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Look book - few questions


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#1 Prasad Kumar

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 12:15 AM

Hi:

 

I am a film student specializing in directing. I am preparing a look book (visual references) for my next short film.

 

My reference movies are

 

* Days of Heaven (1978)

* Witness (1985)

* The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

 

I might be watching these movies with my DP before the shoot, but during production I would like to have something physical to refer to.

 

I would like to prepare the look book in a proper way so that I can use this not only for this film but also for any future references.

 

My friends are using iPad to show the reference pictures to the DP/other crew members. But I would like to have the physical look book, so I started printing pictures.

 

I took around 50 snapshots from the movie Days of Heaven (Blu-ray). I printed 4 pictures per page in regular 8.5”x11” paper using a laser printer. I was not satisfied with the color quality. Then I tried CVS/Office Depot photo printing 4”x6” size. Color was definitely much better than laser printer quality. But the problem is, 4”x6” aspect ratio is 1.5 and the still shots I have from the movie is at least 1.78. So I lost some portion of the picture on left and right side, significantly altering the framing on some pictures. Also, printing 50 pictures in photo quality paper increased the weight. Eventually I will be adding more and more reference pictures, with the more weight I cannot carry the book everywhere. To avoid heavy-duty look-book, I also tried printing 4 images in 4”x6” size. Each image is 2”x3”.  I don’t know whether this way of printing in small size will benefit DP/PD.

 

My questions:

 

1)    Does the visual reference pictures have to be precise (color/quality wise) or is it just a sample reference to show it to the DP/PD?

2)    What would be the best way to create a physical look book? Paper or photo? Or any other better way?

3)    When I took the snapshots from the Blu-ray it almost took me 2 hours to get 50 snapshots. But the quality was good. Each picture is around 2 to 3 MB and all Hi-Res. There are some websites that gives the snapshots of films. Just takes less than 5 minutes to download all those pictures but the picture quality is one-forth the resolution of Blu-ray snapshots. Does the resolution quality matter that much from DP’s standpoint?

 

Thank you everyone in advance.


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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 06:53 AM

Not the question you asked, but should you really be relying so much on the work of others? I don't know US copyright law but I wouldn't be happy making so many copies of material I didn't own or have rights to. A few images, maybe, but you're talking about hundreds.


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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 08:28 AM

Also not the question you asked, but...

 

Over-reliance on any single work/filmmaker is not the best practice, simply because you want to make something of your own.  It's important to have good influences, but that's all they should be.  As for the copyright question raised by Mark, unless I misread the original post, I don't think it would really be an issue unless you are intending to distribute and sell the copyrighted material in another form.  That would of course be a clear example of copyright infringement.  If you are only using the material for personal & private inspiration, I don't see a problem with it.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 09:15 AM

Look books are commonly used in the U.S. without copyright issues; you go into any art department and you'll see whole walls covered with samples from magazines and art books.  It all falls under "fair use".

 

There is a point where, I think, there is no reason for a look book to be more than a couple of pages long though, maybe several, to give an impression of the visual tone.  With the production design, they often create a look book or look "board" with one board for each set.

 

As to the accuracy of the reproduction, it all depends on what element you are trying to show an example of -- lighting, composition, etc.  If composition, then you'd want to see the whole frame. If lighting, you'd want the contrast to not be too far off.  However, most of these look books are just for a rough idea, you'd expect the cinematographer to then go off and actually watch the clips.


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#5 John E Clark

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 01:23 PM

My questions:

 

1)    Does the visual reference pictures have to be precise (color/quality wise) or is it just a sample reference to show it to the DP/PD?

2)    What would be the best way to create a physical look book? Paper or photo? Or any other better way?

3)    When I took the snapshots from the Blu-ray it almost took me 2 hours to get 50 snapshots. But the quality was good. Each picture is around 2 to 3 MB and all Hi-Res. There are some websites that gives the snapshots of films. Just takes less than 5 minutes to download all those pictures but the picture quality is one-forth the resolution of Blu-ray snapshots. Does the resolution quality matter that much from DP’s standpoint?

 

Thank you everyone in advance.

 

 

Many people create a large amount of documentation for a production, and for 'looks', a number of images. The one thing to keep in mind is that any copy may introduce color shifts/differences from the original.

 

In ordinary 'art works' hanging on the wall in some museum or gallery, when compared to the printed versions, there will be differences. The Wife and I visit art galleries, mostly in the US and Europe, when we are traveling, and the comparison between our 'print' copy, even from quality editions of artworks, is striking.

