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Tom Brown's Schooldays


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 10:53 AM

Hi,

Well, not quite Tom Brown, but close. I'm doing a short which involves these locations:

Posted Image
Posted Image

There are also some studio interiors which I'm quite sanguine about as I'll have complete control. The look is to be happy autumnal, something akin to Mona Lisa Smile - yes, I know, it's pathetic, Hollywood aspirations on a short-film budget, but that's about the best commonly-known reference I can think of for what we're calling the New England look.

I can probably do this with some medium-sized lights for sunbeams in the science lab, and there's a lot of nice texture in the backdrops, but there's the possibility of doing a big crane (well, jib) shot over the front of the school as the new kid arrives. If it's sunny it'll be great; if it's dingy, and it almost certainly will be, there's not a lot I can do but grade it a bit warm and friendly.

Any suggestions?

Phil
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 12:26 PM

With nice locations like that, you're halfway there. What format are you shooting in?

One useful tool is a nylon cloth Chinese Lantern like a Jem Ball or Chimera -- useful in that you can put a small HMI in them like a Joker and get a mobile, easy-to-rig soft 5500K light, like for stairways, etc.

Inside, don't be afraid to shoot towards the windows and play things in soft, even flaring, backlight if necessary.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 04:56 PM

Hi,

The science lab location is great; I'm slightly less overwhelmed by the exterior, just because of the tendency of the weather to wreck it.

> What format are you shooting in?

Two guesses...

I did do the sums for super16, but I'm pretty much financing the camera department myself, and there's just no way. I'm not really good enough to justify spending the money, if you see what I mean.

> One useful tool is a nylon cloth Chinese Lantern like a Jem Ball or Chimera --

This sort of thing could be useful for filling overcast toplight on those exteriors; I'm going to need to at least plan something for that situation. Otherwise there's not a lot of running-around-the-building stuff, it's scenes in rooms which I can pretty much set and shoot (I had influence over the writing and I've ensured it's reasonably easy to shoot...)

> Inside, don't be afraid to shoot towards the windows and play things in soft, even
> flaring, backlight if necessary.

Interesting, but yikes, in video? I'd feel like it'd need some sort of diffusion filter to avoid just looking clippy, but it's certainly something done a lot in the stuff I've been looking at.

Phil
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#4 fstop

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 05:22 PM

Re: Jib shot-

I'd get out a copy of The Railway Children (Arthur Ibbetson, BSC) if I were you. There's lots of period exteriors with kids shot in muddy weather that are both romantic and beautiful. From what I remember, Ibbetson got around it by dropping in nets and lens diffusion to go WITH the overcast, and he worked this into some interior shots too, so the look appeared tightly woven into the pallette and not just a means to solve the exteriors. He also used smoke and haze as a motif throughout, thankfully motivated in the exteriors by the steam engines. While your short may not be built around trains, smoke could also be an option for softening the interior window shots that David mentioned without going into the heavy lens diffusion you dislike.

The beauty with weaving these alternative elements into the pallette is that they become standby options IF plan #1 goes to pot. In the case of the jib shot, definitely a fall back reference in case your magic hour shot doesn't work out.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 05:49 PM

So are you shooting in HD or PAL? The DSR-570?

An even haze of smoke does some nice things to add the impression of depth in video, plus lower the contrast in these backlit room situations. I wouldn't be afraid of some clipping if even in a film situation, you still might go for the white window effect anyway. Clipping is only bad when it's distracting or gets rids of information that you need to see or looks unnatural. Silhouetted foreground elements against bright windows may look pretty. Anyway, it's video so you can decide for yourself if you like it when you shoot it.

If you're shooting diagonally on the room or with the windows to one side, another trick is to use soft-edged ND grad filters vertically to bring down the brightness of one side of the frame.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 06:36 PM

Hi,

> The DSR-570

Probably.

Grumble..

I'm not sure how I'd smoke up that exterior!

Phil
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