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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/26/19 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    It takes more skill to make an indie film than a big budget studio picture. Where a Hollywood production can throw money at a problem, an indie production must work smart. I have started this thread as a place where we can share indie tricks-of-the-trade for realizing big budget production values on a modest budget. Or, as Phil Rhodes so eloquently put it in a recent thread “by the application of hard-won and exquisitely-realized skill.” Posts to this thread should not herald DIY lights, nor lighting a set with practicals alone. The emphasis should be on FILM CRAFT using a basic tool kit that can be carried in a 18’ rental box (say a 3-5 Ton Grip & Electric Pkg.) and powered off the wall or off of putt-putts (no diesel tow plants.) With the newest camera systems that are capable of a fourteen stop exposure range and ASA sensitivities of 1600 without grain you shouldn’t need anything more to get decent production values if you know what you are doing and willing to work hard. I will start it off by re-posting here my post from the thread “Night Lighting - Balloon VS Dino/Wendy's” (http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=70842.) This thread is for those productions for which $1500 for a balloon light or a generator to power a Wendy light is simply not in the budget and they have to figure out how to accomplish the same look for a lot less. For example, I would say the smart indie alternative would be shoot his wide establishing shots dusk-for-night and only his close coverage night-for-night. Dusk-for-night, is an important technique for indie filmmakers to learn because it is a means of obtaining expensive looking production values for very little money. Dusk-for-night uses the fading daylight as an ambient fill to gain a base line exposure in wide establishing shots without using a big source like a balloon light. Typically it is intercut with closer framing shot night-for-night to create a realistic night scene. The advantage to shooting dusk-for-night over day-for-night (the other low budget alternative to expensive night-for-night cinematography on a large scale) is that if you are shooting a house or city street you can incorporate set practicals like window or porch light, car headlights, or even streetlights or raking moonlight in a wide establishing shot. But in order to get the balance right between your lamp light and the fading daylight requires the right location and careful planning. For example, the key to success in shooting the house pictured below dusk-for-night is choosing the right location. To get the subtle separation of the night sky and trees from a dark horizon, you don’t want to shoot into the after glow of the setting sun. Instead you want to find a location where you will be shooting into the darker eastern sky. With dusk-for-night, you have maybe a thirty-minute window of opportunity after the sun has set to shoot the wide master before the natural ambient light fades completely so you have to have everything planned out, rehearsed, and ready to go. In order to get the balance right between the practicals and the ambient dusk light in the limited time you have to shoot the establishing shot, you have to start with larger fixtures and be prepared to reduce their intensity quickly. For instance if you want the glow of an interior practical light raking the lace curtains in a window, start with a PH213 in the practical and 2k Fresnel raking the lace curtain. Wait until the ambient dusk level outside has fallen to the point where the balance between the natural light and your lamp light looks realistic and then roll. To get a second take, open the camera aperture a half stop and drop a single in the 2k head, dim down the PH213, and wait again until the ambient dusk level outside has again fallen to the point where it looks realistic and then roll. If you continue in this fashion with nets after you have exhausted your scrims, and a PH212 when the dimmed PH213 starts to look too warm, you will be able to get multiple takes out of the diminishing dusk light. Likewise with a streetlight or moonlight raking across the front of the house. To create a moon dapple on the front of a house against a night sky, you will need a good sized HMI set on a high oblique angle so that it will rake across the front of the house. Break it up with a branch-a-loris and wait. When the ambient level of the dusk sky has fallen to the point where it looks realistic against the moonlit house and the practical lit interior - roll. You can even add a car pulling up to the house, but you have to be prepared and have enough manpower standing by to dim the practicals, net the lights, and scrim the car’s head lights very quickly. The final touch is to use a graduated ND filter on the lens to darken the sky and balance the camera between daylight and tungsten so that the ambient dusk light filling the shadows is cool and the practicals and tungsten lights motivated by them remain warm but not too warm. Once dusk is past, you shoot the close coverage night-for-night when a package consisting of what you can run on a portable generator will suffice. If you parallel two of the Honda EU7000is generators for 120A output, you will be able to use a 6k HMI for your moonlight at dusk on top of a sizeable tungsten package to light the interior of a house to a high level to match the daylight. For example, the scene below takes place in the middle of a near vacant parking lot of an all night convenience store. The establishing shot of the brightly lit convenience store situated in a wide-open expanse of a empty parking lot at night was shot dusk-for-night because the production didn’t have the resources to light up the parking lot and building to separate it from the night sky. Close coverage was then shot night-for-night with nothing more than a single modified 7500W Honda EU6500is and a small tungsten package of 1ks and 650w Fresnels. Left: Close coverage shot night-for-night. Center: Transformer/Distro provides 60A/120V circuit from Honda EU6500 and compensates for voltage drop over long cable run to set. Right: Operating the Honda EU6500 from behind the grip truck at a distance was all the blimping required to record clean audio tracks. With no building or other sound barrier within a reasonable distance to block the sound of the generator, Gaffer Aaron MacLaughlin put it behind their grip truck as far from set as possible. This was only possible because he used a transformer to step down the 240V output of the generator, and in the process compensate for the voltage drop they experienced over the 500’ cable run to set. Operating the Honda EU6500 from behind the grip truck at a distance was all the blimping required to record clean audio tracks. Guy Holt, Gaffer, Screenlight and Grip, Lighting rental and sales in Boston.
