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Ken Zukin

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About Ken Zukin

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  1. Hi Dan aka Jack, Well you seem to have a pretty good handle on things. In my experience, it's better to request that the speaker stay on one side of the venue, and light them from the other side. Psychologically, it then looks as though they are being illuminated from the screen, which looks "motivated." If this isn't possible (if the lecturer insists on "working the room"), then your two key light set up is OK. Generally though, one key light is best (there is only one sun). If you do use two lights, try to make one twice as bright as the other. Also, your power-point projector will most likely be pumping out daylight balanced light, so make sure you lamp your kinos with daylight bulbs. If it were me, I would use an HMI, as they don't run that hot. The room itself looks pretty small, so a 400w HMI, or even a color-corrected 1K tungsten fresnel may be preferable. The problem with fluorescent fixtures is that they aren't very punchy; they spread light all over the place. With a fresnel, or an HMI par, it's a much easier job of focusing the beam where you want it. You may want to tell the talent that if they spend a lot of time in the beam of the projector, they'll basically look like crap. Appealing to their vanity can work wonders.
  2. right you are, Governor -- sorry!
  3. Woody Bredel's name doesn't often come up when distinguished DPs from the 1940s are discussed -- but it should. He was a major player in the Hollywood studio system and one of his best entries is being broadcast on TCM tomorrow (Tuesday, August 5th) at 3:15 PM PDT. It's called "The Unsuspected" and in addition to the baroque lighting and strong cinematography, it's a great film, directed by Michael Curtiz. Check it out -- Mr. Bredel also shot "The Killers" (1946). Both of these films are textbook examples of classic black and white cinematography.
  4. Why not a simple montage? Check out "Dark Passage" -- a b/w (Bogart-Bacall) film from the 40's. There's a nice flashback sequence in the film -- simple and effective. Music will be important too.
  5. Bigger is generally better - as the unit will be less likely to flex - and less susceptible to winds, etc. If you are using the tripod for documentary work in some other country, for example, then a lighter set up would be a plus. Also, think of a tripod as two separate pieces -- stix and head. If you have a tight budget, buy the best head possible, and then buy cheaper legs. Carbon fiber legs cost considerably more than heavier aluminum. In general, a quality tripod, like a Sachtler, will far outlive the camera it's supporting, so I say bite the bullet and get a top quality unit. A good test is to pan and tilt at the same time -- like you are following a race car through a S curve. The movement should be silky smooth. If you can make it out to NAB in Las Vegas, you can "test drive" all the current models. You really do get what you pay for. Personally, I own a Sachtler V18 and have rebuilt it once in the 10 years I've owned it. And, I'm the second owner!!
  6. yeah....her face took on a very blotchy appearance...almost like it was smudged with charcoal. It was a cool transformation, and one that was done over 70 years ago.
  7. I watched an old B&W film on TCM called "Sh...the Octopus", made in 1937, that was campy and entertaining. In the movie's climax, an old woman ripped off her wig, pulled out a knife and terrorized the rest of the cast. As she did this, her complexion changed from normal to ruddy to seriously disfigured, all in about 5 seconds. It was done in real time; it was simple and really effective. I suspect the effect was completed by turning up some lamps with colored gels on them that revealed some oil on her face. I seem to remember reading something like this in a text book. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?
  8. The correct title of the movie is "Murder My Sweet." I got my Raymond Chandler's mixed up. Good luck. Ken
  9. Don't know if it would fit your project, but what about making the key light a practical? Like an interrogation scene from a classic Film Noir -- where the key is hanging from the ceiling -- and clearly shows up in the master shots. It's dramatic and probably something that lends itself better with black and white. You might also look at what Conrad Hall did in the "torture" scene between Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man." Or check out the opening interrogation scene of "Murder My Lovely," which is a classic Film Noir.
  10. An Arri fresnel can easily last 10 years. What happens though is that parts tend to rattle-off as the fixtures spend their lives bouncing around in the back of a van. So you want to buy from a company that's got a proven track record --Arri or Mole. Also, the Arri units aren't much more expensive then the Chinese knock-offs.
  11. Well, James, I'll have to respectfully disagree with you. The original post here asked for examples of "film noir style." By that, I took it to mean Chiaroscuro lighting and bold composition. "The Big Sleep", "The Maltese Falcon" and "Double Indemnity" are wonderful films - far better than most of the formulaic trash that's released currently. But they aren't very bold visually. Film Noir really started up post WWII and stuck around for 7 -8 years. In that time stretch there are dozens of films that were visual tour-de-forces. In my opinion, the above-mentioned films aren't in that upper eschelon. For what it's worth, here are some of the standouts: "Nightmare Alley" (Lee Garmes, DP), "Out of the Past" (Nicholas Musuraca, DP), "Border Incident" (John Alton, DP), "Cornered" (Harry Wild, DP), "Kiss Me Deadly" (Ernest Laszlo, DP), "99 River Street" (Franz Planer, DP), and "The Killing" (Lucien Ballard, DP). All (except "99 River Street") available on DVD. And I agree with you that there's a lot more involved in creating a good film than camera movement. That's another reason I really like the Noir genre - the good ones were SO well written. Ken
  12. Well, DP John Alton is the acknowledged king of film noir. Some of his work that has been released: "T-Men", "He Walked by Night", "Raw Deal", & "The Big Combo." Lesser known, but super talented: Woody Bredel - "The Killers" and "Unsuspected" ("Unsuspected" has not been released). Another great film that's available: Ernest Haller's "Mildred Pierce." TCM (the network) is a good source. Not to slam the previous post, but "The Maltese Falcon", "The Big Sleep", and "Double Indemnity" aren't highly regarded for their camerawork. "Touch of Evil" certainly is, though.
  13. Re-lamp your Kino with the same fluorescents that the Supermarket uses. The problem with Supermarket lighting is the direction it's coming from - straight down. You need some lower-angled flattering light for the talent. Throw some diffusion in front of your re-lamped Kino, and you're good to go. You may have to flag off some of the top-light falling on your talent though, if it's too strong.
  14. Alton's work in "The Spiritualist" is even more jaw-dropping. His lighting is really baroque - as amatter of fact, his work is the best thing about the movie. He was a very daring cinematographer - the stuff he did was almost outrageous - the images are just so strong! He truly was gifted - I hardly ever use the word "genius", but I would use it to describe John Alton's work. His day-for-night scenes in "The Spiritualist" are flat-out amazing. "The Big Combo" has some very nice work in it, but it's overall not his signature work. Check out "T-Men", "He Walked By Night", or the lesser known "Devils Doorway" (a Noir Western!!).
  15. Very focusable - low profile - nice output - can be run @ 575w as well. Must use Dedo proprietary bulbs. It's a lot lighter in weight than say the Arri 575 HMI Fresnel - maybe not quite as durable. I've owned mine about 3 months with no issues whatsoever. There's an expensive projector type accessory that can be used to project a tight beam - over $1,000- that would be a nice addition. I'm a happy owner.
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