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e gustavo petersen

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About e gustavo petersen

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  • Birthday 04/02/1969

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    LA | CA | USA

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    http://www.egpetersen.com
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    e.gustavo
  1. If it's good, it's good at any length. The trouble is that everyone thinks their long short is good. From my experience at film festivals, shorter is better. It's easier to fit in programs - better to have six or ten shorts in an hour block then three 20 minute shorts. Also shorter shorts (if they're also good) often get more screenings because they're easier to fit in other programs. I also tend to find that no matter how good the short is, people are annoyed by one that's too long. my 2 cents. good luck.
  2. While I can't offer any recommendations, you might want to try calling commercial realtors in the area you're hoping to shoot. You might be able to find a medial center that's out of service. Don't forget to ask about private practice facilities as well. Good luck.
  3. Personally, I think there's great benefit from coming up the ranks. If you don't feel like the camera department is the way for you, try the grip or electrical department. Lots of folks came up through those departments. I strongly believe that you do need to spend time in either the camera, grip or electrical department first, otherwise how can you possibly learn what the equipment and people you're in charge of commanding can do for you. It's better to learn these things when the ax isn't over your head. If you spend the time observing as a crew member, you'll quickly see what works and what doesn't work on set both in terms of lighting and the management of the set. A DP does more than just set the camera and hold a light meter. You have to manage people, resources, budgets, schedules, and sometimes most of all personalities. Better to learn how others handle difficult situations so that you're better prepared to handle these situations yourself. ...my 2 cents.
  4. As to your first question... For what it's worth, here's an example of how I used a light meter when shooting a recent feature on HD. Several night scenes required high shutter speeds. I might tell the Chief Lighting Tech that we needed 70 foot-candles because we're shooting at 1/250 shutter (equiv. 34.5°). He and the crew could work from that until the camera could be placed and we could see what it was like on the monitor/scope and then "season to taste". This worked out great because he didn't need to know how I was rating my camera, what filter compensation I was using, etc. I, of course, needed to keep track of all those considerations and adjust with him accordingly. It goes hand-in-hand with the comments about pre-lighting. And if your crew isn't highly experienced, using a meter goes a long way to getting the lighting close. It's also very helpful when taking notes about the lighting should you need to return to that set or even if you just want notes about how a set was lit for future reference. As to your second question... Michael's right there are numberous discussions about determining your ASA/EI on this and other boards. As we've all heard time and time again, test, test, test.
  5. Any advice I could give would depend on what you plan on doing with the footage. I would recommend getting some food magazines and seeing if that type of photography meets your needs - Bon Appétit, Saveur, Gourmet and even Martha Stewart Living are all great examples of contemporary food photography. The photography from these magazines is very different from say an Denny's or McDonald's food shot for their television commercials. If you can see the difference, you'll know which is appropriate for your needs. Food photography is often called "Food Porn" so think sexy. You want it to glisten, you want to show off perfect round curves, you want it to move, bounce, and splash. If you can get a food stylist that's great. If you can't, make sure you have a water bottle on hand to spritz the food. Vegetable oil can also be used to make the food glisten and it doesn't evaporate. Tooth picks can help keep clusters together. Have some tweezers to pick of things from the food or to place things where you want them. Cotton swabs are good to have to pick up crumbs or to clean up edges of sauces. Glue, double stick tape and tack (or even gum) to keep food in place. Rubber cement is sometimes used to simulate water drops. If you're using ice cream and don't have strobes, keep the room as cold as you can and pre-light as much as you can without the ice cream in the shot. You might want to try to place tennis balls or some similar item in place of where the ice cream is going to be as a stand in. Great props go a long way too. For magazine food photography, the trend is to use vintage utensil. Take a trip to a local thrift shop and you'll likely find some really great stuff. Tarnished, scratched, and unique utensils when placed on a wood table make for a very charming canvas for the food. Don't forget that plate & bowls convey a great deal too - choose wisely. As for lighting, I a big fan of strong, rear three-quarter lighting or nearly side lit. Wet or glossy fruits and vegetables glisten nicely. I generally prefer large, soft sources and no harsh shadows, i.e. front fill usually with a big, white bounce card which help show off moist food. Good luck.
  6. If a lighting director showed you the software, it's likely "VectorWork Spotlight". It's a 2D/3D software, but the "Spotlight" version is for event and entertainment lighting. I know of a few gaffers who use it for mapping out very large sets and for working out lighting board cues.
  7. I know some folks who just use a good pair of sunglasses (usually with un-polorized lenses). By the by, one gaffer I know uses a welding glass as a Gaffer's Glass.
  8. It might be a bit much to go over before tomorrow, but the following link is to a book available on Google Books. Since it's a preview, you can't see all the pages but the pages you can see are very informative. The Photographer's Assistant Handbook Your question also came up on a photography forum: Photo.net
  9. There is another way. First, crop out of the photograph the objects you want in the foreground. You then need to fill in (or paint in) what was cropped out of the background. Using a compositing program, you create the "camera" move with your foreground and background elements at different distances to the camera. The distance between the foreground and background creates a parallax which is the visual illusion conceit you're talking about. If you don't have compositing software that allows for 3D camera moves, you can still do it by having your foreground and background elements move at different speeds - i.e. background moving slower than the foreground. Adding a little bit of blur to the background element also helps with the illusion of depth.
