, and we're having a blast!



Moving on to Distribution
1.31.16 |

What a feeling it is to have your film finished! Many of you have been there. It's a long haul, especially for your first feature-length film. Now it's time to get your baby out there. Not for the faint of heart. The first thing I realized was, I need a plan.

So here's the plan: 1. Pray; 2. Make sure the website and social media outlets are up-to-date with current info and calls to action; 3. Establish a secure online screening room for potential distributors and persons of interest; 4. Submit to Film Festivals; 5. Contact a local theater or other venue about hosting our local Red Carpet Premiere; 6.Start contacting people who distribute to theaters, sell and rent DVD's & Blu-rays, and distribute on demand.

Don't let your baby just sit there. She's worth spending more time and energy on so that she can go out into the world and do what she was meant to do! You've got this!

If you'd like to donate toward the cost of marketing and film festival submission fees, you can still get in on some cool promotional stuff: Donate Thank you!



Eye on Green Screen Keying
10.30.15 |

OK. You all know it's best to get well-lit green screen footage before heading into post - without shadows, bounce or spill. You also know, then, that sometimes things go a little haywire, and you don't get the best footage for keying. That happened to us on "Sisters", but we were able to fix less-than-optimal footage using this creative technique.

To eliminate noise introduced by the keying plug-ins, we layered non-keyed footage on top of our keyed footage. First, though, we eliminated our backgrounds by using Aarhon Rabinowitz' Super Tight Junk Matte technique. Check out his technique here: https://library.creativecow.net/articles/rabinowitz_aharon/junk_mattes.php. Hope this helps you not give up on your keying challenges!

We're on track for a Jan., 2016 release. If you'd like to donate toward the cost of post-production, you can still get in on getting some cool stuff: Donate Thank you!



Every Shot a Story
8.21.15 |

Funny story. While I'm scrubbing through the film (moving through the footage), I often stop on a frame where the actor has a strange or ugly look on their face. It's not their fault, it's just I've accidentally caught them on the way to a different expression. I actually have a knack for it. People walking by will stop, look at the monitor, and sarcastically say things like, "Nice shot," or "that's a good one."

The other day I stopped the footage to work on some audio. When I looked up, the shot above was on the screen. I thought, that's not an ugly face!

We're on track for a Jan., 2016 release. If you'd like to donate toward the cost of production sound/music, you can still get in on getting some cool stuff: Donate Thank you!


Eye on Equipment: Editing Software
7.20.15 |

We're using Adobe's editing and VFX software: Premiere Pro, After Effects, plus Audition for sound sweetening. If you can't afford to purchase the software outright, might we recommend Adobe's cloud subscription. It might just bring great post-production within your reach.


Eye on Equipment: Sound
3.18.15 |

It can't be stressed enough that your audio is as important or more important than your pictures! You must invest in a solid mic and recorder. Fortunately there are some good quality mics and recorders for not a whole lot of dough. Do your homework and get the equipment!


Eye on Equipment: Lens Kit
12.16.14 |

We are shooting Sisters with two prime lenses, Canon's "nifty fifty" 50mm f1.8 EF (a $100 lens), the 35mm f1.4L (a $1600 lens), and the 16mm - 35mm f2.8L wide angle. We love Canon glass and want to see how the cheaper 50mm stacks up against the L series. Buy or rent yourself some quality lenses.


Eye on Equipment: DSLR Camera
09.06.14 |

We are shooting Sisters in full, indie, guerrila style with Canon's newest release, the 70D. Why not the Mark 5 if you're going with DSLR? We are exploring Canon's new autofocus technology that we think will be a game-changer someday. Someday? Maybe today. Check out the many user reviews and film studies using the 70D's autofocus on the web.

By using flat or ultra-flat picture styles, you will leave yourself a lot of data to manipulate in post. This allows you to emulate the look of film stock.


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