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joshua gallegos

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Everything posted by joshua gallegos

  1. I think if you're in it for the money then you're doing it for the wrong reasons, if anything you should be spending money to make them and taking risks. Christopher Nolan started out with nothing, he made 'Following' with a borrowed 16mm camera and worked all year long to fund his own feature film, which he made with his brother and a small crew. The film cost him less than 5k dollars to make, and when he premiered it at Slamdance, he won the Grand Prize. Martin Scorsese worked on his first feature for three years before it was released and discovered by Roger Ebert. You can also read about Stanley Kubrick who funded his very own short documentaries, his first feature Fear and Desire, he made with a few actor friends that he had and did most of the crew work himself, the film helped him raise money for his next film. However, these people I mention were true cineastes, they live(d) and breath(ed) cinema day and night, also Kubrick was a photographer and studied at a community college, and he was quite the genius.You can hear an interview where he mentions he didn't know what he was doing as a director when he made 'Fear and Desire', and it's quite the impressive film. As for great Hispanic directors, there's Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro. You may want to look into Cuaron who also did his own cinematography, it's in part why his films are very visual, he sees stories in images, and that's what a great director does, apart from directing actors into great performances. Everyone has to start somewhere, nothing will ever be handed to you.
  2. Also, would it be safe to say that 70mm film is practically the modern day Vistavision (8perf 35mm), from the Kodak website it seems 4-perf is the largest format available for 35mm. Also, on Wikipedia I noticed that different film formats have been used in the past, many which range from 90mm to 24mm, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_film_formats , how was it decided to settle on 70, 65, 35, and 16mm as the standard?
  3. Wow, the Mitchell camera was gargantuan, I wonder how they pulled off the lower angle shots in Vertigo, primarily the cemetery scene after Kim Novak dies the first time. It's hard to imagine the film would've been lost forever had it not been restored, All About Eve would've suffered the same fate had it not been for a dying film preservationist who was granted the opportunity to restore any film he wanted.
  4. So, what was the format in the 70mm print I saw? it seemed to be less than 1.85 because of the height of the image.
  5. Why aren't more films framed in 1.50 (Vistavision) like 'Vertigo', I haven't seen a film that can equal the brilliant composition of Vertigo, the headroom on some of the shots is pretty breathtaking. I remember watching the 70mm version at the Alamo Drafthouse, and watching the 'nightmare' sequence was such an unforgettable moment. I've been pretty obsessed with it recently, and saw it twice last night, I think the 2.40 ratio is being overdone, especially since tv has adapted the widescreen format, you even see it in reality tv shows. I think films would benefit if they became longer instead of wider, I know there's probably not much of a difference between IMAX and Vistavision, but the quality in the 70mm film print of Vertigo is unlike anything that's been done in some time. I think PT Anderson's The Master came pretty close, you can even see the quality of the print matches the work of Robert Burks (Vertigo and North By Northwest), not all films benefit from widescreen, some films don't play very well outside of the cinema. Just a thought.
  6. I finally colored the short film I made, and I also made adjustments to the cut and made it less rough, I won't go back to do any more editing since this is the best I could do considering the footage I shot, I also added new shots, etc. I've decided to enter it to local film festivals to hopefully get some support from my next film, I've decided to make a 40 minute feature that takes place in a cabin. Anyhow here is the "improved" version of what I posted, i augmented the tungsten color in the hotel to give it a distinct look, since the whole thing replays in flashbacks. https://vimeo.com/81714115 password: Vertigo
  7. yes, I know that now, I posted this in September, I like what Conrad L. Hall said about lighting, to paraphrase he said, " you put light where you want it, and you leave the area dark, where you don't want it," - seems simple enough, but it reminded me that lighting is really all about having an imagination, but at the same time books will give you that technical information to expand on those ideas to make them work I think my next film will be a major improvement from the last.
