After prolonged minutes where Ingmar Bergman tries to control the lighting for his interview, and interviewer Gunnar Bergdahl rambles about his own film education, this short comes alive, in spite of some self-conscious camera-work. Shot mostly in medium close-up, Bergman is eloquent and funny, talking about Faro, how he goes to his own cinema 5 days a week, modern Swedish films, Strindberg and Ibsen, dreams, insomnia, the screenplay for the TVM that was Saraband, old age and death, and writing.
Stu Maschwitz explains how to set up Prolost Flat picture profile for shooting more gradable HDSLR footage.
Start with the Neutral Picture Style
Set Sharpness to zero—all the way to the left
Set Contrast all the way to the left
Set Saturation two notches to the left
That’s it. That’s Prolost Flat—the Picture Style of choice for Vincent Laforet, Philip Bloom, Jason Wingrove, and many others.
HOW DID YOU COME TO THESE SETTINGS? HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY’RE RIGHT?
They’re not “right,” they’re just good. Prolost Flat has been tested the only way I care about—by shooting stuff and trying to make it look great.
WHAT ABOUT [SOME OTHER CUSTOM PICTURE STYLE]?
It’s probably great. But it is possible to over-think this stuff, and there is such a thing as too flat.
All we’re trying to do here is bring back everything the camera has to offer in an easy-to-color-correct package. To put it another way, what you want from a flat profile is to eliminate the contrast s-curve that the most Picture Styles bake into the footage. Some custom Picture Styles go so far beyond “flat” that they actually invert this curve. This not only makes the image harder to grade, it can cause quantizing and compression artifacts to show up right in the middle of your tonal range, where they’re most noticeable.
ProLost | Read the Full Article
Art Adams explains what happens when you stack several pattern-making devices (cookies) in front of a light.
First of all, if you don’t know what a cucoloris (AKA “cookie”) is, look here.
Nature abhors a flatly-lit surface. Negative space in a composition can be stunning but generally our brains prefer variety to plainness. Legend has it that the first cucoloris was invented when the shadow of a ladder fell across a bed by accident, and the cameraman liked it so much he started hanging ladders in front of his lights. At some point his crew said “Enough!” and cut a bunch of random shapes into a piece of wood.
Cookies aren’t the only way to break up flatly-lit surfaces. I’ve seen crews use textured fabrics stretched across 4’x4’ frames to create an almost imperceptible shadow texture on blank walls. I’m also a fan of LightBreaks. I’ve used all sorts of random objects to create interesting textures, including empty milk crates, glass bowls and random bits of tape on windows.
For a number of years I shot a lot of corporate videos, and those were a great training ground as I could try out sophisticated lighting techniques without fear of failure—because, if I failed, I was the only one who noticed. The cornerstone of corporate video production is the “talking head” video, and often the most interesting thing in a talking head video is the background. I’d often find myself in a white conference room with blank walls and it was quite a mental workout to try to create a background that didn’t look like… well, a white conference room with blank walls. I’d empty equipment cases looking for something that would cast an interesting shadow.
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You want to create a stunning beauty-shot? The lighting actually is actually deceptively simple and it has you shooting directing into a softbox.
You’re actually using a large softbox as your background (you can see the subject standing in front of a large Octabank above), but you tilt the light back at a 45° angle (as seen above). NOTE: For the shot in the Westcott catalog, I used a 36?x48? Westcott softbox behind the subject instead of the Octabank. Worked just as well (the Octa is actually a little overkill). By having your subject stand directly in front of the large softbox behind her, it makes the light wrap right around her face on both sides.
The 2nd light in this case is a Beauty Dish (the one shown above is actually a White Lightning strobe with a beauty dish attachment, but we’ve since replaced that rig with an Elinchrom strobe and beauty dish. I’ll discuss why in just a moment). NOTE: In the Westcott catalog, the front light was another Spliderlite TD-5, with a smaller 16×22? softbox, but in the same overhead position as you see here. This light you put up high—directly in front of your subject, but angled down at her at a 45° angle (so basically, the two softboxes are aiming at each other).(2a) You also need a reflector down low bouncing some of that light back into your subject’s face (as shown above. By the way; that’s a celebrity guest-reflector holder; Photoshop World digital video instructor Rod Harlan). The reflector should be placed about chest level, just below the bottom of your frame (I just kept telling Rod “Lower….lower…lower…until I couldn’t see it in my frame any longer). NOTE: Since this shot was taken, I’ve gotten a Lastolite Tri-panel reflector (which reflects from three angles, using three different reflector mounted on one stand, and I would now use that instead—-that thing works wonders!).
Scott Kelby | Read the Full Article
A film set is like a sailing ship with many different hands coming together to accomplish a common task. But human nature and personalities can get in the way as power blocks emerge. Sometimes the solution is a matter of figuring out who breaks bread together.
Like any societal movement, indie film is equally susceptible to the type of clique-ish behavior prevalent across all sectors of society. Power blocs threaten to disrupt the smooth functioning of any enterprise, but as concerns the art of film, they’re potentially fatal to the fortunes your hard-won production.
For filmmakers who find themselves on drastically-reduced or crowdfunded budgets and as creatives who don’t have time or resources to blow on trenchant interpersonal dramas between the members of a crew, the need to establish positive team dynamics early on in the process – as early as possible during production – is mission-critical to the smooth efficient functioning of your set.
PMD for Hire | Read the Full Article
Films and Television will always need music. Here are a few tips from Ned Bouhalassa’s composer’s blog (written by Brian Ralston) on starting your music composing career.
1) The composer Basil Poledouris once told me you have to break into the “business of tomorrow” and not the “business of today.” Today’s working directors and producers already have established composer relationships that they go back to over and over. You have to find the up-and-coming directors and producers of tomorrow and work with them now before they make it in Hollywood. When they eventually get their first studio gig… they will usually go back to the people they know and trusted when they were struggling themselves.
2) Everyone’s path is different. Don’t think that by doing what the guy next to you is doing you will get the same result.
You Shoot it, I Score it | Read the Rest of the Tips
Muren: “Study art, photography, nature because you want to have ideas for full shots in your head. Not parts of shots but the whole finished thing, even though you may not be [responsible] for all of that. You want to understand to the filmmaking process from the point of view of the director — even if you want to do special effects.”
Tippett: “I would encourage that — an art and film history background. And there’s no excuse for not making your own movie. You’ll learn so much if you just come up with a little story that has a beginning, middle and an end. If you commit to doing it, you’ll learn so much more by doing that than most people going to school.”
Movieline.com | Read the Full Article