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#1 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:36 PM

"We're students, and we're going to shoot this short on a Panasonic HVX-200, and our lights consist of two Tota's and a Lowel kit, BUT, we don't want this to look like a student film ..."

After all this time, I still don't know what to say.
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#2 John Holland

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:31 PM

Never used that camera but iam sure you dont lots of light to get a exposure ! So use the lights you do have to get a nice "artistic" look or what ever look suits your subject .
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#3 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 03:39 PM

I left out, "we want it to look like a studio film."

I always feel that in an interview, the last thing I want to do is burst someone's bubble, or tell them they're terribly naive about what they're getting involved in. If I say, "I can make a compelling short with strong visuals with this camera, but it won't look like a studio film," I'm still saying something they don't want to hear. Game over.

Edited by Jon Rosenbloom, 09 May 2012 - 03:40 PM.

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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:18 PM

I left out, "we want it to look like a studio film."

I always feel that in an interview, the last thing I want to do is burst someone's bubble, or tell them they're terribly naive about what they're getting involved in. If I say, "I can make a compelling short with strong visuals with this camera, but it won't look like a studio film," I'm still saying something they don't want to hear. Game over.


Yeah! I know what you mean about game over. Been there. I think you shouldn't worry too much in this case tho because you don't know what their idea of a studio film is. ;) Theres a lot of people out there who claim not to really be able to tell the difference between something shot on film and something shot on video, some of them even working in the industry. I think you could avoid the subject too much and just talk about things being filmic.

Also you are actually quite lucky because the HVX does tend to produce nicer images than even panasonics more recent semi-pro cameras and the more limited resolution may help to hide a multitude of sins.

You might want to talk to them about light levels tho, and whether they can stretch to more lighting, as the HVX is known for being sloooow, at least in the original version.

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#5 Frank Glencairn

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:27 PM

It´s doable. I shot some really nice stuff with a HVX200 and 4 lights many moons ago, but you really need experience.
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:30 PM

Never used that camera but iam sure you dont lots of light to get a exposure ! So use the lights you do have to get a nice "artistic" look or what ever look suits your subject .


I agree!

Maybe you can at least talk them into buying some higher wattage bulbs for practicals.
Seriously Jon, I just glanced at your website and I'm sure you won't have any trouble producing something they will love even if you feel like screaming a lot of the time. Sometimes the limitations can even cause you to get even more creative.

I do know where you are coming from tho.

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#7 Chris Burke

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:38 PM

come up with some money and pay someone who has experience. A gaffer in the making, looking to bolster their reel. the light you have are enough to do quite a lot, in the right hands.

Edited by Chris Burke, 09 May 2012 - 04:38 PM.

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#8 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:04 PM

I agree!

Maybe you can at least talk them into buying some higher wattage bulbs for practicals.
Seriously Jon, I just glanced at your website and I'm sure you won't have any trouble producing something they will love even if you feel like screaming a lot of the time. Sometimes the limitations can even cause you to get even more creative.

I do know where you are coming from tho.

love

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You're too kind.
I'm fine with embracing limitations, and I suggested - without seeing the location - that we might shoot with only sun, practicals, and negative fill. I guess they didn't buy it.
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#9 John David Miller

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:01 AM

"We're students, and we're going to shoot this short on a Panasonic HVX-200, and our lights consist of two Tota's and a Lowel kit, BUT, we don't want this to look like a student film ..."

After all this time, I still don't know what to say.


Tell them what they want to hear. That you don't want this to look like a student film either, in fact, you'd like to make it look like a studio film. "Tree of Life" looked great and didn't use any artificial light, neither did "Barry Lyndon." Tell them you want to take what Mother Nature offers us by humbly asking her to hold still while you photograph her good side. Tell them how excited you are about the project and about using the Panasonic HVX -whatever.

There isn't a successful DP I know that didn't do whatever it took to be behind a camera.

The reality is, do whatever it takes to be behind a camera. Before you know it you may be in a interview with Jerry Bruckheimer saying he wants to make a $200 Million studio picture...but he wants it to look like a student film. ;)
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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:21 PM

You're too kind.
I'm fine with embracing limitations, and I suggested - without seeing the location - that we might shoot with only sun, practicals, and negative fill. I guess they didn't buy it.