  8. I think it's ridiculous to spend that kind of money on a short film, I think short films are very distinct from features, because it allows you to experiment more, also short films won't make any kind of money unless it's picked up by Vice or independent film channels. If you look at the career of Lena Dunham you'll see how she started making short films with no money at all, she then made a 40 minute feature entitled 'Creative Non-Fiction' which she premiered at the SXSW film festival and I believe the budget was somewhere between 2k-3k dollars, the movie was shot with a camcorder. After she made that she found someone who produced her feature 'Tiny Furniture' for 50k dollars, the film was successful and recognized by Judd Apatow, who then helped her develop 'Girls'. I guess my point is, that money shouldn't be a factor, it's really hard to do something good with no money at all, that's why so many filmmakers make intimate stories that are usually very talky. The same thing with Christopher Nolan who made 'Following' with a borrowed 16mm camera over the course of a year, if you look at the credits he hardly even had a crew. He was his own cinematographer, camera operator, etc. I think what people don't realize is that you don't have to ask permission or have a million dollars to make a movie, all you need is a camera, a sound man and a few lamps and dedicated actors. But above all, you have to be a storyteller with a vision and a passion to tell it. John Cassavetes was the same way, he made films about people and his films hardly cost any money to make.
  9. Wow, that would seem pretty tough to recreate in a studio, will there be any detail seen outside the windows? I think it would look odd if there wasn't any detail outside the windows or is green screen involved? I wouldn't know how to light it, but I'm curious to see how someone would light such a scene in a studio. I think a top soft source would work, because it seems the scene is predominantly lit by indirect daylight source. the interior seems pretty dark and most of the light on the actor's faces seems to be bounced.
  10. I think for beginners like myself, it's more of a priority to have better composition and block scenes more efficiently, and make use of available light as best as possible. I will say I feel I've learned an incredible amount of technical information from David Mullen, Roger Deakins, and the American Cinematographer's Manual, I think the info helps you understand how things work, but it isn't everything or the first thing you need to learn, but I'm still glad I took the time to learn the fundamentals, I know most of the lighting arsenal that exists, how photometric charts work, film stocks, etc, but when I made my first short film, it was more about knowing how to tell a story with a camera, and that's something you plain and simply learn on your own.
  11. i remembered this interview where David explains it all so thoroughly, I think it's great this kind of information is around for those who cannot get into film school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFJ9xS3Gt4Y
  12. I've never even touched a Red camera in my life, but it would be safer to do tests with the camera to see what you like, it's one of the common rules of cinematography, some cinematographers spend months testing before shooting, something I should also learn how to do. There was one thing that a filmmaker said about sound that stayed with me when it comes to doing ADR, which is that the intital recording done whilst filming retains a quality in the emotion and tone of the actor that cannot be replicated in ADR - I believe it was Noah Baumbach who said that. But I think the sound would be fine, if you rolled up the windows and used wireless mics, a wireless mic is more directional than a boom mic which captures a lot of ambient noise.
  13. I saw Catching Fire recently and absolutely loved the film, I thought it was certainly better than the first one, and it was unbelivable they used an IMAX camera handheld, something Wally Pfister was against whilst filming Inception. I believe Roger Deakins used the Alexa and said the 3:4 sensor worked perfectly for the IMAX version of Skyfall with speherical lenses, whilst maintaining the 2.40 ratio for wide release. When I saw Catching Fire in a regular theater there was a scene which seemed to be abnormally squeezed, it was the scene with the futuristic humvees, it was a very quick shot that caught my eye.
