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My first Proud Shoot!


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:53 PM

All,

I just got an XL2 not too long ago, and up till now I'd just been doing test shoots, tweaking the presets, etc. On Saturday, I did my first real shoot as a DP with this camera, and the footage I got was my proudest moment, mainly because it came out almost exactly as I had imagined! It was a challenge for me as well. The kitchen was small and cramped. My camera was actually positioned inside a walk in closet next to the fridge, that's how small it was! Also, originally, the window facing the camera had light coming through, and the secondary window opened into a screened in porch. So, I used waxed paper to cut down the light in the main window, and rigged a pair of totas through the second window at an angle to get a strong shadow through the shades. I bounced a pair of softies off the walls to fill in the shadows a bit, and topped it with a small spot to give the actress just a bit of accent on the hair. Below is a frame grab. I shot at 24p, -3db, and 4 f.

Posted Image

It's pretty simple I'm sure, in comparison to what other board members have done in digital and film, but this was the first time that I really went for something strong and artistic with digital. It sure is a fun medium! What do you guys think? Any thoughts for the future?
Best,
Brian Rose
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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:43 PM

Looks really nice, Brian. There's nothing wrong with keeping it simple, in fact that's what makes this shot look so good. I like how the actress pops in the frame as she's lit to a higher key than the background.

The one criticism I have is that the actress's shadow falling on the upstage window doesn't quite look right. It reveals that the light source outside the window is lower than she is (judging by their relative heights) and very close, (judging by its softness). If the key light is meant to be sunlight, then it should be higher and further from the window. Using a fresnel light from further away at full flood will give you a harder shadow.

Also, I think this shot would look even better with a little smoke, so that the background is less contrasty than the foreground subject. This would help lead the eye even more toward the actress, fulfilling a similar function as shallow depth of field, which was impossible in this case given the format, lens, and size of the room.

Anyway, congrats and keep up the good work! Please post a link to the film when you finish it, I'd like to see it.
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 01:42 PM

I'm glad you pointed that out. I should have made mention of it. The reflection on the upstage window was intentional. The piece is not meant to be purely realist or naturalist. Rather, I was trying for something more fantastic in nature, something closer to expressionist. The scene itself is part of a performance piece that one of my classmates is doing. Y'know, experimental type stuff. Anyways, the actress is supposed to be this student's mother, and the footage is "a dream," as she has described it to me. In the performance, she will stand in front of the projection screen, and interact with the footage. So that's why I went for that particular look. It does reveal the source, but I though the quality of her shadow against the window shades had an effect that worked in that particular case. As for the smoke, I would have loved to do that, but circumstances precluded it. The kitchen belonged to someone who knew the person directing this piece, and she didn't want to inconvenience him too much, since he was being kind enough to lend us his space. It would have looked great, but ultimately, sacrifices had to be made. I do appreciate shallow depth of field, but it's a fun challenge as well to work with deep focus on a digital camera. It makes composition rather interesting, like determining what objects to place, and where (like the set of kitchen knifes in the lower left portion of the field.

Thanks a lot for your feedback, and hopefully I'll have some footage posted soon!

Best,
Brian Rose


Looks really nice, Brian. There's nothing wrong with keeping it simple, in fact that's what makes this shot look so good. I like how the actress pops in the frame as she's lit to a higher key than the background.

The one criticism I have is that the actress's shadow falling on the upstage window doesn't quite look right. It reveals that the light source outside the window is lower than she is (judging by their relative heights) and very close, (judging by its softness). If the key light is meant to be sunlight, then it should be higher and further from the window. Using a fresnel light from further away at full flood will give you a harder shadow.

Also, I think this shot would look even better with a little smoke, so that the background is less contrasty than the foreground subject. This would help lead the eye even more toward the actress, fulfilling a similar function as shallow depth of field, which was impossible in this case given the format, lens, and size of the room.

