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Frame Grabs from First Day's Shoot


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 11:55 AM

All,
I'm DPing a graduate's thesis film, and we began shooting yesterday. The project is about an office drone for a big corporation that wants to seize some apartments to develop into condos. It's pretty much your typical activist type film. But the logistics have been a blast. Because it's a student film, I pulled double duty, designing the set as well. It's meant to be your typical, bland office, painted in off white, and a single window to the world. I elected for a simple lighting scheme. A 5K with the lens removed serves as the sun light, and depending on the type of shot, a flag and a diffusion screen to direct the light and cut down on intensity. Overhead, I elected to use a 2K set to broad throw with a diffusion filter and a green florescent. The film is meant to be a mixture of realism and fantasy (the director wanted something akin to Gilliam or Gondry), so the intent is that it be slightly unreal, and a little harsh. And then I added a single Lowel soft box for a bit of fill. Key to fill is 3:1. I think that about covers it. Let me know if there are any questions. Until then, enjoy the frame grabs. More to follow as production continues!

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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 02:05 PM

Hi Brian,

nice stills. I like the stylized office look. But these seem to be distorted. Are they? Maybe a problem with the pixel aspect?

Cheers, Dave
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 03:02 PM

Yeah, it is - they're 720x480, which makes them 1.5:1 on a computer display. Need to rescale these to 640x480 for web use, Brian.

P
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#4 Brian Rose

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 09:26 PM

Yeah, it is - they're 720x480, which makes them 1.5:1 on a computer display. Need to rescale these to 640x480 for web use, Brian.

P


Thanks for pointing that out. It completely slipped by me! I'll get that fixed pronto!

Best,
BR
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#5 alex volkov

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 03:47 PM

I love the Sun through the shades. Got a question though... Why did you leave the walls so blank? Is it an aesthetic choice? And, also, actor's shirt blends in with the walls... Just curious...

Thank you,

Alex Volkov
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#6 Brian Rose

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 04:22 PM

I've attached some more frame grabs, and as per the suggestions to resize to 640x480. Hopefully they turn out alright. The last image was taken from Day 2 of the shoot. It was really challenging to get an acceptable blue. Because the earlier shots were set in the morning, and had the sun shining through the window, I was faced with recreating an evening scene that suggested a blue evening sky. I tried several different setups, before I came upon a novel solution. I hung some fine cloth over the window, which I had been using earlier to diffuse light from my 5K. Then, I rigged up a multimedia projector to shine through the screen. When it does not receive a signal, it emits a very strong blue (similar to the Blue Screen of Death), and that what wound up serving as the blue sky! It was pretty crude and last minute, but all in all, I think it turned out alright.

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#7 Brian Rose

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 04:31 PM

I love the Sun through the shades. Got a question though... Why did you leave the walls so blank? Is it an aesthetic choice? And, also, actor's shirt blends in with the walls... Just curious...

Thank you,

Alex Volkov



Thanks a lot for the feedback. This is my first true shoot, in that it's on a sound stage with a set, as opposed to on location with some Lowels and Arris. I'm discovering a lot, and there's a lot I've got to learn still, as has been pointed out. As for the blank walls, you're right about it. They're not quite my taste, but ultimately I had to accede to the will of the director, and she was definite about a very bland look. As for the shirt color, that was a bit of an annoyance because we worked together with the colors very closely. As the shoot proceeds, I'll try to tweak the lighting a bit, so there is some more delineation between the two subjects. Like I said, I've got a long ways to go. While I'm technically the DP, it'll be a long time before I can call myself a cinematographer, that's for sure. But for a first time, I think it's turned out alright. And thanks to your feedback, I can continue to make improvements, and with time, maybe re shoot a few scenes to get them right.

Thanks again!
Best,
Brian R.
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 11:15 PM

If you shot and imported Standard Def 16:9 Anamorphic into FCP, then the aspect ratio of the QT clips your grabbing from should be "853 x 480". But to get it there it takes a bit of adjustment.

Follow the directions at the website below for adjusting your exported QT movie from FCP. It only happens with DV footage, with HD there's no need for messing with this:
http://docs.info.app...l?artnum=305337

It's also good to bookmark that page if you'll be burning your SD 16:9 Anamorphic footage with iDVD, or else you'll find it stretched just like the frames at the beginning of this thread.
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#9 Tim Partridge

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 09:38 AM

Brian,

This might be of benefit to you-

I would like to suggest you check out the little seen Hollywood movie JOE VS THE VOLCANO (1990), just so you can see the opening office sequences, some of which are shown here:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related



Stephen Goldblatt shot the film, and that sequence alone is in my opinion some of the boldest, most influential and forward thinking cinematography of the 1990s. It is definitely the look your director seems to be chasing. It's so extremely drab, miserable, flat, monotone, green spiked and flat out ugly, but beautiful beyond description because of it. Yes, art direction is part of it, but the actual light, direction of light and photographic colour control commands this one. It would be an honour if Mr. Goldblatt himself could take a time out to tell us how he shot these scenes.
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#10 Brian Rose

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 01:00 PM

Wow, I never believed in subconcious influence until you sent me that link! I had seen "Joe v. Volcano" on TV years ago, and I remember those office scenes, and now that I look at it, the connection is undeniable. That's exactly the look I was going for! It's so wonderful to have this now, as a reference! Thanks!

