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#1 C.L. Washington Jr.

C.L. Washington Jr.
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Posted 18 February 2006 - 09:53 PM

Hello,
I just finished watching Assault on Precinct 13, and I have a question about the unmotivated smoke. Me, being a newbie director, I'm trying to understand different vantage points or ways to relay the story.....the story.....the story....... (I'm all about the story). I'm a semi-pro photographer here in Nebraska (I've been paid for some of my shots), so I also have a deep interest in cinematography. Back to the point, why was there so much use of unmotivated smoke? Most of the story takes place in winter at night. Was the smoke there for "film density" or to add to the "hard-to-see-at-night-in-winter-so-every-shot-is-mysterious"?????? All of you are geniuses in my book - I love this forum!! Any insight to the unmotivated smoke is appreciated!!!!

peace

C.L. Washington Jr.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 12:46 AM

It looks cool, that's the main reason people use it.

Smoke is the only way to create beams of light. It reduces contrast and enhances depth, plus softens colors. It's basically an exaggeration of the effect of dusty air (unless motivated like by people smoking.)

Yes, most of the time if you really think about it, the smoke makes no sense.
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#3 C.L. Washington Jr.

C.L. Washington Jr.
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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:16 AM

It reduces contrast and enhances depth...


Thanks Dave,
As I've stated before, you are the man- no doubt. Quick question, will you please take a moment to explain "enhances depth"? How does smoke effect lighting and vision so much that sets and / or locations seem deeper than they are? Anyone? Thanks!!

C.L. Washington Jr.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:25 AM

Smoke is dimensional because objects that are farther are being seen through greater amounts of smoke than near objects, so near objects are clearer, sharper, and more contrasty but then objects start to get softer, hazier as the move into the background. So you can exaggerate the cut-out effect of a foreground silhouette black shape if framed against a hazier background than a clear-aired background with more contrast.

Since smoke causes a light to create a beam, especially the more the light is coming from the background towards the lens, you have to be careful because every light you set and hide on the set might be revealed. For example, if you hide a little spotlight behind a piece of furniture, the smoke will create a glow from the light revealing its location. So lighting in some ways has to be more source motivated, simpler, more dramatic. You try and light with a dozen spotlights in the ceiling, and the smoked air will just get washed out with a bunch of crisscrossing beams.
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#5 C.L. Washington Jr.

C.L. Washington Jr.
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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:36 AM

Dave,
Thanks again.

C.L. Washington Jr.
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