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Films student tips using ikonoscop a-cam dii


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#1 Moss Davis

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:27 AM

Hi just signed up to this forum in search of some helpfull tips and advice. I'm in my second year of a media diploma and am going to uni next year and our college has just been loaned the ikonoscop dii camera and some 16mm lenses, expensive stuff for a college! the bloke came over from Sweden I think and gave a talk too.

I am going be be the cinematographer on a music video in the coming months and would like to make this on of the best pieces in my showreel as i love the camera and the footage is stunning. But the although the couse has fantastic facilities it has not offered much in the way of practical cinematography and I know very little about lighting for music videos. Only some stuff from YouTube and the web, but i was wondering if you could ofer some advice on great lighting setups.

The music video will be shot on location with actors rather than a performance based video. I love the idea of backlighting the actors so light shines from behind and there is rim light on hair and such.

The man theme is sleep so a dream feel is what I'm trying to achieve, and then a darker feel for other parts.

Probably haven't given much information to help and I don't even know what lights I have available, not much I guess.

Where is the best place to start?!


Thanks
Moss
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:31 AM

Well if you're shooting at night; make sure that you wet down the streets to get some glint off of them.
Back lighting is great, but make sure you get a nice glint in the eyes ect.

Perhaps it's just because I watched it last night, but if you want to play with colors, I recommend watching the film Bullworth. It's got some really interesting colored lighting going on and great chromatic contrast built into most shots.
Remember, with digital you want to protect your highlights, they will be the first thing to clip and scream "video."

Also, Personally, I like to run with some Black Pro Mist on my lens when I'm on a digital shoot to take some of the edge off-- though not knowing what lenses you have this may not be necessary if they are inherently soft.


There are quite few rules when it comes to shooting a music video, and also no "lighting setup" which'll work in each situation (unlike say an interview where 3 point lighting is a great start). I would suggest, however, not overlooking good cut aways-- hands, eyes, mouths, feet, objects, cars driving, sunlight shafts ect, to help keep the video from dragging.
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#3 Moss Davis

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:57 AM

Thank you, yeah I'm aware of clipping the highlights but I think one of the locations we are shooting is in a forest, how can you get round the dark woods with light coming through the trees?

I face this all the time on a dslr and ive never figured our a way round it. I like to make mountain bike films and this is one of the things that lets them down and my 550d doesn't have a massive dynamic range. Will the ikonoscop deal with it much better. Or will it still be a challenge?

Sorry for spelling errors and missing letters, stupid iPad.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:04 PM

I think it'll always be a challenge, but not knowing off hand the "real" dynamic range of the Dii; i'd hazard to guess it won't be AS bad as the 550D.

Woods are always a problem. You can't really bring down the level of bright exposure through the trees, so you're limited to filling in shadows as much as possible with whatever you have. I prefer shiny boards for this; but to each their own (often shiny boards through a 2nd frame of something like opal or 216 to keep control).

Like all shooting it's all about controlling the contrast ratio you're working at. Whether that means finding good backlight, filling in shadows, of flying large silks ect, will depend on what you're doing and what you have available.

If anything; were it me--with nothing; I may go an underexpose a stop or two on faces, maybe more depending on camera, to hold the highlights, in wides, and then for close ups, if any, I can control with a guy standing in a white tee-shirt if needed! You just need to find the compromise you can make in those tough shots, ya know.

This would all be a lot easier too, if you had a list of what you're doing for this particular shoot and what g/e you have available.
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#5 Phil Connolly

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:26 AM

Yes the Ikon has better dynamic range then the 550d, the best thing about the camera is its lattitude and the flexibilty of the RAW footage in the grade. It also provides an interesting look that has a lot of the super 16mm asthetic and doesn't look too digital.

I shot on one earlier this year and had quite a few problems however. We lost quite a bit of footage - it played back on the camera but when we copied it to a hard disk it was unusable. Unfortunatly we didn't spot this till after the shoot. I would recommend your are paranoid about checking stuff back on the set. Also have a copy of after effects on your DIT computer to check every shot back before wiping the camera card. Are you getting the card reader or backing up off the camera? If you backingup off the camera it takes 2 hour for a 80GB (15min) card, so maje sure you have enough storage.

The other fun thing the camera does is divides the image into 4 quaters and gives you different black levels for each quadrent - if you notice this on the day you need to re-calibrate the camera which sometimes fixes the problem. Otherwise you might not notice it until you start to grade the footage. Its fixable but annoying. We were pretty paranoid about looking for it and re-calibrating the camera, but a lot of our footage has this problem and is going to take time to fix. I think using in camera gain increases your chances of getting the split screen effect - so I would avoid gain at all costs.

Note that the camera is rated at about 250ISO, so for night work your going to need fast lens and plenty of light. Also watch out for lens flare if you have a really bright source in the shot, you get these odd vertical flares that cut off abrubtly along the center of the screen - see pic

I'm not trying to be overly negative on the camera as it can produce nice images. But you do need to know what the problems are and issues to look out for. Its possible some of the issues have been fixed with firmware updates.

I personally wouldn't use the camera again, the footage I lost nearly killed the short I'm working on and the quad screen issue has been a pain to deal with in post. We also lost half a days shooting when the camera froze and refused to boot up and required the hire company come out and fix it. I think its an interesting camera and a great look, but its not mega reliable, if your used to sony's and canons that you just turn on and they work. The ikon needs more TLC - if your prepaired to do that you can get nice results. If I had to use the camera again, I'd have a spare camera on standy by and record the HD-SDI out onto an external recorder as a back up.

Good Luck

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