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The Love Witch


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#21 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 12:33 AM

Most effects are done in-camera -- for example, I used a kaleidoscope lens for this shot:

 

lovewitch5.jpg

 

 

I created a red grad effect by cutting a slit in a red party gel taped to the matte box, about six inches away from the lens to control how sharp-edged the effect was.  You can see the star-type flare from the Dior net on the lens in the reflection in her eye:

 

lovewitch6.jpg

 

The deep blue moonlight is my little homage to Douglas Sirk / Russell Metty and "Written on the Wind"...

lovewitch7.jpg

 

lovewitch8.jpg

 

A good example of the effect of using 200 ASA stock rated at 100 ASA and the high light levels involved -- I had 150w light bulbs in these practicals and they are barely reading as being on!  This shot, like most, was lit to an f/2.8 and shot on Zeiss Super Speeds.  Generally key lights for a scene like this would be a direct 2K fresnel, or a 1K fresnel for closer shots:

lovewitch9.jpg


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#22 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 12:45 AM

Most of the movie is shot through various degrees of diffusion - I was a little surprised at how sharp overexposed slow film stock was, so I used much heavier filters than I ever have in my life to get that older glamour style.  My favorite combination was a light black veil material I found in a fabric store, stretched on a frame, combined with a light Classic Soft filter.  That gave me more fine control than the Dior and Fogal nets I used for the tighter close-ups but were generally too heavy for wider shots.  For the separate story arc of the police investigation, I mostly just used a #1 Soft-FX filter to take the edge off but generally that portion of the story is cleaner, more straight-forward, and those scenes mainly involved the male characters such as the last frame above.


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#23 Giray Izcan

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 12:46 AM

It looks really good David. I don't know why but it has that older movie look, which is pretty cool in my opinion.
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#24 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 12:49 AM

Ah - thanks! What steps are between scanning a timed IP and projecting a DCP?

 

The scan (2K or 4K) would usually be delivered as 10-bit Log DPX files even though color-correction is baked in -- it would get color-corrected electronically, just much faster than if working with original negative with no corrections built in, so you are still doing a D.I. session using the I.P. but you schedule fewer days to do it in.  That scan would be corrected in the P3 color space of a digital projector and another Rec.709 color version would be made for home video, downscaled to HD.


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#25 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 03:15 AM

Looks fantastic David! I love how you've committed to using the actual lighting style of the period and recreated that 50's-60's hard-lit Technicolor look down to the colored fill and edge lights. I think a lot of cinematographers would have lost their nerve and softened their keys a little bit or used more soft top light. You must have had a lot of fun on this shoot. The second to last image with all that pink and red reminds me of 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourgh' (not Technicolor, I know). What were some of your references for this film?
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#26 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 03:29 AM

Crikey, that's clever. I'd have sworn it was shot in the early 60s.

 

Some of it, that last shot in particularl, almost looks technicolor-esque.

 

P


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#27 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 10:56 AM

It's true that most people trying to simulate an old movie style end up shying away from hard key lighting.  I just saw "Mr. Holmes", beautifully photographed on the Alexa, and there is a scene where Holmes goes to see a Sherlock Holmes movie in a theater, something made just after WW2 -- it was clever in that Sherlock Holmes was played in the fake movie by Nicholas Rowe, who as a young man played the same character in "Young Sherlock Holmes" -- but the b&w film print did not quite look authentic, the lighting was too soft for the 1940's and there wasn't enough grain or contrast for a b&w print of the time.  And it seemed that some of the lenses were more wide-angle than were typically used at the time.

 

I'd say our main references were "Marnie" and "The Birds", early 60's Hitchcock, but also British horror films such as "Horror Hotel", "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", etc. We watched a lot of Elizabeth Taylor melodramas from that time, up until the early 1970's, like "Secret Ceremony", "X, Y, and Z".  Though soft lighting had crept into movies around that time, even "Marnie" has some semi-soft lighting at times, we stuck to more of a 1950's approach.  I tried to use colored lighting in backgrounds when I could to enhance the color of the sets, but keep the key lights white on the faces.


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#28 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 11:00 AM

Nice job David, it looks great! It looks just like those Hitchcock films.
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#29 Jay Young

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 07:44 AM

Looks fantastic David!  Hope you had a great time. 


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#30 Miguel Angel

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 09:16 AM

It looks amazing! Definitely you got the look and beautiful images!

Thanks for sharing them!
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#31 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 04:22 PM

I keep getting super drawn to that lamp-shot. Really fantastic look.


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#32 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 07:35 PM

One of the advantages of an all hard lighting approach is how easy it is to flag and shape a light.  For example, in this bar/nightclub scene I keyed these two actresses with a 1K fresnel and to put a shadow across their white dresses, I just put a strip of 1" black paper tape across the barndoors on the 1K:

 

lovewitch10.jpg

 

Same here on this close-up -- I used some 1" back tape on the barndoors to shadow her neck:

lovewitch11.jpg
This shot is also an example of the typical diffusion on the lens -- my black tule material (creating the X-shaped glints & kicks) + 1/8 Classic Soft.  65mm Zeiss Super Speed at f/2.8.
 