 

For you taking 'snaps' from a display the shifts may be considerable. There's the 'display' which may or may not represent the True and Correct vision of the original Director and Director of Photography, and then there's the 'camera' you are snapping the frame with.

 

What this means is that you need to have a some what more 'loose' definition of what you want to do... as in 'yeah, I like that 'golden' cast', but realize that 'golden cast' may have been introduced in the DVD/Bluray transfer, because the colorist didn't quite match the original.

 

In the specific case of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"(2007), Roger Deakins, the DoP on that film, has an online forum presence, http://www.deakinsonline.com/forum2/, and you can ask specific questions. In some cases he may have a recollection about the 'color' or 'style' or specifics of equipment used to obtain a lighting setup, camera work, etc.


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#6 Mark Dunn

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 02:31 PM

Still OT but thanks for filling me in. I knew "fair use" was widely drawn but I didn't know it was that wide. We have nothing near it, fortunately for me as a photographer. If the OP were doing what he proposed to do with my images I'd certainly try to stop him. I have stopped students in the UK.

I'd still say there was a difference between tear sheets on a wall, which of course come from publications for which the images have been licensed, and wholesale printouts.

If I want to look at a photographer's work I buy his book or go to the library. Although you could say that the OP has bought the DVD.

I think it's helpful to mention it if a newcomer might be in danger of adopting a casual approach to IP rights.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 28 September 2015 - 02:34 PM.

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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 06:24 PM

If the OP were doing what he proposed to do with my images I'd certainly try to stop him. I have stopped students in the UK.


But why? There is no money exchanging hands. There is no public exhibition. Only a few members of a film crew will ever see it. Plus, it's only a temporary use, once the film is finished, the book will probably never be used again. Non-authorized reproduction happens everywhere today, it's common place in today's media-hungry world. People are going to do it, with or without consent. So in my mind, it's far better to embrace and accept, then fight and get nothing from it.

Just my .02 cents.
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#8 John E Clark

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 06:56 PM

For the purpose of this discussion, when someone asks about creating a 'look book' for one's production, I'm going to assume that it is not a book for publication or general circulation, i.e. a private 'book' perhaps shown to others.

 

Most artists or other types of artistic creative workers will create notebooks that are either clippings or copies (in these days, some sort of scanning, or xeroxing, etc.) of other works that may or may not have active copyrights.

 

From the UK Copyright Service site one has the following for explaining 'fair dealing', which has some elements in common with the US term 'fair use'.

Full URL: https://www.copyrigh..._work_of_others

-----

  1. Research and private study

    Copying parts of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or of a typographical arrangement of a published edition for the purpose of research or private study is allowed under the following conditions:

    • The copy is made for the purposes of research or private study.
    • The copy is made for non-commercial purposes.
    • The source of the material is acknowledged.
    • The person making the copy does not make copies of the material available for a number of people.

----

  1. Criticism or review

    Quoting parts of a work for the purpose of criticism or review is permitted provided that:

    • The work has been made available to the public.
    • The source of the material is acknowledged.
    • The material quoted must be accompanied by some actual discussion or assessment (to warrant the criticism or review classification).
    • The amount of the material quoted is no more than is necessary for the purpose of the review.

----

 

In both of these cases, they are pretty much the same as is the case for US "fair use" considerations... modulo much expensive lawyering...

 

If a 'look book' is created by an individual for their own use, or to show to a select group, I think one of these categories of 'fair dealing' would apply.

 

Of course... this goes with the usual disclaimer, I'm not a UK solicitor/barrister/lawyer/howeverTheTitleIsTermed...


Edited by John E Clark, 28 September 2015 - 06:57 PM.

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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 07:34 PM

I don't see any difference from showing a director a clip from a movie for research purposes compared to showing them a frame.

And film schools screen movies all the time to students for educational purposes.
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#10 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 11:04 PM

But why? There is no money exchanging hands. There is no public exhibition. Only a few members of a film crew will ever see it. Plus, it's only a temporary use, once the film is finished, the book will probably never be used again. Non-authorized reproduction happens everywhere today, it's common place in today's media-hungry world. People are going to do it, with or without consent. So in my mind, it's far better to embrace and accept, then fight and get nothing from it.

Just my .02 cents.

 

Agree as above.. 


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