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lighting wide shots


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#1 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 11:48 PM

Hello everyone,

More and more I've come to believe that one of the signs of a truly talented dp is the skill to light interior wide angle shots.
There is so much space to play with, there is so many decisions to be made as far as what to keep in the dark, how to use the practicals, how to deal with distortions and the sharpness fall off inherent to wide angle lenses, etc
I'm interested to know what's your approach.
I'm sure it varies depending on the project but, do you have a particular method to make it look good?
Do you find yourself working at high light levels to stop down the lens and get more depth of field and better contrast?

Any comments will be greatly appreciated.

Francisco
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#2 Lars.Erik

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 02:44 AM

When I'm doing wide angle shots interior, one of the most crucial elements I think of, and I keep reminding the directors I'm working with about this. Is that the wide angles have to be at a different angle than the CU's. This is because I tend to push in a lamp on these shots. And that's difficult to do with both shots in the same angle.

This technique also allows me to work with different f-stops in the two shots. This is to, as you said, push the f-stop more open on the wide shots. I also have used ND with some success at times. Try and have the wide shots wide open. CU's between 2.8-4. (In general, always depending on what kind of story etc.)

Using foreground is also a way to create DOF. But on wide angle it's more important to create DOF with light. That meaning having practicals, light vs dark in the shot etc. But this is a technique wich is very based upon the script.

Edited by Lars.Erik, 30 August 2005 - 02:48 AM.

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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 05:24 AM

The biggest question I always ask myself with wide-angle interiors is, "where am I going to hide the lights and grips gear?" The corollary to that might be, "how am I going to make the lighting in the closeups match the (compromised) lighting in the wide shot?

The way I get around that is by asking the director WHY the shot has to be so wide, and explaining the compromise it puts me in. If the director understands that the lighting becomes compromised and still wants that wide angle, then fine, I'll find a way to make the two angles work together.

But more on point to your question, by understanding what we're saying stortelling-wise with the wide shot, I can build in little things like foreground, shadows and such that fit into my visual design for the film. I mean, if your visual design doesn't include wide shots, then you haven't really done your homework, right?

I don't specifically worry about depth of field with the wide shots, figuring that a consistent f-stop will let focus fall naturally between the different lenses. And again, I try to understand what we're trying to communicate with the wide shot (whether it's to show an objective POV, or simply to include more context), to help guide my choices on things like shadow and focus.

I guess I really don't think any differently about wide shots from any other angle as far as creativity goes, because the content of the shot is alway the guide. After that, it's just a technical matter of where to put the camera, lights and grip gear to make it look right.
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#4 drew_town

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 11:04 PM

Check out "12 Monkeys." Or other Terry Gilliam movies, which are often shot with wide angle and fisheye lens.
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 02:04 PM

Hey,

Talk with the director. Wide shots inherently use less flattering lighting because of the lighting angle restrictions. It gets worse when the director wants tracking and panning in the wide shot; even worse is when performers walk through hot and dim spots in the set. There's no value to that wide shot if it compromises the quality of "look" of the project. Once you've established the set, closer shots can handle everything else.

Just a thought.
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