It was interesting to light a whole nightclub space to 100 ASA, mostly with a lot of 2K Juniors rigged to the ceiling, plus 1K ParCan spots.  Some of the 2K's had red gel on them for high backlights, and for the coverage, I sometimes had to add a red-gelled Source-4 Leko backlight on a stand to get more intensity, especially for the brunettes.

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#33 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 03:59 AM

How much of a relight did that entail, for reverses?


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#34 Jay Young

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 05:47 AM

 
 
It was interesting to light a whole nightclub space to 100 ASA, mostly with a lot of 2K Juniors rigged to the ceiling...

 

How bright is it to work in these conditions, with all those 2 and 1k's? Does that amount of light affect performance of people?  Maybe I'm overly sensitive to bright lights.


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#35 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 08:12 AM

Most effects are done in-camera -- for example, I used a kaleidoscope lens for this shot:

 

lovewitch5.jpg

 

 

I created a red grad effect by cutting a slit in a red party gel taped to the matte box, about six inches away from the lens to control how sharp-edged the effect was.  You can see the star-type flare from the Dior net on the lens in the reflection in her eye:

 

lovewitch6.jpg

 

The deep blue moonlight is my little homage to Douglas Sirk / Russell Metty and "Written on the Wind"...

lovewitch7.jpg

 

lovewitch8.jpg

 

A good example of the effect of using 200 ASA stock rated at 100 ASA and the high light levels involved -- I had 150w light bulbs in these practicals and they are barely reading as being on!  This shot, like most, was lit to an f/2.8 and shot on Zeiss Super Speeds.  Generally key lights for a scene like this would be a direct 2K fresnel, or a 1K fresnel for closer shots:

lovewitch9.jpg

 

 

Amazing work, David.  The red lighting immediately reminded me of Suspiria and the other shots look like Technicolor prints.  Gorgeous stuff.


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#36 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 09:37 AM

How much of a relight did that entail, for reverses?

 

For that bar location, it mainly just meant moving the key and red edge light around (we covered about five people in a circle around a table, then other people by the bar and on the stage, etc.)


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#37 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 09:43 AM

 

How bright is it to work in these conditions, with all those 2 and 1k's? Does that amount of light affect performance of people?  Maybe I'm overly sensitive to bright lights.

 

It's very bright -- and hot.  It certainly makes the actors feel like they are in a spot light, but you'd have to ask if standing on a theatrical stage under hard spotlights affected an actor's performance.  The stage is not a "natural" environment either.  Some actors are more sensitive than others to the brightness.  It was mainly a problem though when doing macro shots of faces -- we had a number of ECU's of eyes in the movie and using a macro lens at f/5.6 at 100 ASA with a bright light right next to the matte box was fairly uncomfortable.  We had a similar issue outdoors in sunlight when we had to fill with big HMI's or reflectors, but I've always had problems with actors squinting outdoors in bright sun even if I didn't use any lights.  But I'd say the actors found that stuff the hardest to deal with, bright sun + bright hard fill light.

 

I once worked with a classic movie actress where I had the opposite problem, she got distracted if she felt there wasn't enough light hitting her.  She felt she had become used to acting towards a bright key light.


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#38 Albion Hockney

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 11:51 AM

Great work David, way to stick to your guns and go for it! I second what satuski said, I think a lot of shooters would be afraid to dive in this far. It really feels authentic. 


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#39 cole t parzenn

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 11:05 PM

Lovely! To my eye, the look is familiar but doesn't stick out as a particular emulsion. I like the range of DOF. What's the grain like?

 

So, how'd you settle on overexposed medium speed film and Super-Speeds and why would EXR and 2393 have been better?


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#40 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 12:12 AM

Keep in mind that these frames are from an HD transfer and then are shrunk from 1920 across to 900 pixels across and slightly noise reduced and compressed for web display, so the grain is hard to see.  In projection from a straight 2383 Vision print, there is visible grain structure, though very tight, even with 200T Vision 3 5213 printed down from being rated at 100 ASA (the printer lights are in the low 40's).

 

Here is a frame from dailies of a green screen shot made with no diffusion on the lens -- I just cropped it from 1920 pixels to around 900 pixels so you can see the noise / grain of the HD transfer a little better without having to post a 1920 x 1080 frame.  Dailies were delivered as ProRes 422 LT files but these frames were grabbed by the colorist before being recorded (meaning I don't think this is ProRes LT compression you are seeing) -- I don't know his JPEG compression level but the original JPEG is 795 KB.

 

Also we had the image slightly reduced for the HD transfer in order to get keycode / timecode window burn-ins within 1920 x 1080 but outside of the 1.85 picture frame.  

 

So here is the cropped image so you can see a little of the film grain + telecine noise + JPEG artifacts + edge enhancement:

lovewitch12.jpg

 

Vision Premier 2393 print stock would have been great for the Technicolor look, it's too bad Kodak discontinued it.


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