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Solstice - Week Two


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 09:46 PM

A four-day week because of the Easter holiday.

Monday was spent at a convenience store out on some country road. It had a few 8' fluorescent tubes in fixtures bolted to a wooden ceiling that although weren't too green, I had swapped to Chroma 50's. I put Chroma 50's in my Kinoflos to match. There was a small window near the cash register that I had an HMI shining through, although for the close-ups, it was not at a good angle for the face so I had to fake the window light with a 1200w HMI bounced off of a 4x4 beadboard to get a good side key. Lighting-wise, there was nothing too unusual that day.

The next three days were at our main house location, in the woods by a lake. Again, the problem has been continuously moving light cloud formations creating a light-dark effect during takes. I have no time to do much more than simply ride the f-stop during the shots and hope the editor will cut around the mismatches. The Fuji Eterna 250D looks the best under the harsh sunlight conditions than under flat overcast.

Later I heard that the lab dropped two of our rolls off of the drying rack and caused some cinching that created flashes in the image, but the editor thinks most of this can be cut around because we had enough coverage. But projecting some of the stuff, she noticed that a wide-angle (21mm) shot made on B-camera seemed to have the focus at minimal distance instead of the far background, so I suspect a flange-depth (backfocus) problem. However, a Panavision tech came out to set and can't find any problems with the lens or the flange depth, so we can't track down the problem. This is one of the problems of not doing film dailies anymore, that stuff like this can happen and perhaps never get discovered until later.

We had a breakfast scene which is one of our first "five actors sitting in a circle" coverage issues to come up, soon to happen more... but with six actors. Time-consuming to cover even with two cameras.

We ended the week doing some of our first night exterior scenes, which of course was time-consuming to light, much to the frustration of everyone. We also will be doing a lot more of this soon. I wish I had a trick for speeding up the lighting of large areas of night, but I don't. We have one lighting balloon with a mix of tungsten and HMI globes to get me a half-blue moonlight effect, but for the far distance across the small lake, I have two 18K HMI's on a condor with Half CTO on them. But the scene started out inside, so I also had to light the interior for moonlight. I am trying to resist the temptation to underexpose everything too much because it would be better to go into the D.I. with a negative with good density and information, but of course it looks overlit to the eye and it will probably look overlit in dailies if not transferred dark enough.

We've had a hard time putting together a local crew because Tony Scott's "Deja Vu" is sucking up so much of the local people, at better pay for apparently less work. We had to hire some grips who have only had a 3-day training course; one of those young men quit on Friday after being told that he'd have to start actually working faster. I'm trying to imagine someone going into this business as a grip thinking that they'd just get to sit on a truck all day and collect a big paycheck. Luckily I have a few good grips and electrics who make up for a lack of experience by a willingness to hustle, but still, things could be going smoother. The pace of a production is really set by the skill and speed of the crew; I can only simplify my work so much to accomodate that. Again, it just comes down to too much work for too short of a schedule.
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#2 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 07:40 AM

The pace of a production is really set by the skill and speed of the crew; I can only simplify my work so much to accomodate that. Again, it just comes down to too much work for too short of a schedule.
[/quote]

... It sounds like you're having to grit your teeth a bit on the production... presumably everyone was all too aware of having to pack too much into too tight a schedule from day one? Was it finances that dictated that you had to squeeze so much into every day and then stick to it? It sounds pretty painful. I wish I lived near where you're shooting, I'd come straight down and work any hours to help... I don't understand people who get feature film jobs and then laze around or do the minimum to get by... it's all about commitment... I'd give my back teeth to get involved in a feature!

... fancy a dedicated Brit on the set?!!!!

'Hope it all pans out,

Rupe Whiteman
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 12:29 PM

Hi,

I'm blown away by that sort of attitude, too - how did you end up hiring people with that little experience? Isn't it a union production? Don't your all-powerful unions absolutely guarantee that everyone they send out will be top notch? Apparently not.

Sorry you're having such a time of it.

Phil
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#4 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 01:51 PM

I am trying to resist the temptation to underexpose everything too much because it would be better to go into the D.I. with a negative with good density and information, but of course it looks overlit to the eye and it will probably look overlit in dailies if not transferred dark enough.

Have you had trouble with the director or producers because of this? I can certainly imagine having a producer being furious because of how bright a nighttime scene looks, and having to explain to him very carefully that it won't end up looking that way.

We've had a hard time putting together a local crew because Tony Scott's "Deja Vu" is sucking up so much of the local people, at better pay for apparently less work. We had to hire some grips who have only had a 3-day training course; one of those young men quit on Friday after being told that he'd have to start actually working faster. I'm trying to imagine someone going into this business as a grip thinking that they'd just get to sit on a truck all day and collect a big paycheck. Luckily I have a few good grips and electrics who make up for a lack of experience by a willingness to hustle, but still, things could be going smoother. The pace of a production is really set by the skill and speed of the crew; I can only simplify my work so much to accomodate that. Again, it just comes down to too much work for too short of a schedule.

I'd volunteer to come help if I weren't involved with my own work. But then I'm sure you're not too keen on shipping people in from other states with your budget. Come to Chicago for your next film, I'd be able to help then! :P
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#5 Tom Bays

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 10:11 AM

Have you had trouble with the director or producers because of this? I can certainly imagine having a producer being furious because of how bright a nighttime scene looks, and having to explain to him very carefully that it won't end up looking that way.
I'd volunteer to come help if I weren't involved with my own work. But then I'm sure you're not too keen on shipping people in from other states with your budget. Come to Chicago for your next film, I'd be able to help then! :P



Place reflective material on the floors...every little bit helps.
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Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Technodolly

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