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#1 Graeme McMahon

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:47 PM

Hello all,

Once again, apologies if this topic has been mentioned before.

Trying to get an understanding of how you players out there attack a scene.

Where I am at the moment, and what i feel the right way to attack a location is, I light the location (the scene, not that we may shoot that wide), I don't wish to define actors to a spot, and at times it might be a 180, and when I turn around or punch in, i may add something. For example, this scene, , I had a basic understanding of the coverage the director wanted, so I built the lighting in a way we could do numerous set ups. We did 34 set ups in one day (independent, no pro crew).

Yes, It may take longer in the beginning, but I give the director latitude to shoot wherever they please, but is this the wrong way? Should I just shoot and light for every camera angle? I find it makes it look lit when cameramen do this.

Thanks
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:47 PM

I don't think there is a "wrong way," there is just "your way." now whether that's the most efficient or not is another story; but I think we all approach things differently.

For me, I define the overall "look," of the film with the director, as in, are we going to be doing motivated lighting, for the most part, or are we going to do much more surreal and have light whever we damned please. Also I take into consideration if it's more a punchy light/high contrast film, or a softer more subtle film-- whatever is right for the story. With that in mind we look at the locations and I start to figure out what lights would go where for what shot. For example, I may walk into a house and say, hmm.. ok, there is this great window here, and they'll be sitting across, so I can motivate the light from this nice window and have window light coming in.
This will define the broad strokes I'll be doing, looking at the locations and knowing where the action is happening and what the point of the scene is.

From there we go on and on and on, and I make my little notes and start to do plots. The plots are rough-- and I try to leave room for changes, as they always happen.

On the day, I watch the rehersal- from watching what's going to happen with the actual actors if possible I can get an idea of where lights need to be we put them up with stand-ins, I see any major issues which will come up and address them- we shoot, normally a wide first, and from there and what happens there I can see what needs to be tweaked when we move in for close ups or what have you.
I try to keep in mind how the director has decided the film should look- but in truth, I think a lot of how it looks is arrived at more organically based on what is happening on the day. Are we rushed? Is it raining instead of sunshine? How is the actor feeling (personally). I think it all effects things and the film grows out of that .I like to have an idea of how I think it should look- but I don't lock myself into that because I know it's going to change.

There's a director I work with with whom I really enjoy shooting. We don't storyboard, but he does a complete shot list and gives it to me before hand. I know it, and I remember it, and when we get on set, we throw it out. This is because it's just a basic reference for how he sees the scene cut together. But, in the end, we find what is working and what isn't and when we need to loose a shot- or add a shot we have a base line of how the scene was supposed to play and then we can better judge if our supplement is going to work the right way. I like this a lot because it keeps us adaptable.
Then again, it's also nice when you are locked into a pre-vis and you know how it's going to look and nothing changes that. This is a rare occurrence, unless you have considerable budget... which I never really do.

So much of "being," a DP is about who you are. How you work best, what has shaped you and your opinions and your tastes-- not your style so much but your tastes. Normally it is important to work with directors with whom you have similar tastes, and when you do, I find that the whole "is this the right way," question becomes kinda moot. I suppose you could say that if you're asking "is this the right way," then it probably isn't because I think the way you wanna approach a film should be as natural to you as breathing.
Then again, i could we wrong.
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#3 Torben Greve

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:24 AM

In another post David Mullen wrote shortly about lighting the scene and "fixing" the close-ups. If you're reading this David, could you elaborate a bit more?

To what extent can one go in "fixing" the close-ups?
I find that one of the side effects of loving photography and cinematography is that one notices too much how scenes are lit and sometimes I think that the fixing is pretty obvious.
Would you say that the "good image" rules over actually being true to the scene?
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#4 Graeme McMahon

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:23 PM

Thanks for your replies so far.

To add to what Torben mentioned, basically, we are going to be our own worst critique, and the average punter won't see the lack of lighting continuity.

I did a lighting masterclass with a few big DPs last year, John Seale ASC ACS (i think he has an OBE too) told us something along the lines of how Hollywood views your work. I can't exactly remember all the things he said, but one of them was "yes, we can see there eyes". Would anyone else know these essential things they view are? Just thinking that they relate to what Torben brought up.

Thanks,
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#5 Graeme McMahon

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:42 PM

Thanks for your replies so far.

To add to what Torben mentioned, basically, we are going to be our own worst critique, and the average punter won't see the lack of lighting continuity.

I did a lighting masterclass with a few big DPs last year, John Seale ASC ACS (i think he has an OBE too) told us something along the lines of how Hollywood views your work. I can't exactly remember all the things he said, but one of them was "yes, we can see there eyes". Would anyone else know these essential things they view are? Just thinking that they relate to what Torben brought up.

Thanks,


I think another one was, the leading lady looks good.
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#6 Oliver Hadlow Martin

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 03:00 PM

Don't have much to add than has already been said but just to say I thought that scene was very funny, good job gave me a good chuckle! Hah
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#7 Graeme McMahon

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:12 AM

Don't have much to add than has already been said but just to say I thought that scene was very funny, good job gave me a good chuckle! Hah

Thanks. Glad you liked it.
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