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Planning an upcoming project


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 10:00 AM

Hi folks

 

So it's time to shoot something ambitious again. Just a one-day thing, we'll be rushed.

 

It's a period piece and there are three scenes:

 

- A photographer's studio, for a scene between two people with dialogue:

 

img3719.jpg

 

We don't have a location with the big south-facing picture windows, so we'll have to mock up something approximately correct in here. The radiator and picture at the end will probably be where the backdrop will go. I can control the time of day we choose to shoot, but I'm not sure whether to black it out and pretend it's night anyway. The scene involves one character sat at a desk who notices the other at the opposite end of the room; they meet in the middle and talk, then a photo is taken. We don't have any period lighting equipment, so it'll have to be assumed out of frame.

 

- The photographer's darkroom. One character, no dialogue, really just montage. My concern here is avoiding the red light making it all look demonic, but there's probably not much that can be done about that. Looking for an unfinished brick location for this. We should, time permitting, have a mockup dye-cell safelight.

 

- A woman at her dressing table, again, montage. This I'd like to make look like a fragrance commercial if I possibly can, and I was thinking of some of that distorting-glittery-stuff soft, flarey effect around the edge of frame; I've asked for lots of glassware in the production design to facilitate this. Regrettably the room is cream-walled, but we've a fireplace. Naturally the furniture will be cleared. Big soft light, of course; china ball to simulate gas lamp? Ring light, even, used very subtly?

 

Camera is Ursa Mini 4.6K; I may have the opportunity to monitor it on an Atomos Shogun Inferno in HDR. The Inferno doesn't directly support Blackmagic log, but one of the Red anti-log curves, appears, to the eye, to be a reasonable match for Blackmagic's. Lenses almost certainly old stills primes.

 

Overall I'd like it to look like one of those short films that companies like Chanel produce which get cut down into commercials, but I will of course lack the time and resources to actually do that. Naturally I have some ideas, but I'd appreciate any thoughts.

 

Phil


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 10:43 AM

It's always hard to get lights closer to eye level when someone is sitting in front of a mirror, which is like facing a wall -- you either end up putting a soft light just above the top of frame (I recall a behind-the-scenes shot from "Titanic" where you can see Kino tubes taped on the wall above the mirror), as low and frontal as possible, or you use the old Hollywood trick of putting a backlight on the head which becomes a key light by bouncing off of the mirror, but that's a bit hard and the back of the head it lit up, or you get a practical lamp near the mirror that is in the shot, which to me works the best.  Of course, this being pre-electricity, it would have to be a candle or oil lamp, etc.  Even if it ends up not being bright enough to be a key and you have to light from above the frame, then at least a little light lower on the table will act as an eye light or fill in the eyes a bit.

 

"Atonement" did that lovely mirror shot where you get a lot of lens flares from the net diffusion, by hitting the actress with a hard backlight that becomes a key by bouncing back, but that was a daytime scene.

 

A photo studio back then would have large windows in it, so I don't see how that space works unless you create a false wall with a large window covered in sheers that you can backlight.  If you can avoid the ceiling, I suppose you can imagine that all the windows are above the frame line.

 

If they didn't take the picture in the daytime, then they would have used a tray with flash powder, which would produce a big flash and a lot of smoke. 


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for the response.

 

The saving grace is that the moment of taking the photo ends the scene, so we don't have to deal with the smoky aftermath.

 

Interestingly, I did find a picture of a period carbon arc intended for still photography.

 

6-84b-1 Cromwell Street Hoopers Photographic Studio interior 1910 2.jpg

 

This appears to be near-identical to the type described on page 37 of Cassell's Cyclopeda of Photography of 1911 (the page image is a little large to embed on the forum, so click here to view it.)

 

I'm not sure if I can mock that up, but I guess we could assume one was offscreen. Strikes me that even with the umbrella and the bounce, it'd have been fairly hard - and still fairly smoky.

 

And lethal given all that carbon monoxide, indoors. But I digress.

 

P

 


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#4 John E Clark

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 11:34 AM

Thanks for the response.

 

The saving grace is that the moment of taking the photo ends the scene, so we don't have to deal with the smoky aftermath.

 

Interestingly, I did find a picture of a period carbon arc intended for still photography.

 

attachicon.gif6-84b-1 Cromwell Street Hoopers Photographic Studio interior 1910 2.jpg

 

This appears to be near-identical to the type described on page 37 of Cassell's Cyclopeda of Photography of 1911 (the page image is a little large to embed on the forum, so click here to view it.)

 

I'm not sure if I can mock that up, but I guess we could assume one was offscreen. Strikes me that even with the umbrella and the bounce, it'd have been fairly hard - and still fairly smoky.

 

And lethal given all that carbon monoxide, indoors. But I digress.

 

P

 

 

Yes, in keeping with 'modern realism'... you could have as your final scene, the crew knocked out by the fumes... or heck, perhaps even a fire...

 

The 'flash' power consisting of magnesium will probably get you on the no fly list if you buy 'online'...


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 07:39 PM

Maybe the safelight doesn't have to be red -- I found this online:

 

From "A Popular Treatise on Photography" by Désiré van Monckhoven, 1863 :

 
"The dark chamber ought to be, on the contrary, very simple. Two or three tables are sufficient, and the light should either be entirely excluded by pasting black paper over the windows, and the operations conducted by the light of a candle or a gas jet, surrounded by a square lantern of yellow glass, or else, as often preferred, the dark room is so arranged that the light comes exclusively through a frame of yellow glass about 10 inches by 8 inches, and this covered with a sheet of very thin white paper, in order to impede the passage of the direct solar rays. A hinged frame is fitted in front of this square of yellow glass in such a way as to admit of its being totally or partially covered, in order to diminish or increase the amount of illumination at pleasure."
 
This is an illustration of a red glass housing for a candle in a darkroom:
 

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