Rosco SoftDrop – The Background Visuals for Alex Buono’s Storytelling

Alex Buono is the Film Unit Cinematographer for Saturday Night Live and also the Co-Director/Cinematographer for IFC’s new comedy series Documentary Now! Alex’s work on SNL revolves around shooting the fake commercials and pre-filmed sketches in the show, which they oftentimes complete less than a week after receiving a script.

Alex is back on the road this summer with his Visual Storytelling 2 Tour, where he shares the filmmaking techniques he’s learned after years of creating several different looks & styles amidst the fast-turnaround schedules SNL and his other productions have thrust upon him.

Buono’s ‘Poor-Man’s Process’ lighting technique is one of the highlights of the tour

The incredibly tight schedules of SNL and the Visual Storytelling 2 Tour force Alex to work quickly. He makes sure to stay keenly aware of new technologies that can help him speed up his workflow – technologies like Rosco’s new SoftDrop. Alex took six 8’x12’SoftDrops with him on his latest 32-city tour to create the backgrounds for his hands-on filmmaking workshops. This allowed him to transform the 32 hotel ballrooms he visited into locations his attendees might find themselves shooting so that he could illustrate how to light & shoot scenes in an office, a cave or – the ever-popular – in-car shot.

Alex shares his techniques for lighting & shooting “inside an office”

After a few weeks on the road – Alex had this to say about his experience with SoftDrop: “I’ve used Rosco’s vinyl backdrops for years but have only recently had a chance to try their new Softdrops and I am so impressed. Not only do they look great on camera but they’re much simpler to light and even simpler to transport — we just loosely fold them up and throw them on the truck — these things don’t wrinkle or crease — making setup and tear-down such a breeze.”

Alex explains as he makes camera adjustments to a shot that “takes place in a cave”

Buono continued, “as someone who has worked on five touring filmmaker workshops now, the Rosco Softdrops are a dream come true. From the crew’s viewpoint the ability to change out to a new SoftDrop with two people in under five minutes is amazing! SoftDrop has saved us hours of work.  I don’t think I’ll ever do another tour without them.”

There is definitely an art to lighting and shooting with backdrops, and Alex Buono makes our SoftDrops appear incredibly realistic on-camera. To see all of Alex’s filmmaking techniques, including what he’s able to do with Rosco SoftDrop – make sure you register for the Visual Storytelling 2 Tour when it pulls into a city near you.  If you’d like to learn more about SoftDrop and how it can benefit your next production, either contact us or visit the SoftDrop web page.

Rosco SoftDrops – The Easiest BackDrop Ever


About Tom Swartz

Film, Video and Broadcast Market Manager: Prior to joining Rosco, Tom enjoyed over 25 years of production lighting while working for major television networks and feature film production companies. Tom served as Managing Director of Rosco Canada since 1997, but his true passion lies in face to face engagement with gaffers, cinematographers and lighting directors. Tom's stories will reflect the trends and product developments he accumulates while visiting feature film sets, television shows and broadcast studios around the world.