  14. Everything that I say is solely based on theory since I haven't done any real lighting myself, however, I've been studying the masters and listening to interviews, and it's somewhat beginning to make sense to me in terms of lighting. It's really a lot like writing, in the sense that you do it over and over until you begin to find your very own perspective of things or "style", every cinematographer is different, they seldom come from the same place and they see the world differently. A great comparison would be someone like Conrad Hall and Vittorio Storaro, with Hall you can see the imperfection, he doesn't use "beauty lighting", but rather feels the sense of this world he is creating for someone else, but with his own voice. He lights for the story. the same way with Storaro who is more of a perfectionist. I think it's a mistake to ask someone if you lit the scene properly, because everyone has their own method of doing things and you will get very different opinions. You have to have a feel for what you want. I think before anything else, you have to develop more in the composition aspect since I figure as a beginner you will have to do very minimal lighting and get very creative with what you have. I hope to do more shorts in the Dogma 95 style and improve on composition, I think the scene and location will ultimate determine the quality of light and the mood you're going for, if you look at Gordon Willis he wasn't afraid to let the scenes go dark when they needed to be dark! On the Godfather he even underexposed a couple of shots, but he knew how far he could push the film stocks he was using by doing tests. I hope in my next project, I'll be able to learn from my mistakes and above all learn from other people's mistakes. I feel lighting should be imperfect, I hate perfection, which is one of the things I discovered about myself when I made my first short film, not much to go on, but it's a start.
  15. I felt the same way, but I wanted to be a writer, I actually wanted to be an SNL writer because I loved it so much, but overtime my love for movies grew and I started to write screenplays as a hobby, I never tried to enter any competitions or anything, but recently I've decided to make them. I wish I could have considered college, it's a great way to network and begin filming short films, doing it on your own is difficult - I tried to make a short on my own and failed, but it was a good learning experience. I think you can still make a good movie with your camera, if you look at Paul Thomas Anderson's first short film, he filmed it with a VHS camera at the age of 17, it's called 'The Drik Diggler Story', which later was remade into Boogie Nights. As an example, you will see that the camera you use is irrelevant, just make a film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnyYGFTg8YI Paul did his own cinematography as well, impressive short for such a young age.
  16. I think a great director has the whole film in his head, he knows how every little bit will relate to the whole mosaic of images. One of my favorite directors who was proficient on every level was William Wyler who directed many great films. He was known for using deep focus in his shots, and they were very effective. From what I understand, from the things I've read about his career is that he was very close to his actors, he worked with Bette Davis on 3 films, and he always fought to get his way, he even got into a heated argument with Bette on the set of 'The Little Foxes' over the character of Regina and how it should have been played, they never worked together again after that film. So, therefore I think a great director has to do very little directing if he casts the part right, but most importantly a great director cares about every little bit of the film that will help tell the story, everything from the costumes to the sets, he oversees every detailed aspect of the production and carries them over his shoulder until the bitter end. There was another instance in Roman Holiday where Audrey Hepburn couldn't cry, so he screamed and ridiculed her until the tears came out, and hugged her in the end, so there's also that insanity to do what it takes to get it done. I think a good cinematographer will be there to help his director and not complain about him being oblivious to certain moments, a good example would be Gordon Willis and Woody Allen who did most to all the blocking in his movies, and he was very gracious about it because he loved his job. Elia Kazan once said "if you haven't got the script right, you shouldn't start', and I think that's where it all begins, even Scorsese takes years to develop the scripts because they are not "right", so above all a director has great sense of what makes a good film and what doesn't.
  17. Some of my personal favorites: Robert Burks (Vertigo, North By Northwest), John Alton (Elmer Gantry), Gordon Willis (The Godfather II), Roger Deakins (No Country For Old Men), Aldo Tonti (Nights of Cabiria), Ed McCord (East of Eden).
