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Laura Beth Love

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  1. I'm a big fan of the Cineped 3.5' slider. The quad-pod base is a bit "clumsy" to adjust if you are moving fast, but it's all quite rugged. Otherwise, the dana dolly, in 6' length, is my go-to. With all slider systems, keeping them well maintained is key. Even on the lowest budget shows, I often have to rent my slider separately from a g&e package because of their upkeep. Rails that are chipped, dirty wheels, tiny misalignments... they can all ruin a shot. The fewer moving parts the better... or else your team must intimately know the gear to keep it running smoothly. :)
  2. Your cheapest option for a no-budget, practical, lightning effect is to place window shutters in front of a continuous light source. :) Open and close them quickly, in short bursts. If you want blue color, either gel the source or white balance to a tungsten unit with Full CTO. (This white balance trick will leave your tungsten sources looking blue, on camera.) If you have 1ks or 2ks from your school, you might be able to rent proper "shutters" for them from a film rental house, very cheaply. Otherwise, as I said, wooden shutters. ...the kind you might find on a window or patio door. Try Home Depot, or maybe your location has shutters? Good luck!
  3. Hi Tabitha, My best advice for you is to make films (videos, shorts, series, whatever you like) as much as you can. Do it with you cellphone, or a DSLR, or seek out other indie filmmakers and work out a trade to borrow their cameras and sound gear... Just make sure you are doing it. Often. My second best advice is to be wary of student loans. Film is storytelling. You don't need a degree to be a great storyteller. You need practice. You need to know "about people." And you need a great story to tell. Even if loans aren't an issue, be careful about spending lots of money on film school education. Much of what you are paying for is the structure (imposed discipline), limited access to basic equipment, and a degree that may not be of use to you unless you change your career interests. Your money may be better spent on gear, projects, and even your own self-directed education. If you are disciplined, much of the education you seek is available online for free, or available for purchase in small chunks through training seminars, webinars, podcasts, etc. You can even seek out a film professional directly and ask them to mentor you or give private lessons, and that would instantly be 100-fold more bang for your buck than your average film school. Ultimately, the best education will be learning by doing, and the best networking will be to get on set or get involved in the "local" film/video community. If you aren't near a thriving "film hub," find the news station, or local commercials studio in your area. I give this advice as both a film school graduate and as a former film school teacher. I was lucky to get quite a lot out of my film school education, but not all students have the same experience. As a producer and cinematographer, 11 years out of film school, I give no preference to film students when hiring. In fact, in general, I find that individuals who attended a non-film related school and then sought out filmmaking on their own after college tend to be more focused and have more common-sense, life skills. Additionally, there is something to be said for the notion that in order to be a filmmaker, you need to experience life first... so that you actually have something worthwhile to make a film about. :) Nonetheless, I, too, was passionate and eager to begin my film career so I went straight to film school after highschool. As for being a woman, I'll say that seeking a film career is no different from anything else you'll do in your life. I actually just wrote in my blog about this very topic, in response to all of the "where are the women?" articles we've seen lately: I am Not a Female Cinematographer I hope this helps. Feel free to reach out. :)
  4. When shooting a scene lit with practicals, try to have a few hand-dimmers with you! You can buy them pre-built or build them yourself, fairly simply. Dimmable CFLs now exist, however, you might consider using incandescent bulbs instead of CFLs. Whichever you chose, be consistent so that you can avoid unintentional color shifts between lamps. Consider the color temp of the bathroom, kitchenette, or any other bulbs that exist in the hotel room. If you do get a chance to scout the room, take that opportunity to turn on every lamp. I've seen some peculiar bulb choices in hotels recently. Also, don't overlook the bed and set dressing's impact on your lighting. Light colored linens (sheets, blanket) will bounce light and give the overall impression of a lighter, brighter, scene. Darker linens will absorb light and make it all feel darker. When your ability to light, and/or control your lighting, is limited, you can strategically place lighter and darker items in the room to help balance exposure. For example: if a lamp on a night table, next to the bed, is perfect for the actors face while standing, yet the white pillow next to the night table is clipping... you can solve this by throwing a (non-white) blanket, jacket or bathrobe over the pillow. If the actors travel to a darker area of the room, a white robe, or towel draped over the right bit of set dressing might provide an important bit of fill.
