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Shooting on a 5D in a dark Cinema


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#1 Joshua K Donaldson

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:18 AM

Hey,

I am shooting a short in what will be an old, dimly lit/ dark cinema/ theatre.

I am new to shooting with the 5D. I now that the controls are pretty straight forward and i will be test shooting a few times to get to grips with it, but i was more looking for some advice for things to consider when shooting in the dark as i have never done it before. There will be a projector light, projecting film onto a screen i was thinking of using little dedos to spot in various places, and the theatre itself has ceiling dimmers which i was thinking to just have on a touch.

Anyone done anything similar and coud chuck me some advice would be amazing. I'm guessing just cranking the ISO up, opening the aperture as much as poss, on a frame rate of 1/50 s....

Thanks a lot!
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#2 Jean Dodge

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 02:54 PM

The effect you are probably looking for is the reflection of the moving light across the audience's face, glowing and dimming alternately. The best way to do that realistically is to really do it. Don't use a dimmer. If you have full access to the facility, bring a few 12" or smaller mirrors taped to a baby nail-on plate so you can set some mirrors up to bounce the projector light where you want it when you are shooting away from the screen. That way you can set a 4x4 silk up close to the actors and project a bit of the image onto it at a closer distance to enhance the moving bounce light effect. Often the effect is too diffuse if your actors are far from the screen.

Or you can bring a few still camera lenses to interject into the projector beam and sent the image where you want it to go. You can vary the angle a bit that way, and it's easier than trying to tilt a huge projector. You can also use some gels or filters or nets to cut down the intensity of the beam if you need to balance the lighting to that of faces of the actors. Just be ready for some tweaking.

Also give some thought to making up a few 35mm film loops to set into the projector so you don't have to keep changing reels as you work.

No one smokes in movie theaters in the USA now but audiences expect to see the CITIZEN KANE style haze outlining the projector beam so bring some fog. A certain amount of cheating usually allowed - for instance if the projector is working as a backlight them one has to assume the actors heads would throw big annoying shadows on the screen, but people cheat.... audiences buy it. Bring some black/white showcard in case you want to make a mask or snoot to make the projector beam more narrow as it passes over your principal actor's heads in low angle upshots. A sliver that crosses the frame is preferable to a too wide beam that cant be read as such.

Remember you can move your actors around for each angle so long as you keep it believable - if you see their faces in profile don't be afraid to scoot them all the way to one side to make the theater look bigger behind them, etc. Put them in the front row for the upshot so you have room for the camera, then move them back to row 12 for the two shot with extras behind them, etc.

Don't shoot a higher ISO than you have to. Use a 50mm lens that is fast instead and try to keep the ISO below 1250 or 1600 if possible with the 5D mk2. You risk gain and grain otherwise.

As always, test before the day of your shoot and make your own determinations.

House lights might help for some wide shots and remember it's easier to darken in post than it is to lighten a scene, but with HDSLRS the best bet is to shoot the way you want it to look on your best monitor. Another reason to test, test test.


What you cannot control will be the wide shot where you see audience, projected image and the whole theater so that is is your baseline in some regards. If your closeups don't seem to match the wide shot then you have to adjust the close work. DOn't get caught having to shoot one without knowing what the other is like first.

have fun
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#3 Nicolas Gomez

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:53 PM

Nice trick!

http://www.elsotano.com.co/videos.php
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Aerial Filmworks

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CineLab

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Wooden Camera

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Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio