Saturday, May 28, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
course from Steele Training looks like something that I may take advantage of in the near future. Among other things, it deals with shooting headshots and portraits using only a flash.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
collidemagazine.com has a helpful article about getting a project organized and finished when on a tight deadline. It deals specifically with church media productions, but is great advice for anyone who is creating content. My only question in reading the article was how he has time for so many "peer reviews" of his project at every step or the way if he is really on a deadline. Even so, it is a common sense approach to making it happen.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Flags are simply a black piece of material or foamcore that is used to control the spill of the light. This may be to keep light off of the background or a particular subject. It may also be to keep light from shining directly at the camera creating lens flares. Whatever the purpose, it is not unusual to see several flags of different shapes and sizes being used to control a single light's output. It is helpful to know that the edge of the shadow created by the flag will be softer the closer it is placed to the light. Gels are generally used to color-correct a light to match the other lights in a scene. They can also be used for adding color as an effect in a scene. Scrims are diffusion material that comes in different thicknesses. They are used for lowering the light level and for softening the source by making it bigger. Finally, cookies are cutout shapes that are placed in front of a light to "break it up" and cast a more random pattern of light. Whether used on the background or on other elements in a scene, this tends to make a scene more interesting and often helps it to feel more natural. In the above example from a production by the company Encendedor, you see quite a few light-control techniques being used, including a scrim placed directly on the front windshield of the car.
Friday, May 13, 2011
I was on-set yesterday visiting Bob Scott, the cinematographer who will be director of photography on our movie, "The Solomon Bunch," next month. We caught a few minutes here and there on breaks and lunch to discuss our plan. The rest of the time I observed the process.
I took a few behind the scenes picts with my Blackberry included here. The film is called, "Laughing At the Moon" and is being shot in Knoxville, Tennessee on about a five week schedule. The top two pictures are of a scene that was shot in the evening and as the sun disappeared, lights were added to supplement. I thought it was interesting that when the 12K (big light closest) was put up, it had very little diffusion. As the sun provided less and less light on each take, they actually added more diffusion to bring the level of the 12K down and brought the camera's iris up slightly. I assume this was so that they could still include some of the sky in the shot. If you instead added more light, then your sky would look darker and darker. At some point, you do have to abandon the sky and get shots that do not include it. The good thing is that they were able to get the master shots (wide shots) while the sky had light, then get their closeups without needing to show it after the sun was gone completely.
In the top shot, you see the First AC (assistant camera operator--also called the focus-puller) on the left, the Camera Operator on the dolly, and the Key Grip in the background looking on. The bottom shot is inside the tent that housed "video village," where the Director and Script Supervisor watch each shot as it happens. Here, the AD (assistant director) checks the frame for anything out-of-place. On the screen, you can see Bob Scott, the Cinematographer, explaining to the actor where exactly he would need to put his hands on the canvas to begin his abstract painting. Bob actually filled the role of Director as well in most cases, since the Writer/Director of the film is also the star and is on-screen in nearly all of the scenes.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Backlighting, or rim lighting, is critical for a professional and flattering shot. In fact, when outdoors, it is often desirable for the backlight to be much hotter than the key. This is almost impossible to do, however, if you use the sun as your key. So, what is the best approach?
Most DP's will use a combination of diffusion and bounce in order to get the best shot possible. First, face the subject with their back to the sun (offset a little is actually a good idea for eliminating lens flares and creating less symmetrical shadows). Second, put a diffusion screen between the sun and the subject to knock down the overall light level and soften shadows a bit. Third, use a bounce (reflector) in front of the subject to act as a key light. In my experience, a white bounce usually works best. Silver is usually too harsh and causes the subject to squint (as they would if they were facing the sun). Now, sometimes you will not be able to generate enough light (depending on the look you are going for) just using a bounce and it is necessary to use an HMI in place of the bounce. The picture above is from the Elk Run Productions website and illustrates this. They have a number of other examples of lighting setups at that sight that you may want to look at as well.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011