  18. You can film them talking from the back seat, hand held. the interior may be a bit dark so you could probably use a small Kino which you can connect to the lighter compartment of the car, and use fast primes. or you could just rent a rig, they're not terribly expensive to rent, it would save a lot more money than using green screen.. http://www.hdgear.tv/SUPPORT/Car_Mount_-_Hostess_Tray http://www.hdgear.tv/SUPPORT/Car_Mount_-_Hood_Mount
  19. I disagree completely. I don't see why the camera should move any other place just for the sake of variety, I prefer the old Ernst Lubitsch way, with that being said, the Lubitsch form only works when you have two great actors. A good example would be Ninotchka, the restaurant scene between Melvyn Douglas and Greta Garbo, the technique is effective because we are watching Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas. I will say the stuff I filmed is overall ineffective, there isn't that moment where there is a spark, it's very dull, and I blame it on my writing. Another example would be this one from The Master, the shot is fixed only because Joaquin Phoenix is transfixing to watch and the dialogue is intrguing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kPurV5qsL0 Also the dialogue scene in the diner in Se7en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8WIiHbyxIQ , What I realized is that there is no movement in the stuff I shot, it's just talking heads, there's no action at all. I'll never forget something Joseph Mankiewicz said about films that have good talk and bad talk, since he was criticized for lack of visual style, but I see the dialogue was overall ineffective, so, there's that,,,
  20. Thank you, I've gotten over it and I'm doing my next project, I actually studied film history before I decided to make my movies, I never touched a camera in my life until a few months ago, so it's all very new to me. As for the story, I had to do a very talky short because of budget, which I had none of, but I think if I had planned it better and had some money the results would've been a bit better. Not sure the script was too good to begin with, but it was a pretty good learning experience, wish I could get to to do some real lighting some day. here's the script, a lot was cut out. http://www.scribd.com/doc/186401208/Final-Shooting-Script-for-Carmen
  21. Thanks a lot, I consider my first short very sloppy in the way I put it together, but it was kind of like my film school, since I'm learning how to color grade and such, I would've also given my images more headroom, I never got to do any real lighting which was a shame. To really get a "look", I understand it's all about the locations, the art department and the costumes, the lighting really is an addition to all those things and without it, the film won't be visually striking to any degree. I started color grading my footage, it's an amateur attempt, but I've added some additional footage that initially deleted, will have a new version (cut of my short up soon. In the meantime, here are some images of the color graded footage. I realized I had some color matching problems, the windshield was dimmed on the car and it rendered a greenish look, etc. It's part of the reason why I deleted the footage, but I'm trying to make it work better. http://lastzoetrope.tumblr.com/post/68718304964/carmen-stills-short-film
  22. I'm no expert, but from what you said about 'Silent Hill', you could turn off the panels and add green fluorescent tubes on the empty spaces above and maybe have a few of them flicker. that way there's definite darkness in some spaces and pools of light above the tubes, maybe add a tube tha's swinging, so there's some thing happening with the light. Maybe have the actor use an LED maglite? It's a great location, I wonder why is there always smoke? Maybe if it was cold, you could add some mist, instead of smoke, whenever I see a horror film and see al that smoke I wonder where it's coming from and why it's there., I don't think fluorescent tubes are expensive to rig, if you film at 800 ASA with fast primes it wouldn't be much of a problem to get the exposure right.
  23. That's interesting, I suppose IR filters won't work on the digital format as well. I'm going to do most of the lighting with Mole Richardson fixtures since Arri is a bit more expensive to rent, I'll only be able to use tungsten, I believe tungsten lights have more red in the color spectrum, so that will inevitably affect the look as well? I see what you're saying, the images shouldn't be too flat, I should color grade the image as if I were doing it in color and then convert it to black and white as is. I'm doing it on Adobe Premiere Pro CC. I was thinking of doing a b&w version of the stuff I shot just to become familiar with it. Thanks again for your help Mr. Mullen, and a happy thanksgiving.
  24. I see, so it will only work with actual film cameras on b&w stock. For that matter, it would be better to manipulate the image in post when converting it to black and white. Does this mean that color temperature etc will be completely irrelevant? I should just see the image in terms of white, grey, and black and where the light should be. I was watching 'The Wrong Man', I really loved Robert Burks' style, I think this film alone is worth studying, but I can't seem to find how these films were actually made, articles, etc.
  25. Found some time to do a quick conversion of some of the footage I previously shot on the Canon 650D. I had better results by not color grading and simply doing a color pass, then changing the contrast, tonal range and RGB color balance. I wonder if contrast control filters would work better on digital, but I think maybe the editing program could take care of that.... https://vimeo.com/80518030 https://vimeo.com/80515598
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