Anyway, congrats and keep up the good work! Please post a link to the film when you finish it, I'd like to see it.


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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 04:23 AM

I'm glad you pointed that out. I should have made mention of it. The reflection on the upstage window was intentional.... I thought the quality of her shadow against the window shades had an effect that worked in that particular case.

Ah, I see. In that case, I would have liked to see a harder, darker shadow to make it more obvious -- I almost missed it at first, as its rather subtle. I guess it's more obvious with movement though.

As for the smoke, I would have loved to do that, but circumstances precluded it.

That certainly can be tough. Have you tried "Fog in a Can," by the way? It's not nearly as thick and smelly as fog machines that use fog juice, making it more acceptable, possibly.

I do appreciate shallow depth of field, but it's a fun challenge as well to work with deep focus on a digital camera. It makes composition rather interesting, like determining what objects to place, and where (like the set of kitchen knifes in the lower left portion of the field.

I actually like working with deep focus as well. :) One of the challenges of deep focus is finding ways of creating separation between foreground/midground/background elements, which is where I thought the use of smoke had a particularly useful function -- creating separation by varying contrast in the fore/mid/background layers. As you said though, you have to work with the circumstances at hand so it sounds like using smoke was just not possible.
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#5 Bill Totolo

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 08:53 AM

Re: Venetian blinds, here's a tip that Jack Cooperman passed onto me a few years ago:

You want to use a large unit placed far away from the blinds otherwise the shadows will radiate away from each other and not emulate natural sunlight where they remain parallel to one another.
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#6 Brian Rose

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 11:15 AM

Very cool. I'll definitely remember that. It probably would not have made much difference here, since I was using a Lowell Kit. But in the future, I will definitely plan on a more powerful light, to try that. Thanks!
BR
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#7 Brian Rose

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 11:24 AM

I really appreciate all the feedback. Obviously, I've only begun to even scratch the surface of this incredible field of cinematography, but out of that shoot, I really realized that it's the field for me. I had such fun doing it, and I'm ready for more! Hopefully I'll have more stuff up soon from another shoot.
Best,
BR
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#8 Matthew Buick

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 04:58 PM

Looks beautiful. Very strong and defined. Some very good tips from other forum members too. I've something new from this thread.

I have one question. What is a Tota? I'd like to utilise blinds in my first reels next Spring/Summer (whenever the weather good). These Totas may be the lights I've been searching for.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:09 PM

I'm glad you pointed that out. I should have made mention of it. The reflection on the upstage window was intentional. The piece is not meant to be purely realist or naturalist. Rather, I was trying for something more fantastic in nature, something closer to expressionist........

Best,
Brian Rose


Or she is on the second floor condo, town home or apartment?
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:11 PM

Brian, the picture you are sharing, came from the Canon XL2 off of tape, or from a digital still camera? It's missing certain anomalies common to video unless it's because you shot at 24P?
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#11 Brian Rose

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 05:46 PM

Matthew Buick Wrote:

"I have one question. What is a Tota? I'd like to utilise blinds in my first reels next Spring/Summer (whenever the weather good). These Totas may be the lights I've been searching for."


Tota refers to a type of light made by Lowell. Since this was a location shoot, I had to rely upon twp Lowell kits, specifically the DV Creator 55 set. The Tota-light is a 750w broad throw light. Normally, it would be used in tandem with a silvery umbrella mounted to bounce the light. Instead, I took two of them, removed the umbrellas and pointed them directly at the subject, in effect using them as the key.


Alessandro Machi wrote:

"Brian, the picture you are sharing, came from the Canon XL2 off of tape, or from a digital still camera? It's missing certain anomalies common to video unless it's because you shot at 24P?"


Yes, I did shoot at 24P with the standard 3:2 pulldown. The image is a frame grab, exported from Premiere pro using the raw uncompressed footage.

"Or she is on the second floor condo, town home or apartment?"

It was shot in a small one story home, in the kitchen.

Best,
BR
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