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Stuart Brereton

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Everything posted by Stuart Brereton

  1. Shooting things full wide with focus at infinity does not guarantee that everything will be sharp. Depending on your stop, all it will mean is that things are acceptably sharp, depending on how closely you look. So, on the nice grade 1 monitor at the telecine facility everything looked great, but then you TK'd to miniDV losing a lot of resolution. If you then start to examine your footage in close up, you'll notice that not everything is sharp. If you focus at infinity then only distant objects are truly sharp, but miniDV doesn't have the resolution to properly render distant objects. A better test would have been to shoot both near and far objects, at a variety of stops, and then TK to DigiBeta
  2. A few years ago, when I was a 2nd AC, I worked with a DP named Giles Nuttgens (Swimfan, Battlefield Earth) on a British TV series. He would very rarely use fill on interiors, his rationale being (I think) that there would be enough bounce from the keylight off the interior walls to fill in. Whether he was right, I don't know, as I never saw the program, but even with the film stocks then, which were 7293 & 7298 or possibly 7296, that was his way of working.
  3. I don't think that DVcam is likely to disappear anytime soon. It's well established and widely used. If it was me though, I'd keep an archive copy of my film as a data file on a DVD, and a Digibeta copy for doing dubs Stuart
  4. hi, I used a Polecam system for the first time a few weeks ago. We used a Toshiba 3 chip camera recording into a DV-Cam deck. Once you know where all the cables are supposed to go it takes about 15-20 minutes to set up. The remote head has variable pan and tilt speeds and is controlled by a joystick lever that is velcroed on to the jib arm. I believe that it can be slung from a harness worn on the operators body. I used the tripod support. I would definitely NOT want to try using the body harness - This thing is heavy! I found that after about 30 minutes of use, i was able to execute fairly simple shots with a combination of pans,tilts and crane moves. I would say that about 30% of what i shot was usuable. This was fine for what we were doing ( a performance) as we were shooting it 10-12 times from all angles anyway. If you see yourselves using it a lot then get an operator who knows the kit. An experienced PoleCam op will be getting you good footage all the time, not just 30% like me :-) One last thing, if you are using it outside, it does not like wind AT ALL. We took it out into (admittedly) quite strong winds and it was impossible to control. The stronger gusts had me worried that the carbon fibre poles would actually break. Hope this helps, Stuart
  5. This adapter was talked about on the Cinematography Mailing list recently. no-one knew if it worked or not, but there was some concern that the interior of the adaptor was painted metallic red, rather than matt black. Any stray light bouncing around in there is going to do nasty things to your image. Also slightly worrying was the assertion that 'losing 1-2 stops of light is by no means significant...' well, maybe not if you're shooting Day Exteriors, but what about Night shoots? I would save your money for the Micro 35. Stuart
  6. This sounds like an interesting combo. I'll give it a try next time I'm doing a Sodium look. Stuart
  7. Hi, We have both High and Low pressure sodium streetlights in the UK, although the low pressure types are starting to be replaced by high pressure. The low pressure lamps have a highly saturated yellow/orange look. The high pressure has a pink/orange colour. I found Paul Camerons' gel pack a good match for the High pressure lamps. Stuart
  8. hi, Sodium Vapour lamps don't give out much light (at least, not the streetlights in the UK) Last time I tried to meter them I had to go to 2000asa just to get a reading at all. So it shouldn't be hard to overpower them with tungsten. A nice gel combo for a sodium look with Tungsten is Lee Apricot 147 and Rosco Cal Colour Yellow 15. This is what Paul Cameron used on Gone in 60 Seconds. I've tried it, and it matches Sodium exactly. Stuart ....just remembered, there is a difference in colour between High pressure and low pressure sodium vapour. that gel combo is for high pressure...
