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Phil Rhodes

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Everything posted by Phil Rhodes

  1. Could this be an issue of lamp placement? I have barely used real jolekos, but any lamp of that sort is subject to that sort of issue if the lamp isn't lined up correctly against the reflector and lens assembly.
  2. I'd happily say sure, but it's not going to be a very typical shoot and might not be a very useful experience as regards how the mainstream works. P
  3. You can do very acceptable work with the GH5 and Pocket 4K; it is not necessary to spend large amounts of money on camera gear anymore. I'd say that getting a dolly is a much better idea and a long-term purchase. As to crew, for less-expensive people look on mandy.com and put out a job ad; it's all I'd do. For more-expensive people with TV and film experience, go to the diary services. Right now those people will be very busy, but if it's just a short project it's easier. Eventually you'll start to get to know people you like. The process of managing a crew is not always straightforward, as in any situation where you have a disparate bunch of people dragged together for a job. The general standard of management technique in the film industry is very poor because most of the people who become managers of others have had literally no training to do it beyond observing other people. When a first assistant steps up to being a director of photography, he or she likely has no experience of managing more than one or two other people, and will suddenly become a head of department with authority over two other departments. Even on a smaller project, as a direct-entry DoP you will find yourself managing probably at least two, possibly four other people and if it's a shoot-direct project of your own invention then you're responsible for the whole thing. Even with the best, most experienced people, which you likely will not have, this is not easy. The biggest problem I see is frankly people not being managerial enough. Being in charge without making yourself unpopular is not easy, but the sad reality is you cannot be friends with people and manage them effectively. Sometimes a degree of sternness is required because time on set is very expensive, and that is not easy if you are not confident of your own position. Ideally you will have a first assistant director, a large part of whose job is to provide the required sternness, but if it's just you, well, it's up to you. This leads on to the second issue, which is crew's attitude to you. It is likely that at some point you will end up managing someone who is much more experienced than you. Film crew who consider themselves to be slumming it for the day can be either an absolute dream, or an absolute pain in the backside. What they should do is sidle up to you and mutter suggestions discreetly in your ear. What they should not do is gripe about you behind your back. What they will do is likely a combination of both and you need to have the strength of character to tell them what you want. If you're paying the bills, you're in charge. Even if you screw it up badly, it's still cheaper than film school, and if that's your approach to learning the ropes, so be it. The phrase I've heard used is "friendly, but not friends." It's not easy. As I say, it's often done horribly badly in film and TV, leading to significant and unnecessary friction, which is one reason once a crew is established as working well together, it tends to stick together. For what it's worth I'm in Essex and crewing up for a very simple one-day short soon, so if you find anyone who's looking for work... well, you're lucky, but please refer that person to me! Phil
  4. I found that in spades. On small stuff, often there's this sort of nervous energy and suppressed excitement because you're often surrounded by enthusiastic young people who are often very new and getting to do something they don't get to do very often. Sometimes, rarely, that can overflow into self-doubt and unhappiness, but rarely, so long as you don't overstretch people to the point where they conspicuously fail. But the bigger things get, the more is at stake. I don't know what it's like right now - I've barely been near a big set since pandemic - but certainly in the UK there was always a threatening undercurrent of looming unemployment that made people taciturn and hard to engage with. As a very occasional cameraman I (deliberately) never worked with what I would call a real grip or electrician because I don't think I ever met one I liked, or felt like having around all day, scowling balefully at everything and telling everyone that they didn't do it like this on insert-huge-job. Based on significantly less experience my observation is that this is much less the case in the USA where employment is more regular and people are in general more externally cheerful. Not to say people don't work very hard or aren't under an enormous amount of pressure to perform as standards are very high; I think Americans work some crazy hours sometimes, and not just in the film industry, but somehow it seems to come off as good pressure promoting esprit de corps and common purpose as opposed to just a miserable grind with constant uncomfortable awareness of one's own replaceability. The sad reality, though, is that working on film sets is nothing like what people see in the behind-the-scenes material and a lot of new entrants are really woken up to that rather rudely.
