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David Mullen ASC

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Everything posted by David Mullen ASC

  1. I believe this was a scene where I typically switch from the Hollywood Black Magic to a Black Diffusion/FX because of the bright background behind the actor. This was either the #1/2 or #1, I usually try both to gauge the softness. It was probably a #1 because I wasn't wide-open, but maybe it was a #1/2!
  2. I have a Sony A6400 and A6500 for stills, one is converted to infrared. I shoot raw and jpeg and work with the raw files so the picture profile isn't that important, I left the color one on Neutral I think. Each profile has individual adjustments for contrast, saturation, and sharpness. it all depends on if you plan on color-correcting in post.
  3. #1/2 Black Diffusion/FX was always the lightest they made, but these days, Tiffen has been making other versions/strengths but perhaps on special order. The #1/2 is very light. No, don't use the Schneider Hollywood Black Magic for halation but no softening, it's a combo filter of a #1/8 Black Frost (for halation) and whatever degree of HD Classic Soft you choose (for softening.) I'd just use the Black Frost or some similar mist filter.
  4. Probably, I'm sure he didn't compose and record a long version just for the heck of it unless it was done specifically for the soundtrack or to be used in end titles -- the love theme for "Superman: The Movie" for example, on the soundtrack, was used in the end credits after the end title music ended, because there were 10 minutes of end credits! The soundtrack piece titled "Ilia's Theme" on the "Star Trek: The Motion Picture Soundtrack" was only used for the curtain music before the main titles in some theaters. Coppola in particular is well-known for re-editing his movies so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that after the scoring session, he kept fiddling with the cut. Gordon Willis complained that while he was trying to color-correct "Godfather Part II" at Technicolor so that they could get started on making the matrices for dye transfer printing, Coppola kept making changes to the negative cut (which of course means changing the sound cut and maybe remixing).
  5. Often after the scoring session, there is additional editing, or there is editing after a preview screening, so the music has to be edited. The truck chase music on the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" CD doesn't quite match the movie. Also, sometimes alternate takes are selected for the album than for the movie. I listened to the "Alien" soundtrack for years but it wasn't until the last CD version was released that it actually matches the takes used in the movie. I remember on the album for "Star Trek 2", a big overly dramatic cue when Scotty shows up with his dead nephew in his arms and the movie opted to go silent at that point, which was probably wise.
  6. I think a 1/8 Black Frost is lighter than a 1/8 Pearlescent... For me, if you want halation with the least amount of softening, you have to use the lightest mist filter (1/8 White Frost, etc.) and more overexposure in the area you want to halate. Black Diffusion/FX or Digital Diffusion/FX (which just has the black dots removed) are the most subtle softening with least halation, followed by something like a Radiant Soft or a Mitchell (I tend to avoid Mitchells because I think they just make things look blurred.) Followed by an HD Classic Soft, which does create a blurred halation, just not a misty halation.
  7. Yes, ideally I'd carry the Hollywood Black Magic line, the Black Frost line, and the HD Classic Soft line to have the ultimate control -- I sort of do that now except that I carry a set of Black Diffusion/FX instead of HD Classic Soft.
  8. I generally lit to a f/2.8 at ISO 500. Though because when the club opened to a show and the director wanted the room to look dark, I ended up closer to an f/4 here.
  9. I just set the fill by eye and by taking digital stills. Since the key on the faces was fairly frontal, only a minimal amount of fill was needed since the key lit both eyes.
  10. The thing to keep in mind that practical lighting inside a room, or outside at night -- in reality -- is not always soft, so the fact that we tend to opt for a soft key light is often no more realistic than if we opted for a hard light. But softer lighting tends not to call attention as much as to where it is coming from, especially if it is very soft and rather dim, then it feels like ambient bounce in the space. There are many sources of light in a room at night that can be hard -- a bare light bulb, track lighting, a stage spot light, a distant streetlamp coming through a window, etc. Even a candle produces a hard light. I think what makes a hard light look more stylized is that is often is just hitting the actor's face, in reality we move through hard sources and might end up partly in and out of one.
  11. Yes, the floor gets clipped at this kick angle to the backlight, but it would have been clipped on film too. At some point, even film burns out to white, I don't think one has to always avoid that, but it is true that with the Alexa, the burn-out effect is more graceful and organic than with many other cameras, which is why I tend not to worry about it unless it is right next to the actors' heads and looks distracting. Sunlight effects on curtain sheers, for example -- I tend to look carefully at the degree of clipping when they are near the actors, I don't want that to look too ugly. But a hot spot on a floor, I tend to let that go unless it looks weirdly digital.
  12. The ceiling was high enough that we usually never saw it but in the final episode when it opens as a club, we start at the back of the stage looking out and then Steadicam down a ramp into the audience, so we see the ceiling. To hide the Litemats, which were gelled Steel Blue for this scene, we put a black teaser behind a row of tungsten lights (Pepper 300's?) hitting the performers. You've reminded me that at the start of the push in on the room in the daytime, I had to have the Steadicam stay a little high because as it passed under the circular arch, it just barely misses seeing the Litemats in the ceiling -- a few takes we did see them momentarily and I had planned on asking that they be painted out in VFX. Either that or I would have zoomed slightly into the frame to lose them, they were just skirting the top edge briefly.
