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Nicholas Bedford

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About Nicholas Bedford

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  • Birthday 10/18/1987

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  • Occupation
  • Location
    Brisbane, Australia
  • My Gear
    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, 5D Mark III
  • Specialties
    Photographer, mostly. Learning cinematography.

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  1. The problem with things looking "real" is that not even we see people and objects the way the camera sees the same things. Our brains do a lot of masking to the imperfections that a camera will reveal. Not only that, we see far more gentle shadows and highlights than a camera does. Trying explain what I mean is a little difficult... I see a person for who they are. I sense the shape of their face because I have binocular vision. I notice their eyes, I notice their mouth talking, their hair style, their hands moving. Yes, as a photographer I can look at the lighting striking their face and analyse it, but my brain seems to be doing a lot of retouching on the fly. I don't tend to notice their skin flaws or the way the lighting is not doing them justice unless these things are very obvious. When I take a picture of the same person, all the skin flaws, lighting conditions, expression and pose are made very plainly obvious. In the end, a camera sees a far different image than what we as humans see. So when we light and compose, we are seeking a version of the beauty that we see with our own eyes through our minds because ultimately, cameras don't see what we see. Am I making sense or just rambling on?
  2. I haven't shot any short films, only music videos, but I'm on the fence about doing both, at least for smaller projects. The most recent project I was only DP/operator (and will be colour grading) and while I'm expecting it to be quite good, I did miss being able to really push my own direction. I did see things I wanted to change or suggest but it wasn't really my place in that shoot beyond suggesting to the director. But I also know that operating and trying to maintain your sense of the directing is not that easy, just purely because humans aren't great at multitasking our attention to multiple simultaneous things. I guess what I do like about operating and directing is that I'm seeing exactly what the visual direction of the shot is looking like. I'm seeing the take as the viewer will so I'm getting a context-aware view of the action, not just observing the action in the set, but specifically what it looks like on-screen, which to me, is important, because I can fix things (both visually and action centric) that aren't looking right for that shot. My two cents.
  3. I mainly use false colour to tell me where 50-59 IRE is sitting in my frame. The BMD Pocket camera I have outputs the zebra overlays through HDMI which is handy.
  4. One of the ways I first meter a shot is to use my incident meter and aim it perpendicular to the main light source if there is a clearly defined source such as a window or the sun. So, for example, if the sun is up early and pointing west, I meter either south or north, at 90º. I do this because the most common dramatic lighting style is to light someone not silhouetted or flat on, but some off angle perpendicular to the key light. If you don't have a clearly defined light source then you want to aim the light meter at the camera itself. This will give you middle grey according to where the camera is pointing. For example, in this frame I shot as a test, my meter is facing 90º from the light source but also conveniently toward the camera. This means that I am getting an average exposure for my subject no matter the direction. Then, depending on the angle I am actually shooting toward the light, I can add or subtract fill or adjust my exposure for off angle shots. This is just the way I do it so take it with a grain of salt. The best thing you can do, however, is to match your findings with the resulting image, as well as using a monitor with false colour or some other exposure aid.
  5. I had a Blackmagic Cinema Camera and now own a BM Pocket Cinema Camera. I gave raw a go but ultimately the benefits of shooting to log ProRes outweighed all the fuss of shooting raw and I get the same image I want anyway. Not only do I end up with less storage requirements, it also enables me to import directly into FCPX, generate Proxy files in a flash and grade in the NLE which means no round tripping and export blindingly quick because of the way it background renders to ProRes. So if you gave me $100,000 to buy a camera package for myself, I'd almost certainly go with an ARRI Amira and use the tens of thousands remaining to buy a great prime lens set (CP.2s or whatever) and some basic rigging and prerequisites for shooting (cards, batteries etc). I'd also be shooting on the Amira straight to LogC 2K ProRes and use something like FilmConvert to grade (Vision3 on the BMD Pocket looks lovely by the way). That's my 2c. An incredibly expensive camera is great and all, but if you can hardly shoot with it before your budget is empty then it's not worth the cost in my opinion.
