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First time DP needs advice for test shoot


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#1 Junior Sala

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 11:46 PM

Hi All,

I'm a first time DP on a small university production. Now last week we had a test shoot and it was completely chaotic. It was probably due to inexperience shared between myself and the director.
Note: Shot on location inside a house daytime on DV - Panasonic DVX100.

There were a few issues which I'm hoping some of you veterans can help solve:

1) When shooting, is there a proper order of shot sizes that should be followed to accommodate for staging / lighting positions? e.g. wide shots first, then close-ups etc or the reverse?

2) With regards to lighting setups and camera angles / sizes, when do you move the lights closer or further away? Is there a position (e.g. the wide shots) where the lights can remain in the same position for numerous shot sizes?

4) I had setup a light that was meant to be strong sunlight from a window cast upon the actor sitting on a couch. There was the problem of a harsh shadow cast on the couch because of this, but when trying to fill it in by bouncing light off the ceiling or other walls, it basically took away the moodyness / harshness of the key light - any suggestions?

3) Has anyone ever had the problem of other crew members making suggestions of how something should be lit or how to solve problems? How did you solve them? We had a talk about this but people are still doing it and it's very confusing and frustrating.


Thanks very much in advance,

Junior
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#2 Michele Peterson

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 01:50 AM

Lighting wise, I was always taught to light for the wide first, then move in and adjust and fine tune your lighting for the close up. If you start with the CU, then you constantly have to go get more lights as you widen out. However, there are exceptions to that. In a very difficult scene for the actors, the director might want close ups first, before the actors start to burn out.

Unfortunately, student production often have more people telling each other what to do. It usually comes from a good intention fo trying to help, but can easily get obnoxious. As student, you usually know and are on the same level as the other students working and that creates a comfort zone to be able to say something. Many are also dying to be able to get behind the camera or moving the light. It puts you in a hard position because they might get pissy and create obnoxious problems with you and others and you still have to deal with them on a regular basis in school. I've heard stories of people that were green PA's making suggestions to higher ups and of course they end up being not needed the next day.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:29 PM

Junior,
Please change your user name to your real first and last name as per the forum rules.
Thanks.
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 05:18 PM

Order (rush delivery) the book FILM LIGHTING by Malkiewicz... even tho you are shooting digital.
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#5 Junior Sala

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 05:24 PM

hi brad,

Junior is my first name.

btw thanks for the tips guys. Any info on the other q's?

Edited by junior s, 25 September 2008 - 05:25 PM.

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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 05:58 PM

Regarding Q4... Shadows are part of Life... don't fear them.. yes, control the density of the Shadow but Shadows are here to stay.

Use them... they create Mood.. define Composition...

Edited by David Rakoczy, 25 September 2008 - 05:59 PM.

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#7 Andrew Koch

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:00 PM

What Brad said was that your screenname needs to be your full first AND FULL LAST name. Unless your FULL last name is "S" then you need to change it.

In terms of sunlight, direct sunlight by it's very nature is a hard light that casts hard shadows. If you don't like the way the shadows are falling on the couch from the source, then you need to make changes to the source. There are many different choices you could make. One is to adjust the position of the light so the shadow falls in a different area. Raising the light and tilting down will place the shadow lower. Lowering the light will raise the shadow. You can also soften the source itself which will give you softer shadows, but this can give you a more overcast look (it depends). Bouncing light off the ceiling to fill the room with light lowers the contrast of your lighting because you are filling in the shadows. It sounds like you are not getting the contrast that you want because you are using TOO MUCH fill light. Consider using something like showcard or beadboard and bounce the sunlight coming in back into your scene. If you need a bigger, bounce you could use a larger frime of muslin, ultrabounce, griff, depending on the look you want. If you need more out of the bounce, you could bounce another light into it.

There are many other ways to tackle this. It all depends on the look you are going for. If you post some pictures of the setup, I might be able to give you a more detailed response.
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#8 Junior Sala

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 09:49 PM

Thanks mate, will do more tests and take some snaps.
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Aerial Filmworks

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Wooden Camera

Visual Products

The Slider

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rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

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