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Zahi Farah

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About Zahi Farah

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  • Occupation
    Director
  • Location
    Beirut, Lebanon
  • Specialties
    Writing/Directing

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  • Website URL
    http://www.zahifarah.com
  1. David, Bruce, thanks for taking the time to answering my concerns. In a nutshell, I shouldn't obsess over the absolute accuracy of my meter as long as it's somewhat accurate -- up to 2/10ths of a stop -- and the best way to make sure of that is by comparing it to other light meters. Sounds about right?
  2. Hello everyone, As I consider buying my first light meter and delve deeper into the world of cinematography, there are a few questions I can't seem to find (satisfying) answers for, at least online. I'd really appreciate any help in these matters. Question 1 Why is it so important to define a camera's true native ISO. Not the marketed one but the actual real one. I've learned how to do it it but I still don't understand why I'd do it. As an example (hypothetical), let's say I'm using an Alexa and I come to the conclusion that its real ISO is 400 instead of the proclaimed 800. What am I supposed to do with that? Should I question the way the stops are supposedly distributed between shadows and highlights? Supposedly at ISO800 it's -7/+7 stops of range, did that range now move to 400? Like what's happening here? Also, does it differ from camera to camera, even if it's the same model? Or can I trust the results from tests done from people I know I trust; whether online or otherwise, for that specific model? I understand we must test, test and test. As a novice I can assure you this notion is drilled into our minds by almost every self respecting cinematographer, gaffer, DIT etc. And I am thankful for it. However can't we trust these manufacturers at least a little bit? Question 2 I took a cinematography workshop not too long ago, my first, and was introduced to light meters and how useful they are. Now that I'm about to work on my first couple of projects I can't imagine myself not using one. However. During that workshop several people had the same light meter (mostly Sekonic 858) and, surprise, not all readings were the same. From the same position on the same spot, whether reading incident light or spotting, people were getting (slightly to not-so-slightly) different readings. So here's my question, how can I tell if I can trust my light meter? I live in a country where most people don't use light meters and we don't have any kind of support to send them off to calibration. Any suggestions? In case it's essential to make sure that the light meter is reading accurately, does anyone know of someone or of a service center that does this anywhere not in the Americas? Also, has anyone ever dealt with Sekonic's service center, the one in Oman? Many thanks. Don't judge me too harshly on my trust issues :)
  3. Hey folks, Got a commercial coming up which I'm shooting and I'm wondering if there's a way to get this stop motion effect out of a digital film camera, either in camera or through post-production, instead of the more typical stills camera method. Assuming this is possible via digital film camera and that my concern is to get a sharp image every time, would the mean a narrow/low shutter angle and a normal frame rate (24 or more)? Or is my reasoning completely skewed here? When I think about it though it seems silly not to shoot this on a stills camera.
  4. What a wonderfully informative post this has been to read through! Would be great to see how the shots turned out following post work. Great planning and production shots!
  5. Hey Macks, thanks. I work in collaboration with the DP for sure, we engage in long conversations about a bunch of stuff before shooting anything. To answer your question though, I call and design my own shots. As to 'what I know' in terms of cinematography, technically I'm not that knowledgable. I've never worked in the camera department. As a director I understand the importance of light but I wouldn't know how to shape it myself. I've got a good grasp on composition and movement however I have little to no hands-on, practical experience with cameras or lights. I'd like to take a cinematography class that would fill that technical gap and at the same time train my eyes. At heart I believe that every director is in some way a cinematographer, a music composer, an editor, a colorist etc. Now I feel that it's time for me to actually get in there and try things out with my own hands. It just seems like the right thing to do at the moment.
  6. Hey everyone, I've been looking for a solid, hands-on introductory class for a while now and I'm looking for some advice, recommendations, tips, things to look (out) for. The program should give me a foundation on which I can build for the coming years. I want to learn the tools and craft, not how to use a particular camera. I've found three solid options so far, and they are: 1- Maine Media Workshops (Maine, USA): 10 week intensive cinematography workshop. PROS: Asked around and this program is definitely solid with some world class instructors. CONS: Extremely expensive. (16k) 2- Global Institute (LA, USA): The foundational programs. PROS: World class program and instructors, located in L.A. CONS: Asked a friend, apparently even the foundational programs are a bit too advanced for someone who's never worked in the camera department. Pretty expensive (expensive at about 10k for a bunch of classes). 3- Afilms (Barcelona, Spain): 3 month Feature Film Cinematography. PROS: Solid program, but not as good as the other two though significantly cheaper. CONS: Starts in a year, that's in quite a long time. I feel like doing this in a couple of months. I don't mind studying anywhere in the world, as long as I can justify it to myself. The class should be technical. I've been curating and improving my eyes for a while now and I'm pretty familiar with filmmaking at many levels, but I want to demystify light (or at least start the process), as I feel it will benefit me greatly as a director. I also feel like shaping light, so being able to DP my own little projects, explore studio photography etc. is something I'm interested in. I'm not under the illusion that I will become a DP after this workshop, I just want to be able to think like one at a basic level, so I can improve myself in the future. Director's showreel if anyone's curious. Thanks in advance.
