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Behind the Scenes with Shane Hurlbut, ASC

On 11, Dec 2013 | 11 Comments | In Editing, Low Budget Filmmaking, Production | By vashi

A film set is a chaotic, fluid and high-pressure situation. Every member of the crew must be professional, creative, flexible, diligent and dedicated. Cameras can’t roll until the DP has prepared each shot to their satisfaction and inform the Director that the scene is ready to shoot. Every other department (set design, wardrobe, make-up, sound…) has done their job and the DP is the last person to take it all in and give the green light to start shooting.

I would like to share 3 BTS videos I edited for Shane Hurlbut, ASC during the production of “The Last 3 Minutes“…the award winning short film directed by Po Chan and one of the first films shot on the Canon 5Dmkii. I have edited over 30 Shane Hurlbut projects that he was the DP of and I know that his passion and willingness to share the knowledge he possesses is priceless. Watch the DP of over 18 feature films at work in the BTS videos below…

Shane Hurlbut movie posters of 13 of his films

13 of the 18 feature films by Shane Hurlbut

The narrative of watching an old janitor look back upon his life as he suffers a heart attack could have been told visually in many different ways. By picking the most evocative and emotional moments in his life…we learn everything about the character with almost no words spoken. This film is a journey that relies on the visual storytelling that Shane creates and it lives in total sync with the narrative that Po wrote. Together their contributions make for a fully realized vision that is greater than their separate parts. When all cylinders are firing and everyone is on the same page…the story has a resonance that is truly felt on the deepest level.


“The Janitor” BTS focuses on Shane and Po working out the visual angles and the lighting scenarios and how these creative decisions affect the story they are telling. It’s amazing to see what technical decisions are behind the final images.


“The Carnival” BTS focuses on Shane’s innovative and brilliant techniques of creating depth in a night time scene. He uses practical lights and a home-made motorized spinning contraption to emulate a carnival ride.


“The Baby Cam” BTS demonstrates how Shane depicted the point of view of a baby through low angle camera set-ups. It’s an immersive technique that puts the viewer right in the middle of the story.


These 3 behind the scenes videos give all filmmakers a detailed look into the depths of preparation and dedication that Shane Hurlbut gives every production he works on. He is a whirlwind of energy, ideas and adaptive solutions to whatever challenge is put in front of him. It’s been an honor and privilege to work and learn from him on all of our collaborations. I hope you enjoyed the BTS videos and can glean some knowledge from Shane’s trailblazing approach to filmmaking.

Here is the full short film “The Last 3 Minutes” that I edited for Shane Hurlbut, ASC and the Director, Po Chan.


The Hurlblog is Shane’s comprehensive website containing all his filmmaking experiences and reviews. Pure Gold.

My first blog post ever was for Shane and it turned out to be the Most Popular Post of All-Time on the Hurlblog and the #1 Google search result for “HD Color Correction”.

Until next time…


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  1. Well, these are definitely nice, but the most interesting “scenes” of the short have been left out with no BTS! :))

    Do you know by chance if they recorded internally or used external stuff?

    • vashi

      Here’s one more BTS from The Last 3 Minutes.

      I didn’t cut that one but is has more views of some of the other scenes.
      Also…All the footage was recorded to cards inside the 5Dmkii. We transcoded the raw h.264 into ProResHQ and I cut that, then handed off to the colorist and they tweaked it further. The raw files were VERY close the final images in the short film. Very proud of everyone’s work on it!

  2. Thanks as always for sharing these. Always love Shane’s work

    • Would u ever consider re-doing the color correction article for Resolve. I know its pretty software agnostic, but I know youve used Resolve for a lot more projects recently.

    • vashi

      Couldn’t agree more.

  3. Great post. As always, thank you for taking the time to share.

  4. Wow that was awesome. The way he manipulates lights is just too cool. Thanks for sharing Vashi.

    • vashi

      Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment.

  5. Great post, as always. I especially love seeing how much goes into some of these shots.

    I know since it was for the hurlblog the focus was of the DP work; but, I would have loved to see a behind the scenes of the edit, why you chose to cut at certain points and how was the edit being thought out on set.

    Keep sharing knowledge, my skills are growing with each post I read / watch.

  6. first off thanks for sharing. I LOVE your website. The knowledge you provide is priceless. One question, how did you do the transition from one scene to the other. Doesn’t look like a simple dissolve to me

    • vashi

      Thanks John for the kind words! If I remember correctly…I used free transition “Flash” for the quick transitions in FCP7.
      Here’s a link to the download page: Hope that helps!

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