  9. Hi, 1000asa is only a 1 1/3 stop more sensitive than 320asa, a significant but not huge difference. Your Amsterdam street may have looked great wide open, but I'll bet it was under-exposed. Why? Because night exteriors generally are - that's what makes them night. A mixture of highlights and deep shadow. If you were exposing for the streetlights, which if I remember usually read T1.4 @ 2000asa(!), or the ambient light, then (assuming this was possible) the street would be lit up like broad daylight! You were taking advantage of videos' underexposure latitude to get a very low light shot, in effect, rating your 320asa camera at 1000asa, just like you might do with film. That doesn't change the fact that it is still 320asa Stuart
  10. Phil, Here is a digital still of a room taken at T2 1/50 sec 200asa. The only illumination in the room was from the two lamps you can see in the picture and an overhead 60w bulb. Incident readings varied around the room but averaged T1.4 (1 stop under).A Reflected reading of the lamp on the left gave a reading of T5.6 (3 stops over). The room is not lit, just illuminated, but you could shoot in there if you had to. Relax, and enjoy yourself :-) Stuart
  11. Phil, T1.8 is nothing to be worried about. You said you have Zeiss Superspeeds, yeah? They open up to T1.3 so you have the speed to cope. If I was lighting this night scene, then i would probably shoot at a T2 - T2.8 split. That gives you nice soft backgrounds without being ridiculously out of focus. That's the way I like Night interiors. I also like night interiors to be under exposed at key,in this case T1.8 - T2. That way, your shadows fall off nicely into black, your actors faces are lit, but not overly so, and your highlights are coming from your practicals. If you are worried about getting enough stop from your 'kinda flos' then don't use them. get some small tungsten units in and use them to augment the practicals. A 60w lightbulb will give you T1.4 on 200ASA film at about 5 feet so you will have no problem with proper movie lights! I know you've a lot of experience with video, so just think about it the same way. If tape has a nominal sensitivity of 320asa, then just light the same way as you would for tape, but 1/3 of a stop brighter for 200asa film. Stuart
  12. Hi, You don't say whether it's a day or night interior, but I can't see you having problems either way. Remember, the daylight stock you tested will have had an ASA of 64 with the blue filter. 1/4 second at T3.5 on 64 ASA is equvalent to T1.8 at 1/50 on 200ASA - not a great stop, but you could shoot with it.... As a night interior you can motivate your sources with table lamps or whatever, then boost your light levels up with some small lamps 300w - 650w. My Arri 300w's meter at a healthy T2.8 at 6ft even with some diffusion on the barndoors. If you select T2.8 as a shooting stop, then light to slightly under that, say T2, to maintain that night interior look, I think you'll be surprised at how little light you need. Hope this helps... Stuart
  13. I don't know if i agree with this, Phil. I know a number of Documentary Cameramen who own their own kit, and who are certainly not small time. If you are spending £15k + on hiring kit every year, it makes sense to buy it instead. The kit gets paid off, and all of your £700 (or whatever) daily rate goes in your pocket. Sure, there are considerations like upkeep, servicing and insurance, and of course, you have to keep working, but overall ownership has big financial rewards. I've never met a Producer that divided Camerapeople into big-time/small-time on the basis of whether they owned kit or not. Stuart
  14. Hi, all good advice so far. A common practice on low budget shoots is to call the Slate and Take No.s for sound before the camera starts rolling, then just clap the sticks after the camera hits speed. On a higher budget production, you would wait for Sound and Camera Speed and then just call the numbers then clap the sticks. A lot of new AC's whip the board out of shot so fast after the clap that the editor can't read it - relax, take your time (within reason). Same goes for End-boards. It's only the clap that's important for Camera, so don't panic trying to get the numbers out in a hurry.... "Slate 293, take 8, pickup, A and B Cameras, On the End........!!!!!". relax....breathe.... The one thing that i got shouted at for, and which now annoys me is, a slate in frame before it is needed or asked for. wait until you're asked to put the board in, then make sure you're close enough, and that there is some light on the numbers. Stuart