Okay, I guess from the things you are saying that you managed to put them off and that you would have quite liked to have done the job if it wasn't so limiting lighting wise.

I think they probably didn't buy it because they were hoping you could do something magical with the lighting. I watched your reel thing last night and I certainly think you could have done something magical with what they had. It's all light after all. With the additional use of sun and practicals and maybe some gels, you could have made it happen.

Also I wasn't being too kind, I really meant what I said. I wouldn't have bought it up if I didn't!
Don't forget there are plenty of people out there who are going to come across very confident, who have far less ability in cinematography than you do.

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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:25 PM

As an aside, whats the music on your reel jon? The singer sounds a bit like Mike Scott.

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#12 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:41 PM

"We're students, and we're going to shoot this short on a Panasonic HVX-200, and our lights consist of two Tota's and a Lowel kit, BUT, we don't want this to look like a student film ..."

After all this time, I still don't know what to say.




A helpful saying sometimes is "Don't kill the job." If you think that you can shoot something good for them within the budget/equipment/production constraints and get paid acceptably, take the job.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 03:08 AM

One common problem is that when people say "a studio feature", what they tend to mean is Transformers which is not a look that's generally achievable with no money. After all, the Bourne series are studio features and huge amounts of them are just available light, on a street somewhere. Sometimes it's just about waiting for the right weather.

The stuff I tend to turn down is where they've got a white-walled room (the director's apartment) with one window facing an office block. And they've already made all the principal production-design choices - which are limited to what clothing the cast owns - and those choices are awful, and they aren't interested in discussing them with me. And there's a huge diffused skylight in the roof of the location that's thirty feet square about which you can do nothing, but they say "ooh, there's lots of light, it'll be easy". And they won't tolerate any sort of chiaroscuro or play of light "because it's a comedy and comedies are bright". And the available camera equipment has everything from an inch to Mars in focus, a dynamic range of three stops and "we can't afford a dolly". And there's lights, but no flags, or flags, but no stands to put them on, and no wall spreaders and the director wants to shoot everything on the $50 stabilizer he's bough and will reveal the entire location on a 3mm lens. Drunkenly. And oh, while we're discussing the stabilizer, we might be able to get a 5D and we want a super shallow depth of field look, right? And they won't wait for the weather because there's lots of light, right, and the leading actress is only slightly spattered with acne today so everything's all right. Right?

And then they hand you a copy of Inception, with a hopeful smile.

No you bloody can't have it look like a studio film.

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#14 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:23 PM

I'm glad this turned out to be a worth while topic. I'll definitely try to remember to "tell them what they want to hear" the next time it happens. The other option is to be cheeky and say "Of course I can make look like a studio film, just give me a crew of 30, and 5 truck loads of equipment."

I never doubted my ability to shoot something good with their limited gear. What I doubted - and what surely came through as some other kind of doubt - was that I could answer the question "Can you make it look like a studio film?" honestly and to their satisfaction. About a script I thought was terribly maudlin and cliched, I once answered "Yeah, it's good ..." got the gig, and it turned out to be a rather touching film.

Yes, that is Mike Scott, from his solo album "Bring 'Em All In."

Edited by Jon Rosenbloom, 11 May 2012 - 12:27 PM.

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#15 John David Miller

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 05:52 PM

And oh, while we're discussing the stabilizer, we might be able to get a 5D and we want a super shallow depth of field look, right? And they won't wait for the weather because there's lots of light, right, and the leading actress is only slightly spattered with acne today so everything's all right. Right?

And then they hand you a copy of Inception, with a hopeful smile.

No you bloody can't have it look like a studio film.

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HAHAHA!

