I'll finally be filming Tuesday with a full frame DSLR, the Canon 6d with one lens. It's the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, the reason I chose such a short focal length lens is that I'm filming with only a Rode mic attachment, so I need to have the camera closer to the actor to get good audio. Also, since I want the image to be in 2.39 aspect ratio, I needed a wide angle lens that stretched the image, I believe Orson Welles used wide angle lenses in Citizen Kane, which created a type of distortion as the camera moved. The first short I shot everything was shot in medium/ medium close-up with a 50mm lens, this time I wanted to see more within the frame, create more space within the frame and allow more movement with pans and tilts, and minimize cutting away, unless it's necessary. I won't have a moving camera, since I don't have a permit to film I can't have a dolly track, etc, but I will be using dissolves to create the illusion as if the camera is moving closer and closer to the subject in the opening shot.
I wanted the camera to be a participant, as there are many point of view and subjective angles, so I feel I should center frame certain shots, where the character is speaking directly into the camera and then cut to an over the shoulder as the other subject listens, then dissolve closer into a low angle close-up. The subject, which is a woman should feel trapped and guilt-ridden from an incident that happened in the past that left a woman dead in a drunk driving crash, so the entire short is a confrontation of that episode, which is all talk.
My main concern was not balancing the shots properly, I know what I want, but operating the camera is something I have no experience in doing, and since there is very little margin for error, I feel I might compromise the performances by making mistakes.
Do any of you who have framed in Cinemascope have any advice on what is considered bad practice and things I should avoid? The frame will be steady on a tripod for the most part, but the opening shot will have to be hand held, so I figured I should frame my subject to the left as she moves along, looking for the room number. Any advice will help. Thank you.
For that first shot that you are talking about, maybe you could start with her on the right hand side and as you follow her panning you end up putting her on the left hand side when the shot is finished.
So, she goes and walks from A -> B but you move the camera from the right to the left
Very difficult without having a video to show you, I hope you get me though!
I would say that before shooting, if you have a little bit of time this weekend, go to the local library and pick the following book: Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu Mestre.
I was speaking more in technical (hands on) terms. For instance panning at the right moment with the actor, etc. I suppose balancing was the wrong word to use. I wanted to experiment with Hitchcock's form, but I wanted to make it look like an Orson Welles film, his low angle stretched frame. This clip from 'The Wrong Man' will show you what I'm going for http://www.tcm.com/m...-Dare-Look.htmlthe subjective/pov frame, it really captures the fear, I wanted to capture emotions.
I love Hitchcock's form because he moves the camera in the right moment, the tension he creates, your mind is right in the moment, and you feel what these women are feeling, The concern was maintaining synchronicity with the actor's movements. Since I only have one day to film 8 pages, I feel so much pressure to not f it up. 7 of these pages are mainly dialogue, so it's very doable, it's all on me to get it right, really.
For the crop marks I'm using painter's tape and covering the screen. I will shoot test footage on monday to know exactly where the crop marks should be when I matte the image in post. It's the first time I will do some real lighting, so I'm excited and terrified t the same time. I do not want to fail like the first time.
Edited by joshua gallegos, 27 March 2015 - 10:20 PM.
The technicalities of shooting on a wider format are two in my opinion:
- Your close ups won't be as close as with other aspect ratios because it is not the same to have a close up of a face in 16:9 than in 2.40:1, to get the same angle or shoot you will have to show more space in the 2.40:1 ratio.
That's one of the reasons why when shooting "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" they decided to shoot in 1.85:1, to be able to shoot closer to the actors.
Although that doesn't apply to you in this project because you want to shoot with wider lenses it is something that might be interesting to keep in mind for future projects
- You will also show more set in camera. That is point to take in consideration as you will see that you will need more art designing to fill the frame, and if you are lighting with artificial lights you will see that you won't be able to put them as close as you had thought.
To keep the sync with the actors do some technical rehearsals where you move the camera as the actors move and after three or four you will see if you are ready to shoot or you need some more.
Personally if I can resolve a sequence with 1 shot letting the actors use the frame and walk within it, I go for it, rather than shooting Master, OTS, OTS, etc.
My advise tho is don't overcomplicate the movements as you have 8 pages which is quite a lot, keep it simple and enjoy shooting and learning
Don't feel any presure, there is no need! And don't think that you're going to fail because that won't happen, it's all a learning process and we are all in it!
Post some frames when finished! And good luck!
