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Grabs from recent noir short


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#1 Ckulakov

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:13 PM

Dear Filmmakers,

Here are some grabs that I have gotten from my new Film Noir Style short called " The Magician" about a magician in the 50's. I had photographed, acted and edited it using a lower end consumer digital 8 camera that lets me control exposure, focus, lens, shutter, and filters. I edited using iMovie.

I really need your criticism. Tell me how close it is to the 'film look' and what I could have done to make it closer to the 'film look'. Tell what needs improvement in terms of lighting, composition, color correction, and framing.

I really need your advice.



FILM_NOIR_STAIRCASE_SHOT.JPEG






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#2 Ckulakov

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:14 PM

FILM_NOIR_MONEY_COUNTING_SOFT.JPEG
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#3 Ckulakov

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:15 PM

FILM_NOIR_RADIO_SHOT.JPEG
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#4 Ckulakov

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:16 PM

FILM_NOIR_DRINKING_SHOT.JPEG
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:58 PM

Since you've got all that unavoidable deep focus anyway in the wide shots, you might as well go for some "Citizen Kane" style wide-angle compositions with strong foreground elements (like a silhouetted object, etc.) With a limited lighting and art direction budget such as yours, the one thing you CAN afford is to compose more dynamically. Think in depth, from near to far. Try and create more strong diagonals (like in the stairway shot.) Try shooting lower angles.

Try and stage a scene so you are shooting more into your lights (back and side light, rather than front light). Your insert of the hand at the radio for example should have been staged so you could shoot from the other side with the radio and hand backlit by the practical lamp.

It's hard at your budget level to get more lights, but a few "accent" lights help in b&w for separation, like a backlight or kicker. Plus some more flags to "top" a side light on a wall to darken the top edge of the frame (which would help the last photo.)

It's not bad stuff, though -- it has a MOOD, which is important. Just needs more polishing. Really think about making the wide compositions more baroque, with big foreground elements near to the lens. Hunt around for interesting angles on the room. Shoot more into your source lights (practicals, windows, etc.)
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#6 Ckulakov

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:11 PM

Thanks Mr. Mullen

You are one of the kindest and most talented cinematographers. Your input has helped me and everyone else allot.

But I have a few questions for the the staircase shot did ou mean I need more diagonals or I allready have them. What about the shot with the seated subject do you think it looked good with the slight low angle and dutch tilt and I did have back light in it?

You really did not adress the the color correction. What do you think about the contrast I added do you think its to much? And what about the soft focus I added was it to much or to little because I was trying to get rid of that overy sharp and harsh edge.

Thank You very Much
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:41 PM

I meant that the staircase shot was good for finding diagonals.

The shot of you sitting in the chair is fine except the background is not that interesting, but that's more of a problem with the location. The blank wall to the right of your head is a little boring. A darker wall with a small bright practical would add some interest, or a window shadow pattern, etc.

Is there a reason why in the two medium shots of you the light is behind your head? Was the intent to always keep you face shadowed?

The softness doesn't really work for me - it just makes the shot look out-of-focus. There are probably better diffusion programs out there, something more like a Gassian blur overlay that would make the blacks halate maybe. But in wider shots, you really don't want too much softness.
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#8 Ckulakov

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 12:24 AM

Thanks again Mr. Mullen

Yes there was an intent in making his face in shadow only if you new the plot. The reason is beacouse this is film noir style and I whanted a very low key style so I used kind of a half lit face. Also in the story the character has not met his destiny so had his a face lost in shadow to show uncertainty. Another reason is because this is supposed to be taking later in the day and I didnt whant to much fill light.

Thank You very much this means allot.
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#9 Ckulakov

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 05:23 PM

I need more opinions please give me your advice.

I would really appreciate.
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#10 Jon Amerikaner

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 04:56 PM

I think David really hit on some important points. I can't really add much but I suggest viewing some noir films to really get a sense of what the cinematographers accomplished. Any one of us would be hard pressed to recreate the kind of imagery John Alton ASC and Stanley Cortez ASC, et al, were so deft at.

Noir is not just a style of lighting. Noir also describes the thematic material of the films, which are usually dark, mysterious, suspenseful, and evil. (For example: the man wrongly accused, the crooked cop, the escaped con, and the double-crossing woman) All of which are reflected in the lighting and compositional choices of the cinematographers. The challenge is to have your cinematography evoke the story and emotions. It is fine if you want your images to be high contrast and low-key, in the style of noir films. But it has to work for the story.
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Metropolis Post

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Ritter Battery

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