  5. Sometimes they quieten down a bit after they've run a few hours.
  6. I would suspect the way to do this would be to find a converter that'll give you dual link to 3-gigabit. You may need to be careful that the converter will handle RGB properly, and not helpfully subsample it for you. It may even be hard to tell, until your chromakeys start looking bad later on, or something. Then go from 3G to Thunderbolt using whatever off the shelf device you have.
  7. I find you almost have to have someone permanently assigned to it.
  8. I don't see any reason why not. Obviously the aluminium-coated reflectors will have much higher gain and directionality (which I suspect may be almost the same thing) than the white bounce in your photo, but sure. I've seen a few setups like that, with the light at the bottom of a stand, looking up, and the reflector at the top. Sometimes you need a black flag behind the reflector to catch any overspill so it doesn't become an unintended bounce off a ceiling, or something. And of course it works with sunlight, too, which is very powerful, although you do end up moving things around as the world turns.
  9. I have a set here about which I did write a review. In the end it's a reflector which operates, in the broadest possible sense, like any other reflector - albeit with vastly better beam quality control. I think the idea is that they're pretty accurately flat and with consistent surface finishes (which are aluminium coatings, so they're quite easy to scratch or abrade). The advantages of it are a little oblique, but nonetheless real. The most straightforward one is that you can put a light on the floor and skip it off a reflector on a comparatively lightweight stand, give or take windage. The more complicated, but pretty valid one is that you can effectively extend the optical path length and reduce falloff without requiring huge amounts of space. Also as you may have noticed the diffused spot created by the more diffuse reflective surfaces has a really nice beam quality somewhat like a photographic beauty dish but a little more controllable. So I think it has some upsides.
  10. Wow. That's... contrasty. I normalised the colour a little based on the assumption that the buildings are probably grey, and de-contrasted it a bit. Much as this is obviously pretty extreme, I think there's something to be said for a film stock that leans in this direction. I just wrote a piece about how modern film is so smooth and low-contrast that it actually doesn't have some of the characteristics that people want when they shoot film.
  11. Something I notice about this era is that everything is very lit. The interiors would have been pretty shadowy in reality, lit only by window light, and these days I suspect all this would probably look a lot more contrasty and backlit, and likely be more realistic for it. This all feels very studio bound and formal to me and I'm not a big fan of the shiny, hard-lit skin. It certainly creates some very pretty frames but it doesn't look like it's taking place in the past. I notice also the use of mixed colour temperature in the night interior. Was there a specific period people started doing that to suggest moonlight?
  12. Honestly, you can buy a 4-pin XLR connector and a little voltmeter for the cost of a cheeseburger on aliexpress.
  13. The problem is that just reading voltage is unlikely to give a very reliable indication under most circumstances, and for any chemistry other than lithium ion it may be close to useless. Battery fuel gauging is a complex subject, sadly.
  14. Not to break up the flow, but I'm just pleased there's actually a piece of real equipment called the Film-O-Clean. Sounds like the sort of thing Wile E. Coyote would purchase in pursuit of the Road Runner.
  15. Implement automatic exposure compensation for the varispeed! Also, hand crank input! Congrats on getting to this point. I'm somewhat aware of the sheer work that goes into it.
  16. Matthew, I think what you're overlooking here is that yes, it's an automated process done by machines, but someone has to design, build, maintain and configure those machines. The thickness of the sensitised coating on a typical photographic film is in the single-digit micrometres (that's at least an order of magnitude larger than the smallest feature on something like a modern semiconductor, not that it's anything even remotely like the same process or in any sense directly comparable). Variability in the thickness of the coating will immediately effect the optical performance of the film. Laying down a coating of an essentially gelatine-based liquid to the required tolerances is a very, very long way from trivial. One micrometre is a thousandth of a millimetre, significantly less than even quite high precision engineering tolerances, so even things like bearing wear in the mechanisms, tiny variations in pump pressures, fluid viscosities or ambient temperature and humidity can easily have ruinous effects. Modern colour negative has a lot of layers (several per colour, plus filters and separators) each of which has to be laid down with that sort of precision. Even to get to that point, you have to have made the plastic base to similar tolerances, and mixed the chemistry correctly. Tiny variations in the composition will affect sensitivity and thus colour balance; they'll have a staff of PhD-level organic chemists doing tests on the raw materials they're buying in and trimming the process at every stage to suit, plus hugely qualified and experienced engineering staff keeping the required precision going. All of this has to be done without introducing dirt or contamination in absolute darkness. Then you've got to cut it to the right width and punch the sprocket holes, both of which are dimensionally critical to image stability. No matter what anyone does, this is never going to be cheap. Notice China hasn't chased it.
