Jump to content


Photo

First time cinematographer


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Bruce Drakes

Bruce Drakes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Student

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:15 PM

This year i shall be embarking on my final year project, and i will be occupying the role of cinematographer.

I was just wondering if there was anyone out there who could give me tips, hints, advice and what to look out for in this role, as i need to compile a research essay.


Your help will be very much appreciated

Thank you
  • 0

#2 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:22 PM

Take off lens cap, seriously I've known people who've forgotten.
Be realistic with the budget, your abilities, your director and yourself.
Try to find the grammar of/for the script.
Charge your batteries-- camera and self.
Go to all the locations and "feel," them.
Storyboard if that's your style, shot list if that's your stlye.
work out details with director.
pick your battles
learn the names of your crew.
look out for your crew
learn how your AC/Gaffer like their coffees, get them a cup when/if you can.
know the script/schedule/location as intimately as possible.
Know your director (get to know).
keep a sense of humor
things will go wrong, adapt, overcome.
things will go right- let people know they're doing a good job.
things will go wrong keep your temper.
K.I.S.S. sometimes the simplest lighting/camera motion is the best
You will make mistakes, don't repeat them once you find them.
you will make mistakes, admit when you do, don't pass the buck.
others will blame you for their mistakes, don't hold it against them.
keep yourself and others as safe as you can.
Learn your equipment, what it can and can't do, read up on manuals etc.
look to older art--other films, paintings, music, stills, wherever you find your inspiration (no art is really done in a vacuum and viewers have their own repository of information upon which they draw)
keep a sense of humor (very important for me at least).
trust in yourself, you got this gig for a reason.


that's about all i can think of; unless you get more specific with the project and what you're trying to do. the methods of shooting a doco, or a sci fi pic, or an epic, etc are all different and they all have myriad conventions.
  • 0

#3 Bruce Drakes

Bruce Drakes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Student

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for that.

Yeah, i'm shooting a film noir, so lots of moody lighting,

Also i forget to mention that i will be shooting in video format. i'll be using the JCY GY- HD 200, but we'll be sticking with the miniDV tapes, not HI DEF.
  • 0

#4 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:36 PM

Well for film Noir on video biggest issue you might well have, is dealing with the highlights. Video will blow out quickly, so you have to plan on that as people move through frame, closer to father from lighting. Haven't touched the JVCs myself, but from other MiniDV stuff i've done, treat it like reversal film and nail your exposures/control scene contrast as much as you can.
  • 0

#5 Bruce Drakes

Bruce Drakes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Student

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:41 PM

Video will blow out quickly, so you have to plan on that as people move through frame, closer to father from lighting - - -


I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that, could you please elaborate.
  • 0

#6 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:52 PM

Well light falls off as people move father away from it; it's part of the inverse square law (http://en.wikipedia....erse-square_law)
so if you have people moving through a light shaft on your screen, and you want to keep a consistent stop, you use 1/2 full scrims (1/2 no scrim 1/2 scrim) to control the light level as they move through the beam. It's hard to do without visualizing. . .(excuse the bad drawing skills)

We see that father away is dimmer, and closer brighter. I drew in the scrim in the light there, and what it'll do is make that area of the beam closer in as "dim" as the area far away where the actor began his/her walk. Hope that makes some sense.

Other issues you'll have will be with bulbs in lamps/fixtures on set. If they aren't providing illumination you may have to dim them down to keep them from blowing out in the BG thus distracting the eye. You put them on a dimmer and bring their level down so as they are still "on," but not the brightest object around (which your eye will go to).
I'm not making as much sense as I wish I could.
Lets say, for example, you're shooting @ night but it's supposed to be morning. You have a lamp on in the kitchen; should it be brighter than the sun? No, so you might have to dim it down if your "sun," and the exposure it's generating isn't bright enough.
The other issue here is when you want to balance a scene between highlights and shadows, on video, you have a lot less range to get all those exposure values into, so you either need to bring down your highlights, or bring up your shadows in order to maintain detail in both.
  • 0

#7 Bruce Drakes

Bruce Drakes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Student

Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:03 PM

OK i think im getting a clearer picture of what you're saying,

appreciate the drawing by the way, nice work.
  • 0

#8 Tom Hepburn

Tom Hepburn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago-land

Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:10 PM

Hey Adrian,

Is that an SR3 :D

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Tom
  • 0

#9 Bruce Drakes

Bruce Drakes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Student

Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:35 PM

So do you have any other recommendations for film noir type lighting?

Especially in terms for outdoor/exterior shooting.
  • 0

#10 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:41 PM

No Tom,
It's ClAirri ;)

Also, just watch as many films in the style you'd like and deconstruct the lighting as far as you can.
  • 0


Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Glidecam