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#1 Andrew Welles

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 09:04 PM

I want to start shooting a short film soon. I'm fairly new to all this, DOP, Cameras, ect. I actually have no clue what in the world you people are talking about when you start talking about cameras, and camera types, IE. 35 mm, Optical, ect ect. I did however research that the films I want mine to look like used a 35 mm, kodak or something.

So anyway, I was wondering, how could i capture the closest look to films like There will be blood, and no country for old men? How much would it cost to attain this look? Where would I buy, or rent these things?


PS. if you ever find the time, could you recommend me some sites that offer assistance in things like this? Negative and positives, ect. Thank you!)

Edited by Andrew Welles, 20 May 2011 - 09:07 PM.

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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:21 PM

Too many factors contribute to what you're asking, you're best bet would be to hire a crew that works in film that can help you through it.

Lighting, stock choices, lens choices, color timing, the list goes on...
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:35 PM

Locations play a huge part to the look of a film. You're not going to be able to film a period piece without a period looking location.... and all the period props which go with it.
And yes, as mentioned, you should find a production designer and DoP who can help you through all of this as well as a producer who will/should/can find out costs.

As for other questions, there is a search function here to look for specific things, feel free to ask away on specific things, there is also a pinned section on books
http://www.cinematog...p?showforum=107

which'll have various reading materials to help get you up to speed.

Good luck and welcome.
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#4 Andrew Welles

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 03:09 AM

Okay, and thank you!

Even though it seems so obvious, I've never actually thought that films look the way they look because of where they were shot. I had always thought it depending on what kind of cameras the filmmakers used, as well as editing techniques ect. Thanks for the inform.

Definitely going to check out your link.

Edited by Andrew Welles, 24 May 2011 - 03:09 AM.

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#5 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 07:45 AM

Before shooting your 'movie', it might be worth getting an old manual focus 35mm still SLR camera and running some films through that, playing around with different exposure settings and depth of field. Lens selection can also play a part in the 'look' of a certain shot, particularly with regards to the spatial relationships of objects. For example, a telephoto lens will compress a scene, making objects appear closer together. And if a person is running towards you (filmed with a tele lens) it will look like they are not gaining much ground. Wide angle lenses on the other hand create more of a sense of spaciousness. You can make the interior of a room look larger than it is simply by using a wide angle lens. A 'standard' lens offers more of a neutral view of the world.

You can get an old manual SLR cheap off eBay. My first SLR was a Canon AE1 with a 50mm lens - great camera.
Read photography books and magazines too, particularly the older ones about film photography.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:10 AM

A few years ago we used to get a lot of questions about "how to make it green, like The Matrix".

The way it looks starts in front of the lens; at that stage it's nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with the simple fact of what is in front of the camera. How do you make it green? Well, your first port of call is to shoot green objects.

Some films take this to extremes; others don't. One that always sticks in my mind (perhaps because it was photographed by a regular poster here, Mr David Mullen, ASC) is Twin Falls Idaho. I'm not sure there is any object in a scene in that film which is not either magenta or turquoise. The reason it looks like a cohesive visual whole, the reason it looks visually consistent, is, at least to begin with, because it is consistent, and it was made so very deliberately by the production designer.

This is often what separates decently-funded movies from those with almost no money, because to get your production design in order, you end up having to pick locations very carefully or build sets which you can control completely, fill them with appropriate objects and clothe your actors to match, and doing this often requires that you simply go out and buy a lot of color-coordinated sets of things.

You can attempt to force things to look a certain way by lighting them with coloured lighting, using filters on the camera, tweaking in postproduction or using film development tricks, but this rarely works quite as well as starting in front of the camera. The best approach is to do all of these things at once: start with good production design, light and shoot it to suit, and finish it off in postproduction. In this way the amount of tweaking required at each stage is minimised and things start to look decent without having to use any one approach to extremes. Everything matters; the best-looking movies are often the most expensive, because they can afford to get it exactly right at each and every one of these stages. This takes time, equipment, skill and buying power.

This sort of thing can be easily analysed by pausing a DVD of a movie you like, and simply looking into the frame, into the background and places your eye doesn't naturally settls, assessing what's actually there. What colour are the objects; where are the lights, and what colour are they; is it a location or a set; what about wardrobe; can you tell whether optical filtration or postproduction grading has been used.

Production design is expensive because it requires you to control everything.

P
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:11 AM

It goes back to what Kurosawa once said was his basic approach to shooting: make sure what's in front of the camera is the best it can be, and then photograph it in the best manner you can.

When I did "Northfork" and we desaturated the image, one shot in the movie is a b&w American flag against a pale blue sky... the lab actually asked me what I did to pull the color out of the flag but not the sky.

I told them that the art department made a b&w flag -- it rarely occurs to people that we did something so simple, they assume some elaborate photographic trick was involved.

Yes, limiting your color palette to certain color schemes in wall colors, set decorations, costumes, etc. and then enhancing that further with lighting, etc. gives the effect of a "controlled" environment, something beyond documentary realism. Maybe you want that effect, maybe you don't. On the other hand, it's amazing how far one can push color stylization before the audience starts to think it is unreal, to some extent, they accept the color design if it seems motivated, primarily logically but also emotionally.

For example, in "Vertigo", Hitchcock makes sure that the color green is associated with Madeleine:
Posted Image

So later when you meet Judy after Madeleine's death, Hitchcock connects them with the same color:
Posted Image

Now obviously the green light is a bit of theatrical stylization yet it is also logically motivated by the green neon sign outside the window.
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