  7. Seems like I posted this under the wrong section. Sorry about that.
  8. Hey everyone, I've been looking for a solid, hands-on introductory class for a while now and I'm looking for some advice, recommendations, tips, things to look (out) for. The program should give me a foundation on which I can build for the coming years. I want to learn the tools and craft, not how to use a particular camera. I've found three solid options so far, and they are: 1- Maine Media Workshops (Maine, USA): 10 week intensive cinematography workshop. PROS: Asked around and this program is definitely solid with some world class instructors. CONS: Extremely expensive. (16k) 2- Global Institute (LA, USA): The foundational programs. PROS: World class program and instructors, located in L.A. CONS: Asked a friend, apparently even the foundational programs are a bit too advanced for someone who's never worked in the camera department. Pretty expensive (expensive at about 10k for a bunch of classes). 3- Afilms (Barcelona, Spain): 3 month Feature Film Cinematography. PROS: Solid program, but not as good as the other two though significantly cheaper. CONS: Starts in a year, that's in quite a long time. I feel like doing this in a couple of months. I don't mind studying anywhere in the world, as long as I can justify it to myself. The class should be technical. I've been curating and improving my eyes for a while now and I'm pretty familiar with filmmaking at many levels, but I want to demystify light (or at least start the process), as I feel it will benefit me greatly as a director. I also feel like shaping light, so being able to DP my own little projects, explore studio photography etc. is something I'm interested in. I'm not under the illusion that I will become a DP after this workshop, I just want to be able to think like one at a basic level, so I can improve myself in the future. Director's showreel if anyone's curious. Thanks in advance.
  9. Hi, We're working on a film and part of it is going to be shot in 3D (we hope). We've never done this before and I was wondering if anyone could give us some advice/info/tips about where to start? Whether its that much more expensive than 2D? Should we shoot it in 3D or convert in post-production? Thanks, Zahi.
  10. Heya, I've got some material transferred from the SD-cards to my external hard drives and am now stuck at post-production. Can anyone point me out in the right direction? Shot on Panasonic AF-101 and using FCP, got some MTS and CPI folders but don't really know what to do with it. Thanks, Zahi.
  11. Btw, I forgot to mention, There's a new shooting block now available. Its purpose is solely for the cinematography modules. Its a two floor shooting studio, with like four different half sets that you can somewhat dress up. Its cool, its a different building. Its also new and we're trying it out. Exciting times. Peace.
  12. Hey Petros, Sorry it took so long for me to reply, but I've been rather busy. Met Film School is a practical filmmaking school - meaning it favors actual filmmaking than theoretical courses. You do get some theoretical courses though, which are extremely beneficial. I've only been there for what, 2 months? Its my first year of what was supposed to be a two year degree program but I've decided to switch to the one year practical filmmaking certificate and go shoot a movie the second year and get field experience. I've heard that the Cinematography course is very good though, the main tutor is this person; http://www.paulwheelerbsc.com/ which I havent met so far, I will next week though. He's very experienced it seems and apparently his courses are really efficient. The aim of the module/course/diploma is to make of you a skilled, thinking person confident enough to take on any project given to you. All of this is the official information. Personally, I think its a good school. Its strongest point being the "administration" - they are nice people, passionate and willing to help out. They do pitch forums, give advice and answer all of your questions. Their weak point, in my opinion, is lack of organization, its still a new school but its had a lot of success and they're trying to keep up with the amount of students they're accepting. Sometimes it shows that they're trying to keep up, but its not so bad. There are 200 students currently unrolled at the MFS. (unless I'm wrong). There you have it, my two cents, You can do with it what you want ! Hope it helps a bit, Peace, Zahi.
  13. Cool! Sounds like a good investment. I wonder where I can get one from? I live in the UK. Thanks !
  14. Hi, I was watching "Tarkovsky in Nostalgia" by Donatella Baglivo and noticed some sort of a lens attached to Tarkovsky's neck... just a lens he used to look through from time to time, it had what appeared to be normal lens markings on it... So I was wondering, what is that? I mean, what's it for? Distance measurement? Light meter? I tried taking a screenshot of it but Apple doesn't let you use the screenshot function when the "dvd player is active". Sigh. Thanks in advance, Zahi.
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