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SHOOTING FOR THE 60'S


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#1 dpdnb

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:00 AM

So I'm the DP for a thesis film that takes place in the 1960's .. any suggestions to give it more of that gritty look? I'm shooting on a Sony EX-1 1080P which is hard because that camera is so clear and clean. As far as palette definitley in the warmer range: orange, amber, browns. Any filter ideas?, lighting techniques? I'm thinking lots of practicals...
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:13 AM

From the Forum Guidelines

Do not cross-post.
Posting the same or similar message in more than one place in the forum is not acceptable. If done by accident, please contact a forum Leader or Administrator with a link to the post and we'll remove it.


Before anyone answers this post, David Burdette needs to tell us which one to answer so we don't have responses spread out over multiple subforums.
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#3 Rick Martinez

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 01:32 PM

David,
If you are trying that your film looks like done in the 60's you can shoot with the clean quality of the EX-1 but study the camera moves, lighting style and scene compositions popular at the time and work accordingly. This is the most important part.

Then in post-production after the film is edited you can work in the look through plug-in filters or stand alone software.

For example: There are technicolor plug-ins for Final Cut Pro that resemble that film technique (the best part is that some are free, check this page: http://pistolerapost...ginz/index.html )

Other software is Magic Bullet but is more expensive: http://www.redgiants...c-bullet-looks/

Hope this help,
Ricky
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 04:00 PM

I guess this is as good a subforum to answer the question than the other three, so I recommend everyone ignore the other cross-posts and just answer this one.

"Gritty" tend to imply grain. While you could aim for a noisier digital picture, many people feel this is a poor substitute for grain. You need some sort of post effect to add that. Just realize that 35mm film grain is quite small actually and you'd want a level that could be seen in 1080P but not so big that you'd see it in 480P versions. Don't overdo it.

The EX has a 1/2 sensor, which I can't recall, is something like 6.46mm wide... about a 3.5X magnification factor compared to 35mm, so in practical terms, about 3.5-stops of increased depth of field to compensate for. In other words, you would want to light to a near maximum aperture to keep the depth of field from getting too deep (luckily for you, the 60's was a time when Hollywood movies were not shot wide-open).

Warmth is just something you can gel lights for, white-balance for, color-correct for, etc.

Truth is that 99% of the look is not going to be camera related, it's going to be lighting, art direction, costumes, hair styles... plus general focal length choice (I guess that's camera related) and shot structure.

Since there was a lot of variety in the 1960's, it would be good to find a specific model you are following, the look of a certain film or a couple of movies. After all, you had everything from the saturated, high-contrast work of Russell Metty in a movie like "Written on the Wind" to the widescreen 70mm epicness of "Lawrence of Arabia", to some of the pastel color movies of the French and British New Wave.
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#5 Rick Martinez

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 11:44 AM

Excellent advice Mullen!
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 04:20 PM

I'm going to hazard the guess that david burdette is talking about the end of the '60s that most people associate with the decade (whereas early '60s and late '50s are stylistically similar than early '60s and late '60s).

I don't associate the era with a lot of grain. They were shooting on slow stocks, with lots of lighting, generally at pretty deep stops. Besides the higher contrast of the era, they also tended to use a lot of zoom shots.

IDK if you have access to older lighting, but I'd say things definitely tended to be "harder" too.


What lights do you have access to?
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#7 dpdnb

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 05:12 PM

I'm going to hazard the guess that david burdette is talking about the end of the '60s that most people associate with the decade (whereas early '60s and late '50s are stylistically similar than early '60s and late '60s).

I don't associate the era with a lot of grain. They were shooting on slow stocks, with lots of lighting, generally at pretty deep stops. Besides the higher contrast of the era, they also tended to use a lot of zoom shots.

IDK if you have access to older lighting, but I'd say things definitely tended to be "harder" too.


What lights do you have access to?



I got inkys, 1ks, 2 ks fresnels. teenies, 750 softlights, sungun, chimera, kinoflos, and china balls
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 07:29 PM

I got inkys, 1ks, 2 ks fresnels. teenies, 750 softlights, sungun, chimera, kinoflos, and china balls


Can you name some specific films that you are thinking of? Perhaps post some frame grabs?
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