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Posted by Tim Tyler on 16 July 2012 - 10:40 AM
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 18 December 2012 - 09:02 PM
Sound killed the use of the noisy Cooper-Hewitts (as did color). But many 1930's movies still created soft lighting using tungsten lamps through spun glass or silks. By like all styles, people became tired of it and the sharper, crisper look using harder lights become the norm by the 1940's.
Soft lighting started reappearing in the work of the French New Wave and also in England from DP's like Ozzie Morris, late-1950's through the 1960's.
It's sort of a side benefit that soft lighting is more generalized in a space allowing actors to move more freely, or for the blocking to be changed in the last minute. The main reason it re-emerged is that soft light is one aspect of natural light and in the light depicted in paintings (based on natural light) and thus filmmakers were interested in recreating it or capturing it for real. It's too limiting to only use hard lighting or only soft lighting.
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 17 March 2013 - 07:56 AM
Sorry, even though the colorist here made a major contribution, that doesn't mean he photographed the project. He could get a special made-up credit of some sort to emphasize the importance of his contribution, but he shouldn't get co-DP credit if he never shot one second of footage. If this was a live-action shoot (not an animated film) the DP has to have been on set, working with the camera, actors, crew, director, etc. -- i.e. doing the cinematography.
Expert people do beautiful jobs reprinting Ansel Adam's negatives but I don't see them asking to be listed as co-photographer.
Posted by Guy Holt on 29 December 2012 - 01:50 PM
…. you first have to decide what you want it to look and feel like before deciding how to light it, you can't just light in a general way, there should be a concept behind it first.
David is right, to successfully light a night scene on a tight budget requires that you first have a concept for the shot. From there you can figure out an innovative approach to accomplish that look. What tools who need and how you deploy them will follow. A good example is a very similar scene I lit on a “low budget” feature called "Black Irish." It was a pivotal scene where the youngest son of an Irish American patriarch crashes his derelict older brother's car setting off an unfortunate series of events. For the scene we had to light 1000 ft of Marginal Street in Chelsea for driving shots on a process trailer and the scene of the accident. Our biggest challenge was to create through the lighting the feel of a car hurdling down the road at high speed.
The problem was that even after lighting the equivalent of three football fields, the process trailer couldn't obtain a speed of more than 30 mph before it was out of the light. The traditional approach of under-cranking the camera to increase the speed was not an option because the scene was a pivotal one with extensive dialogue inside the car. So, we had to create the effect of speed through the lighting.
I came up with a concept that was as beautiful in its practical simplicity as in its psychological complexity. To heighten the sense of speed of the process trailer shots we rigged 500w practical fixtures along a four hundred foot wall on one side of the road. We spaced the practical wall lights twice as close together as they would be normally. This way, as the car passed by, areas of light and dark would pass rapidly by in the background and exaggerate the speed at which the car was traveling. When it came time to shoot the static wide establishing shot of the car racing down the road, we dismantled every other wall practical in order to reinforce the effect. On an unconscious level the viewer's mind registers in the establishing shot the wider spacing of the wall lamps. So when in the close up process shots the pools of light in the background are racing past at twice the rate because there are, in fact, twice as many lights, the viewer's mind registers the car is traveling at twice the speed it is, in fact, traveling.
In addition to the wall practicals, I simulated car dash board light on the actor's faces with a 12v 9" Kino Car kit. The play of the passing wall lights on the actor's faces were created by a revolving 650W Fresnel with diffusion on its doors rigged on the process trailer. To light the long stretch of road, I simulated the pools of light that would be created by street lights by rigging 6kw space lights under the baskets of 60' condors that were spaced about 200' apart over the road. In addition to the Space Light, each condor basket also carried a 4k HMI Par that filled the stretches of road between the pools of tungsten light with a cool moonlight. To continue the moonlight down the road there was yet another 4k HMI Par on a Mambo Combo Stand. Because this 4K was further down the road than was practical to run cable, it was powered by a Honda 5500W portable generator. A 12kw HMI Fresnel with 1/2 CTO through a 12x frame of Soft Frost served to pick up the deep background from the front on one end of Marginal Street while a 6kw HMI Par lit the other end.
