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Where can this shot improve?


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#1 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 12:53 AM

Doing a mockumentary, and for the majority of the short, it will be a single A-cam shot with Red One MX, I have the blocking figured out however my pre-shoot jitters are putting me in concern with the lighting and coloring.

 

I'm going for sort of an unsettling range of lighting, with warmth from they key (arri 650) and cold from the hair light (5600K LED with full CTB). The background will be more decorated in the final.
 
The camera will pan back and forth between these primary positions. The first more relaxed, the second more serious.

 

vrvqg.jpg

 

frbpr.jpg

(the fill light getting dimmer as the talent leans in is intentional for an eerie vibe)

 

So anyone that could share their thoughts, it's greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:17 AM

I think it might be easier to offer guidance if we knew what specific look you were aiming for. There's nothing 'wrong' per se with the lighting here if it's doing exactly what you want.

Do you have some reference stills of the intended look that you could share? Maybe something from a movie or tv show?
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#3 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:58 AM

I'm just kinda trying to go out of my brain, "eerie" is the adjective running in my mind. Put it this way, if you saw this on the screen would anything in this (aside from the joke wig) scream "amateur"?


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#4 Jay Young

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:57 AM

I think there is too much emphasis on the background.  It's much too even to give a good 'eerie' vibe.  


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#5 Frank Hegyi

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 09:43 AM

The grade seems a little low contrast. Even low contrast grades like what you'd see on Girls or a Vice Doc are higher contrast than this.

 

(Disregard if this is the look you're going for. Ultimately it's an artistic choice.)


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#6 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 11:46 AM

I think there is too much emphasis on the background.

 

I somewhat agree, I'm trying to get it either darker or colder back there.

 

 

The grade seems a little low contrast. Even low contrast grades like what you'd see on Girls or a Vice Doc are higher contrast than this.

I generally prefer high contrast, but the foreground of the face is shrouded in darkness to the point where if I go lower on the darks the shadow detail may disappear too much.


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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 04:20 PM

I'm just kinda trying to go out of my brain, "eerie" is the adjective running in my mind. Put it this way, if you saw this on the screen would anything in this (aside from the joke wig) scream "amateur"?


Again, I think it would really depend on the context of the scene, and of the style of the film you are making. Is this an interview set-up, or is it supposed to be verite and possibly matching the lighting of a wider shot of the room?

With the latter, often you may be just following people around with a handheld camera, so as long as it is framed well, exposed well, and in-focus, that would be 'professional', and more to the point, realistic. You wouldn't necessarily want the lighting to feel polished because then the scene wouldn't feel real.

With the former, you would tend to place the subject further away from the background for more depth and separation. It's usually expected that sit-down interviews in documentaries are lit professionally, so even if the lighting is not completely realistic or motivated for the room, that is often ok.

But again, if you look at mockumentaries like 'Spinal Tap' or the other Christopher Guest films which try very hard to reproduce a real documentary look, you'll find verite interviews looking quite raw sometimes. So whatever you can do to make things seem more real, the funnier it should be.
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#8 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:17 PM

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind when I have another go at coloring later.


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#9 Daniel Meier

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 08:57 AM

What first struck was the green tint in his hair and skin coming from the hairlight (LED). Was that on purpose? Or did you do that in the grade?

I like the second frame more, since it reveals more of the room and has more threedimensionality to it.


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#10 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 01:16 PM

The 2 frames are the exact same everything with the exception being the subject leaning forward. The green tint on the left is intentional with the lighting, yes.


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#11 Jarin Blaschke

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 08:49 PM

It is low contrast from a grading point of view, but the blah-ness is primarily from the flat, shallow, evenly background and not building contrast in blocking, lacking layers of light and dark. It is teated as all one layer and without dimension. The wall is close, without texture, a similar tone to your subject and lit flatly. One option would be to nearly eliminate light from the wall and light subtly from behind the blinds. Another would be to still cut or reduce our character's light from the wall, and then put a light source near the wall to introduce fast fall-off and a range of tones across its surface.

 

J


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#12 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 10:08 PM

If I had an actual set I probably would've done the layering you're talking about. I'm waiting on the day I can do a short with more than 7 feet of room to work with.


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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 01:29 AM

If I had an actual set I probably would've done the layering you're talking about. I'm waiting on the day I can do a short with more than 7 feet of room to work with.


Well, you don't need a built set for that. You can always shoot down a hallway, or frame up a doorway or window in the background. There are lots of ways to create depth with no budget.
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#14 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 02:06 AM

"actual set" may have been an exaggeration but just anything this isn't hair pulling close quarters locations.


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#15 Jarin Blaschke

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 08:06 AM

I agree with satsuki. Going forward, one of the key inputs of a cinematographer is during scouting, and finding the right locations for the scenes to happen. But building depth and altleast simple dimension within a frame should be possible within all but the tiniest locations. Otherwise you can shoot somewhere else, if even the adjacent room.

Conversely, the photography and location should always work in tandem. I just shot a key scene to a film in a windowless, pasty, tiny, beige interrogation room with the door closed. I decided to only further emphasize what it already was. The shots are flat and monotone. I decided this tells a stronger story than fighting the room and ending up with something here nor there. There are many other scenes in the film that are very dark and/or deep and rich and the contrast between scenes will work to our advantage in this case.

For example, Deakins does effective pedestrian flatness mixed with rich contrast very well in Prisoners and Sicario, two films I couldn't help but think about when prepping this film. (Also, Willis and All the President's Men).

J
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