When independent feature film Quid Pro Quo, was green-lit back in March 2006 by HD Net Films, then it was scheduled to shoot in NY that fall, several production problems arose. Writer/Director Carlos Brooks had penned an essential flashback sequence to be set in a field of blooming tulips. Unfortunately, tulips cannot be found in New York in October, rather outside of Seattle in April. So he and producers Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury turned to Engine Room to solve this scheduling dilemma by seaming footage shot half a year and half a country apart into one sequence.
While environmental backgrounds are commonly shot after a live action green screen scene is photographed, to attempt to shoot them first for a complex scene like this was ambitious and required extensive planning. After weeks of detailed storyboarding ER cinematographer and VFX supervisor, Dan Schmit joined Brooks in Seattle to shoot the scenes, sans actors. Blessed with perfect HD shooting conditions the result was a library of provocative footage that ultimately became a visual signature for the film itself.
In the fall when production started up on the East coast, Schmit then joined first unit to ensure the actor green screen elements were shot correctly. After editing, Engine Room then digitally composited the entire scene. According to this year’s Sundance Film Festival audiences the plan worked, as the film was met with fantastic reviews. Quid Pro Quo opens mid-June in New York and LA before releasing nationwide.
Engine Room is slated to join Brooks on his next picture shooting this summer, Burning Bright.