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Problematic / Subject for Master Thesis

lighting student thesis

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#1 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 08:39 AM

Hello everybody.

This is my first post, i'm used to be more of a reader.

I would like to get a little help from you, if you're willing to give your opinion : i have been a student in cinematography for almost four years now, and i'm starting to work on my master thesis.

 

Thing is, i had quite a few ideas, but there is always something wrong : i wanted to work on minimalistic lighting, with the increase in sensitivity these years, but an older student is already on the subject. I wanted to speak of the correlation between being a dp on set and being a dp on post, for Wall E with Roger Deakins for exemple, or Life Of Pie, criticized by Doyle, this kind of problematic. But our master thesis is supposed to help us find someone to hire us, and i'm more of a set guy than a post production one. I wanted to talk about ENR, ou Bleach Bypass, but the subject is too old and so on.. So, if you could help me brainstorm around a good subject, it would be really nice of you.

 

I'm would like to met DoP and 1st Camera Assistant, because i plan to begin as a third ac.

I'm more of a core guy, interested in ratio, contrast, motivation for lighting, dynamic, latitude, t stops etc.. The core of our work, like really specific light techniques, from Rousselot (lantern) Khondji (negative lighting), more than virtual reality or these kind of things. I like the 90's movies a lot, and i'm really into analog photography amongst others things, like RAW for Digital etc.

I wanted to tell you a little about myself, to help you help me. 
Thanks a lot guys.

Hope that it will be of interest for you. (i'm french by the way, please excuse me for the potential mistakes)


Edited by Matthieu Abily, 19 November 2016 - 08:39 AM.

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#2 Guillaume Cottin

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 11:50 AM

What about HDR monitors and projection? It opens up some creative possibilities in a theater, may change the way you expose
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#3 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 11:57 AM

Hello Guillaume ! Thanks for the reply !

 

Yes, i could be working on high dynamic range in the projection aspect, or with monitoring. An older guy, someone who already choose his subject is working on the proper to expose for camera with 14 to 16 stops of latitude, maybe this idea will be close (too close ?)

 

I had some new ideas, and i selected two of them : diffusion yes, but how ? a thesis around net / grid cloths / optical filter / diffusion gels.

 

I have been thinking about dynamic, but dynamic lighting, like chinese lantern moving around, elements in the frame that suddendly become sources, and t stops change during the take.

 

What do you think about theses ?


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 09:05 PM

You could always go with more of a film noir look, classic 50's studio look? I think the under-lit look is over done these days.
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#5 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 03:01 PM

Hello Tyler ! Thanks for your answer !

 

Yes, that is exactly the kind of idea i'm looking for.

I would like to know what kind of "technical / artistic" problematics D.O.P would like to get information about. I would love my thesis to be a serious and valuable source of information for the professional, and i plan to do it seriously. That is why i'm so picky about the subject. Don't you think the the film noir look have been already quite a lot studied ? But i'll add it to the list, glad to know you're interested in these subject. What do you think of the idea of working on "living sources", like flames, lightning ?

 

And by the way, your post about the BMPCC is what finally pushed me to get one, instead of an a7s. So thanks .


Edited by Matthieu Abily, 21 November 2016 - 03:02 PM.

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#6 Peter Welander

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 03:53 PM

If it's for your masters thesis, you need to be picky about the subject. No apology necessary.

 

When you mention living sources, naturally Barry Lyndon comes to mind. Imagine what Kubrick had to go through to get those interiors lit with only candles. Could he have achieved the same effect using some other less challenging method while still creating such a convincing and authentic 18th century environment? (At least we assume it was authentic, most of us weren't around at that time...)


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#7 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 04:03 PM

Hello Peter ! Thanks for getting involved, and for your kindness. Yes, i would love to write on something that is more than "dynamic range" or "expose the skin in C-Log".. Those are good subjects, but i would like to get on something more about lightning, less about camera technology. I have been there, i love it like everyone, but i don't think that dop and 1st assistant are crazy in love about those things.
 