You forgot the Directors brother is at Tiffen Filters picking up a Full Pro Mist and a Full Soft FX to give it that "film look." You don't mind sharing a Co-Cinematography credit with the Directors brother, Sven, right?? Cause that could be a dealer breaker.
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#16 John David Miller

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:22 PM

Jon,

My advice to you is to put as much thought as possible into the politics of being a DP. I can only speak from the POV of a grip. I have seen guys with no business calling themselves a DP at the helm of a $50M feature because of his "silver tongue." I have seen some of the biggest DPs in Hollywood become unhireable because they thought they were above politics. The successful DP's I have met are all just as good at politics as they are with cinematography. They all know how to keep studio execs happy, commercial agency producers happy, directors happy, actors happy. They are impeccable at picking and choosing their battles. This is a trait I have noticed almost across the board, those who lack do not seem to last.

Maybe you felt these students lacked the kind of thought or respect for a political answer. Maybe you are just tired of "playing the game." I urge you to put yourself in the shoes of others. Learn where the fence is and when you do, play both sides of it. You NEVER know exactly who is going to make it in Hollywood or who may hire you down the road. I cannot emphasize enough about doing whatever it takes to be behind the camera.

Then again what does a grip know...
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#17 Freya Black

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:15 AM

HAHAHA!

You forgot the Directors brother is at Tiffen Filters picking up a Full Pro Mist and a Full Soft FX to give it that "film look." You don't mind sharing a Co-Cinematography credit with the Directors brother, Sven, right?? Cause that could be a dealer breaker.


See I'd be really happy with a gig like that as long as I was paid.
I'd be like "sure, in fact Sven can have the entire credit, I'm not worried about that" ;)
Also if Sven was actually working at tiffen I'd see if he could wangle me some freebies.
Also I love filters, so would be all over the catalogue! :)

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#18 Freya Black

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:38 AM

One common problem is that when people say "a studio feature", what they tend to mean is Transformers which is not a look that's generally achievable with no money. After all, the Bourne series are studio features and huge amounts of them are just available light, on a street somewhere. Sometimes it's just about waiting for the right weather.


I think you have something there. I mean what does a studio feature look like? It varies a lot. It could be Bourne, it could be Cloverfield, it could be district 9, it could be star wars, it could be transformers...

What's more everyone will have their own idea what it means. Maybe there are certain teenage boys who are thinking transformers, or people of a very particular age but I don't think there is one idea.

Also what you might think looks barely acceptable, might have them going, "wow this looks so amazing compared to Tristan and Jemima's films" etc.

It's completely subjective.

This is where your reel comes in. Make sure they get to see it at the earliest opportunity, that way you have a common point of reference in terms of expectations.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 12 May 2012 - 06:39 AM.

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#19 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:59 PM

Jon,

My advice to you is to put as much thought as possible into the politics of being a DP. I can only speak from the POV of a grip. I have seen guys with no business calling themselves a DP at the helm of a $50M feature because of his "silver tongue." I have seen some of the biggest DPs in Hollywood become unhireable because they thought they were above politics. The successful DP's I have met are all just as good at politics as they are with cinematography. They all know how to keep studio execs happy, commercial agency producers happy, directors happy, actors happy. They are impeccable at picking and choosing their battles. This is a trait I have noticed almost across the board, those who lack do not seem to last.

Maybe you felt these students lacked the kind of thought or respect for a political answer. Maybe you are just tired of "playing the game." I urge you to put yourself in the shoes of others. Learn where the fence is and when you do, play both sides of it. You NEVER know exactly who is going to make it in Hollywood or who may hire you down the road. I cannot emphasize enough about doing whatever it takes to be behind the camera.

Then again what does a grip know...


Well, everything is political, (including gripping!) But, it seems to be one of those truism's that never gets explained. I know a DP who on every shot will max out a set's ability to hold gear, say he's ready, and then add a light and 6 flags after the actors are on set. His career does nothing but go up. How does he do it???

For me when I shoot, photography is the easy part. The hard parts are getting the job, and then dealing with the constant "how long is this going to take?" questions.
Could be its own forum.
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#20 Bruce Greene

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 03:24 PM

Phil, another entreating post, as always :)

That said, I have a DP friend who's best work was shot with only the lighting he could carry in his arms at one time. Of course they chose their locations and time of day very carefully!

It can be done, but not in a hurry....
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