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Stephen Selby

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About Stephen Selby

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    Cinematographer
  1. Miguel. Just looking at your website. You are very talented. Forgive me for my ignorance. I thought the softness of light was related to the size and distance of the source. So in effect the sun is really hard because it is so far away that it's relative size is small. And candlelight is hard because of the size. When light is shone onto a diffusion frame it effectively becomes the new source and it is much bigger and hence softer. So what is the difference between approach 1 and 3. Surely by flagging the light one is making it harder again?
  2. Yes that was a nice surprise to read your message about the lifa light because I read it after i'd played round with the shot. And confirmed my approach. The dedo is already barned. I guess I could try and spot it more and add some lee diffusion to soften the dedo a little (in gel holder before the barns). Yes a softer light would require a muge larger source or chimera which then would need to be flagged - that would be tricky in such a small space. Will give the poly a go but in order to get the angle right I imagine I would end up with the poly in shot.
  3. OK rather than bounce the dedo off the wall above the piano I thought I'd try something else: So I've lit directly with a dedo from the ceiling. I know it is quite hard, but I quite like it. I don't want to go too low key on this. Just romantic and cosy. I've also tried moving the lamp down to nearer the piano - and yes - a nice reflection on the piano but the key light is not justified by the lamp. I have tried moving the key but I don't think it is as effective. I think I am probably best working on the shot above and then either removing the blinds and just having lots of out of focus highlights in the background or keeping the blinds and having the occasional fleck come through.
  4. I tried the silhouette - but thought it looked a bit too dramatic - I'm more after a romantic cosy feel. So been playing around - now noticing the limits of my equipment - especially camera. What can one do when one is working on a feature film with a budget less than £5k! Changes so far: Move the piano out from the wall - by about a foot for better side on perspective. (Great call) Dim the 100w practical to about 25%. Bounce a 150w Dedo light off the wall above the piano - to give a bit of wrap to the face. Opened the curtains and added blinds to give a nice pattern in the background - yes curtains are boring. Put a second Dedo outside to mimic a street lamp. Will probably add a few more to look like houses in the distance - and use a creamier lens for better bokeh. Bounced a little light at 5pm to add a little fill. What is really the problem is the dynamic range of the 5DmkII. To capture the shadow and highlights. If I let the lamp blow - it looks horrible. But if I don't let it blow it is mucky in the shadows. If only I could shoot in raw! Alas only MkIII can do that with Magic Lantern. Tried the masking tape option mentioned in Kris Malkiewicz book but burnt off with horrible smell. Tried tin foil - but that brought the overall exposure down too much. Might try hairspray. In this picture I tried to superimpose the over exposed highlights back in - very subtly - using a still taken at a lower exposure (similar to HDR) - but not entirely convinced. Perhaps it's all about the lampshade - perhaps I should look for another type - less translucent one.
  5. But I presume that when dimmed to about 25% they will be cooler and last longer. Worth a try. Perhaps I should line the lampshade with some frost just to be on the safe side - so the lamp shade is protected.
  6. Thanks ever so much Mark. Just ordered 4 of those and they are standard size. Just what I needed - now I just need the wisdom to use them and get the most out of them. Lots of playing. It's a steep learning curve.
  7. Hmm yes those Halogen bulbs are generally a B15 bayonet and not a B22. Yes silly problem in the UK. I can't find any 200w the same size as a 100w which is about 105mm tall.
  8. 200w-300w bulbs in UK!! Anyone know where to find small ones - i.e. standard tungsten size. I've found a few which are 137mm high - two big - as they protrude out the top of the lamp. The only solution I can think of is to take a 250w G6.35 halogen bulb and wire it into a standard bayonet fitting (b22). But then of course there is a voltage difference. Is there such an adapter to do this - can't seem to find one on the internet. Or can I use an inline transformer at the wall socket? Or will I need to run a cable up the back of the lamp-stand off another transformer?
  9. It's actually for montage scenes in a film with the passing of time - with autumn leaves turning to winter. I'll have daylight versions too. My idea is too start with warm tone to match with warm autumn leaves and then move to more wintery bleak versions. There is another scene where he is busy sketching his symphony. He is a bit music obsessed. I will post results of this after filming - probably later in December as I have to stop working on this film for the next two months to write music for a UK TV series. That's my main area of expertise. Cheers
  10. Interestingly enough - this also might have to do with general camera exposure levels. I've been reading about histograms and read that it is better to expose for the histograms without clipping the highlights and then lower the exposure in post-production if necessary - because if shot at low key to begin with and it comes out too dark - it's much more difficult to bring back detail that is not there. I simply added a curve and pulled back the highlights darkening the whole picture with the same shot and already looks much more cosy. But potentially could use less fill and more key.
