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David Mullen ASC

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Everything posted by David Mullen ASC

  1. On stage, the trick is to recreate all the ambience coming into the room from the window, though a blast of bright sunlight tends to do most of that - but it helps to have soft light coming in from all edges of the window, particularly the sides and from above. Skypanels are good for that and you can make them bluer than the tungsten sun to recreate the coldness of skylight. You can do whatever you want inside -- if needed -- that is soft as long as it is very dim. It should be more of an "as needed" element to hold detail in the dark areas. It looks like the room in this reference had dark walls, for example. If you have light-toned walls, you won't need as much light in the room.
  2. If my calculations are correct, 6K at 30' at full flood is about 500 fc. Light loss for Full Grid Cloth is about 2 1/2 stops, so let's say you end up with 80 foot-candles. So maybe you lower your diffused 6K to about 25' high to get 100 fc. So for a 10m long soft light, let's say separated by 10m to the next one (which will cause some dark areas) you'd need 15 of them in a row in one direction and five in the other to cover that 300mm x 50mm field -- that's 75 cranes! So you have to go higher and less diffused to reduce that number. And maybe you don't need the edges so well light so more like 13 x 3, more like 40 cranes? Still seems like a lot. I'd consider a row on one side of hard HMI's for more output and shoot in profile into backlight, and have a second row on the fill side with much dimmer light. These HMI's have to be flicker-free because with short shutter angles, you run the risk of triggering the camera and getting in sync with the low part of the sine wave of pulsing light, and getting less exposure.
  3. 22 degree shutter angle is rather extreme -- "Saving Private Ryan", "Gladiator", etc. all used a 45-degree shutter angle and that's pretty heavy, plus a 2-stop light-loss. If you are setting the Alexa to 400 ISO, you'd be working at an effective 100 ISO, at T4 -- which is a ton of light, more than what you're describing, which is essentially a 6K through full grid cloth. And that's for a 45-degree shutter angle, half of that again would mean a 3-stop loss, aka 50 ISO. At T4. For a football stadium. At that point, you'd need Muscos or BeBee Night Lights, all hard. Or a number of 100K Soft Suns, etc. The old rule is 100 foot-candles for f/2.8 at 100 ASA (24 fps / 180 degree shutter). So at T4, you'd need 200 foot-candles at 40' away for 45-degrees and 400 foot-candles for 22-degrees. Now since you want things one-stop underexposed, you can cut that in half but that's still a lot of light.
  4. A Litemat 4 or 8 is very light, if you could put a few screws into the ceiling, it would stay up there but also one wall spreader could easily take that weight. You'd have a cable coming down along one wall to dress out, maybe paper tape it and paint it to match the walls.
  5. I've been enjoying the anamorphic photography and the show in general. The story build-up has been slow though.
  6. You can tell they need to be under key exposure if you just take your reference frames there and turn them b&w and look at the tonality. If a Caucasian face is in Zone 6 or 7 in white light, under a deep color, it's more like Zone 4 or 5.
  7. I'd give yourself the two days, you can always have a short second day if you're ahead. Think of it this way -- it's a ten page scene either way, so if you're going to shoot a master, it's going to cover 10 pages of script on the first shooting day even if you have coverage spilling into the second day. Plus rehearsal and blocking for a 10 page scene can take many hours, unless it all takes place around a dinner table. Now if the amount of coverage is light, then I'd go for getting the 10 page scene done in one day. I shot a 12 page scene on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" -- after a few hours of blocking and then lighting, because the scene moves from the living room to the kitchen to a bedroom to another bedroom and in the hallway connecting them, we shot it as one single Steadicam master but had a camera waiting in the kitchen and in the bedroom to pick up those sections. So there were three angles covered at the same time. Once everyone landed in the tiny hallway (three people), we shot a three pieces of coverage. So there weren't a lot of set-ups but running a 12-page scene a dozen times took up most of the day so there wasn't much time for the last pieces.
  8. Slight overexposure helps tighten grain structure (less of an issue with 200T over 500T) and improves contrast. It helps all negative stocks, it just helps the faster ones more. When I can, for example, I rate 500T at 320 ASA (2/3-stop over) and I rate 200T at 160 ASA (1/3-stop over). The one issue to keep in mind is metering -- this is based on lighting the subject with close to white light, a heavily colored light shouldn't be overexposed, if anything, a face lit with a deep red or blue gel should be underexposed at least a stop to retain that color effect. So I'd shoot a person holding a grey scale with the ASA rating you've chosen (1/3 or 2/3-stop slower) under flat, frontal white light as a frame of reference.
  9. If you shoot the whole 400' roll at 75 fps, that would last about 3 1/2 minutes (makes sense, 75 fps is 3X faster than 25 fps...) In 16mm, you get 40 frames for every foot.
  10. I think it's just lighting and the stock, perhaps developed to a higher gamma. I watched it a few years ago before I began the pilot for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" -- took some ideas like cutaways to strange people watching the stand-up act, some asleep, etc. And of course the bright hot spotlight in a dark room. B&W emulsions are prone to some halation due to the type of anti-halation backing they use so I don't know if filters were necessary though of course the 1970's was a big era for filtering, but on color stocks.