That is a really good idea. And as a matter of fact, about a year and a half, i have been working on these specific scenes, with the famous f/0.7 Zeiss Lens, the special mitchell camera etc.. Yes ! I love that one. Going in if it is to become the subject of my thesis, i'll submit the idea to my teacher when defending my subject. I'll send it to you guys, once it will be achieved (at least for those who want it). Is there any others problematic of importance, for you Dop and 1st Camera Assistant, that you would like to see studied more deeply ?

(by the way Mr. Weelander, the idea is also to speak about changing t-stops in the take, to be able to meet 1st Camera Assistant, to maybe get some work after)


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 05:31 PM

I think the idea of moving lights is interesting if it goes into the use of theatrical "unrealistic" lighting cues and when they have been used in cinema.  Storaro is a great example of this, such as in "One from the Heart" but also in more "realistic" movies such as "Wagner" or "Tucker".  It could be a discussion of when unnatural lighting effects can be slipped into a traditional narrative when it is deemed psychologically motivated, such as Robert Richardson's use of hot top lighting, or lights that fade up and down (as in "JFK" when Garrison is sitting in his chair reading the Warren Commission reports.)


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#9 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 05:48 PM

Hello Mr. Mullen ! That is exactly the idea ! I have been thinking about "One from the heart". I have gathered intel from Reflections, from Mr. Bergery about Storaro, and "One From The Heart". Yes, Clouzot's Inferno with the famous Romy Schneider shot would be one of the subject, amongst others of the same "kind" if i may. Maybe the Batman from Mr. Goldblatt for example.
Thanks for Wagner and Tucker, i'll dig into them. Reading the book from Mr Storaro seems to be "de rigueur", as we say in France.
 

The example of JFK is a good one, i hadn't thought of him. But in the same spirit, i was thinking of the evolution in the sequence of Fearless, from Peter Weir and Mr. Allen Daviau, in the room of Rosie, with the nice warm light getting trough the windows and the curtains. There is a t-stop change, and the light is fading from their faces, as the character speaks of his father death. Is that what you mean ?

 

By the way, thanks to all the people giving time for me. I really do appreciate it, and it is helping.


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 06:07 PM

I'd probably ignore the outright fantasy / sci-fi movies where strange lighting is less out-of-place, though "One From the Heart" is a musical fantasy, but with real world characters and settings.

 

But look at some moments in "Wagner", which is mostly a believable period drama -- as Wagner sits in the theater listening to "Tristan and Isolde", the camera slowly pushes in and the light fades off his face for a moment and then fades up again as the camera lands in his close-up.  In a theater that is ostensively lit by candlelight.  Or when he reads the libretto / poem for that same opera in a drawing room and the sun fades up through the windows behind him and then in the windows in the mid ground and then the foreground until the whole room is bathed in sunlight.

 

Or speaking of exposure, I recall a long steadicam shot in "Sheltering Sky" where for a moment the camera crosses a sunlit area after leaving a dark corridor and the lens does not stop down for that section, it's just greatly overexposed.  But it matches the emotional state of the character who is walking through this city.

 

And of course there is "The Conformist", like the scene where the venetian blind patterns are moving up and down the walls.

 

But you can also find much more subtle lighting cues that are technically unrealistic but emotionally appropriate. For example, Kurtz's temple in "Apocalypse Now" where a torch is somehow projecting the shadow of Martin Sheen on a wall (Spielberg & Daviau did something similar in "Empire of the Sun" where the shadow of the father is projected on a wall next to the boy's head by a fireplace fire.)


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#11 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:41 AM

Hello everybody. Sorry, i took some time before coming back to you. I wanted to say that my teacher agreed with me upon the dynamic lighting subject. He told me that it would be something suited to me. He gave examples, such as "One From The Heart". So i wanted to say thank you everybody. I'll be coming back to you soon i think. Especially you, Mr. Mullen, i have recording your references trough Zotero, i'll make sure i dig into all of these movies. If you think of any book or movies that might be useful around this subject, i'll gladly go trough them.

 

Of course, once my thesis will be complete, i'll do my best to translate it and upload it. I hope that i will be of any interest to you.

Once again, thanks everybody. If you have any other advices, go ahead. I'll stay in touch.

Best,

 

Matthieu Abily,

Marseille France.


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