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How to chart a set?


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:50 PM

Can anyone describe the correct procedure for charting a set? Thanks-Steve B)
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 09:47 PM

ALSO a couple of other terms I want to be clear on.
lighting overlay
window splash
again thanks. B)
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 04:36 PM

Nobody???? :huh: That's surprising. Maybe it's an English motion picture term.
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:26 PM

Care to explain what you mean. I have never heard of the term. Not around the parts where I work anyway.

Best

Tim
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:01 AM

Well I had never heard of the term either but from what I can gather it has something to do with lighting on a set and time of day and the change in lighting as time of day progresses within the context of the film. The thread on Konvas.otg mentions lighting being 4 dimensional and that this guy couldn't name anyone under 60 who could properly chart a set, which of course intrigued me. He also mentioned the other terms I asked about including one didn't include because I was able to find some info on, Standby painter, which is a painting professional on set who can quickly and expertly take care of any paint problems that may arise on set. I did find a bit on window splash but from what I saw, there was nothing specific to motion pictures so I still want to get more information. As I said, it was an English film website so it's possible this is an English term and there should be an American eqivalent B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 10 September 2010 - 01:03 AM.

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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:47 AM

Charting a set, sounds to me, like making up an overhead to allow you to shoot anytime via dimmer board. I've never come 'cross those terms though.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 11:39 AM

OAKY DOKY, I took a radical approuch to finding out what this means and asked the guy who mentioned it :rolleyes: HHHEEERRREEESSS what that elusive term means:

"Joy.

I seem to have hit a generational tool item.

"Once upon a time" when a movie was being planned the studio/producer would make sure the creative team was assembled and that they worked together.

That meant that the director, the DP, the set designer, and the set decorator were all hired and did planning together. A very large piece of graph paper was used to show each set from above, the director expressing what he wanted to show in the scene, the set designer roughly drawing a "camera viewpoint" of what the set would look like, then a direct overhead of the set on the graph paper. The director would agree or not agree from the camera viewpoint drawing, and the DP would figure out the lighting basics, what could or could not be in the scene, objects or items that would conflict, and what would help if added to the decoration.

Once that was agreed upon they went to the next scene.

When actual soundstage sets were built the DP would go in and take the overhead view and chart it on the graph paper but leave enough room for the camera movement, so the chart included where the camera was at the beginning of the shot, how it moved, and pinpointed the lighting AS METERED at that time for each part of the "set in shot" and what changed in lighting during the shot-- the EV of each portion marked on the chart. Then a camera viewpoint version was created, so if the camera rose you saw it go up in front of the drawing of the set, where sound could or could not move was cleared, the actor marks and tracking was laid out, and when the actors came on set they just assumed it was magic that as main character JOHN entered with his two henchmen at the back right corner is was dark and foreboding, that the camera move to the right was just a move, but that the two poles in front of the light meant that the two henchmen went into a very diffused light reduction of one and a half stops while a scrim was pulled for JOHN as the actors moved across the set and toward the camera, the camera rising from waist high to shoulder high as it moved, the result being an almost invisible way of having JOHN dominate the final portion of the shot while "nothing happened."

Plotting out the set from above, doing the design and decoration to fit the mood, then metering it, charting it as to the time, movements, and changes--

It tells the story, and is a planning tool that used to be very common. Sometime in the late sixties, early seventies the early planning was scrapped and instead of smooth glow and flow, "harsh reality" became the look, with bad lighting, balky set design, and bad decorating halfway corrected became the basis the DP had to walk into blind, do the best he could, and then hope it wasn't too bad.

It was a very international term, but it was for properly planned features-- and is still used on really big productions, but now they call it "planning" and you will see it occasionally in ASC articles/"

Well, HELL I knew what that was, I just didn't know that term. B)
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 03:22 PM

It sounds rather like the lighting design that TV studio lighting directors do. Everything is plotted in advance, so that the electrician's can quickly rig the lights.
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#9 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 04:40 AM

Here's his follow up post:

"I went to search for anything on set charting, and now I feel like a fossil.