To supply power on both sides of the road for a 1000' stretch was no small task. I used three generator plants strategically placed so that our cable would never cross the road in a shot. In addition to the Honda 5500W portable generator that powered the 4kw HMI Par light for the deep background, I used a 800A plant to power the 4kw HMI Pars and 6kw Space Lights in the condors, the 12kw Fresnel, and the base camp trailers and work lights. The 6kw Par, 12 - 500W practicals, and an assortment of smaller HMI's used to light the post crash scene were powered by a 450A plant on the far end of the roadway.
This example, demonstrates that once you have a concept you can come up with an innovative approach to accomplish it. The tools and how to deploy follow. This example also demonstrates that the right tools, used in an innovative way, can create startling results on a low budget. Since “low budget” is a relative term, to address Megan’s situation, it would be helpful to know what the budget is for this scene and have more details about the sequence and location.
Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 06 April 2013 - 04:58 PM
In this case, instead of bounces, the soft skylight is coming for Image 80 Kinos. Since the windows are frosted, we didn't need a backing outside of them but we did put some light bulbs on the backside of the set to illuminate the stage wall seen (barely) through the glass. In this photo, the window was off-camera so I covered the whole window with Grid Cloth and put a 9-light through it for a soft side-key but in most cases, the Kinos were enough light to create a soft window light in the room and get me up to an f/4, it's just that since the Kinos are mounted above the windows, the angle of light is downwards and doesn't reach across the whole room as well as the lights on stands could. On some sets, I've put the Image 80 rows on a motorized bar so that I could raise or lower them depending on how far I wanted them to dig into the room. The Kinos have the advantage of being able to be rigged with a mix of daylight and tungsten tubes for a cooler effect at a 3200K base setting on the camera. The downside is that I can't dim them fully up or down on the dimmer board, just turn off select tubes. The other advantage to the Kinos is that they pull less power and generate less heat on the set.
Posted by Adrian Sierkowski on 20 March 2013 - 06:08 PM
I wouldn't even give him a lighting director credit, nor do I understand why your colorist is doing lighting diagrams? Look even if the director gives me all the blocking, lens selections, demands x film stock on y camera, and tells me to put a SR with 251 as a key-- I , as the person ON SET in charge of the Camera/G&E have the credit of director of photography because I am the one Directing the teams of people (how ever many or few there are) responsible on set for making a photographic image.
This is not as difficult as you are making it out to be and if "DoP 2" is being such a pain in the ass, then you as director/producer need to let them know that's not cool. Further they really ought to grow up a bit and learn that if they want to be called the DoP they have to actually show up and direct the photography.
This is all just infantile at this point.
Posted by Guy Holt on 24 January 2013 - 02:38 PM
does anyone know of a .... example that demonstrates
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "sophisticated" lighting. But, if I had to guess it would probably be this scene from “Miller’s Crossing” ( I have posted it on my server at http://www.screenlig...ing_Example.jpg.) Here is a description of what makes this scene sophisticated that I posted elsewhere in this forum:
It is a common fallacy that dark scene’s like this are “underexposed.” This scene is not underexposed, but rather the reflective values of the objects in the scene are carefully balanced (placed on the film’s characteristic curve) relative to the key tone by lighting so that most of the scene remains dark but serves up the full contrast range the film emulsion is capable of. In other words, even though the scene is correctly exposed, nothing in the scene is “correctly” exposed. The flesh tones are underexposed and the lampshade is over exposed in order to create the mood of the scene.
In an instance like this, the DP would not use a meter (incident or spot) to find the exposure of the key tone; rather, he would choose the exposure of the key tone from the outset - say T5.6 for deep focus. And, having balanced the elements of the scene to that exposure using either his incident or spot meter, he will “lock it in” for lab timers or transfer colorists, by giving them the key tone (by properly exposing a chip chart with an 18% gray patch) as a reference at the head of the scene. Without providing the key tone, a timer or colorist will not know how dark the shadows should be or how bright the highlights should be because there is no other reference value at full exposure by which to calibrate the brightness of the scene.