Brian R.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 01:28 PM

I would like to suggest you check out the little seen Hollywood movie JOE VS THE VOLCANO (1990)


Ha ha, "I'm not arguing that with you!"
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#12 STEPHEN GOLDBLATT

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:44 PM

Brian,

This might be of benefit to you-

I would like to suggest you check out the little seen Hollywood movie JOE VS THE VOLCANO (1990), just so you can see the opening office sequences, some of which are shown here:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related



Stephen Goldblatt shot the film, and that sequence alone is in my opinion some of the boldest, most influential and forward thinking cinematography of the 1990s. It is definitely the look your director seems to be chasing. It's so extremely drab, miserable, flat, monotone, green spiked and flat out ugly, but beautiful beyond description because of it. Yes, art direction is part of it, but the actual light, direction of light and photographic colour control commands this one. It would be an honour if Mr. Goldblatt himself could take a time out to tell us how he shot these scenes.

Well thanks for the compliments. As I recall, I was so impressed by Bo Welch's design and by Tom Hanks that I tried to complement what they were trying to do. Sorry I can't be more specific at this distance but sometimes really feeling your way through is the best way to go,
Best,
Stephen Goldblatt
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#13 Tim Partridge

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 02:20 PM

Well thanks for the compliments. As I recall, I was so impressed by Bo Welch's design and by Tom Hanks that I tried to complement what they were trying to do. Sorry I can't be more specific at this distance but sometimes really feeling your way through is the best way to go,
Best,
Stephen Goldblatt


Mr. Goldblatt,

MANY thanks for responding to my post! I appreciate that it was 19 years ago and therefore might not be at the front of your memory, but would love to know if you actually used floursecents for that office scene or not. I am guessing it was mainly large diffused sources with the colours done through gelling. It is impossible to tell where set design ends and cinematography begins (isn't that what it's all about?)? Like I said before, the actual look achieved was so ahead of it's time.

Many thanks again
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 04:41 PM

I remember attending some lecture Stephen gave at the AFI, a long time ago... I seem to remember him saying that he used real Cool White fluorescents to get that look.
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#15 Tim Partridge

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 07:23 AM

Thankyou, David. :)
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#16 Brian Rose

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 11:01 PM

Well I've finally got more frame grabs! Hopefully they show up better! Shooting was briefly interrupted owing to our school's spring break, and because the actor and sound man both went to Panama! But last weekend was pretty productive and quite challenging.

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This first image was a little tricky. The director really wanted him to wear a white shirt for the scene, part of the whole office worker/drone theme. Of course, it was wicked reflective from my 5K "Sun" so I rigged up a diffusion screen and some flags to cut down the light so it illuminated his face, and then trailed off on his shirt. It took some trial and error, but I think the end result was fairly successful, with a nice lines of demarcation between light and dark on his face, without his shirt being hopelessly blown out.

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This next one I included because I think it is my favorite one or at least, I feel my most successfully executed of the lot. Key light is a 2K rigged overhead and downward with diffusion and florescent gels. For the sun light, I just left my 5K as is, but removed the lens for sharper shadows, tweaked the angle a bit, and adjusted the shades slightly to get some streaks across the desk.

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This shot was part of a pan across the room, beginning at the desk, panning right to the door as the secretary enters, and back again. As a result, I added a couple of 650s and a bounce board for key and fill on the unseen portion of the room. For the shot shown above, I hung white fabric over the window and drew the shades, to suggest a window "blown out" by bright light. I moved the overhead 2K back, and increased the angle of attack, so it acted as back light for the secretary, key for her boss, and also bounced back to give her face a bit of definition, but keep it somewhat dark.

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Finally, this scene utilized the same basic lighting as above, with a total of four lights filling out the room and giving definition. Additionally, I threw in a 650 arri with a green gel to back light her, and suggest more office space behind her (even though the door just opens to the back of the sound stage.

Well, that's all for now! Next are some exterior shots meant to suggest looking through binoculars. Ive' always wanted to try some good ole fashioned binocular mattes!

Later!
Brian R.
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#17 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:17 AM

I really like the light coming through the blinds. It contrasts well with the green office, like he is looking on to normal (sunny) life. And obviously the green with the blank walls communicates that bland office existence.
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