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Hey guys,


I'm DP'ing a short film soon and need a little advice.


I've not DP'd since exactly a year ago and have stepped away to 2nd AC and trainee in the "real world" so to speak.

As such while I'm confident of my abilities on the camera side of things, my lighting experience has been limited to say the least!


The script is mostly exterior - the A plot is a man in a car. I was wondering - how should I go about getting a consistent "look"?


My plans at the mo are to use two HMI's and fire them at a 12x12 frame w/ two silks to create a big bounce.

For closer stuff I made a reflector last year that work really well - it provided a strong eye light (a favorite of mine) while wrapping the subject in light.


I've two choices of camera, the Panavision Genesis and the Arri D-21.

The D-21 blowout is far more "filmic" and controllable (something I've found the Genesis not to be) but the black are far and away better on the Genesis.


I have a lot of experience w/ the D-21 from past shoots, while the Genesis I've only been able to get my hands on a couple times.

The D-21 can export LOG-C at 4:4:4 DPX files (no ARRIRAW), but the Genesis can only export REC-709 4:2:2 (no PANALOG), which with me being a post kinda guy is making me lean toward the D-21... but whadda you guys think?



For anyone interested, here's the trailer for the short I mentioned, "Loved App" (shot with a Sony F3):



If anyone's interested in seeing the full short and providing some critique, I can send the link!


Thanks all!

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Do you have an experienced gaffer on board? I think that would probably help you the most. Is the car work going to be mostly static with the car parked, or on a process trailer? Night or day exterior?


Been trying to pin someone down I know but he's quite busy!


And I should've mentioned... static car, night ext :)

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The Genesis has twice the sensitivity of the D-21 doesn't it? If you're lighting some night exteriors and aren't feeling comfortable about your lighting, then working with a 200 ISO camera at night isn't going to be a lot of fun without a considerable lighting package!

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Day exterior with a parked car, pick a good background first since the audience will be staring at it for a long time. I'd go with the camera with the better highlights in this circumstance.


Depending on the location, you may be able to mostly use natural light and diffuse direct sunlight with a frame. I think the less you have to do, the better it will look. It could be interesting to park under a tree and use the reflection of the branches on the windshield as texture that you can dolly across. I always loved the look of this scene from 'Narc':



Of course, this all depends on what your other story requirements are. I imagine that the character in the car is watching someone else on the street or something?

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If you have the time to get involved in post coloring, I think you're right to take whatever camera will give you the log option. On indie productions, it's too easy to misexpose or lose highlights if you're rushed or the cloud cover changes and you're not catching it in the monitor. Take the camera that will let you make a few mistakes.


12x12 is useful, but cars are so reflective and curved that big things can be a real nightmare, too. Add a dolly move and suddenly you can see the entire video village in the chrome or your AC in the glass or mirrors. Definitely spring for a large confidence monitor and hopefully someone on your team can help you be conscious of what's in the reflections. Leave more time for setups on your first day so you can get the bugs worked out.


I usually bring a ton of ND 0.6 gel and have the gaffer do custom cuts for each window. Then add and remove them as needed. I've sometimes used an 8x8 frame with single net for spot background reduction when I'm doing closeups, this is usually faster than moving the car.


A 4x4 shiny board can be a real help getting daylight in as edge/backlight, especially in the middle of the day when you're otherwise going to be pretty flat.

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