Hello fellow forum users,
this is the first time I use this website - which has passively been of good use - to show something I have worked on. Last fall I got accepted into filmschool in Babelsberg as a cinematography student. In february, I shot my first short in the context of my degree.
Synopsis: A guy who has trouble after breaking up with his girlfriend attends a meeting of a local support group. The members, however, have completely different types of problems than he expected. Everything is very exaggerated, especially the three characters and their stories. He has to go through some sort of entrance rite in order to begin his new life. The book was written by a screenplay/dramaturgy student. The synopsis does not sound too great, though, the dialogues are very well written. However, the movie is a chamber drama. Thirty pages of book, 28 of them inside the living room.
I shot on a 7D with PL mount. Carl Zeiss 35mm high speed lenses (1.3) and through a 1/8 black pro mist filter. Working aperture was f2.0, 320 ISO, Technicolor cinestyle picture profile.
I will post three different situations, you don't have to read and/or comment all of them but I am grateful for every critic joining the thread.
After arriving at the house, B enters the appartment and we see the shot below.
I found it very difficult to light this small space. The guy in the poncho (Buddho) and B (on the right) are talking, Duce (the afro american guy) then joins them coming from the living room. Buddho leaves the frame to the left after a while.
We rigged a 2ft two bank KinoFlo under the roof, imitating a spotty roomlight hitting from above. Additionaly, there was a 300W bouncing against a whiteboard at their feet. The still as we see it comes right out of the camera, so now adjustments have been made. What everybody sees: There is too much contrast and the two bank wasn't enough. I think I would have needed + one stop overall brightness, didn't want to go to 640 ISO, though. For color correction, it would have certainly be better to light up the shadows, as well. For example on the red wall. I wanted the light to look a little "shabby" but I didn't want it to look sloppy which I think it does. How would you have approached lighting this room?
B hangs his jacket onto the wall. He then follows Duce inside the living room. They turn left. Duce introduces Fallout, they then go right, Duce officially introduces Buddho (who walked into the room very close in front of the camera at some point in the shot.) The director wanted to have long tracking shots throughout the movie and this one was the hardest.
I don't like the framing in which Fallout is introduced. He is so close on the ground, the two tall guys standing next to him.. The framing just does not look good. I wanted both of them to kneel down in order to compress the picture, the director didn't want them to do so. The framing while Buddho is being introduced is alright and the light looks interesting to me. After Buddho has been introduced, they all come together and sit down in this wide shot.
(this still is a different scene in which we could use more light because it was static, I would like to talk about the wide shot seperately in the third part)
How do you approach such a complex scene in terms of lighting? We saw so much of the room. Even though I don't like the atmosphere and look of the room anymore (scenographer made everything look a little feminine), the shot profits from the contrast given by the practicals (in which I put 100W bulbs). Behing the door, there was a 300W pointing towards the ceiling for some room light. Again, all of this did not add up to enough light for my camera settings. Had I used a 650/800W for roomlight, the practicals would have been too dark to serve as nice points of contrast. How would you have dealt with the guy doing push ups on the ground while to tall guys stand next to him?
Lets talk about the wide shot you see above. I used the practicals as my keys, which I tried to enforce. Due to the 100W bulbs, however, the only thing I could use were 100W/150W dedo lights rigged around the the four guys. This was a very pointillist way of lighting which restricted the actors movement as soon as some action happened.. That's something I really did not like. Though, I didn't see a way to "light the room" instead of "lighting the talents". Again, to my eyes: The wide shot looks sloppy in terms of lighting.
Also, the green wall in combination with the red couch/red curtains doesn't look very charming and I will try to desature both in color correction. The violet shirts two of the talents are wearing just.. suck. It was very important to the director, however, that the color was purple due to dramaturgy of colors (which is very often a very bad idea (which it is in this case)).
That should be enough for now. I am looking forward to your comments. What is really bugging me is the question, how do I get enough light to meet aperture in such a situation ..