  11. Looks great! Funny thing is that I shot my first feature in 1992 with a donated Leonetti UltraCam plus K35 lenses and Agfa film stock. At the time, these choices were all budgetary, today it would be for a look!
  12. The Antique Suede is more yellow-gold than a coral, 81EF, etc. filter. It should be marked though. Maybe it was cut down from a larger size.
  13. Lots and lots of reasons why a video documentary might looks sharper than a feature film, but one culprit is electronic sharpening / edge enhancement.
  14. 23 years? The thing is that reels are deceptive so if you're asking how you are going to get a sense of the depth and breadth of someone's knowledge, you have to meet with them and talk to them. At some point, what age and experience gives you is less about pure image-making and more about art creation in general. Sure, I suppose there are visual cliches that a beginner might have on their reel that an experienced person wouldn't be interested in anymore but I'm not sure that's a clear way to tell experience. If you see a massive lighting job in a reel, odds are higher that the person is more experienced just because it's hard to get those sorts of opportunities in the beginning. It's hard to say what separates the midrange from the high-end... the top cinematographers have reached a point in their careers where they can be choosier, they have better access to tools they need, and they are being hired (sometimes) to some degree to repeat their best work, whereas a midrange cinematographer, who may be just as talented, is more often going from job to job with radically different budgets and schedules, and being asked to copy (to some extent) the work of the top cinematographers rather than be allowed to pursue their own artistic passions. So their work seems more varied in quality and less consistent. And with the shorter schedules of lower-budgeted work, a midrange cinematographer is going to be working more often with a wider range of directors. However, there are cinematographers in every budget category that are more artistically distinctive than others and less chameleon-like.
  15. They have a killer shot on their reel from 1999? 😉
  16. Yes. He probably lit to f/11 and used ND filters on the smaller sensor cameras so that the lighting was the same but he could open up the iris to match depth of field. Or instead of ND filters, one could change the frame rate / shutter time.
  17. Not sure if there's much connection between dynamic lighting, which tends to be more of a live theatrical stage effect, and television, though there is some intersection. You could also say that when Storaro moves a big light in the shot, like the Venetian blinds scene in "The Conformist" perhaps that's an example of dynamic lighting. But it's not a very well-defined term and it's not used much in filmmaking, so I'd be hesitant to wrap a whole thesis around it. First of all, if the thesis has to involve cinematography for television as opposed to feature filmmaking, you have to decide that that means, though in practical reality, there isn't much difference other than you might shoot 10 to 20 hours of story for a series as opposed to a 2-hour movie.
  18. Certainly it's not as simple as getting twice as much work done with two cameras instead of one because it takes more time to set up two cameras and it takes more time to light (well) for two cameras, so some time savings from gaining an extra set-up are taken away. Plus that's an extra camera crew, maybe an extra dolly, extra dolly grip, etc. And I'm sure the sound recordist would say that two cameras can make their job harder as well, they may even need two boom operators in some cases, etc.
  19. So is the problem predictability or unpredictability??? Seems like randomness isn't really a solution to storytelling.
  20. I remember a story about Kurosawa and his writing partners working on a script about the greatest swordsmen in Japanese history -- after putting it all together, Kurosawa looked at it and said "a movie can't be nothing more than a string of climaxes" and threw it out. They sat down and then wrote "Seven Samurai", which had one master swordsman character based on their research for the previous script. Today, I think a lot of big-budget action movies literally are what Kurosawa warned against, a string of climaxes.
  21. Sometimes a viewer enjoys a predictable situation, they aren't always looking for the unexpected -- look at "Singin' In The Rain", Gene Kelly meets Debbie Reynolds and she doesn't get along with him, is annoyed by him, etc. We all know how this will end up but it is still enjoyable to watch the journey. You could say in every bank robbery heist film when "things don't go according to plan" is a predictable development, it would be less expected for the plan to go without a hitch but then, where would the tension come from? With genre films in particular, the audiences expect certain things to happen, the trick it to make it fresh without subverting the enjoyment of seeing some things play out as anticipated.
  22. I think that term refers to lights that move and even change colors.
  23. Though we have a B-camera and crew, we do so many complex, revolving Steadicam sequences in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", we often can't use a second camera angle... more and more, we've been having the character leave the room at the end of the Steadicam portion and enter another room where B-camera is waiting for them rather than cut the action. This season we did one magic hour walk-and-talk sequence outside at a hotel on the water in Miami and we used four cameras. But I think we shoot maybe 70-80% of the show with one camera. Multiple cameras often forces you into a longer-lensed style and tighter shots, whereas our show's style is a moving wider-angle view following the actors in medium size, and often the moves are S-shaped or Figure-8's. Since we don't shoot close-ups on the show, it's hard for a B-camera to frame out the A-camera.
  24. It's funny but when I started shooting features in 1992 -- in 35mm film -- it was having more than one camera that was the luxury!
  25. In theory if a film frame resolves 4K of actual detail, it would have to be scanned at 8K to avoid aliasing according to Nyquist. But the reality is that most film frames resolve less detail and a lot of the time, that detail isn’t prone to aliasing. I think scanning at 6K for a 4K finish would probably be optimum in most cases.
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