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Stuart Brereton

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  1. I did this on a music video a couple of years ago. The director wanted a frontal pool of light, with definite falloff on the edges on the wall behind the singer. We cut a small circular hole in a piece of black wrap, and clipped it to the barn doors of an Arri 300w fresnel. The flood/spot controlled how hard the edges of the circle were. The talent wasn't moving very much, so we had the lamp on a stand right behind camera, but you could do the same thing with a smaller lamp attached directly to the camera if you needed to move around In another setup on the same video, we did a similar thing, but instead of the blackwrap gobo, we used a XS softbox with a grid in it, shifted the talent further away from the wall so we could use the falloff, and then moved the lamp around during the shot, so the shadows moved as well. Looked pretty cool when it was cut. You can see it here: https://www.stuartbrereton.com/pretty-girl
  2. And they are right to be. In the digital world, it has become incredibly easy to alter imagery. Back in the "baked in" REC709 days, there was only so much that could be done to the footage, so if you exposed or lit it a certain way, you could be reasonably sure that it would remain fairly close to that. With the advent of RAW and Log Gamma, combined with the inexpensive ubiquity of Resolve, it's become the wild west in post production. Editors can do a color pass, slapping on filters of dubious provenance. Colorists can completely change the look and feel of material. Producers have seen just how much flexibility there is, and now often actively discourage DPs from attending the grade. They like having the control taken away from the DP. A few years back, I had a producer specifically tell me to light flat, expose in the middle, and they would "create" the look of the film in post (I ignored him). I've even had directors who I trust lose their nerve in the grading suite and brighten up material that we had agreed should be dark, just to play it safe. With underexposure, my approach has always been to do most of the work in camera, and then finish the last 10-15% in post, but these days the temptation is to go the whole way in camera, and damn the consequences.
  3. Yes, that's what I meant. As Willis himself says "the lab can do very little to jerk it around...They can’t print it up, for example — and that’s exactly why I expose it that way." Willis used to rigorously test his stock and printing lights before shooting a movie, so he knew exactly where to place his exposures, and as he says, once the exposure/printing routine was established, he didn't deviate from it.
  4. By underexposing by one and a third stops, he's pushing all his shadow detail down onto the toe of the characteristic curve, where it's only just above black. Then he pushes by one stop. A one stop push is really only one stop in the highlights, it's less in the shadows, so that may be what he means when he says it's still half a stop under even after the push, rather than one third. The end result is a slightly thin negative, with shadows that are almost impossible to print up. A thin neg has a different look to "normally" exposed one, which he evidently liked. Ultimately, it's about creating a look, and maintaining control over how the neg is printed.
  5. It will be fine. Keep it refrigerated, but that's standard practice anyway.
  6. Unless the car is a convertible, high sunlight won't be much of an issue. If it's reaching into the car at all, it will mostly be arms and legs that it hits. You can deal with that with 4x4 frames easy enough. If you're going to bounce some fill in, rather than light it, I always think that keeping the bounce low looks more realistic, as if it was coming back off the road. Some white sheets inside the car can also help to lift the overall level, but can also make it look very flat if you over do it. As far as lighting for mood goes, you're pretty much tied to whatever the exterior conditions are. You could have it low key and moody in the car while it's full sun outside, but it might look a little strange.
  7. You're describing the action there, not the concepts. The central idea of this movie, time inversion, is never adequately or consistently explained. Without being able to understand that, and how it relates to those action sequences, the movie is really just a James Bond clone, without the fun.
  8. If shooting dialogue, I always try to keep cars backlit, whether they are moving or not, and then fill with a large bounce (if they are not moving). Backlit meaning downstage from camera, rather than the actual back of the car. If you're shooting wider shots of the entire car then use whatever angle gets you the best reflections.
  9. A movie that is challenging because it presents complex ideas and concepts is fine by me, but a movie that is incomprehensible because it doesn't adequately explain those concepts and ideas is a failure.
  10. Or maybe the filmmakers were just trying so hard to be clever that they forgot to be comprehensible. If you don't intend for your audience to understand the dialogue, why write it in the first place? Opinions will obviously vary, but personally, I don't want to have to watch a film seven times before I understand it.
  11. Gordon Willis was an extraordinarily precise DP who used under exposure as a tool, not as a crutch. Worlds apart from the kind of work we’re discussing.
  12. If I wanted to be uncharitable, I'd say it's because they don't know how to light, so they use underexposure as a crutch. If enough people do it, it becomes a look in its own right, and its origins as a failure of technique get forgotten.
  13. Hasselblads are not cheap. A 500c with a film back and an 80mm lens can easily cost well over $1000
  14. I agree. As cameras have become more and more sensitive, there has been an increasing tendency to not light, and to let practical lamps do the majority of the work. This can sometimes make things look flat because practicals are not as controllable, and so a lot of DPs resort to underexposure as a way of creating mood where there is little contrast.
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