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where do you start first


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#1 Malik Sajid

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:15 PM

It might sound foolish, but as a student i have to ask this.

While working, where do you start lighting? Do you start with wide shots first or closer ones first?
and do you light environment first or start with the tanlent and then light the character?
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#2 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:22 PM

It might sound foolish, but as a student i have to ask this.

While working, where do you start lighting? Do you start with wide shots first or closer ones first?
and do you light environment first or start with the tanlent and then light the character?



Start wide .. you can shoot your wide shots first and as you move in adjust your Lighting (clean it up) as you move in to your close-ups. This also gives your crew a chance to begin wrapping what is not needed.

Lighting an individual is relatively easy... I usually start with the environment... thinking about what will be behind the Talent when we get to their Close Up... then bring in a couple units for Talent. You can spend three hours lighting a space and then bring in a kino, China Ball or 2k thru a 4x4 diffusion and have that set in less that a minute.
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#3 Giovanni Speranza

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:40 PM

I start defining in my mind the look of the shot.
As cinematographer i then choose the location to suit the look that i have in my mind.
If i can't choose the location i have to build the look based on the location.
Then i light trying to get exactly what i wanted. Sometimes it's easy and fast, sometimes is a longer process.

I first want the exact point of view , the lens angle and the character positions and the set defined. Then i light.
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 08:01 PM

Just to add to the already perfect comments, starting wide has logistical advantages too.

Starting wide gives the talent the opportunity to work through the scene while the camera is relatively backed off. Blocking may change a bit as dialogue and other "improvements" take place.

Then, after the Master (or Masters) are shot, theoretically the talent has gotten into the groove of the scene (or whatever it is you're shooting) so when you drive in for the Close-ups, the talent are ready for their Oscar-clip moment. :)

The other logistical advantage is that if you are chasing daylight, starting wide gives you the maximum use of the natural light. IF your day is running long, then if all you have left are Close-ups, then it is easier to cheat those for daytime than it is to even attempt to cheat a wide master.

Also, if you're finishing your day on a couple of tight Close-ups, your crew can begin wrapping out everything else that isn't working for those shots. That buys you more shooting time instead of having to wrap the camera early to make sure everyone isn't going into OT just to put EVERYTHING back in the truck after the last shot.

Being a Cameraman is definitely part Artistic and part Technical. But you also have to keep logistics and scheduling in mind in order to have enough time to be the Artist you really want to be. :)
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#5 Justin Hawkins

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 10:00 PM

Always start with your Master Wide Shot. No matter what, this shot is your savior in the editing room. If you start with all you CU's first, say you run out of time and you have to move to the next scene or the talent has to leave. If this happens then it will make it extremly dificult for the editor to cut the footage together. Shooting the Master first means that technically you've shot your scene so if time runs out later and you can't get that one CU that was in the shot list, at least you can cut your film together and it will make sense.

Also like the other guy was saying, once you shoot your Master WS, your grips and electrics can start breaking down equipment that isn't being used to keep the set clean and organized or if it's the last shot of the day then it's much easier to wrap the shoot since a lot of the equipment is already packed away.
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#6 J. Lamar King

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 12:36 AM

I usually light the environment first with the caveat that the lighting also works on the talent. If staged correctly you can get it to work with one lighting setup then just make tweeks in coverage. A prime example would be positioning the characters near windows then creating a key by pounding light in that works the talent and environment. If you can't make it work then you have to light the talent separately kind of cheating the angle of the light you used for the environment.
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#7 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 12:54 AM

While I agree mostly with what is written above, some big name DP's like to start from the close up. They establish the (intimate) look of the actors in the scene first and move out to the master. I don't know I could work that way myself, and it is done seldom in shoots as most DP's like to start with the wide as explained above.

I usually try to talk producers into springing for a second camera as I like to shoot with two cameras for the sake of expediency, if the budget permits. Camera A is on the wide while B is picking up coverage from roughly the same quadrant so that I don't have to spend to much time lighting for two spread-apart same-take camera angles.

Usually the second camera is not necessarily doing close ups first, but picking up long lens coverage of props, action, the occasional reaction shot, etc. editors will need to make the scene work later. It is best to save c/u work for when the actors are warmed up, though some good actors have surprised me before by nailing all angles in a few takes. That makes things go a lot faster on set.

Most directors love two camera shoots as usually no take is a complete waste. Even if the wide angle (A) camera take is no good, usually B camera will be getting some nuggets that will be handy later.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 24 July 2008 - 12:56 AM.

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#8 lentsoe mamatela

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:03 PM

It might sound foolish, but as a student i have to ask this.

While working, where do you start lighting? Do you start with wide shots first or closer ones first?
and do you light environment first or start with the tanlent and then light the character?


hey dude, i think i will opt for the wide first, that way you establish all your key lights aswell and are aware of your lighting direction. It also just works out better with logistics, and when you punch in for your close ups, its a matter of tweaking the established lights and intensity.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:10 PM

I would also add it depends on the actor in the scene. Some may deliver best on the first few takes. If they do, sometimes It makes more senses to start in close.
I normally start wide, as mentioned above. Though I had HAD to start close on occasion for other reasons

4 am Call time for a sunrise shot. . .So light the close up first approximating the sun hitting them, then grab the real sun when it comes out. Or filming an empty lobby when it wasn't empty yet. . .stuff like that. It is of course, easier to start wide.
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#10 Malik Sajid

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 08:26 AM

Arrrrrrrrrright, another thing, how you start lighting, say to shoot in outdoor, would you expose for the environment/background first, i mean set the appropriate aperture and then bring in the lights or reflectors to expose the character, to lit its face?

Is it the fine approach?
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 08:36 AM

Yes, that is a find approach. Outside, though, requires some work controlling the sky and sometimes you can do other things (like flying a net behind people for tight shots, which if out of focus, will bring down the BG levels).
For myself, I normally let the background go a bit and position the actors using the sun as a key, and then filling in their shadows. But like everything, it depends.
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#12 Malik Sajid

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 02:55 AM

I saw people taking sun as backlight (as in case of taking sun as key, talent might not be able look properly, may not be able to open his eyes), closing the aperture and then lit the face by any means. Anywayz its a everyone's taste....

How about interiors? how'd you start with interiors?
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 10:27 AM

The breaker box!

On Int sets I always check the breakers first to figure out what I can power from where. Then, well, it depends on the film, time of day, and mood. A moody INT would be much different from a cheery one. Often, I throw up a unit to give an overall ambient light upon which I build in contrast (or which I can quickly turn off if I don't like it). Or, while on the scout, if I noticed such and such fixture, I might just throw a different bulb in it, and say "Lets go." or wait for the sun to be in the right spot, and then roll.
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