(Go and pick the book mentioned in my previous post, you will like it)
I thought of the art design as you mentioned, and that's primarily why I'm filming in b&w, since it's a very simple roadside motel, I noticed in b&w films you don't really pay attention to the set as much, but the attention is focused more on the actors. With color, as in Vertigo, our eyes veer away, not that it's a bad thing, but color requires more attention to the set design and wardrobe.
I thought of blocking daylight from the window and let the room go dark and light with tungsten sources and warm up the image in camera to maintain continuity. Either way I'm turning it black and white in post. I figure I should rate the camera at 500 ISO and shoot at f/3.6 - f/4 to darken the shadows and not film too shallow since it's a full frame sensor. I'll have the light to compensate.
Now that you mention it, how do you frame a close up in the cinemascope format??? I've never seen it done, it's impossible! But you're right, I feel my biggest mistake on my first short was over thinking things, filmmaking is really an "in the moment" process, like climbing a mountain, things have to be taken a step at a time, if I have the whole thing in mind it overloads your mind with too much information, so this time I'll take my time and take steps as opposed to thinking of the whole, but knowing how one shot relates to the whole once it's assembled.
I'll post a rough cut once I finish shooting. Thanks for the help!
Another thing I forgot to mention is that I have a few slow motion shots, one of them is of a cigarette slowly burning in someone's hand and another one is when the woman comes into the room, they eye each other, and I wanted from his point of view to see her in slow motion and register her reaction to seeing him. So at 60 frames per second for smoother motion (which will be done in post), the shutter speed of the camera should be changed 1/120 (72), or should I leave it at 1/48? If I change the shutter speed from 1/48 at 60fps to 1/120, will that remove the smooth motion effect required for slow motion in post?
I am afraid Joshua that I don't agree with you on the "you don't really pay attention to the set as much" as I think that sets are absolutely important either in black and white or in colour and the spectator sees them as well.
If you take a look at the hollywood black and white classic movies you will notice that the sets are there and are lit because with black and white you have to separate the actors from the background even better and you do so using light primarily (or sometimes painting the light or the shadows in the backgrounds ).
Colour movies are "easier" (if you know what I mean) to shoot because you have colour and you can separate things by using colours rather than light but in black and white you have to have a little bit more of knowledge.
Let's say that you shoot a typical sequence where we have a man standing in front of a girl, who is on a bed.
Besides the bed there is a lamp and it is on, creating a gradation which goes from the girl to the man.
The lamp is in between the girl and the man, but we have the gradation which silhouettes the man.
If you shoot it in colour, you can use the lamp besides the bed to light the girl and then if you want to you can use a different colour for the man standing in front of her.
Or you can even use just the lamp, because the gradation will silhouette the man thanks to the tonality of the gradation and the contrast between the gradation and darkness.
If you shoot in black and white you loose the colour so the gradation will be darker than grey, probably zone 3.
Now, if you try to silhouette your man with that gradation, chances are that your character will not be lit enough and you will have a very dark and flat sequence.
So, in black and white you try to create depth through light and the tones between black and white as opposed as in colour where you have all the colours available for you to create contrast + light.
I knew that you meant that the focus is more on the leads but that's because they were super lit! and if you have a lovely set, why wouldn't you want to show it in the right way?
Regarding close ups, you have seen loads! If I remember correctly all the Transformers movies were shot in 2.40:1 and there are plenty of close ups there, you just have to balance it correctly
Close ups in any format are very easy, what I find difficult is creating a very interesting wide shot!
Certainly with b&w, you remove the distraction of unimportant colors in the background but the flip side is now that everything is monochrome, you have to use contrast and lighting to make the actors stand out from the background.
Since the majority of studio movies are 2.40 instead of 1.85 these days, there are plenty of examples of framing close-ups in them to study, though I'd study the more singe-camera types that are more precisely composed, let's say a David Fincher movie or something shot by Roger Deakins.
The issue is often how much to bring into the 2.40 frame, even if out-of-focus, to balance the face against, whether it means shooting more over-the-shoulders even for tight shots, or just having some bit of interest on the other side of frame like a lamp or window, or if it means playing with the emptiness of the frame around the face.
My only advice really is to use the frame and play with it, don't get boring.
To create this separation I need a back light to create a halo effect and modeling by using cross lights on the actors, I heard Hitchcock talk about this issue in an interview where he said that this type of lighting was no longer necessary in color because color separates itself. I'll experiment with the cross lighting technique and turn on practicals to create more dimension, it's quite a small hotel room, so I don't think it will be all that difficult to light, hopefully. I feel I should expose for the shadows to make it look more interesting as I prefer darker images.
I'm currently listening to Robert Wise's commentary for 'The Haunting' who has great theory on the use of black and white.
