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First time DP on Short Comedy


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#1 Gavin Keen

Gavin Keen

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:24 PM

Hello,
(I apologize for any spelling mistakes)

I've been reading cinematogeraphy.com for a long time now - but finally have my first chance to DP at school!

I'm shooting a 10 min short comedy about the US president getting a second job at a telemarketing office because he bought a house he couldn't afford.

The story takes place in one location, an office. its quite spacious with fluoresent lighting banks, the main area doesn't have any windows where most of the shooting will take place. However there is a big bank of windows on the far side of the office.

I've taken about 4 months of study in cinematography, know about lighting ratios, different kinds of lights, and most of the basics.

I will be shooting on the sony PMW-EX1 XDCAM and have a wide range of lights from arri peppers up to 2k's. I also have plenty of flags, c stands, bounces etc at my disposal.

I have a few questions:

I'm planning on leaving the office lights on for the shoot - color balancing to the fluroscents and balancing all my other lights with appropriate gel(plus green/ctb). I've always been told to motivate my key lights as best as i can, but in this situation am i allowed to mix it up from scene to scene? The actors will do the blocking accordingly but should i always keep the key light coming from a general side of the office? or would the viewer know the difference?

Ive also been wondering on the ratios of the lights.

if the office lights read zone 5 could i have my key zone 6 or 7 ? or will it look unnatural?

I for sure want my backlight to be a zone 6 and the fill to be zone 4. if your key and your back light are the same zone would this look fine in my situation?

Also i have a decent amount of space, i was wanting to have the camera further from the subject(director approval) to go on a higher focal length with a more shallow depth of field to acheive a more film look. I'm just worried about if there are some shots in the scene that this wont be achievable. Will it look bad going from shallow to a wide depth of field with no real motivation other than space being the issue.

Here is a link to the picture of locations

The Great Recession


I appreciate any response to any of the questions!

thank you

Gavin Keen
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