Beyond the Frame: Season 2


The short featured in Season 2, Solstice, is based around a simple idea: Due to pride and insecurity, families often don’t communicate enough which tends to cause even more problems. In three episodes of Beyond the Frame: Season 2, Filmmaker Tony Aaron II, Mystery Dinner Productions, takes us location scouting, chronicles his two main shooting days, and walks us thru his post experience, with a heavy focus on sound production.

Go Beyond the Frame with Tony

The week before the filming of Solstice my apartment flooded and it stayed flooded all week. I got sick, couldn’t sleep well and struggled with the final preparations for the film. It was a struggle to maintain the focus needed to tell a complex story. But, I had four major things I knew I could count on to help pull me through and ensure I made the best film possible: my script, my actors, my cameras, and my post-production process.

For this season of Beyond the Frame I decided to focus on and detail more of my sound editing process and a bit of sound design. Episode 3 is dedicated almost completely to this process. But, one of my favorite post-production moments ended up being the “Hitchcock effect” I added to the aerial footage. During each flight of the Phantom 4 drone, I made it a point to rise up during the moments I knew I’d want to add the effect. To achieve the effect in post, I began zoomed in then slowly zoomed out once the camera began to rise. My goal was to display the expansive depth around my main character. I also wanted to create the feeling that the length of her journey was longer than it appeared. Zooming in on 4K files obviously cost me a bit of resolution early in those shots since the movie was finished at 4K, but the effect was genuinely beautiful and well worth it in my opinion.

So, now it’s time to see the shots and how I created them! I hope you enjoy Beyond the Frame: Season 2, featuring the making of Solstice.

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Beyond the Frame on IMDb.


Now watch the short

I was intrigued by the idea of a young woman who runs away to a “blue planet” because that’s how she feels and how she currently sees the world. After centering on this idea, I originally set the first half of the short film in outer space on a literal blue planet with space serving as a metaphor for the distance between our central character and her parents.

When my resources fell short of what would be needed to create this, I removed the visual metaphor of outer space and focused on a more grounded story. But I still wanted to incorporate the idea that after she ran away her perception of the world turned everything blue. I ultimately wrote a non-linear script that mirrors how people tend to experience and tell stories that are of an emotional nature.

Solstice on IMDb.


Favorite Moments

solstice I loved shooting the scenes on top of the stone mountain and the last shots of the day running along the side of the cliff onto the road and up the rocks.

I nicknamed the mountain range the “Ice Cream Mountains” because the beautiful blue coloration and soft gradations reminded me of ice cream.


Another favorite moment is the very last shot of the film where the family sits at the table on the other side of the glass and talks. Everyone is wonderful in that scene, but Karen (who is center frame) perfectly smiles and lays her hand on the table with her fingers spread open at the perfect moment. It genuinely makes me feel like they’re all going to be okay. That small movement says a lot.

The audience isn’t a part of the family so I thought it appropriate that we see them through the glass and not be able to hear what is said. It’s not for us. Instead we hear the ever-present mountain winds that lie under a large portion of the film and carry us off into the dedication and the credits.

solstice screenshot


Season 2 Gear List

RED Epic Dragon 6K camera
RED Scarlet-X 4K camera
Canon 28/50/85mm lenses
DJI Phantom 4 4K drone
2 Zacuto Cine Recoil Rigs
Zacuto Gratical Eye
Zacuto Z-Drive and Tornado
Sound Devices 702 Recorder
Audio-Technica AT4053b Microphone
Mac Pro Editing Tower
with GTX 980 Ti 6GB Graphics Card and 32GB RAM
EIZO ColorEdge 31″ 4K monitor
EIZO ColorEdge 24″ 4K monitor
LG 60″ 4K LED TV (reference monitor)
Tangent Ripple

Behind the Scenes
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 70D

Adobe Premiere (6K RAW, 4K timeline)
Adobe Audition
DaVinci Resolve (6K RAW)



Meet Tony and his team

Tony Aaron II - RED Epic Dragon Rig #1Tony Aaron II
8 years ago I slept on Hollywood Blvd after having just arrived in Los Angeles. I went through the homeless system in LA (PATH) whilst beginning my career as a background actor and “Harassing a different department every day on set.” I built my production company, Mystery Dinner Productions, with the single goal of creating a recognized independent film studio before I’m 35.

Connect with Tony
Tony on Twitter
Tony on Facebook
Mystery Dinner Productions
MDP on Twitter
MDP on Facebook
Carmen Cervantes – Co-Producer
Claudia Oseguera – Make-Up Artist
Brian Lecker – Sound Mixer
Kevin Gillinghang – B-Camera Operator
Brandon Faber – AC / Still Photograher
Manny Santoyo – AC / Still Photograher
Bridgette Garb – J.C. Hoffman
Karen Strassman – Sharon Hoffman
Thomas W. Ashworth – David Hoffman
George Harvey Dabling – Tom Torres
Samantha Gangal – Young J.C.
Dona Wood – Carol Torres
Libby Burns – Ranch hand


Watch Season 1

Season 1 focuses on the dramatic short film Life of Loss. In each Beyond the Frame episode, Tony takes us behind the scenes on a specific scene, discussing equipment, casting using, directing, writing and more. He then walks us through a time lapse of the complete post production process.




Behind the Scenes Photos