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#1 Jonathan Flint

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:18 AM

Hello,

I’m a student filmmaker, currently studying a degree in Film Production. We get to specialize in a particular area this semester, and I’ve chosen cinematography. The bulk of the assessment is to shoot two scenes out of a possible six, each containing various styles and qualities of light. I’ve been allocated the following two:

(A)One: Morning Sun Through a Window – Interior/Exterior
The room is partly lit by morning sunlight shining through the window.
A character is pouring a glass of water on a table set back in the shadow,
They then take the glass and walk over into the sunlight of the window.
They look out & see another character outside walking away.

(A) Two: Moonlight Through a Window
A character enters a moonlit kitchen at night, opens the fridge door, takes
out and drinks some milk. A light is switched on in an adjoining room/hall/etc and they quickly close the fridge door.

I’m currently in the process of gathering some research material, and was wondering if anyone could recommend some films/certain scenes/paintings/artists/cinematographers that I should look at for inspiration?

Thanks in advance,
Jonathan Flint
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:43 AM

Hands down, the most inspirational single text for me is "Magic Hour" by the late, great Jack Cardiff.

This book is the greatest summation of what it is to be a cinematographer. On the one hand, it is full of stories that reveal how exciting and rich a field it is. World travel, rubbing elbows with the rich, famous and royal. There's romance. Cardiff recounts working on a film with a young actress who developed a crush on him. He was married and twenty years her senior, so it went unrequited. The actress's name? Sophia Loren.

There is also a lot of unvarnished truth about the kind of hells you will go through as a DP: long, agonizing shoots in godawful conditions with bad food, illness, tyrannical directors and productions built on suspect financing that can go bust in a second.

It's full of triumphs and failures. The man won an Oscar for his work, yet early in his career he recalls being given a chance to run camera on a complex tracking shot only to botch the shot when he tripped on the tripod. A great lesson for those of us who fear failure...you can always bounce back.

He reveals tricks of the trade, which I used quite a bit on several of my productions. Like, how do you shoot on an overcast day, when the rest of the film has been in clear blue skies, and make the scene match? He explains how.

And he details his influences, primarily painting, especially those by the Impressionists and Northern Renaissance painters. He professed little technical knowledge of cinematography, yet his knowledge of painting was what got him a coveted apprenticeship with Technicolor, over others with more experience than he.

It's a fantastic book, by a man who lived the dream and kept working, shooting films until his early nineties!

There are of course many other great books out there, which others on this board will surely mention when they chime in. But for my money, if you could only buy ONE book, it'd be Cardiff's.
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#3 Jon Amerikaner

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:04 AM

(A)One: Morning Sun Through a Window – Interior/Exterior
The room is partly lit by morning sunlight shining through the window.
A character is pouring a glass of water on a table set back in the shadow,
They then take the glass and walk over into the sunlight of the window.
They look out & see another character outside walking away.

(A) Two: Moonlight Through a Window
A character enters a moonlit kitchen at night, opens the fridge door, takes
out and drinks some milk. A light is switched on in an adjoining room/hall/etc and they quickly close the fridge door.

I’m currently in the process of gathering some research material, and was wondering if anyone could recommend some films/certain scenes/paintings/artists/cinematographers that I should look at for inspiration?



That is a great assignment. It sounds simple, yet you can run many different directions with it. Sunrise on stormy day when you just get a few rays of beautiful warm light until the clouds turn it cool and soft. One thing you can do is to observe very closely the real sunrises and nights in your life. Notice how the light changes from minute to minute, the colors, how it looks on a face, on a piece of wood, through a curtain. Write down your observations. Or better yet take photos with a good SLR. Don't add your own light. Put it on a tripod and take a long exposure for the predawn and nights.

Good luck. Remember to have fun.
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#4 Patrick ODonnell

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:02 PM

Some artists:
Daylight through a window - Vermeer
Night with a window - Hopper
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 08:18 PM

My favorite: Rembrandt.

Truly, one of the few artists who used "lighting" to tell a story. It sounds crazy, but what I do most of the time right now is shoot behind-the-scenes and the interviews for promotions and DVD. But I am inspired by Rembrandt in how I choose angles and light my shots/interviews... it borders on "noir" in that you hide that which you don't want to see and use light to focus attention on that which you want to draw attention to.

But that's just me. :)

http://lightingdpa.f...meditation1.jpg

http://triangularchr..._of_galilee.jpg

http://www.taramtamt...Rembrandt_5.jpg

http://oilpainting20...mbrandt-010.jpg
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#6 Markshaw

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:55 AM

Hands down, the most inspirational single text for me is "Magic Hour" by the late, great Jack Cardiff.

This book is the greatest summation of what it is to be a cinematographer. On the one hand, it is full of stories that reveal how exciting and rich a field it is. World travel, rubbing elbows with the rich, famous and royal. There's romance. Cardiff recounts working on a film with a young actress who developed a crush on him. He was married and twenty years her senior, so it went unrequited. The actress's name? Sophia Loren.

There is also a lot of unvarnished truth about the kind of hells you will go through as a DP: long, agonizing shoots in godawful conditions with bad food, illness, tyrannical directors and productions built on suspect financing that can go bust in a second.

It's full of triumphs and failures. The man won an Oscar for his work, yet early in his career he recalls being given a chance to run camera on a complex tracking shot only to botch the shot when he tripped on the tripod. A great lesson for those of us who fear failure...you can always bounce back.

He reveals tricks of the trade, which I used quite a bit on several of my productions. Like, how do you shoot on an overcast day, when the rest of the film has been in clear blue skies, and make the scene match? He explains how.

And he details his influences, primarily painting, especially those by the Impressionists and Northern Renaissance painters. He professed little technical knowledge of cinematography, yet his knowledge of painting was what got him a coveted apprenticeship with Technicolor, over others with more experience than he.

It's a fantastic book, by a man who lived the dream and kept working, shooting films until his early nineties!

There are of course many other great books out there, which others on this board will surely mention when they chime in. But for my money, if you could only buy ONE book, it'd be Cardiff's.



Wow I really would like to read that book now. Seeing how the movie is made from a perspective other than the actor or director.
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#7 Markshaw

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 04:54 AM

I just love watching movies. I wish that more Blu-rays would run documentaries/ featurettes from a DP's perspective on a particular movie. Explaining his thought process for a particular scene. That would be well worth watching.

Studios take note..Less filler, more meaningful film making Docs.
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#8 Jim Menkol

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:14 PM

For overall inspiration, check out Cinematographer's Style (http://www.cinematographerstyle.com/)

I've watched it countless times and I still learn something new each time.
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The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Opal

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera