How do you decide between lens filters or gels?
Posted 12 March 2007 - 05:04 AM
For future reference, what do you think guys? How do you make that decision?
Posted 12 March 2007 - 08:13 AM
There's no difference between lighting a scene completely with one gel color and filtering on the camera. In either case the camera records that color. One trick for getting a particular color mood and yet not having your actors look like something out of a freak show is to splash color on the background, foreground, etc. while lighting the actors with something more neutral and skintone friendly. A recent film reference would be the bar scene in "The Astronaut Farmer". David Mullen lit the bar with red gels and Christmas tree lights, but lit the principal actors' faces with half-orange gels. That way the scene came out very saturated in red but the actors didn't look like they had just stepped off the bus from Hades.
............I shot a small project and put some magenta gels on the lights to create a romantic feel for a bathroom effect. However, i lost all the skin tone in the actresses face (i know, shoot me) So im wondering if a lens filter would have been better. However, i WAS shooting on the XL2.
This technique will effectively "cut" the actor out of the background even with a strongly saturated gel lighting their face if that gel's color is different than the rest of the scene.
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec knew how to do this with oil paint.
"At the Moulin Rouge".
The original is at the Art Institute of Chicago, go see it if you ever get a chance. Spend a day there with their French Impressionists and Modernists, at the end of that day you'll be a better Cinematographer.