Spotlight: Jacob Rosenberg, Director, 'Waiting for Lightning'

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How would you describe your approach to Waiting for Lightning?
Jacob Rosenberg: Danny Way, our subject, is one of the most distinctive skateboarders and a pioneer of the grand scope and scale of skateboarding. For us visually, it was important to make a documentary with a strong visual approach. The movie is a historical story of Danny’s childhood along with the evolution of skateboarding.

Did you approach this film differently than your previous projects?

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Danny Way, the subject of

Waiting for Lightning

This was my opportunity to tell a complete story—over 90 minutes—and to put my own spin on it. I wanted to make sure we told a really big story cinematically, but that we had a lot of heart and passion in that story. I think Waiting for Lightning is unique as a sports documentary, offering the experience of witnessing real life in a dramatic and heartfelt manner.

Documentaries are in a great place right now because you can shoot high-quality imagery with cameras that are not very expensive. In post we added grain and de-noised and texturized the interviews so that they looked rich. We used Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve as well as the Cinnafilm Dark Energy tool to finesse that Canon EOS 5D material and make it look really filmic.

Did telling a “big story” present challenges in the production process?
We at Bandito Brothers embrace the HDSLR revolution. That movement was very critical in allowing us to capture cinematic imagery that would be interwoven into the film. I’d say it was less about the technical challenges and more about embracing this evolving medium of HDSLR and allowing it to dictate the process.

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Jacob Rosenberg

How was the production?
We made the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego about 20 or 25 times. We’d load up a van with our equipment—all of our lighting gear, camera gear, technical gear—then set up the lighting situation, shoot for three to five hours, then go to the next location and do it again. But it was always interesting. The people we interviewed are really passionate about what they’re talking about. And Danny is a very passionate person himself. So it’s easy to get lost in it and not look at the day like a hard work day.

We took a crew out to Danny’s property in Kauai to film the new ramp he built. I wanted to capture him on that ramp in a way that was truly larger than life, so we brought two RED EPICs out to Kauai and some Canon 5Ds and 7Ds. We got some beautiful and amazing footage of him, which helps drive home some of the bigger messaging of how incredible the sport of skateboarding is.   

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