You don't necessarily have to use a backlight to create separation, that's creating a bright edge to separate the foreground subject from a dark background, but you can also put a glow on a wall or a bright practical to create a bright spot in the background behind a dark edge of the subject in the foreground.
You can see here on the left side of frame where Toland created separation just by framing the dark side of Kane's head against a lit wall:
In fact, no one is backlit in this shot, the separation is created by framing light against dark or dark against light.
You can't physically have an exposure time that is 1/48th of a second long if the camera is taking a new frame 60 times a second, even with no shutter, the longest shutter time possible is 1/60th of a second. If you want to emulate film motion, then shoot 60 fps at something near 1/120th of a second to get the look of a 180 degree shutter angle. Truth is that it doesn't have to be exactly 1/120th but should be in that ballpark. Longer times have more smearing and shorter times have more strobing.
So at 60 frames per second for smoother motion (which will be done in post), the shutter speed of the camera should be changed 1/120 (72), or should I leave it at 1/48? If I change the shutter speed from 1/48 at 60fps to 1/120, will that remove the smooth motion effect required for slow motion in post?
Definitely up the shutter speed to 1/120th ballpark for the high speed shots. You'll need more light or ISO as your exposure will drop about 1 1/3 stops. If your just conforming the clip in post, this setting should be fine. If your using twixtor or some other plug in, you can actually crank up the shutter speed even more to get sharper frames for the plugin to interpolate better in post. The math works out to double your frame rate (or target simulated twixtor frame rate) equals what your shutter speed should be for the standard 180 degree shutter angle look.
Light against dark / dark against light! That's a beautiful way to put it, if I may say, Mr. Mullen.
Now, Toland at the time was working with slower film emulsion and lenses, so in today's standards would you light this set any differently? For instance we can see the shadows on the ceiling stretching abnormally, I think it's because it was sunrise. I remember in the scene Kane stayed up all night finishing Jebediah's review. With faster lenses and 800 ASA how would you go on about lighting the same scene?
Thanks for the response Dylan, since I'm filming at 500 ISO, I could adjust by about a stop and film at 800 for the slow motion shots.
Mr. Mullen explained it in one sentence much better than me 😊!
If you are going to use practicals, my recommendation is to get dimmers for all of them so you can dimmer them accordingly to the mood that you are looking for.
The scene from Mr. Mullen's frame has at least 3 lights as you can see the different directions of the shadows plus the background.
Today you could use blondes and 2K's to create the hard shadows or even rifa lights if you want a softer approach. I would even say that you could use smaller units too.
If you have the book "Painting with light" written by John Alton, I would give it a quick read as Alton elaborates different techniques to light almost every single thing in this world! Although I am convinced you read it already!
Sorry for not answering the slow motion question, I missread your post and thought that you wanted to do the slow motion in post - production and were asking what shutter speed you had to have to do so!
Toland intentionally shot 'Kane' at deep stops for a deep focus look and used a fast film stock to compensate, so that film is probably not a good reference if you want a shallower focus look. I would watch a lot of B&W films and look at B&W photography to figure out what makes a successful monochrome image with tonal separation.
For classic widescreen compositions, I would look at films like:
Bridge in the River Kwai
Lawrence of Arabia
Far and Away
The Empire Strikes Back
That hall has millions of possibilities if you can work a bit on it.
1) Buy some practicals and attach them to the walls with blue tack or some sort of sticky thing.
2) Place a light at the end of the hall, point it towards the camera and make your actor walk blocking it.
3) Use a light to light the background, place practicals on the walls, get rid of the lamps on the ceiling
4) Shoot with the lights on on the ceiling but turn off some of them, maybe 1 on 1 off as I feel as if there were a lot of light there.
5) Place a practical at the end of the hall.
6)!Place a practical at the end of the hall and use a light to light the left hand side of the wall
I decided to utilize the full frame and film in 1.85, I just feel more comfortable filming in that ratio, and since I'm mainly photographing people it's the right frame to use. I was watching Hitchcock's 'Lifeboat' and realized it's what I like about films. Plus I don't have the skills to frame in CinemaScope, it will be too much of a distraction.
Edited by joshua gallegos, 30 March 2015 - 09:02 PM.
Filmmaking is so difficult, I envy anyone who makes it look easy. Just came back from my shoot, filmed 8 pages in 8 hours since the actors were extremely generous to lend me their time. Here's a first frame grab, I've yet to color correct or anything. I felt terrible, but I think I had fun doing it. At least it wasn't a costly project, so, it was another learning experience.