A Postcard from Greig Fraser

A postcard from


Greetings from Jordan.

We’re currently at around day 55 of a 65 day shoot with Kathryn Bigelow from a script by Mark Boal.

We started filming in India, and spend around 20 days filming there, before moving to Jordan for the majority of the rest of the filming days. The travel between India and Jordan was quite an ordeal as most of our equipment was stuck in customs in Amman, with only certain pieces being released on any given day.

We eventually cobbled together enough equipment to actually turn over, but most of the camera team’s tools and kit were trapped in red-tape hell. We made do though, with the first day of Jordan filming starting with the old two hand clap to sync sound, but finishing with a very sophisticated wedges, and white memo board invention. See the photo.

We’d been filming about an hour out of Amman, and as everybody is self-driving, with company supplied GPS’s we would often think we were headed in the absolute wrong direction. For example: who their right mind would be driving TOWARDS Iraq, or Syria.

Well, apparently we ended up being only about 50 kilometres from the Syrian border, and a few hundred k’s from the Iraq border. Along the way we saw some pretty silly things too. A camel in the back of a tiny Nissan Ute capped it off for me.

We’re into our final part of the film now, and its going great. Kathryn and Mark are great to work with, and the crew, consisting of British camera and lighting, American gripping, New Zealand and Australian stunt crew, as well as a tonne of Aussie actors (Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, and Nash Edgerton) are all absolutely brilliant. It’s not without its hiccups, but all in all we’re getting some good stuff.

I’ve brought over a number of Australian made lights called ‘Creamsource’ by Outsight. High power LED’s which I have been using as my core lighting throughout India and Jordan. I used a couple on the Andrew Dominik/Brad Pitt film in New Orleans last year, and was blown away by their versatility and low power consumption (handy in countries where you cannot always rely on the power supply). See the picture, used instead of a 12K outside an office window.

We’re doing some scenes with actual night vision lenses. The learning curve about trying to light with Infra-Red light has been huge. We ordered some infra-red lighting from the US, but given restrictions, and our overall issues with customs, they never arrived.

We had our video guys take the surveillance camera housing that the props department had been using throughout the shoot, and wire them up so the IR lights would work. With a hacksaw, and some gaffer tape, we solved our infra-red lighting issue. The picture shows our standard camera setup.

The IR light lives on it all the time, so changing over to night vision is easy. Around the matte box is our normal vision, eye lights. I am DESPERATE for a company to make a good, adjustable, lightweight eye light… Outsight, I am looking at you guys. 🙂

Anyway, having lots of fun, but also looking forward to getting home.

Signing off for now,