Here are a few techniques, all of which are evident in this shot, that one could use to balance the lighting to create a dark scene without under exposing it.
1) Edge light objects in frame. Use reverse keys for talent and underexpose flesh tones by at least two stops or more. As long as you define the contours of your subject with subtle underexposed edges, don’t be afraid to let your talent fall off into black. There is a scene beautifully lit by James Merifield in the “Deep Blue Sea” of Rachel Wiesz and Harry Hadden-Paton standing in a dark alley way. They are back light by a practical at the end of the alley. Their contours are defined by the rims motivated by the practical, but otherwise their flesh tones fall off to complete shadows. James Merifield probably used a spot meter and negative fill to make sure that their flesh-tone would fall off the emulsion’s characteristic curve and reproduce as a pure silhouette. Sonnenfeld probably did the same in this scene to assure large parts of the frame had minimal detail.
2) I personally believe you should always have a hot spot in a frame – a practical in the scene or something in the deep background. You can shift your overall exposure in the camera or in post to create a dark scene, but without a hot spot reference in the frame it will lack contrast and look underexposed. A hot spot in the frame serves as a reference point and creates contrast. Practicals should be close to clipping and appear to be the source of light in a scene.
3) Don’t try to light your talent with only practical’s because they will blow out – the hot spot in your scene has to look natural. Not only is supplemental lighting required to light your talent, but you must also treat the practicals to make them look realistic. I find that practical lamps never look convincing unless one treats the lampshade as well as boost the bulb wattage. That is because if you stop down to keep the shade from burning out, the output of the practical, on the table it sits on or the wall its on, looks rather anemic. I find you get a more realistic look if you boost the wattage of the bulb and line the inside of the shade with ND gel. It is a delicate balance to obtain.
You can obtain this delicate balance without a monitor, by using the old school method with incident and spot meters and a selection of practical bulbs including PH 211, 212, and 213 bulbs. Years ago Walter Lassaley, BSC, instructed me to balance practical’s such that an incident reading of the direct output one foot away from the bulb is one stop over exposure. I have found that rule of thumb gives a realistic output to the practical - the light emitted downward onto the table top and upward onto the wall or ceiling is realistic. After establishing the practical’s output using an incident meter, you then use a spot meter to determine how dense an ND gel is needed to line the inside of the shade to place the brightness value of the shade on the characteristic curve of the emulsion so that it does not too hot and without detail.
4) Define the edges of your frame with a little detail. As long as you define the edges of your frame with a little detail, as Sonnenfeld does here, you can leave most of it black without it looking under exposed.
5) Soft sources like China Balls and Kinos are the wrong kind of fixtures for this kind of scene. You will need fixtures that you can easily control because you will need to cut them off large parts of your set. It will be hard to keep china balls and Kino Flos from spilling light all over the place and filling shadow areas that you want to keep dark. Fresnels with light diffusion inside the doors, cut with flags and nets, will give you the control you need. Spot meter readings of objects on the edge of the frame, like the upholstered chair on the left, will tell you if they are within the exposure range (characteristic curve) of the film. If they are not, use a little light to bring out detail that will define the edges of the frame as Sonnenfield has done here with the chair.
Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting and Grip Equipment Sales and Rentals in Boston.
Posted by Timoleon Wilkins on 29 December 2012 - 12:51 PM
I belong to the small minority that finishes on film without a workprint. A decent projector, careful hand, and liquid gate printing, and you have a 100% analog 16mm print that looks like no other moving image being produced today (that's a good thing). Another great point in Ektachrome's favor was its color response to internegs--colors shifted much less than Kodachrome (contrast build-up was still a problem, but could be reduced by a minimal post-flash and 1.5 stop pull process on the interneg--done correctly, the d-max on the positive print still betters prints direct from Vision negative). Ironically, I published a piece titled "At this moment" on just this topic in the Winter 2012 issue of The Moving Image (Journal of Motion Picture Archivists). Published literally weeks before the first announcement of slide film getting the ax.
My working process is the simplest way to make a beautiful color film, and gives me a necessary visceral connection to the craft. When I can't afford an interneg, I project my originals. I had a show at REDCAT back in September where I showed 30 minutes of camera original films on their excellent Eastman projector, without a scratch (thanks REDCAT!). 16mm 100D on that large screen was absolutely stunning, even if I do say so myself.
