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Blake Z Larson

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About Blake Z Larson

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  • Birthday 05/30/1998

Profile Information

  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    Massachusetts
  • My Gear
    Sony F3, Digital Bolex, 16mm Bolex

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  • Website URL
    http://www.blakezlarson.com
  1. Later this week I'm going to be shooting a film for the first time on a Red camera (the Raven). I shot some tests today just to get used to the platform and I found when using my light meter and exposing as I would on film, the image on the Red seemed under-exposed. Checking the footage in DaVinci Resolve and looking at the scopes seemed to confirm this to me. So my question is, what is the best way to expose the Raven/Red Cameras? Should I primarily be looking to the histogram/guideposts or is there some sort of standard +/- from my meter reading that I should be following? Thanks in advance for the advice!
  2. I love it! Great work, I couldn't stop laughing!
  3. I was lucky enough this past summer to meet the "A" Camera First Assistant from this film, Serge Nofield. He's a great guy and from what he said, it sounds like Mindel shot a lot of real IMAX too!
  4. I was just thinking about this the other day. I finally caved in a few weeks ago and sold my traditional video camera for a DSLR. One of the things that interested me was the Technicolor cinestyle profile, as I had heard a lot about it through the internet. As I was preparing the shoot a short film with the camera, I shot a few tests (especially since I was shooting with an older set of primes) with both the Technicolor profile and the neutral Canon profile. After looking at the footage, I was appalled at how the Technicolor profile absolutely sucked the life out of the image. I had to entirely rely on the grade to create my image, which really troubled me. I ended up shooting the entire film with just the Canon profile and for the first time ever, I didn't do any color correction at all to the image. I was able to get the image exactly how I envision with just the combination of lighting, exposure and the older lenses (which had fantastic contrast and flare characteristics). I really loved having the control back in my hands and I've decided to start shooting most of my films like this now.
  5. I have to agree and disagree. I'm not really looking for technical faults but I'm always subconsciously talking note where the lighting is coming from, what the possible sources are and how the camera movement is being used. Most importantly though, I'm seeing how these elements serve the story or how they make me feel emotionally. If I see lighting or camerawork that doesn't serve the story, that's when I find I'm most bothered by. Otherwise I'm able to sit back and enjoy the film. On a second watching, I do like to break down and examine the film more. I must admit, I'm now watching Inception shot by shot just to examine Wally Pfister's lighting...
  6. I paid only $12 dollars for an IMAX ticket to Dark Knight Rises. Quite surprising!
  7. Just wanted to say, the story has a great ending! Josh Bleibtreu, ASC, who was doing the second unit cinematography for said film, invited me to come and shadow him and other members of the camera department for the day. Many thanks to him and the crew for taking me in and showing me what they know! ~ Blake
  8. I have to agree with what Sean said. It is really hard to find mentors within the industry. There was recently a rather large Hollywood movie shooting for about 2 months in my town (which never gets any movie action) and I contacted the Cinematographer, in hopes of perhaps getting to meet him and learn a few things, and I never received a response. Now he seems like an incredibly nice guy and I understand he was probably extremely busy with the movie but I really would have loved to learn a few things from him and talk with him about cinematography. I was lucky enough that there is an operator who lives near me, who showed me how the use a light meter and a few other things but other than that, I have never had a real mentor. I think there defiantly needs to be a better system in place to attach aspiring cinematographers with people in the industry who can help them out.
  9. I was just curious what exactly the differences are between the different materials used for diffusing light (i.e: silk, muslin, bleached muslin). What type of look/quality of light does each one give and are there any particular situations where one is better than another? Thanks, Blake
  10. As a fellow young filmmaker, I would first off like to wish you the best of luck! I am an absolutely terrible screenwriter but here are a few basic tips I learned from Writer/Director Dave DeBoarde: Regarding Characters: Make sure each character has an External Need, an Internal Emotional Need, an external obstacle that's blocking the external need and an internal obstacle that's blocking their internal need. For the villan, in addition, make sure that they have a rationale for doing whatever it is they do. As for the story: Try and follow the 3 act structure when you're just starting out. The way the 3 act structure breaks down is in the first act (which is usually 20% of a film), the characters are introduced, the setting is established (time/place), the main character is established and the conflict is established (main goal and then obstacle blocking the goal). In the beginning of act 2 the catalyst, or the thing that get's the plot going, happens. Towards the middle of the film is the turning point and at the end of act 2 is the "all is lost" point. Act 2 usual ends up taking up 60% of a script. In act 3, there is a showdown between the main character and their obstacle, which then leads to a climax. After the climax, is the resolution, where the character's external and internal conflict is resolved. Act 3 usual takes 20% of a film. As for Cinematography tips, which is more my department, I highly suggest allocating someone to be a designated Director of Photography, meaning they handle the camera and lighting. This will take weight off your shoulders and allows you as a director to focus more on performances of the actors, rather than worrying about camera and lighting. Secondly, try and light your film. Choosing to not use lights is a big mistake and although lighting seems intimating, it always leads to a better end product. If you don't have the budget for movie lights, simply placing a lamp at a strategic place in the scene can give good light to your actors. Also doing things like using work lights, from home depot, shot through a layer of silk or bouncing lights off walls, can help to raise the general light level where you are shooting. Once again, I wish you the best of luck with your film! I'm 14 years old right now, and I've fallen in love with this industry and I'm sure you'll feel the same way. Also, to reiterate some advice that David Mullen, ASC gave to me on this forum Now is the time to experiment and try things and shoot as much as you can, so have fun with it! ~ Blake
  11. F was really the only one that I liked and that ended up being the Alexa. The highlights, shadows and skin tones really seemed superior on it. Just my opinion :D
  12. If I recall correctly, IMAX was used for all the plate shots where the dinosaurs were composted onto and I also heard that the Red was used, without a lens, to record light streaks that were then composted into the universe portions of the creation scene. Otherwise I think it was a mostly a 35 production.
  13. I'm just curious David, do you operate the A camera on the show or do you use an operator? If you do, do you think you could explain the operator/cinematographer relationship and how that works on a set. Thanks, Blake
  14. I try and shoot my camera like "digital 16mm" as much as I can. I always use manual apeture and shutter and I have rated my camera's ASA at 200. I occasionally shoot DSLRs but I think my next camera is probably going to be an 8mm or film camera of some sort. Thanks for your advice, Blake
  15. The opening shot was done on my usual camera, the Canon m400 (http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/camcorders/consumer_camcorders/vixia_hf_m400), of which most of the reel is shot on. For the particular shot, I recorded from about 9 in the morning to 10 in the morning with just light diffusion on the lens. After, I sped the image up in post, then de-saturated it and kept the contrast pretty close to how it was shot originally. Thanks so much for your comments, Blake
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