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A Newbie Looking for Some Advice


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#1 Kevin Walls

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 08:25 AM

Hello everyone,

 

I'm fairly new to cinematography, and working with cameras in general, but I'm keen to learn as much as I can.

 

I'm currently working, as a one-man band, on a no-budget paranormal documentary and I was wondering if someone could critque a few screenshots from my film and give me some pointers.

 

I was shooting with two DSLRs; a Canon 600d (T3i) with a Canon 24mm EF-S lens, for my wide, and a 550d (T2i) with a Canon 50mm EF lens, for my close. For lighting I had a PhotoSEL LES600, a Yongnuo YN-600L and 3 Neewer CN160s.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

ADWIDE.jpg

 

ADCLOSE.jpg

 

MRWIDE.jpg

 

MRCLOSE.jpg


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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 09:18 AM

Are these two scenes supposed to be a shot-reverse shot of a single interview where one person is the interviewer or are they two different interviews and both are subjects talking to someone off camera?  

 

If it's the latter, the eyeline in the first one might be a bit high.  Almost as if she's talking to someone who's standing to her left.   The second one the eyeline is better because the subject is looking more at someone close to camera.  it's the position of the outside eye that you can really tell the difference.  Just looks better in the second one.  In any case, the cameras match well from the wide to close.

 

In general I try to get a subject who's off camera as close to the mattebox as possible and make sure they're head isn't too high or low for the person on camera.  This is tougher when the rooms are small and you can't get far away enough.  The closer you are, the more pronounced the angle of their gaze will seem.  

 

As far as the lighting, I can't judge because I don't know the tone you are going for.  If this documentary is meant to satirize the subjects or to support their claims. If the intent is neutral and the tone is sincere, than personally I think the colors are a bit strong.  If it's campy and fun in nature, then its working.


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#3 Kevin Walls

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 09:38 AM

Sorry I should have mentioned it was two different interviews.

I know what you mean about the eyeline. The room was tiny and I was sat on a box next to the camera. I'm fairly tall so I guess that's why it looks like she is looking upwards. I'll definitely keep this is mind for my future interviews.

 

In terms of the lighting, they're both quite big characters with some tales and theories that I guess some might say are a little out there. I do want to have fun with it but, I agree, I think the colours might be a bit too bold.

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it.


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#4 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 10:32 AM

One quick thing I could, not entirely suggest, but suggest to keep in mind, is the lighting consistency. The light in the back changing hues is an interesting idea, however between the 2 shots, the first comes off as a tad dark/ominous whereas the second has they key light brightening way more of the subject.

 

I guess what I'm saying is "pick one". I prefer the lighting of the blue shot, gives the vibe of "paranormal" much better. The green had better framing, but the brightness is too bland for something of a darker subject matter.


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#5 Kevin Walls

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 11:02 AM

Thanks, Macks. I hear you.

 

I have a few interviews lined up in the new year so I'll keep the consistency of the lighting in mind for those shoots. Thanks for your time.


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#6 Michael Rodin

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 12:43 PM

For the woman, I'd bring the key even more camera-right and a bit higher. This way if she turns her head more to camera-right she'll have the right part of her face mostly in shadow (apart from the eye and the "triangle", and her cheeks will be less pronounced. Then I'd fill a bit from below/camera-left so that the other cheek has a fainter shadow. Would scrim/flag the neck so that it's not explicitly sculptured. I'd add a back/hair light on the left as well. 

Why did you make the background right behind her so contrasty and leave the camera-right part of BG basically fall into the dark? This messes the frame up.

Would be much better to do it the other way around: wash the left part of BG deep blue and a tad brighter than the darkest shadows on her face. No need for those two lanterns behind her - they only distract. Leave the candle on the right and accentuate it with orangey light (2CTO correction or so). I'd use a Dedo light from above for it. 

You can add a lantern to reflect in the mirror - maybe place it off-camera if possible. Or add a candle somewhere in the upper left corner if you like it, maybe then throw it out of focus. 

Then you could use some light misty diffusion (ProMist, White Frost) to make those candles softly glow. 

 

Your close up looks interesting. I'd move the chair a bit camera left and back so that the mirror is more frame-right. Would backlight the lantern which's reflecting in the mirror to make it clearly visible. 

 

The man needs an eye light. That high position of your key is otherwise OK as long as you don't let the eye sockets fall into darkness. Warm backlight looks good here. 


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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:13 PM

I guess what I'm saying is "pick one".

 

It all depends on what he's aiming for, thematically.  I've seen plenty of interviews that have different hues for different points-of-view, and that works well.  I'd reference the color wheel and just be mindful of your overall palette, so as not to jar your audience.


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#8 Kevin Walls

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 05:11 AM

Thanks for your feedback, Michael. I regret not giving her cheek a bit of fill as I feel the shadow is far too pronounced. With regards to the background on camera-right, I wish I had done something to illuminate the table a bit. I had used all of my available lights at this point but I hoping to borrow a few additional lights for future shoots. Thanks for the tip about accentuating the candle! I'll keep that in mind. Your feedback has been really useful. I appreciate it.


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#9 Kevin Walls

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 05:13 AM

Thanks, Bill. That link is very useful indeed. I'm sure it'll be a great resource :)


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