I know I personally couldn't possibly spend enough at Kodak, at the rate I shoot, to save color reversal. But I believe there are enough of us to keep it alive (regardless of what your process, or whether your final product is digital, original or print). Color reversal is simply too unique, too efficient, and too user-friendly to disappear at this date. All of the prior discontinuations by Kodak could be understood on some level, but this time they have crossed the line. Everytime I went in to the Hollywood office, they were selling Ektachrome--a lot of it. There was a ton of interest. This was not the case at the end of Kodachrome. Kodachrome was loved very much in name only, but Ektachrome 100D seemed to be really starting to catch on in its niche-market kind of way. (And in actuality, if it were only motion picture they were considering, they would not have discontinued it. This was a decision made in the professional still photography division. Most of the assumptions by posters here are correct--I've talked to Kodak employees and they simply did not believe that users would continue to buy it with a price increase necessary to produce it on a smaller scale).
I'm not posting here to lament (much) but to really put out feelers to the community to see if we are willing to put our money where our mouth is. I believe what Kodak is looking for (in this age of restructuring) is an outside entity to take on the risk of producing an emulsion (they have said as much). By simply contracting with Kodak to do another run of this film, and paying for it up front, we could supply 35/16/Super 8/8mm motion picture users with another 5 years of this wonderful film. (And it keeps wonderfully well, much better than negative: I've shot rolls that sat in my crappy old 70s fridge for over a year before being processed with no loss of color or d-max).
Anyone interested, either with ideas, inside information, committments of support...please contact me. I will be starting the preliminary footwork after the New Year. (I'm also looking at contacting ADOX, who announced a completely in-house produced B/W reversal 100 speed Super 8 this year, though I haven't been able to get my hands on any yet.)
Best wishes to you and yours,
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 27 December 2012 - 02:18 PM
Which reminds me that we also carry two acrylic glass blocks, roughly 1" thick, 1'x1' squares with polished edges, to cause some blurred edges with light refractions as if shooting through some glass cabinet in the foreground, etc.
Posted by Niall Conroy on 23 May 2013 - 06:24 AM
Hey guys, hopefully this wont be treated like spam, just thought some of you might be interested to see
beautiful telecine job by Jose at Ochoypico
(not to mention Frank at super8.nl)
the videos mixed with some GH3 footage also, but predominately super-8 - 100D
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 22 May 2013 - 01:08 PM
Posted by Giray Izcan on 10 May 2013 - 02:39 PM
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 03 May 2013 - 04:56 PM
Here I was thinking that clients were going to start thinking of Kinos as being old-school and wondering where your LED litepanels were...
Posted by Jaron Berman on 24 April 2013 - 10:44 PM
It's called a crane step-off, and its common enough to be taught at steadicam workshops. That said, it's not particularly easy and you'll find only a handfull of ops who have done them on shot (successfully) because of the logistical complications. The issue of the step-off itself is fairly easy, certainly easier than holding a shot while going up or down stairs. But there's a big dance in order to do it safely, and of more concern than which op you choose to hire is the experience of the grips. Given the choice between an op who's done a step-off and 3 grips who have done them (successfully) I'd take the grips EVERY time. Simple physics Force = Mass x Acceleration - when the operator steps off the crane, it's now imbalanced meaning that 50' lever wants to spring upwards with a LOT of force. When the op steps off 3 things need to happen - two grips need to land the platform, one of them has to un-safety the operator (when he/she confirms that both grips have weight on the platform, and then signal the OK. If this doesn't happen, it's incredibly dangerous. If this all happens smoothly then everyone looks like a hero and you end up with what could be a very cool shot. It's ok the land the platform hard to the ground because it's a lot better to KNOW that you're at the ground than to have the grips feather the move and land 5" high and have a faceplant when the op steps off. The beauty of the steadicam arm is that the op can feather the landing, booming the rig itself down as the crane comes to rest and soaking-up the landing - the rig itself never stops moving and therefore never loses inertia or stability. Beautiful clean step-off in Hoffa, and a few very clever step-offs in Kill Bill (so good most people have no idea how the shots were done at all).