  6. I've always had an open mind to HFR and 3D, yet my experiences in viewing both versions of the same films (The Hobbit 1/2) don't back up the findings and hype of the filmmakers. The (sometimes quite excessive) colour grading, CGI and set production became much less obvious when viewing them a second time in 2D at the normal frame rate. Here's some of the things I noticed a big improvement in when viewing either of the films in 2D. Image Colour & Grading The colour of the image returned to one reminiscent of the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy. More organic and less digital. The image felt like it was exhibiting much more "digital" and unnatural colours and the lens misting/bloom, probably done in the grade, was more obvious in 3D HFR. Camera & Subject Movements While 24fps was originally a technical/cost saving decision, it actually lends itself to cinema in that it removes information allowing us to subtly fill in the blanks with our minds. Someone else described this a while ago on a forum and it immediately struck me. I'd never considered this before. One of the biggest things about filmmaking is the ability to remove us from where are and take us on a journey. When your frame rate is super smooth, you feel like you're on a set. The lighting becomes obvious, the acting becomes obvious and the set production becomes obvious. There are no blanks, and there's no mystery. 3D & Perception The 3D actually made it a little more difficult to perceive the image being presented, instead reducing my focus to areas "in" the frame and not the frame itself. Even though we only see a moderate portion of the image on the fovea, you can perceive a 2D film much more completely whilst viewing it because you're only dealing with a flat image and two eyes taking in the entire thing. When the frame extends in the Z direction, it takes more time to absorb everything on the screen. This has been my general experience in watching films in 3D, not just The Hobbit. Conclusion Like I said, I have an open mind, but I just can't back up the expectation with the results. I find myself enjoying films much more in 2D at normal frame rate and I usually do try and see films in 3D if they are shot that way.
  7. You could always do what Joe Kosinski did on Oblivion ;) If only...
  8. When he finally confessed at the end, I had a rush of emotion while watching. It was such a long struggle of lying and drinking and messing up that him finally giving in smacked me in the gut. There were almost tears. If an actor can do that in even one scene, it's a movie I'll recommend to others. Same as Tom Hanks' last scene in Captain Phillips. That was so intense to see an actor portray actual overwhelming emotion after the struggle on the ship and being taken captive. There were tears during that one!
  9. I guess if you don't trust theDoP to nail the image, then you probably have the wrong one onboard, or you may need to learn to let go of your own exact style and learn to trust the cinematographer's instincts to create better shots as a whole. What do you think?
  10. Lighting is something I spend a lot of time perfecting in my portraits and other stills. Take a look at portraits portfolio. May help to illustrate my suggestions. http://www.nickbedford.com/folios/portraits http://www.nickbedford.com/folios/music This particular environmental portrait I took recently illustrates what I'm trying to convey.
  11. First off, lovely titles! Very cinematic. But now the lighting :) It's quite a good start, but could be refined. Let's dissect each of the three shots in full. Shot 1 The framing is very slightly awkward. I think it could have been raised up slightly to make the camera axis more horizontal, but otherwise it's ok. I think for the purpose of the trailer, it may have been better to use a medium-close up of the actor before revealing the painting in the second shot but that's a minor suggestion. The lighting in the this shot and the next looks a little obvious to me. Namely that I can tell that there is a light roughly to the left in the room spotting the wall where the painting is. It may have been more effective to bring the light up and motivate it towards being a ceiling spot light. That way, you are hiding the fact that there is a light on your set by making it appear to come from an actual ceiling light. Shot 2 By motivating the light for shot one (same take I'm guessing), you can begin to refine any other lighting needed for this closer shot where he would clearly be under the light to some degree. If you were to change the first shot to a non-revealing medium/close up of the actor, this shot would work more effectively since you aren't cutting back to the same shot (which it appears to be). This adds interest and advances your plot, whereas the first two shots feel like the same moment, just ahead in time. Shot 3 (portrait close up) The lighting in this suffers a bit because it is obvious. There is a key (on the wrong side of the face for this shot) with maybe a little more fill than is necessary for the dramatic nature of the plot. The background is also very bright and would benefit the actor and the drama by being at least 1-2 stops darker. If you were to change the lighting as described earlier, you would now have a vertical soft light which you can then change for this particular shot, bringing the light down to the right slightly or even just bringing it forward to fill the face in slightly (we'll call the right side "onside" for this centered shot). I hope this makes sense? It's all theoretical suggestions based on my guesses as to the actual lighting used. Good luck with it.
  12. Without having ever worked with a director, or directed with a cinematographer yet, I'd like to think that my kind of director knows enough about it to direct me, but trusts what I do and doesn't try to take over my responsibilities. An overlap of knowledge is probably a great thing for a working relationship right, for both parties?
  13. Could a lot of it be summed up with this statement? A great director knows what he wants. ;)
  14. Yeah there's nothing really going on here, just the environment they're in with a darker exposure to make it feel dim. The colour seems pretty much "standard".
  15. A doctor hey! Quite a change. I wanted to be a games programmer, until I finished the degree in 06. Ended up working data entry as a job whilst funding being in a band. I then discovered a passion for photography in 2010 which led me to quit music last year and now I'm hooked on cinematography. So as a 16 year old, it's entirely likely that you may end up an actor, a physicist or a monster truck driver :) The only way you can figure out if you really must be doing something is to try, learn and improve and see where your instinct and passion leads you. That's what I do anyway!
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