  5. I'm about to shoot my 20th "low budget" feature. Every project calls for a different g&e package, ofcourse, but 90% of these low budget features have had the following items in common: Kino Flos LitePanel LEDs Small HMI Pars (1.2 or 2.5) And a smattering of "cheap" Tungsten Fresnels, open face, and pars I've recently started including a daylight LED fresnel, or even swapping out a Small HMI Par for a daylight LED fresnel. But, as someone mentioned above, you have to be careful with LED color/quality. It's not right for every situation, and varies greatly with manufacturer. Yet, in many cirumstances I've found them to be a lifesaver. Laura Beth Love Cinematographer http://www.lblove.com https://www.youtube.com/user/LBLoveCinematography
  6. David Mullen has given you fantastic advice, as always. It's very easy to be intimidated by the amount of material in a feature, and, in that case, it's best to evaluate the script in small chunks and let a pattern emerge. When I can, I like to create a spreadsheet that breaksdown the technical and creative details of each scene. Once I receive the schedule, I can easily "sort" the spreadsheet to match the shooting schedule and organize my notes day by day. It's really just a version of Paul Wheeler's cinematography prep forms from his book "Practial Cinematography." I'd love to offer advice about working with your crew. Do you know your crew? Were they hired by you or the line producer? Every crew has a different dynamic, but ultimately your job must include motivating them to success and that means identifying and understanding your unique "crew dynamic." A lot of diplomacy is involved in the DP's job, both above and below the line. With more details, the thread might be able to offer practial advice about working with and leading your crew, even as you are on set shooting this month... Feel free to PM as well. Best of luck! Laura Beth http://www.lblove.com https://www.youtube.com/user/LBLoveCinematography
  7. Yes, the main issue here is exposure! (echoing everyone else) and yes, ND filters are essential. Remember that ND filters also allow you to control depth of field. Longer focal lengths at a larger aperture (smaller F or T number) will give you shallower depth of field, which most people associate with a "cinematic" and "professional" look. My final tip is use a tripod or other stabilization mount whenever possible. DSLRs are horrible with handheld, because of their rolling shutter, they weigh nothing (transfer from shaky hands and arms) and people usually use lower quality lenses with them that only exacerbate our perception of the shake. Use a tripod, and pay close attention to whether "image stabilization" helps or hinders you, from shot to shot. Often it gets weird when you use IS on a tripod, while shooting video. Laura Beth Love Cinematographer http://www.lblove.com
  8. Slowly but surely, I'm adding content for you guys: Feel free to ask me questions, or request specific demo subjects!
  9. Exactly my point. Entry level positions are seen as "miles away" from managerial, or more importantly: "Miles away from being able to hire 'me' or help 'my' career" and yet, with the way the film business has changed in the past 15 years, that simpy isn't necessarily the case anymore. When an aspiring filmmaker takes that first gig on an indie set, he or she needs to be concerned with impressing everyone, not just the Producer and Director. Every position on set is a potentionally valuable addition to your career network. Today's PA is another aspiring (fill in the blank). side note about PAs... My first jobs in the business were as a PA. I can attest that I slept a lot less as a PA, and the physical labor may often have been more, but on the whole I work a hell of a lot harder as a DP and the stakes infinitely higher. Fire any DP who "works less than a PA"; they clearly don't understand their job. And, fire any PAs that just want to pass around business cards all day. They have missed the point.
  10. Given the scenario you've described, my best suggestion would be to look for work as a PA, grip, electric, AC, or even an intern. Filmmaking is all about networking. Try to get on a set and then prove yourself invaluable. If you have no resume or experience, it may have to be volunteer work at first. My first feature gig as a DP was produced by someone I met on the first film I worked on in LA. On that first gig, I was the Gaffer, and the soon-to-be-producer was only a PA. My first PAID gig as a DP came about because I was Gaffing, the DP messed up pretty badly, and they hired me to DP the reshoots. In both cases, I was able to prove myself reliable, skilled, and likeable. My reel was only a film school reel, at that point. It was my experience working side by side with them in a different position that convinced them to take a chance on me. If your interest leans more toward Directing or Producing, the path still lies in networking. Get on set, learn, and make yourself indispensible. Additionally, the Cinematographer must lead a crew, and those who skip over the experience of actually being on a crew miss out on a lot of knowledge, both, in regards to technical skills as well as diplomacy. Best of luck!
  11. Hello! I've just started putting together a youtube channel with little behind the scenes videos, tutorials and advice for the aspiring, young, or otherwise "new" cinematographer. I've had many colleagues and students express frustration at the daunting task of "learning how to light". While complex in many regards, it also merely requires you to begin by putting one foot in front of the other... Take a look and let me know if you find this video helpful! Laura Beth Love, Cinematographer www.lblove.com
  12. Thanks for posting that comparison video, Matt! And thanks for the compliments :) It feels like it's a question of workflow, and support. If you have the time/inclination/resources to deal with 8GB/minute files sizes and a "new" workflow, (and the extra weight and size isn't a deal breaker) it seems that "better than a DSLR" is indeed BETTER. The shutter is the next big question. Patiently awaiting 4k production camera's arrival in the mail...
  13. I've shot two projects with the Black Magic so far, a short film and a small series. I'm still testing to see how I can optomize the image, but my general feeling is it is only "slightly better than a DSLR"... but that's not saying much IMO. And I would add that it's potentially way worse than a DSLR in certain scenarios. Also, I'm having trouble identifying exactly who would be in the market for this camera. Producers with resources and inclination to accomodate heavy color correction and integrating Resolve into their workflow are generally producers who have the extra few dollars for a Red Epic package these days. I've had a number of producers and directors turn down the black magic the past few weeks because they don't want a new workflow and 2 TB of footage for their small project. But, frankly, again, if they had any more money, I'd have a Red Epic package for them. This camera falls in a strange area. In the Pro Res setting, I'm not impressed with noise so far. Here are some stills: http://lblove.com/portfolio/mothers-cure/ The latitude and detail of this camera is impressive, but underneath a patchwork of artifacts in Pro Res... Curious to test the 4k when it finally ships.
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