  13. Just wanted to show everyone a scene in Season 3 of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" in the Button Club set. I asked the production designer to add a small window to the design so I could establish a day and night look. Since the space had been a factory floor at some point, he added an exhaust fan to the wall that I could light through. I had a top light from three, sometimes four Litemat 4's in a row that for day scenes I set to around 4300K so I could let the tungsten in the room look warmer. This scene was played mostly in one long take that pushed in from wide to close to the stage, then pulled back with Joel walking up to Mei, then came around to a profile 2-shot angle and then ended up on Joel after she walks out. We later did a single on Joel and a single on Mei. So you can see the issues I have, basically most of the lighting has to be in the wide shot -- we see almost 270 degrees of the room. At best, I had a handheld Litemat 1 for an eyelight that moved with the Steadicam. 10K Molebeam for the sunlight. Behind the curtain on stage, I had a second hot slash of light from a Leko and I hid a tube on the ceiling to light the guys on the ladder. There's no window on the stage wall but being a theater stage, I figured I could add almost any lighting effect I wanted. ARRI Alexa Mini, 24mm Primo, #1/4 Hollywood Black Magic filter.
  14. Whether or not a camera is ISO invariant, giving the sensor less exposure and then compensating by adding gain / brightening in post will lead to noise. It's just that some cameras at higher ISOs will add more and more noise reduction to compensate.
  15. Classic glamour lighting in a glamorous space -- but it can be motivated by the fact that she's sitting under an overhead lampshade, and a casino is a somewhat theatrically-lit space. And she is a somewhat theatrical character. If he had met her in a gas station convenience store, this sort of lighting would seem out of place.
  16. It's an effect that you can see when you shoot, however, it is not absolute -- if a long-lens close-up is tight enough and sharp/contrasty, then it does not necessarily feel distanced. But for medium shots, you do sense whether the camera was closer or farther away even though the subject size might be the same.
  17. The main thing is to find an approach, whatever it is, and be consistent so that it gets established as part of the grammar of the storytelling, whatever you end up doing. It's the old saying "if it happens twice, it's a coincidence; if it happens three time, it is a motif". The general thought these days is that being closer physically with the camera (meaning wider-angle lenses) helps create a feeling of presence, that the audience feels closer to the actor. But you may or may not want to be too distorting with the lenses. As for their POV's, some filmmakers would go over-the-shoulder of the actor (so not a true POV) to again make the audience feel that they are on a journey with the main character, while other directors would shoot true POV's (Hitchcock for example). But either way, it's the intercutting of POV with reaction shots of the main character that establish that the story is from their perspective, and avoiding going too often to objective angles or cutting to scenes without the main character.
  18. I asked this same question to Allen Daviau, ASC before I shot my second feature and he said “tell the production to find a new location that can be lit” — so I did and it worked. Unless you can arm a light safely from the floor above to point back in, you’re stuck using available window light for the wide shots where the window is in the frame. Maybe that will look great if it works for your schedule.
  19. Black flags for negative fill, cutting off weird spots of sun on the actors, etc. But with only three people, you don't have much ability to rig & support grip items safely. Maybe a 4x4 diffusion could be handy for a close-up to soften the sun.
  20. If you don't have any power, then how would you use lights - batteries? Then how are you going to recharge the batteries? Or the camera batteries? Or download the footage? Do you go to a place every night with electricity? Perhaps one LED unit with batteries that you can charge at night, otherwise you're going to have to rely on white cards, bounce cloth + available light.
  21. Could this be a problem with the scanner / telecine? It's odd to see the whole frame plus part of the adjacent frames and yet the white corners match the scan area, not the camera frame.
  22. It's just a lap dissolve, not a matte. It could have been done in an optical printer using dupes (most likely) or it could have involved an A-B roll cut negative and an allowable lab length dissolve. However, most studios demand a single-strand negative and often A-B roll dissolves have a slight exposure bump. "E.T." on the other hand was A-B roll cut and there is a series of lap dissolves in the opening scene.
  23. I think the main issue with the greenscreen is if you see head-to-toe so need to key the feet and preserve the shadow of the person on the ground. This may mean a greenscreen carpet or floor to walk on plus the greenscreen ahead. The VFX person may be OK with just having a plate with the person walking, no greenscreen, and the plate of the same but empty background because rather than do an overall lap dissolve, you could isolate a window around the person (like an oval "split-screen" or a vertical strip) so that what little landscape is around the person in their plate might change a little but the overall landscape comes from the empty plate. But the empty plate has to be shot right after the plate with the person, in fact, just keep the camera running and have the person run out of the shot after you have enough of them walking away.
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