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A few Quick Questions...


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#1 Mathieu McFadden

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 09:20 PM

Hi.

My name's Mat, I'm currently a Film student attending Toronto Film School.

I'm currently producing my first 16mm short which I will be directing in a few weeks.

The short entitled "Burdens of a Thief" will be shot on the Arri SR3 with EXR 7293, 200 ASA 16mm stock.

The scene consist of a conflict between a female thief and a drunk. It will be shot in studio, the set is an abandoned apartment the thief is using as a hideout. The drunk stumbles on the thief and spots her loot and moves in to take it.

I have done a brief lighting and camera set up, and it looks alright. However I am using a lot of students and I'm worried my camera op and DP will need a bit more help then with conventional directing.

Basically I want it to be very dark dramatic shadows...

I have a 5k Fresnel comming through a window as the ambiant lighting. I'll be using a bit of overhead lighting. A lot of close ups so I'll be using small keys and back lights.

These are some of the shots I am worried about.

I want to have my subject, the thief, hiding in shadows, If my she is lit at 4Fstops and the background is at 2.3 or less; My camera is exposed at 5.6fs. I will have a very dark thief correct(still getting detail and exposure)? She is wearing all black however she has blond hair which I may or may not cover with a skimask.

I also have a shot where the drunk is at a counter looking through the thieves backpack the sillhouette of the thief crosses frame behind him fairly quickly. So I will have my overhead in this scene. (I have a 1 light bulb lamp, which hangs from the ceiling representing the only inside light) The 5k from outside representing the city lights is hitting him on the back. The window has wood boards nailed accross it. Basically don't light the thief at all and have her cross in the darkness, I don't know if I should backlight her...

My real worry is that something goes wrong and we don't get an exposure. So any tips on shadowy lighting would help. As well as things to keep in mind while using the SR3.

I think it will turn out well, I just don't want it to be useless due to underexposure on half the shots.

Cheers!

-Mathieu McFadden.
"There he goes." "Naw, there he is"
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 09:45 PM

Liberal use of a spotmeter would be a good idea here, since your shadows contain most of the very important information.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 06 August 2005 - 09:45 PM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 10:29 PM

You have to figure that a caucasian face is near black at four stops under, pretty dark at three stops under, and fairly visible at two stops under. But to keep the scene from looking murky, you have to think about what else is in the frame, brightness-wise, whether that underexposed face is the brightest thing in the frame or the darkest thing, etc.

You could, for example, have a slash of light that is normal exposure on the back wall, have an overall haze from smoke, and have a pure silhouette black cut-out figure framed against that. Or you could have a face that is two stops underexposed but has a bright kicker on one edge, against a nearly black background. You are basically dealing with the priciples of separation & depth (bright against dark and dark against bright) and dynamic range (do you have a black or bright reference in the frame.)

You may consider using a digital still camera on the set to get a quick preview of the lighting.
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#4 Mathieu McFadden

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 11:01 PM

You're kicking me while I'm down David Mullen, One of my classmates was suposed to bring his digital still camera since I don't have one but he forgot... (part of the reason why I'm worried about my crew's capabilities) I'm adding a coat of paint to the set on wenesday and That's the only time I will have a chance to take a few pictures if I set up lighting. Hopefully I'll find a camera by then. I'll host some pics and show what I have so far.

Right so For the CU I can light it with an array of light levels on the face like the levels you described...

But for the wider shots like when the goon is rummaging at the counter; there would be

- the lights hitting the wall and his back.
(slits through the bars, uneven) which would be exposed much higher then the subject, I'm also having headlights swing by, which i will be using 2 5k for. these will be over exposed.

-The overhead of the lamp (which doesnt offer much but were going to be using a hard light to strengthen the light probably a 1k fresnel.)

These are the details; he is at the counter, there is a faucet the bag, the tools that fall out, and then theres the sillouette of the thief crossing in the forground. Basically I would have the (if i shoot exposure 5.6)

-The subject (goon) lit at 4
-The counter top lit at 5.6
-The wall lit 11 or 16
-The forground floor at 2.3 or so
- the crossing thief at 2.8
-the rest of the wall lit at 2.8/4

Think this would work?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 11:10 PM

-The subject (goon) lit at 4
-The counter top lit at 5.6
-The wall lit 11 or 16
-The forground floor at 2.3 or so
- the crossing thief at 2.8
-the rest of the wall lit at 2.8/4

Think this would work?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Sounds like exposures for a moody daytime scene, but not a night scene.

A silhouette is black, so why is the crossing thief only two stops under? He should be four-stops under to go black, or near black.

It's to confusing for me to understand what you're up to, lighting-wise. Is this all practically-motivated lighting or a shadowy "moonlit" or "streetlamp-lit" scene? What's creating all these shadows in the room?
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#6 Robert Edge

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 10:23 AM

I'm currently involved in a still photography project in which I'm finding that testing with a digital camera and laptop is invaluable. The ability to view the test shots on a computer instead of the camera monitor makes a big difference. Between the camera and the computer, we are saving time and film and we have much more peace of mind when we move to the film cameras (a 6cmx7cm and a 9cmx12cm) for the final shots. Given that you have access to the site on Wednesday, with your lighting gear, I would make tests a major priority. If you possibly can, get someone else to do the painting.
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#7 Mathieu McFadden

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 12:33 PM

The look I'm going for is a dark dank apartment, with city lights comming in through the barred window. So it's as if right outside there was a bright streetlamp shining in to the room.

I want hard shadows for the thief to hide in, the walls are a dark green. I was using an overhead for fill to add to the shadowy features of the faces. backlighting when i need to seperate the subject from the background.

Right that makes sense with the thief... So she'll be lit 4 stops lower or more in that particular scene.
(when her silouette crosses the frame in front of the turned goon)

I'll hopefully get some pics for you guys on wenesday.
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