  17. Northlight is a metal halide discharge lamp (or, now, an LED retrofit). I remember them looking very cool compared to room lighting of the time when I did some work for Filmlight in 2006-2007, though more with Baselight. Yes, they would absolutely fade over time, but I'm not sure incandescent has much liability there. Personally I like the idea of notch filtering a broadband source more than trying to mix it with LEDs. The amount of screwing around people have to do in order to get LEDs to be consistent enough is enormous. But maybe I'm thinking too much like a homebrewer, I don't know. P
  18. Sure, but you can mount the light somewhere away from the film. It'll necessarily be somewhat distant anyway, given the need for a variable RGB colour filtration box. That's how it was always done.
  19. Is there some reason people go for LEDs rather than incandescent, which I'd view as stabler and with better colour quality? I guess you can change colours quicker on the LEDs rather than a mechanical filter assembly.
  20. I may have overlooked a mention of this but does it have any sort of closing-contact output or open-collector output for automatically starting an external audio recorder? Probably a bit late to mention now!
  21. I think people are probably just using verbal shortcuts here; I'll be the first to accept that there are uses for things at all levels and I suspect, in extremis, many people would accept that. Certainly the market for less expensive gear is vastly larger than the one for the high end, and many manufacturers make a lot of money out of their simpler stuff.
  22. If you buy lenses with E mounts, the bulk of the adaptor will effectively be part of the lens. The optical design of the lens dictates that it is a certain distance from the sensor no matter what, and the adaptor is just a spacer. You might as well put the adaptor on the camera, and buy much more widely compatible lenses. I would never, ever spend significant money on lenses that wouldn't fit PL mounts (some, including the Xenons, have interchangeable mounts). Duclos has a mount kit for the Xenon FF which runs about $450 each as I recall, though you can get simple E to PL adaptors much cheaper than that. Yes, the CP.2 will cost more. Possibly they would hold their value better, but possibly not by much. And if you really don't care about ever renting them out, you can get whatever you want. I'd at least look at the DZOFilm stuff, maybe side by side with the Xenon. For personal projects, you don't need to impress someone with a name.
  23. I had a set on test for a bit, and I used them very briefly once at Canon's demo suite in Los Angeles on their new full-frame camera, so I can't pretend any huge expertise, but I've had them in my hands. It's a lot of lens for an A7s but I suspect any PL lens purchase will hold its value reasonably well. They are well made and will satisfy camera assistants. As I recall - and I could be wrong - the original design of the 35mm was significantly less good than the rest of the range, and there is an updated design. Double check this is true before asking awkward questions, but if it is true, then make sure you're getting the recent version of the 35mm. Or whichever focal length it is. The only consideration I'd have with this is whether you're throwing away a lot of autofocus capability, the usefulness of which will vary with what you're shooting. I honestly don't know how good it is on that camera, although presumably you're not going to drop five figures on glass to use it on one body, and compatible Sony lenses are presumably a lot less expensive so you could have both. I have seen DZOFilm used and they also seemed fine. Personally I think the choice might come down to going really inexpensive with those, middling with the Schneider, or stretching for the CP.2. I think the Zeiss might be the best long-term bet. Are you looking to use them, rent them, what? P
  24. I always think if people are going to use names like that, they ought to have a more middle-of-the-road offering, so you might have Master, Ultra, Supreme, Middling, Everyday and Mundane, for those moments where you're shooting a BBC drama and the entire lighting package is a 2K into the ceiling. (I'm being a bit unfair. In this modern Netflix-enabled world, they don't do that nearly so much anymore. I just have painful late-90s memories of various mindbendingly-dull whodunnits which always seemed to take place in a special version of contemporary England which had been twinned with 1955.)
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