  2. 1 point
    https://discoverwestworld.com/ourworld/ I worked four months on this doing additional photography plus one whole episode, there are about three shots of mine here you can see if you dont blink. Four months of shooting 35mm film!
  3. 1 point
    At that budget level I'd second the recommendation for tungsten Fresnel's. Get Arri's if you can, they are built like tanks and last years. On small digital shoots - I find myself using 300w and 650w most often. Dedos are good, but would tend to be a bit more expensive. Budget LED's are hit and miss colourwise - I'd avoid and focus on getting the basics in tungsten. If you need punchy brute force lights DIY halogen work lights can give you a good amount of light for a low price. Not good for direct light, but can be bounced and shaped with flags. Same with PAR64's they can be picked up very cheaply and useful when you need a cheap punchy light to bounce or push through diffusion.
  4. 1 point
    It’s a very spotted-in light and the shot is exposed to let the center of the spot be very hot. Then there is some lens diffusion to cause the bright area to glow. In many scenes, something like a tungsten PAR64 with a spot, narrow spot, or very narrow spot globe was used but the size and power of the unit depends on the distance to subject, the sensitivity of the camera, etc. In a smaller space, for example, I’ve used a tweenie 650w at full spot pointed down with a snoot, or I’ve used a 150w Dedolight at full spot. Or I’ve gone bigger, to a 1K baby. Almost any lens diffusion will cause some halation around bright lights but in this case, it was something like a ProMist.
  5. 1 point
    It's going to be a very positive film that will inspire a lot of people. Well done so far and best wishes with it.
  6. 1 point
    The problem shooting daylight exteriors is that the sun moves throughout the day, so lights are needed to maintain continuity between shots filmed at different times of day. If you plan your shots properly, you don't need as big and HMI as you may think to maintain continuity. With proper planning you can get way with nothing more than a 4kw par and 1.2kw Par - which you can run on a modified Honda EU7000 generator with a Transformer/Distro that provides a single 60A/120V circuit. The approach that I find works best is to wait to shoot the establishing master shot until the sun is in a backlight position. Up to that point shoot the close coverage under a large silk (12x or 20x.) Shooting the close coverage under a silk offers a number of advantages. The silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops so now you can use a smaller HMI to create consistent modeling in all the close-ups. Shooting into talents' down side under a silk, I find that a 4K par through a diffusion frame is a sufficient key source for a good size shot. You need the diffusion because a bare par will be too harsh. When shooting close coverage under the silk, nets behind our talent will control the background from blowing out. The advantages to waiting to shoot the wide master until the sun has moved around to a back light position are many. One, the background is also back-lit so the discrepancy in exposure between the background and our talent under the silk is not that great and so you can open up to gain exposure of our talent in the foreground without burning out the background. Two, your background looks better because it is not flatly lit, but has some contrast. And three, with the sun in a backlight position, the shadows of the silk frame and stands are thrown forward, which enables you to frame wide without picking up the shadow of the hardware. Finally, since the silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops a 4k HMI par has enough output to create the look and feel of natural sunlight. For more detailed information on powering 4k HMIs on portable gas generators, I would suggest you read an article I wrote on the use of portable generators in motion picture production. Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston
  7. 1 point
    The main stages and production offices were at Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita. I was there back in 2009 shooting "Manure" on the same stage where the main glass-walled lab sets are (that you see the bulls run through in the trailer) -- sometimes I'd show people while in the lab set what the stage looked like on "Manure":
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