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Stewart McLain

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  1. VFX artists are absolutely artistic. But is it a new art? Manipulation of the photographic image predates motion pictures. (here are some fun ones from the mid-1800s: https://racingnelliebly.com/weirdscience/victorian-era-trick-photography-headless-portraits/) Visual effects are certainly more sophisticated now, but isn't everything? BTW, the idea that editing is the only new art form to result from motion pictures is a totally unoriginal thought. It's something a professor said in a History of Film class I took ages ago and it just stuck with me. For what it's worth, I like Mark Dunn's definition of a filmmaker:
  2. I bought a used Miller 30 Series 2 tripod for around $500 a few years ago. 30 lb capacity from the company that invented the fluid head. I'd happily pick up another if I found myself in need of another tripod.
  3. One could argue that since film editing was the only entirely new artistic craft to emerge from the advent of motion picture storytelling (the other elements already belonging to existing photographic methods or theatrical traditions), editors are actually the only true filmmakers. Although it's probably more accurate to say that the only true filmmakers are editors.
  4. I would do some research on the life cycle of the specific flower species that you will be filming and make sure that you are truly looking at a time span of a week. Maybe have a plan to accelerate its demise if necessary.
  5. @Gregory Irwin Thanks for posting that lens selection. Just because I want to make sure I understand it, left to right is it showing focal length, manufacturer, maximum aperture, minimum focus distance? Thanks!
  6. My inclination would be to refer to backlight as backlight regardless of how bright it is in comparison to the other lights. Even under "normal" lighting scenarios the backlight may be a stop or two brighter than the key. The way I think about it, the key and fill illuminate the front-facing portion of the subject and backlight is always behind it. It's possible some people might call a subject lit only by backlight as being "keyed by backlight" or something like that. I wouldn't but I would understand what they meant if someone said that to me.
  7. The key light is the primary light on whatever your subject is. If you have multiple lights on a subject's face, the key will be the brightest one. Google "three point lighting" and you will find lots of good examples of basic lighting setups that include key, fill, and backlight.
  8. @Robert Hart, that's a good thought! It prompted me to do some internet searching and I found this article from No Film School on the subject. Sounds like a polarizer works at least part of the time. https://nofilmschool.com/2017/05/how-solve-glare-issue-when-lighting-people-glasses
  9. Hi Chris, to the best of my knowledge there isn't really a way around this. Glasses reflect light. If you put a light source directly in front of them they will reflect it whether it's a ring light or a large reflector. The traditional way around this is to wear frames with no lenses in them, which is of course a problem if you actually have to see. You could try a clamshell lighting approach (with a key raised up and pointed down toward the face and a reflector or fill light coming from below the face to balance out the "raccoon eyes" and other shadows created by the overhead source). If you're careful with how you move your head around you might avoid the reflections while still getting a frontal lighting effect.
  10. Two that come to mind are Tideland and Days of Heaven (although I think there aren't very many interior shots in Days of Heaven) The interiors may not be entirely devoid of practical lights but I think they come close. Barry Lyndon was shot entirely by candlelight and daylight. If I were in your shoes, I would probably try to work with the set designer to add some objects or furniture into the scene that reflect or scatter light. Shadow patterns could also add interest too.
  11. These are general directions. Theatrical stages used to be built on an incline that tilted slightly downward toward the audience. So "downstage" is basically the lower third of the stage closest to the audience and "upstage" is the upper third furthest away. I think the DP will likely be using the camera position as the reference point, similar to the audience perspective in the theater. Closer to the camera is downstage, further away is upstage. Alternately, there might just be an agreed upon orientation of the set as to what constitutes upstage and downstage, possibly using the director's chair as the "audience" reference. That second diagram of yours looks to me like they're using "the line" as a mid-stage reference and calling things on the camera side downstage and things on the other side upstage. The function of the light (edge, key, background etc.) isn't necessarily determined by its position on the set.
  12. Hi Marko. I've used the Godox VL300 lights and have been happy with them. I like that the Bowens mount is compatible with lots of different light modifiers. I know Godox sells an SL60 kit that comes with two lights, stands, and soft boxes. That might be a good place to start. I would recommend getting at least one set of barn doors as well. That way you have the option to use one soft light and one harder light with shaping abilities. The Aputure barndoors for the LS 120DII work well. If you use some kind of reflector for fill, you'll have a basic 3 point set up right there. BUT...It's also worth remembering that to some extent, light is light. Just because it's not a "professional" lighting fixture doesn't mean you can't light with it. It's more about how you shape it, control the colors, and balance the brightness ratios between lights. Pro lights help but they're not the only option. Honestly, the lighting in your video already looks pretty darn good. If you're planning on shooting something similar next time you could probably just add a clamp light with a household bulb for a hard rim light and save yourself a few hundred dollars. Just a thought. Either way, good luck and nice playing!
  13. What's in the shadows that you want to see? A curtain? I think it looks good. Comparable to plenty of rock footage from the seventies in terms of lighting.
  14. Some books that I've found useful: "Film Lighting" by Kris Malkiewicz , "Lighting for Cinematography" by David Landau, and "The Set Lighting Technicians Handbook" by Harry Box. I would probably rate them in that order for ease of reading too. "Film Lighting" is very conversational in its approach. The Landau book takes a more text book approach. The Harry Box book is really technical guide. It does provide more thorough lists of lights and lighting equipment but it's also the densest read. All of them are good resources.
  15. I second this. I didn't really expect much from this film. I don't entirely get the point of re-making movies that were good the first time around but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the new version. Totally worth a watch.
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