If money is not an issue, find a few good examples and try getting a hold of those ops, and be open to bringing in grips they trust. And when you diagram the shot, having done a few similarly ambitious shots they may even have ideas to help make it better (and safer). Good luck, sounds like a fun project!
Posted by Brian Drysdale on 22 April 2013 - 05:35 AM
A number of high profile UK directors have written a letter to BBC Creative director Alan Yentop calling for a review of the guidelines for film use in HD.
Posted by James Steven Beverly on 19 April 2013 - 01:00 AM
Interesting article every film maker should read:
Here's a hypothetical example of how this could work in practice, using round numbers just to make the point (these aren't directly accurate numbers, but the concept is). A studio funds A Movie with a production budget of $100 million. It sets up AMovieCo Inc. and gives it the production budget money. The studio then spends another $50 million on marketing and puts that down as an expense as well -- though, with some of the big studios, some of this money involves paying itself for advertising on its own properties. Still, even if we assume that's real money spent, you might think that AMovieCo now needs to make back $150 million to be profitable. But... the studio (which, again, controls AMovieCo completely) then tacks onto all of that, say, a $250 million "distribution fee." Now, while there may be some money spent on actually distributing the film, the number is almost completely bogus, and much higher than the actual expense for the studio. Very little actual money needs to change hands here -- it's just a fee on the books (a fee they are effectively charging to themselves). And it's not just "distribution" but a variety of additional charges. On top of that, the studio may then charge "interest" on that money, even though it's really just lending money to itself. What it all means is that rather than becoming profitable at ~$150 million (the actual money spent), AMovieCo now needs to earn over $400 million before anyone with a cut of the profits sees an additional dime from the movie, thanks to completely imaginary accounting entries on the books.
Over on Kevin Smith's (really, really, fascinating) Smoviemakers podcast, Smith recently interviewed filmmaker Scott Derrickson, who has made a name for himself in the horror film world. The whole interview is fantastic and well worth listening to, starting with part one. However, right at the beginning of part two, Derrickson reveals how he effectively got shafted on one of his most well known films, The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Scott Derrickson (SD): It made $75 [million] domestic and $150 [million] worldwide...Basically, it's the same story as always. The net doesn't exist... but because of the extra massive "fees" the studio tacks on, it makes back many times its money before it even has to go anywhere near paying the writer and director to whom it promised 5%.
Kevin Smith (KS): Nice. You're a true filmmaker, you know exactly what your movies made everywhere...
SD: Hellllll yeah.
KS: It's a badge of honor.
SD: And to all the young filmmakers listening, I had 5% of the net of that movie. That was in my contract. And it cost $19 million. And it made $150 million worldwide. There's no net. That's how movie math works.
KS: So even you were not above being screwed by the system.
SD: I told my attorney, the next time you're negotiating my net profit for a movie, ask for a ham sandwich instead.
KS: 'Cause you'll get something.
SD: 'Cause I'll get something [laughter]
Related to this, it comes as no surprise that later in the podcast, Derrickson talks about his recognition that the real future in movies is being able to make them much more cheaply, and outside of studio control. He talks about being influenced by the movie Monsters, which was made for a few hundred thousand dollars, but which he notes would have probably cost a studio $50 million to make. At that point, he realized that to survive in this business, he had to be able to learn to make movies much more cheaply:
SD: The other thing that was happening at that time, was I was watching the business change dramatically.... The movie that was a paradigm shift for me was the sci-fi movie Monsters. Have you seen that movie?They then discuss his new movie, Sinister, which had a $3 million budget (which shocks Smith, who insists it looks like a movie that's much more expensive). Of course, in many ways, this goes back to the discussion we've been having here for many, many years -- responding to the old school movie studio guys, who demand that we answer how could they possibly continue to make $200 million movies. One answer, which we've pointed out time and time again, is that the question is the wrong one. Any business should be asking how it can make its product profitably -- not how it can keep its costs high. No one in the tech industry asks "how can we continue to make $5,000 computers?" They ask "how can we make profitable computers" and one answer is to make the product more efficiently. It's great to see filmmakers like Derrickson not just get that, but then celebrate what that means for him artistically and financially as well.
