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Reel Critique Feedback Cinematography

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#1 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 02:18 AM

Hi guys,
 
I would really like a fresh pair of eyes to take a look and give me some honest feedback. Got out of school in September. 

Thanks! 
 
Sraiyanti Haricharan

 


Edited by Sraiyanti Haricharan, 07 December 2015 - 02:30 AM.

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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 04:55 AM

Have you ever in your life stopped a lens down beyond f/11?

 

B)


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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 05:35 AM

Shooting news it was common, camera people usually only had an 85B.


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#4 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:06 AM

Have you ever in your life stopped a lens down beyond f/11?
 
B)


Ignoring the sarcasm, yes, a lot of this was shot at f2.8 and lower.
Shame that didn't come across.
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#5 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:13 AM

Shooting news it was common, camera people usually only had an 85B.

I'm more into documentary filmmaking than fiction. Shooting on the run with limited equipment happens quite happen. Especially since I don't own a camera or lenses of my own.

And trust me, it's hard to find ND filters in India. A lot of people believe in filming on higher stops instead of trying to cut the light. I am not one of them.

Edited by Sraiyanti Haricharan, 07 December 2015 - 08:20 AM.

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#6 Simon Wyss

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:03 AM

I’m not sarcastic, ironic. It simply struck me that I mostly see shots with a shallow depth of field.

 

Why should a photographer or a cinematographer of today have to be ashamed of presenting something classical? I can even loose all irony and ask with earnestness whether there are any high-key adepts around.


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#7 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:19 AM

I’m not sarcastic, ironic. It simply struck me that I mostly see shots with a shallow depth of field.

 

Why should a photographer or a cinematographer of today have to be ashamed of presenting something classical? I can even loose all irony and ask with earnestness whether there are any high-key adepts around.

Oh sorry, I misunderstood your previous comment then. When you said have you never stopped a lens down, I thought you meant that most everything seemed to be of greater depth of field. That confused me a bit because as you pointed out most of that is quite shallow. 

I do agree with you. I feel like a lot of people directly equate being "cinematic" to the having the widest opening you can get to. That's not what I was going for though. 

Most of what is in my reel was shot on a Canon 5D and I tend to feel like the greater the depth of field, the more apparent "the digital 5D" look is. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's personal taste I guess. Also, I tend to turn the sharpness down to 0 or just use Cinestyle.

 

I do enjoy taking photographs on the same camera going above and beyond f/11 though. It's weird.


Edited by Sraiyanti Haricharan, 07 December 2015 - 10:19 AM.

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#8 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:40 AM

I’m not sarcastic, ironic. It simply struck me that I mostly see shots with a shallow depth of field.

 

Why should a photographer or a cinematographer of today have to be ashamed of presenting something classical? I can even loose all irony and ask with earnestness whether there are any high-key adepts around.

But maybe I will experiment a little more and go over f/11. Thanks! :)


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#9 Simon Wyss

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 07:39 AM

I feel like a lot of people directly equate being "cinematic" to the having the widest opening you can get to.

Most of what is in my reel was shot on a Canon 5D and I tend to feel like the greater the depth of field, the more apparent "the digital 5D" look is.

 

Cinematic, how interesting that you use that expression!

 

Pioneer movies were most often shot at lens openings of f/5.6 or smaller. Série-noire movies most often contain some high-key images shot at f/8 or smaller. Direct-cinema movies were the first that could consist of open-iris shots throughout, 1950s. Parallel to them granddaddy’s cinema and the upcoming wide-screen productions abound with a heavily downstopped imagery. One used to set up gangs of brutes and fill light as if the end of time was near.

 

“Cinematic” has to do with how the spectators are treated and this is a soul affair, not an exposure affair. For example, Jacques Tati made very cinematic films in spite of his static pictorial style. His Play Time, shot in 65-5, is generously lit. With most scenes the camera is rigid. He composes within the shot.

 

“Cinematic” is a counterpart concept, not one single element of the movie can be disembedded from the whole. From that point of view a collection of single shots from different jobs in a demo reel can never show a cinematographer’s ability to participate in the creation of, let me say the big word, cinema. If there’s no soul in at least two consecutive shots, if there’s no life, one has only 24 photographs per second. Or 25


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 11:41 AM

The reel looks good. I think as you shoot more stuff, you'll be able to create separate reels for narrative fiction versus commercial, documentary, etc. depending on what sort of work you want to focus on.

 

As regarding depth of field, shallow focus in color is often "pretty" whereas deep focus is more of a graphic storytelling device by juxtaposing two elements for dramatic effect.  Not that deep focus isn't also a purely visual effect and that shallow focus can't be employed as a storytelling device.

 

It's just that a deep focus shot in itself often sets up a visual story in some way, if it is well-designed (as opposed to just being deep.) I'm talking about the classic deep focus shot that has an important visual element in the near foreground and another in the background, not just some shot of a bunch of random elements made with the lens stopped down.

 

Since reels often strip the story elements away to concentrate on images, it is not surprising that "prettier" shallow-focus shots are popular for reels.

 

Shallow focus also can be a budgetary solution, by reducing the importance of backgrounds that cannot be controlled through art direction.


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#11 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 02:59 PM

As far as the DOF, I think it's more a matter of what works for the given project.  You have a nice reel, Sraiyanti.  I especially enjoyed the exterior shots on the lake.  Keep shooting.


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#12 Sraiyanti Haricharan

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 02:59 PM

It's really cool how much I'm learning in just this one thread. It's funny but some of the things you have all said have subconsciously been at the back of my mind but I haven't been able to put words to it and some are entirely new revelations. 
 

 

Shallow focus also can be a budgetary solution, by reducing the importance of backgrounds that cannot be controlled through art direction.

 

This. So important. Especially on lower budget and/or student films, which are really the only kinds I've worked on, an art department has almost always been missing. But the nice thing about shooting for documentaries is that the surroundings already work as the art direction. That's what I find so incredibly intriguing. The fact that you constantly problem solve and have new ideas for different ways of composing, often even while a shoot is happening. 

Bill, the hardest part was getting the horizon right because the boats were constantly moving, and a still photography tripod was the only form of stabilization available. That is one of the best experiences I've had though. It was for a documentary in the North East of India about an all women's market that has been running for centuries. 

 

Also, thank you both for your comments. It means a lot that such experienced people take the time to look at the work of new entrants.  

It's really encouraging.


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