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HD FILM NOIR


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#1 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:26 AM

HI

i am about to start shooting a short film and the director wants it to look like a film noir, the only problem is that it will be shot on HD. although i have a precise idea on how to light, it still i am worried that high definition wont make it look really noir...i want to use as few lights as possible, but i will be more than happy to have some expert advice or tips on how to get it right

thanks
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#2 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:02 AM

HI

i am about to start shooting a short film and the director wants it to look like a film noir, the only problem is that it will be shot on HD. although i have a precise idea on how to light, it still i am worried that high definition wont make it look really noir...i want to use as few lights as possible, but i will be more than happy to have some expert advice or tips on how to get it right

thanks

Is it going to be black and white?
If it isn't use this method.Before the shooting, or when u re doing the lighting, take the colour out of the monitor.
Then go to the camera settings and ''crash'' the blacks a little bit.(reduce some of the mid tones near black in total black) It's like you working in a zonal system. Try to have both highlights and dark black areas in your shots.Use minimum light and overexpose a litle for the highlights but keep the blacks low.
That's a suggestion.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#3 tylerhawes

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 03:51 PM

Dimitrios' suggested approach is totally valid, and I'm sure plenty of DPs will prefer it. However, there's a different approach I'd consider.

I would avoid crushing the blacks in the camera and wait to create the more extreme/high-contrast look of film noir in post at the DI suite. Now, of course you're going to have to light it with appropriate style, high contrast, but try to have enough fill to keep from getting to absolute black, and don't blow the highlights. This will let you deepen the blacks in the color suite where you can be more exact and careful.

Because you're shooting on HD I think it makes this approach even more helpful, because you're not going to have the headroom in HD that film gives you in case you go too far on set or change your mind later.

There's a film we've just finished ("The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari") that, while not exactly film noir, had a lot of the same requirements of the look (nearly-B&W, 10% color retained in post). It was also shot digitally. They achieved a lot of the look in-camera, and the DP did a wonderful job. There were some shots we had where they'd been more conservative with the in-camera look, though, and I was able to show what that allowed us to do in the DI suite when they shot as if to "protect" it for a DI finish. They all agreed that with the next film, which is using similar technology and look but on a grander scale, they will definitely shoot to protect for DI so that they can get the look exactly right.

Again, if they'd shot film, then the lattitude of the stock itself can offer some protection for post manipulation. But since they, and you, shot digitally, I'd urge you to be conservative with the shadows and highlights. Try to light so as to create a steep "S" curve to the look, but while keeping the foot and shoulder from crushing/blowing.

I'm sure you'll have other perspectives here to consider as well...

Regards,
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 11:24 PM

There's a film we've just finished ("The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari")



How was that experience, of recreating such an old cinema masterpiece like "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari?" I've been eagerly awaiting it's release but I lost track of the film a while ago. When is it slated for release, and is it a fairly general release?
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:00 AM

A good reference for you might be "Good Night and Good Luck". It's shot in HD in B&W. This doesn't answer your actual question, but it might be a nice reference for what you can do with HD and noir.
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#6 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 07:27 AM

thank you all for your valid and helpful suggestions
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