  10. Having been a regular contributor to this forum Chris, you can understand how difficult these kinds of questions can be. We don't know your experience, knowledge and comfort level with this camera, so simple questions can lead to lengthy replies that might not really address your concerns. That said, there are some concerns I have that my ACs are responsible for on every tape show that doesn't have a proper DIT on staff. First, I'll echo the "learn the menus" comment already posted. Finding menu items that need to be changed can eat up lots of time on set. One camera assistant I have prints quarter page sized cheat sheets of the menu tree from the manual. You should check to see which F900 you'll be using. There are still many F900 that haven't gotten the software upgrade and by my count (and someone might correct me on this) there are 4 software generations to consider. You should also check with the show's DP to see what, if anything, he or she will likely need to adjust on a regular basis. If you're using a onboard down converter, make sure it says cool and covered. I usually use Miranda, but it has been notorious for freezing up and causing image problems when it gets overheated. It doesn't take much. Time code is a HUDGE issues for me. Time code should be continuous if it's on REC RUN. Be sure you know and are diligent with cueing (some call it re-racking) the tape. Time code breaks can still cause costly problems during post. Remember that you have to do it every time the you change the battery, turn off the power, take the tape out, or review the footage on the tape (something I would ask be avoided). Back focus is still a concern even with cameras with modified blocks. Make sure you understand how to set the back focus properly and do it before the day starts, at lunch, and after significant temperature changes. Bear in mind that a temperature change doesn't just happen when leaving an interior for an exterior. It can happen while on a stage as the lights heat up the stage. (I'd also add setting up the monitor, but you only asked about the camera.) Here's something you might want to consider. I have an AC that during short down times, he'll switch the camera to Save Mode and when the AD calls "roll sound" he'll then switch back to Standby mode. That way the heads don't sit on the tape too long and we save a little bit of power on the batteries. And let's face it, how often does little down time turn into a big one. These kinds of questions remind me of when I borrowed my friend's car. I would ask "is there anything I should know", and he'd say "no". Then when I come back after the drive and ask "what's up with the clutch?", only to get "oh yeah, it sticks a bit". You just get accustom to things until someone brings it up.
  11. As to your first question, the gaffers I use don't carry an equipment belt. Mostly they're carrying a light and/or color meter, gloves and a gaffer's glass around their neck. As for the electricians under him or her, they're using the bags and pouches that the folks on this post have already suggested. And as for the tools they carry, that depends on their job and the type of show we're shooting. But you can count on the fact that they'll likely be carrying some kind of multi-tool (Gerber or Leatherman or such), amp probe, multimeter , circuit finder, marker(s), pen, gloves, flashlight, cube tap(s) and ground plug adapter(s), Allen wrench, clothes pins, wire snips, utility knife, etc. On a pre-light day, they might carry electrical tape of every color to mark cables, as well as some rope to tie banded lines, and alcohol swabs to clean globes that need to be replaced. On stage days, they might carry a Bates cable tool which is a used to clean and fix the terminals on a Bates cleaning has wire bristles and works like a car battery terminal cleaner.
  12. Bits of mashed food stuff and maybe a little food coloring. Add some gelatin, not Jello (for example Knox by Kraft and follow the directions for a thick result). It'll add some viscosity to your result. You might also want to add some slurry by mixing equal parts of corn starch and water. It'll also help thicken your mix and give it a cloudy look. You'll want to "mad scientist" this mix, meaning, add a little at a time till you get the look and consistency you're after.
  13. I can appreciate the spirit of what you and the others have said and I do agree completely to trust your eyes more than your meter, but that trust only comes with time and experience. Kieran, you strike me as someone who's done this for a while and can use you experience to lessen your reliance on the meter to make exposure judgments. But for someone who's starting out like Diana, that's not an option. One doesn't necessarily need a $700 meter to get that experience, true, many great films have been shot with the Spectra Studio analog meter. But I think while a person is starting out, they need to be a bit of a slave to the meter to see how, for example, a 1 stop difference looks like or how much light falls on an object from a particular instrument at a particular distance. Once that understanding becomes second nature, then the weaning away from the meter can happen. I'm also a bit perplexed by the constant use of terms like "techie stuff" and "gimmicks" on this and other posts. Personally, I use all the features that my meters offers and I use them with great results. They are features that have been asked for by professional photographer and cinematographers alike and I'm pleased that a vendor has made these functions available. We praise camera and film manufacturers for improving their products and adding additional features, why is the light meter any different? I think it's only a gimmick if you buy the meter with no intention of using these features.
  14. I would agree with the others that you might be better off with a Sekonic 558 - both for price and for practical reason. If you're just starting out, all the additional "techie stuff" might not be as useful to you and will likely slow you down. As multi-functioned meters go, it is a very good one. As to the your question about using the sphere or disc, it's a question of preference. Personally, I use the sphere most of the time, but when working with tabletop shots or when a more precise accounting of my exposure is required, I go to the disc. You also asked about the usefulness of the spot meter and I would say you'll find having one very useful, especially if you find yourself without a waveform monitor on a video shoot or testing the evenness of the lighting on a large green/blue screen, etc. If you do decide to spend the money and go with the 758 (or even on the 558), try looking on eBay. I found a vendor in China (I know that can be scary) and got my 758Cine for about $500. I've had it for three months, shooting no less than 10 projects and I have to say I love it. I've also found the additional features very useful and use them with great regularity.
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