  15. Hi, Why not shoot your actor real-time at sunrise, but flag the sun off his face. You could then use a moving source, say, a 2k with Full CTO as your artificial Sun. Doing it this way would mean that you have sunlight on the landscape behind him, but your artificial Sunrise could happen as fast as you want. I think as long as the audience can see the light moving on his face, you'll sell the gag. It's obviously not a 'real' situation anyway. Stuart
  16. I would have to say that lighting a blue or green screen hotter than your keylight is the wrong way to go. First, it increases the spill onto your actors, and second, overexposing the screen will reduce its' saturation, which you definitely don't want. Underexposing the screen by 1 stop reduces spill considerably, and maintains a good colour saturation. A visit to the cinematography.net archives will give you a huge amount of info on Blue/Greenscreen work. Stuart
  17. Hi, I 've done some bluescreen work with the XL2 fairly recently. Obviously DV compression is an issue, but the editor had no problems with keying it. The screen was lit with tungsten lamps with Full CTB to about 1 1/2 stops under key. Key light was high, soft and frontal. The was also a soft backlight, although this was a part of the look we wanted, rather than an attempt to remove spill. It is possible to get a good green or blue key on Mini DV, it's just that DV's compression makes having a correctly and evenly exposed screen essential. Stuart
  18. Hi, Light the blue/green screen as evenly as possible. Hotspots and shadows will make it more difficult to key. Some people like to add blue or green gels to their lamps to help with colour saturation of the background. Meter the background carefully - it should not read higher than your keylight, in fact 1 or 2 stops less can help minimise spill. Most modern chromakey software doesn't require you to use backlight to remove spill, so don't use it unless it is part of the look you want. There is a ton of info regarding chromakey work on the CML website. Stuart
  19. >Because it occupies a six-figure camera making no money? That's why they get you to come in when the camera isn't busy. When I was an assistant, it was common practice to head down to Panavision or Sammy's to bone up on anything you weren't sure about. After all, there is a first time for everyone with new kit. Stuart
  20. Daniel, I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'jeapordised'. If you mean Jeopardised, then Cinema in no way jeopardises TV. In fact, cinema enriches and informs TV production. Cinema does not 'continue to use more and more different ratios'. The standard aspect ratios in Cinema are 1.66:1, 1.85:1 and 'Scope. These have been in existence for many years and are the subject of various SMPTE standards. Both 1.66:1 and 1.85:1 are compatible with 16x9 televisions TV Standards (at least in the UK) WILL specify a 16x9 aspect ratio. This is part of the UK and EU commitment to Digital Television Finally, to my knowledge, no-one makes a 2.39:1 Television. Stuart
  21. How exactly does a Cinema 2.39:1 aspect ratio jeopardise TV production? In a few years all TV production will be 16x9. This format will accommodate 1.85:1 with no difficulty. That will mean that only Films originated in the 2.39:1 ratio will have black bars top and bottom of your TV. Is this minor annoyance a sufficiently good reason to remove the artistic scope of the 2.39 frame from the filmmakers toolkit? Stuart
  22. [What I'm saying is cinema should conform to TV standards, since as TV is the main visual source.QUOTE] TV is the main visual source of what? News, Gameshows and Reality TV? Should Cinema really be forced to use a 4:3 frame (or any other ratio) simply because 'Jeopardy' or 'Big Brother' does? If the shape of the frame truly makes no difference to you, then perhaps a Cinematography forum is the wrong place for you to spend your time.
  23. I worked as an assistant for a few years, working under some really talented guys and learned a lot. I gave up assisting in the end because I wanting to be shooting stuff. It was the right decision, but sometimes I wonder how much more I would know if I had worked my way up through the ranks. That's why forums like this are so useful - ideas and advice being freely offered... Stuart
  24. While it's true that a lot of DP's served under other Cameramen, they were almost certainly working as AC's or Operators, rather than observing as some sort of Apprentice. Assisting is a really good way to learn your craft. If you're lucky, you will get to work with a wide range of talented DP's, and you will learn a lot. You just have to remember that you are there to do a job as well as learn. That path doesn't suit everyone. A good friend of mine who shoots commercials, was never an assistant, and quite freely admits he would have been terrible at it. Stuart
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