  11. Hi Albion That's interesting you should say all that because it seems most of what you said I am already doing. The key light is a home depot clamp light with 100w dimmed down, as you suggested, and it does fall on the actor and top of piano and wall, but no blackwrap. For fill I am actually bouncing light off muslin next to the camera - so similar to what you said. And as per reflections I really don't want them too pronounced otherwise it will move further away from a low key effect. There is no real direct lighting on end of piano - per say - I'm not really lighting the near side of the piano just seeing the reflection of the soft fill light in it. I think what you are all spotting is actually probably incorrect levels. I think there may be way too much fill - I think if I simply turn down the fill, practical, and music light and increase the key it may solve 90% of the issues. And yes pull the piano away - but not sure by how much. I assume you are only talking a couple of inches here to - add a little depth and make sure the lamp doesn't overexpose the wall. The horrible thing of low key lighting with 5dMkii is that all the blacks become crushed. But have to make the best of what I've got. My first film, I'm directing, lighting, gaffering, editing and pretty much everything so have to keep things in perspective. Nobody was Sven Nykvist overnight.
  12. Pulling the piano from the wall. Interesting thought! Might give it a try but at the same time I imagine it would loose the homely feel. How many homes have uprights in the middle of the room? It would look more like a music video - but this is part of a drama. Guess that is the line between keeping to the script and lighting something nicely. Practical is already on dimmer but perhaps I should bring it down even more. Difficulty of reflection on near side is amount. I currently have soft bounce light, but if I increase the brightness of the reflection it loses it's cosy feel. Interesting idea to spot the dedo on the curtain and leave the actor in silhouette. I guess we sometimes get obsessed with lighting the actor so they are visible but guess silhouettes are fine - if we can work out what the actor is doing from the sound and closer cuts. Might give that a try.
  13. Hi guys. I am starting to learn the craft of lighting but find it very difficult. I have a scene with a glossy upright piano to light. I have done three quick tests: A: B: C: So intention is to look warm and romantic. Perhaps I overdid Kelvin shift and Saturation too much. I think this was at 4000k but I should shoot more about 3400 and shift in post if more required. Current setup is 4 lights: 1) Practical 2) Light above practical taped on ceiling 3) Dedolight on music 4) Light for nearside of piano - otherwise it is underexposed. Here are my thoughts: A: Lamp is in good position, looks romantic and cosy - but not lighting down the nose so profile face looks a bit bland. B: Compromise C: Lamp is not in such a good position - looks a bit clumsy and unnatural but lends itself to better portraiture light - i.e. lighting down the nose line. Which of these do you prefer? Can you suggest any improvements? Do you think the face looks bit bland in A or can I get away with it? By the way the actor isn't wearing a pink shirt - thankfully!! Thanks Stephen
  14. Thanks David. I was asking about diffusion because of the following post on Roger's forum by GrantC: "This is certainly less of a 'sheen', but I achieved it by using a 12x12 to soft light the girl, and a 4x4 kino to brighten the profile (same side as the key). The 12x12 key is at 45 degrees, and the kino is on her profile at 180 degrees - essentially creating a two light 'wrap'..." http://i.imgur.com/YjhWXlG.png I like that particular sample but thought i'd try something similar with diffusion. And reversing the wrap order based on your explanation: http://www.davidmullenasc.com/wrap1.jpg Here is the result of one experiment using household bulbs dimmed and some LEE 250 diffusion. So I placed 40w,60w,100w bulbs respectively in an arc and from 7h-9h and this is the result - a wrap: http://stephenselby.com/images/Wrap_DimTowardsCamera.JPG Then I did the opposite 100w,60w,40w like a reverse wrap: http://stephenselby.com/images/Wrap_DimAwayFromCamera.JPG Potentially the sheen is a bit too much and starts to look greasy - perhaps I should redo this with something softer like grid cloth - double diffusion - a larger source such as 8x8 or 4x4 closer. This is a huge steep learning curve changing from film composer to film maker. But I thought rather than sit around waiting for directors to make films that consider music more than a last minute afterthought, why not make one. I'm slowly getting there. Lighting is one of the hardest jobs of the trade so well done you.
  15. If I had a 5k bouncing off a 8x8 ultrabounce what would the equivalent diffusion be to get the same light characteristics when aiming through the 8x8 diffusion frame. I'm guessing something like Lee or Rosco 216.
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