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#1 Michael C Potter

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:34 AM

Hi, all! This is my first post, as I'm new not only to the forum, but to learning cinematography. The University I went to didn't really have a program for it at the time, and transferring wasn't really an option, but that's neither here nor there- I'm here now, and trying to learn. I don't really know a whole lot of the technical aspects of cinematography, and will be mostly shooting on video, at least for now.

I'm working with a new start up film group, Plum St. Productions, and have shot a commercial for them. We shot it on a Canon XH-A1S, and were very limited in what we have as far as lighting gear. I took the two set lights we have, and diffused them through a tan pillowcase (as we don't have gels yet, since most of our money went to the camera). I added the candles, and raised the candle up next to the mannequin's (it's the Mascot of the BBQ place for some reason) to give it a nice candle light flicker. I tried to make the mood sexy and romantic, since the commercial is supposed to be creepy and funny all at once.

The last image was purposely out of focus, which is probably obvious. The whole thing turned out slightly darker than I had hoped for, but I'm hoping we can lighten it up in post... Again, I'm really new to all of this, so any ideas and suggestions you might have would be great. Unfortunately, it would only be for next time, as the commercial is being edited right now and needs to be online and ready for TV very soon.

Please let me know what you think, and remember I'm brand new to this, so I'm still learning!

Thanks, everyone!
Michael

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Edited by Michael C Potter, 16 December 2009 - 11:36 AM.

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#2 Michael C Potter

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:42 AM

Sorry- Here is a link to a couple more screen grabs, and they should be in full size.

Plum St. Productions- Screen shots
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#3 Serge Teulon

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:44 AM

Sorry- Here is a link to a couple more screen grabs, and they should be in full size.

Plum St. Productions- Screen shots



Need some sort of password to view these pics
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#4 Michael C Potter

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:47 AM

Need some sort of password to view these pics



Yeah, I just noticed that too. I think it's fixed now. Sorry about that!
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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 12:06 PM

There is nothing wrong with dark!
The levels are low key on those stills and they don't look out of place.
I'll even say that if you brightened those shots they would end up looking like dodgy over bright UK TV Drama (not all UK drama, just some).

It is hard though to understand how it fits the story as we don't know what the story is about and what is going on at this point.

However, there are 3 shots that I think you could have worked the contrast a bit more.
1) The wider of the 2 shot
2) and on the tighter 2 shot you could've just highlighted every so slightly the back of his and her head. As a suggestive natural bounce off a wall etc..from the practicals.
3) Also, the over her shoulder, looking at him. Just looks a bit flat.

As you're new here it might be a good idea for you to read some diary posts from dp's, in here, of their shoots and thoughts. Also, look at G Willis' work for reference in working with shadows.

Cheers
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#6 Michael C Potter

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 12:20 PM

There is nothing wrong with dark!
The levels are low key on those stills and they don't look out of place.
I'll even say that if you brightened those shots they would end up looking like dodgy over bright UK TV Drama (not all UK drama, just some).

It is hard though to understand how it fits the story as we don't know what the story is about and what is going on at this point.

However, there are 3 shots that I think you could have worked the contrast a bit more.
1) The wider of the 2 shot
2) and on the tighter 2 shot you could've just highlighted every so slightly the back of his and her head. As a suggestive natural bounce off a wall etc..from the practicals.
3) Also, the over her shoulder, looking at him. Just looks a bit flat.

As you're new here it might be a good idea for you to read some diary posts from dp's, in here, of their shoots and thoughts. Also, look at G Willis' work for reference in working with shadows.

Cheers


Hey, thanks a lot! I personally really like the dark look, but it appears slightly brighter and less dull in the footage. I've been reading a lot of the posts on here for about a month or so, just trying to grasp what a lot of people are talking about. Once I get the opportunity, I will try to upload either the completed commercial or some footage from it- the candlelight flickering plays a huge role in the tone and lighting, so I'm not sure if some of these grabs that I got were affected by low canldelight flickering, but those are definitely great ideas.

I had really started out as a director, but on the set of a short film the group was making, I started making suggestions on lighting, since our DP fit into some of the categories listed in the "Director's Corner" about difficult DP's... also, he did nothing with lighting. Essentially, he was a camera-man.

There is definitely a lot lost in the grabs as opposed to the footage (which I currently don't have a copy of to post). But the context of the commercial is this-

The mannequin (which was at the center of a national press covered lawsuit for being too lude since she wears a bikini outside the BBQ restaurant) is standing in the room with a romantic dinner of BBQ on a platter for the guy in the silk robe. He casually strolls over to her, and very romantically says "don't worry baby. I brought protection." and holds up a sqaure packet that looks like a condom, but then he rips the top off and pulls out the wet nap and wipes her face off, because she (suggestively) has BBQ sauce on her cheek and chin. Then we cut to a shot of the food while a deep Barry White type voice is talking about the BBQ. Then we cut to the blurry shot of him moving in and out with the mannequin while the logo plays over top.

So, there's the context. Thanks for the input!
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FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Glidecam

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio