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CSI Look


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#1 Dolly

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:24 PM

I'm looking for any kind of information/guidance re: lighting and shooting CSI style.

I'm going into production of a documentary dealing with our current statis of police investigations and the science behind the convictions. The idea was to have somewhat of a CSI look.
CSI is shot on film, we're shooting Sony Beta-SX digital. I'm trying to achieve that blown out white effect on the bright highlights.In the past I've used a Parisian silk stretched over the back element of my lense, this does help blow out the highlights, but the faces are too soft looking. Has anyone had success with this sort of problem? HD is not an option at this point. I'm also looking for guidance re: the all mighty famous question!
What can I do to get that filmic quality on digital Beta?

Thanks for reading,
Dolly
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:42 PM

Hi,

I can't say I particularly think of CSI as having blown out whites, I think of it more as being extremely classily done, which is exactly what you won't be able to achieve on a documentary.

However, CSI is generally quite high contrast (which video is just great at!) and has a lot of interesting colour grading, which you can at least approximate. Other than that, all you can do if you're not lighting scenes is to try and be in the right place relative to the ambient light. Most of CSI seems to be harshly backlit with soft fill - but really, I think you may find the needs of the documentary overtake this sort of thinking.

Phil
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#3 Tim Tyler

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:04 PM

I watched CSI: Miami for the first time last week and was blown away by the cinematography. Really nice compositions, blocking, and camera moves. Great coverage. Nice use of long lenses to isolate faces and spot-on focus pulling. Every shot looked like a breakfast cereal commercial.

This particular episode had lots of very warm back and side lighting. many of the wider interiors had a bright orange source located outside a window near to the ground and aimed at the lens. Faces were kept natural looking and keyed softly.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:19 PM

CSI occasionally uses different lens diffusion tricks to create halation around bright lights, with heavy backlighting, etc. Sometimes nets, Classic Soft filters -- truth is that the degree of the halation effect is a combination of the strength of the diffusion and the degree of the overexposure.

So if you want the same halation but with a less heavy diffusion, you need to increase the overexposure.

I'd try testing something like a Classic Soft or ProMist and find the right balance between the filter strength and brightness of what's halating. Trouble with nets behind the lens is that it's hard to find them in increments of strength.

Edited by David Mullen, 21 December 2005 - 05:20 PM.

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#5 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:34 PM

CSI Vegas also uses nets a lot.
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