KS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SD: It's this great sci-fi movie where this guy, for $800,000 and his little barebones crew, with a small digital camera, made a movie that would have cost Warner Bros. $50 million to make.... He was one of the first of this new generation who grew up with his laptop. He did like 250 visual effects in the movie on his own laptop. And he made a $50 million movie for $800,000. I saw that happening. I saw what Jason Blum was doing with the Paranormal Activity movies and I said, you know what, the business is changing and you gotta evolve or die. And so part of my interest in doing a movie so small is that I want to be a part of what's happening right now. And I want to be a front runner. I want to be good at it.
SD: I want what matters to matter to me.... Knowing that I had final cut in the movie, knowing that's what it was about, I've never had more fun or been more relaxed while making a movie, because I just wasn't worried about how it would do. I'm making this movie because when it's done I'm gonna see it.... I think a lot of filmmakers go through the experience.... you have that difficult studio experience.... you come out of that experience, and it's not just that 'if you die on a swords, it's gonna be my sword,' it's that thing that 'I'm going to make something that's 100% pure. I'm just going to make something 100% pure...'In the last few years we've been hearing and seeing similar things from a number of filmmakers, recognizing that perhaps the challenges that the movie industry has faced have been self-imposed in large degrees. The industry got used to doing things one way and have had trouble adapting. But, of course, the actual artists and creators figure this stuff out and they adapt... even while the big studios still play their accounting tricks. And have no fear, with a movie this cheaply made, Derrickson notes that if the movie does okay, it could make him "rich" based on the way he structured the deal this time around. He teamed up with Blumhouse Productions (who backed Paranormal Activity) and while they're using a traditional distributor (which anyone still has to do for a real theatrical release), the economics this time around are quite different than for a film where a major MPAA studio is playing the usual accounting tricks.
Posted by Kar Wai Ng on 16 April 2013 - 08:14 PM
It's really just a 24-290 with a very mild teleconverter to enlarge the image circle so that it covers 5K on the Epic. Slight loss of speed from T2.8 to T3.2 which is the tradeoff. The 24-290 does cover 5K on the Epic down to about 35mm or so.
Typically the wide end of these zooms aren't used too often (go to a 17-80mm or 15-40mm lightweight instead) so in my opinion the 24-290 is not particularly at a disadvantage; it's still the workhorse zoom of choice. The 28-340 is a big investment that serves a smaller niche; that said, depending on your market and whether you think the 6K Dragon sensor will increase demand for larger image circle lenses, that may change your perspective.
Personally, 90% of my work is Alexa based which is a proper S35 sized chip, and half the jobs I work on with Epic shoot 4K anyway.
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 06 April 2013 - 08:06 AM
Posted by David Mullen ASC on 30 March 2013 - 07:08 AM
APS-C is closest to the size of Super-35 cinema / 3-perf 35mm (approx. 24mm x 13mm); Full-Frame 35mm is closest to the 8-perf 35mm VistaVision format (36mm x 24mm). So the focal lengths used in APS-C for typical field of view would be the same if shooting in Super-35, and if you used any PL-mount cine lenses, they would be designed to fill the APS-C sensor area, not the FF35 sensor area.
APS-C sensors vary in size from 20.7mm × 13.8 mm to 28.7mm × 19.1mm. The Canon 7D sensor size is 22.3mm x 14.9mm.
Generally the only difference in "look" is the typical depth of field because the larger sensor sizes use longer focal lengths to achieve the same field of view. Once you had matched field of view by using a lens that was about 1.6X shorter on an APS-C camera, you'd have to stop down a FF35 lens by 1.6-stops to match the depth of field. So FF35 cameras tend to produce a shallower focus look; however, they also tend to be more sensitive in low-light and thus it's not hard to rate them faster and stop down for more depth of field to compensate.
Posted by Mike Lary on 17 March 2013 - 05:05 PM
Editors don't get credited as writer or director when they "save" a film. People need to keep their egos in check and accept the credit for the actual services they provided.