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CODE 46: lighting


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#1 Mr. Macgregor

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 10:21 PM

Hello. I think this is my first post on this forum. I will try hard.

So i guess some of you saw the film Code 46. Wonderfull. Great in many aspects.

Now, there is a scene, my favorite, which has an intriguing light set up. Outside the sun is very strange, and as you can see, the characters have more light than the background. This is only possible if there is a big cloud over the sky but not in front of them :D or attaching some huge HMI lights brighter than the sun that would make blind any actor. So how did they did this?

After looking it many times i descovered how they did it. I think they are using a projection (not a chroma) as the old movies did. So they are inside a studio. This seems easy, but i have never seen a projection of the background that worked really 100%. This might be the case if i am right.

Anyone has a different idea of how to do this?

Thanks a lot for your time.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 12:54 AM

I haven't seen the film so I can't be certain -- but since it's a driving scene I'd say there's a strong likelyhood the background was either a rear projection or a greenscreen composite. In either case, it's always a challenge to get the foreground lighting to match the background, especially when you can't see the background (in the case of a composite).
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#3 Mike Williamson

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 01:20 AM

Marcel Zyskind, one of the film's DP's, posts here occasionally, so maybe he could talk about how they shot the scene. I enjoyed the film and thought it had a great look, I was surprised by it when I finally saw it as I'd heard mixed reviews from friends. I believe there was an American Cinematographer article on the production as well, don't remember what month though.
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#4 Marcel Zyskind

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:32 AM

Hi

Thanks for showing interest in the film. You're right that we shot this scene with a backprojection.

I initially shot some plates and ext car on black & white as a test for this Day for Night scene on our recce in Dubai. We decided to project the black & white but shoot the rest with the actors on 5218 for grain issuses. In the grade we gave the scene a dark bronze tint.

We used 2 4ft 4banks with 5600K tubes in front of the car and 1 from behind the car which was flagged.

Anything else, please feel free to ask.
All the best
Marcel

Edited by MarcelZyskind, 29 November 2005 - 04:37 AM.

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#5 Mr. Macgregor

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:09 AM

Sorry. I think i know what "2 4ft 4banks with 5600K tubes" are. You are talking a about 2 boxes with 60 cm fluorescent tubes in rows of 4, right? Like kinoflows. What is "flagged"?

What were the grain issues?
Was the backprojection done with a 35mm projector or HD?
Did you make any measurements before shooting the exteriors for this scene in order to have the correct amount of bluring and the same lense? Did you remove the windows?

And most important: the camera and car movement works beautifully. How was this achieved? The motion is very real. Was the camera handheld? Was the car on some platform?

Thank you so much. This movie have been a real inspiration for my work for the past time. :lol:

Edited by macgregor, 29 November 2005 - 10:10 AM.

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#6 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 01:28 PM

I believe there was an American Cinematographer article on the production as well, don't remember what month though.



September 2004.
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#7 Marcel Zyskind

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 02:05 PM

Hi

Yes they were Kini Flo's, I forgot to mention. Flagged means that a flag was on a stand in front of the Kino Flo to cut some of the light, to keep the light from some areas in the car.

Regarding the grain. Different stock. Different grain. And we also wanted the flexibility of the color stock.

The back projection was done on 35mm.

I shot the plates from a pickup shooting both into the sun and with the sun in my back. I remember thinking that the shots with the sun in my back looked more D/N but both were used for the plates.

We would roll down the window in the door nearest of the camera, to be able to shoot into the car.

The car was static in the studio and the camera was handheld.

Glad you like it
Marcel

Edited by MarcelZyskind, 29 November 2005 - 02:08 PM.

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#8 Mr. Macgregor

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 02:24 PM

May i ask why did you shoot the background in B&W?

Also, was the background footage shoot very static with a car mount or hand held? Did you take care of using same lense? Did you defocused the 35mm projector at the stage?


Along the movie we can see shots done in video, or at least they look like video. Were these done with some cheap DV camera?

Were the night scenes in the streets of Shanghai done without additional lighting?

Sorry i do not have access to old American Cinematographer magazines so i cannot read the report. As far as i know the movie was shot with an Aaton 35-3 and an Arriflex 435 ES at S35mm 3 perf. Is this information correct?

Thanks! :)

Edited by macgregor, 29 November 2005 - 02:30 PM.

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#9 Marcel Zyskind

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 07:44 AM

Hi

The background plates were intially shot as a test for the this scene, we decided later to do this scene in the studio and use the tests a background plates.

I shot on low sticks from the pickup. I think I used a 24mm or a 32mm for the plates. We projected it normally, used different lenses (24mm & 50mm) in the studio to shoot the actors. You can use any lens you want as long as you stay within the projection.

No additional lighting was used in the Shanghai streets. We had a 12v Single kit kino flo on battery standing by, which we used once.

We shot 3perf.
The video segmens in the film was shot on a Sony PD150.

All the best
Marcel
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:28 PM

Hello Marcel, thanks for responding so quickly. It's always helpful when the DP of a visible film is available here for questions. Now I'll have to check out the film and the AC article! ;)

I'm assuming from your responses that the compositing and color correction was done digitally -- is that correct? Did you do a film out for theatrical release, or was this direct to video? If so, what format did you post in?
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#11 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 07:33 AM

cool, great to have you here. the film does indeed look fantastic. one more question: what kind of diffusion was used? i found it remarkable that it had such a big impact on the highlights while not softening the rest of the image at all. post effect? it didn't look that way, mainly because off camera lights bleeded into the frame as well, but it could be i guess. is the mist in the shanghai exteriors natural haze or created with a filter too?

/matt
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#12 Mr. Macgregor

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:41 AM

cool, great to have you here. the film does indeed look fantastic. one more question: what kind of diffusion was used? i found it remarkable that it had such a big impact on the highlights while not softening the rest of the image at all. post effect? it didn't look that way, mainly because off camera lights bleeded into the frame as well, but it could be i guess. is the mist in the shanghai exteriors natural haze or created with a filter too?

/matt



As long as I know, Shanghai has always that strange mist. Contamination? Vapors? Something to do with the river? :ph34r:
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#13 Marcel Zyskind

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 08:00 PM

Hi

We had a 1/8 white promist on the camera through out the whole film.

The "mist" in Shanghai could be pollution. It's always there, I've just been back there last week and it's as strong as always... Mmm.

All the best
Marcel
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#14 Justan Zimmerman

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 08:22 PM

Coal soot. Lay a piece of glass flat outside in the morning in any major city in China and by afternoon you'll have a black mist filter.
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