Cool Production Design on Short Film “Helen Disconnected” + 5D Mk III

by Barry Andersson4 Comments

One of my favorite DP's, Julien Lasseur, sent us his latest short film. I have worked with him several times in the past so it was interesting watching his work that I had no creative input in at all.

The web is filled with tons of short films and projects that range from awesome to unwatchable. I wanted to point out a few things in this film I think is worthy to pay attention to.

#1- The use of wide angle lenses. Julien confirmed they used a lot of wider angle lenses in shooting the film. Additionally, they shot most of the film between a 2.8 and 3.5 f-stop.

The film was shot on a 5D Mark III (with Leica lenses) and there was no AC. So the DP had to pull his own focus. Something many of us are finding ourselves doing these days.

#2- The Production Design. This is something most low budget projects just don't have the time or resources to do. In this film check out the kitchen scenes. They coordinate the greens in the plants, the washcloth and the wine bottle. That mixed with the general neutral tones of the walls and the remainder of the room make the red tomatoes jump out of the scene. Doesn't take a lot but some effort in crafting what you are putting in the frame really matters. And you can do it for next to nothing budget-wise.

#3- Also notice the colors in the scene where she puts away the vacuum. The cream tones, browns in the wood and her dress are all complimentary. Then notice the stronger green in the far wall through the hallway. Then notice how much the orange vacuum jumps out at you from that setting. Very well done.

You can watch the film and comment on your thoughts about the story etc but I wanted to point out some of the technical aspects I thought were worth noting when you watch. Enjoy.

Helen Disconnected


“Technology fails a woman isolated in her home.”

As the cinematographer of this film, I would like to thank the creators Tara and Brian for the opportunity to be a part of their production. I would like to extend a big thank you to my production designer/partner in mischief Jamie. Many thanks to everyone who was involved. Always a pleasure to work with great people, especially when you're in the low budget trenches.

Please share and feel free to repost or embed. I'm not looking to profit financially in any way off this film, but if you need a cinematographer or production designer, I know some great people… 🙂

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. I liked the sparse use of props, set decorations and broad lighting sources. Also the actor, make up, and how the wardrobe was coordinated with the set. The volume was impossibly low on my computer so I missed the voice content. I thought a couple of the cuts could have been smoothed out a little. It’s always hard to tell what high end lenses bring to the equation when viewing on a small screen. I don’t know what the director’s message is here. Is this a young woman with early on-set Alzheimer’s, taking care of her mother who appears to be at an advanced stage of the same disease?

  2. I think the mother died or she killed her with too much pills.

    What wide angle lenses were used?

  3. SPOILER:  She’s a “home-bot”. To me the plot idea is to wait until the end to reveal this but the underlying message is what might happen when relatives stops visiting and thinks they can delegate the real care of their parents and grandparents.

  4. StenRosendahl  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…. plausable. In other words she symbolizes the shallow regard we hold for those to whom we are most indebted?

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