I find it difficult to believe that it is now virtually unknown, and after an hour of looking the only places it is actually shown are in American Cinematographer issues, sometimes, long between them, but did find that ASC has podcasts and some free downloads.

http://www.theasc.co...ne/podcasts.php

Trying to adjust to being a fossil."

I had to laugh, good to have a sense of humor about such things. :D
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:01 AM

The term used may have changed (as does happened),

You need an accurate set plan to do an detailed lighting plot (which it sounds like he means), plus today you can get software to assist you.
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#11 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 02:47 PM

I think it's actually little more complicated than that. It seem more of a very advanced way of storyboarding, in which all aspects pf the frame is planned out in very high detail incorporating every department's contribution, lighting being just one of the components. The production design seems to play just as heavily as does the sound department's positions and all camera movement. So rather than having small reference frames with a few notes and maybe an overhead map of the camera movement, THESE are loaded with information that are collaborated on between department heads.

It seems to be a very interesting way of planning a shoot but although I've always admired Hitchcoch's method of storyboarding out every scene and sticking to the storyboards, I'm a little concerned this level of planning might be very time consuming and restrictive. I have to wonder if a bit more streamlined version of this procedure wouldn't probably work better for low budget productions unless, of course, you can talk your department heads into giving you some kind of break in the pre-production phase. B)
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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 04:09 PM

Quite a few productions mightn't have the pre production time to do this level of detail today. I've heard stories of TV drama directors only receiving the script at the last moment and struggling to stay on top of the changes, never mind do planning charts.
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#13 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 04:39 PM

Boy, talk about your worst case scenario. :huh:
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 08:35 PM

Ah ha, the answer to the second part of my question:

Lighting Overlay-

"The lighting overlay is the basic lighting for the set with pages or notes to show lighting changes or modifications during the scene, marked out by time. "Real world" lighting is not static; it changes in most locations, even if the changes are not noticed. Those tiny changes are what make the set look alive, but are too minor for almost anyone to notice. You control the background light to match the "look" of the character light, changing it from closeup to wide shot and back, with the lighting ramping a stop or so during the shot so the dynamic looks right."

Window Splash-

"When you see a room with the light from a window on the back wall the odds are it is a studio shot, and the light is not light, it is a window splash-- the standby painter carefully paints what appears to be light from a window striking the wall, lighter area looking natural but allowing better control of the light on set and the ability to have the exact same "morning light coming through the window showing on the wall" for six complete days of shooting, so continuity is perfect. Then the standby painter changes it for the afternoon light so that scene has an invisible but felt "afternoonishness" to it."

Good to know- B)
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#15 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:19 PM

It was a very international term, but it was for properly planned features-- and is still used on really big productions


Sounds like a practice inherited from the legitimate stage. I've had the pleasure of working on a few productions that were planned and designed with this kind of attention to detail. All the creative aspects were integrated with each other...which means I had sets that allowed for lighting, costume colors that were coordinated with set colors, actors were in positions on stage where it was possible to light them to their best, etc.

I got high praise for my lighting on all of them...but in truth they were easy jobs since I didn't have to spend all of my time fixing problems that had been created for me by idiot Directors who had no understanding of just how collaborative ALL the theatre arts are supposed to be.
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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 09:18 PM

Sounds like a practice inherited from the legitimate stage. I've had the pleasure of working on a few productions that were planned and designed with this kind of attention to detail. All the creative aspects were integrated with each other...which means I had sets that allowed for lighting, costume colors that were coordinated with set colors, actors were in positions on stage where it was possible to light them to their best, etc.

I got high praise for my lighting on all of them...but in truth they were easy jobs since I didn't have to spend all of my time fixing problems that had been created for me by idiot Directors who had no understanding of just how collaborative ALL the theatre arts are supposed to be.


Well you know the main pasttime in legitimate theater is doing things halfassed. :D It sounds like you were much more conscientious than most lighting designers I've been associated with. It's refreshing to see someone take their job seriously, 'course with you, Hal, I'd expect no less. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 14 September 2010 - 09:20 PM.

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