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Dan Watt

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About Dan Watt

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    United States

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  • Website URL
    http://danwattfilm.com
  1. They are clips from two different productions I was hired to shoot, not my own productions so I could only use a small handful of shots, plenty of other stuff that won't be seen until post is done on them, whenever that may be.
  2. Recently shot two short films back to back with the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k and with each productions permission I cut together a short reel using footage from both. The first production was a low budget environmental short. Went with the BMPCC4k because it easily fit into a backpack as a lot of the locations were hike-in. A majority of the films budget went to permits and gas as well so this camera seemed like the way to go. All of the lighting in this was natural light with occasional handheld bounce boards in the form of foamcore and bleached muslin. The next production was a horror short shot at a cabin in AZ, initially we were going to go with an Epic with the Gemini sensor but the lower cost and smaller profile of the BMPCC4k let us free up money in the budget for a jib and remote head (really just a Ronin-MX). Lighting was primarily tungsten fresnels, par cans, quasar LEDs and incandescent practical bulbs. Color grading was done in Resolve using the LUT provided by Blackmagic for this camera, I believe it's called their Extended Film lut. Same LUT for both films. While the finished products will likely have more finesse done to them in the grade I felt that these were adequate for the purpose of this post as it showcases the camera right out of the box. Lenses used were a set of older Zeiss Jenas. Flektogon 20mm f2.8, Flektogon 35mm f2.4 and a Pancolar 50mm 1.8. Lenses were adapted to the camera using a Metabones XL .64 Speedbooster which performed admirably. Camera was set to record in Blackmagic Raw Q0 4k onto CFast cards. I was pleasantly surprised with this camera, I really liked the layout of the various buttons, the quality of the LCD screen and the ease in combing through the menus. Only two things I'd ask for would be an SDI port (wrestling with full size HDMI connectors while on a gimbal was a pain) and a waveform monitor but to be honest I'm finding myself more and more satisfied with only using false color. Biggest issue I had was with clipping on the highlights, I've grown accustomed to the lovely roll off of Red and Arri but considering the price of this thing I can't complain. Besides, with older lenses it bloomed pretty nicely. With newer modern lenses it may help to have a promist or similar filter on hand if you'll be in a situation where it's impossible to avoid blow out. Really the only thing keeping me from buying one of these is the lack of stock everywhere. Had to rent one for these two shoots and I miss it already.
  3. I found this extremely interesting, the camera and lighting tests for Phantom Thread with narration from Paul Thomas Anderson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VJl8Tk91MY
  4. Don't count on the haze going where you want, if it's proper haze (not fog) it's going to distribute itself pretty uniformly. So count on it being in front of your actors as well and light accordingly. Avoid front lighting your subject as that will just light up the haze. Backlight through haze always looks fantastic, hard to screw that one up. Anything closer to the camera will naturally be less diffused than your background as there is less physical haze separating the two. Something else you'll notice is that haze acts as diffusion. I've found that I can use much harder sources than I normally would and it still looks quite nice. Lastly, have somebody babysitting the ambient haze level so shots cut together.
  5. Hello all, I finally put together a reel of the work I've been doing so far this year and I'd really like some feedback. For the past several months I've been pursuing this full time, taking as many low budget and no budget jobs as I can get off Craigslist and Mandy but I am finding its very hard to get much work past the no-budget stuff. So far it seems that everybody I've shot for has been very happy with the work, even hiring me back for other jobs so I think I'm okay but still, can't land much new work. Anyway I'd love some feedback as I'd really like to know what I need to do to improve. I generally want to do narrative and music video work so I've cut my reel with that in mind.
  6. Hello, I do a lot of timelapse work myself, feel free to ask me anything. I use a 5D or 6D with Magic Lantern software loaded on the camera. Not completely necessary but can do a bit more than a simple external intervalometer (which also works well). The timelapse is going to be a series of raw images in whatever resolution the camera shoots at, 5.7k on the 5Diii for instance. It should be pretty easy to match up with the Alexa footage in the grade. The post processing can be a bit tricky depending on what you are shooting. If you are doing shorter lapses without drastically changing light than post is pretty simple, it only gets complicated when the light changes (such as sunrise or sunset, or passing clouds) and you have to do special deflicker processing to the image.
  7. Finally finished building my 5 axis (dolly, pan, jib + tilt/pan on jib head) time lapse rig and decided to spend a week out in the desert to test things out. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. I'm aiming for commercial level stuff and while I'm not sure if it's quite there yet I'd like to get feedback on what needs improvement. I plan on going out again soon once the moon and weather permit to capture more. Since it can do fairly complex multi point moves I'm also interested in hearing peoples ideas for different things to try.
  8. Thank you! The light on the lead singer was an error in my directing. I had marks set for the singer but he never quite hit it and instead of doing more takes to get it perfect or making the light broader I decided to try working with what I got. That is always a mistake. And same with the actors not knowing their spots, I kind of just let people do what they wanted to do hoping to capture some sort of authentic feeling but that was also a mistake. Nobody acts authentic when a camera is on them and I was too vague in my direction. That being said most of the people including the singer were a bit drunk and had never acted or anything before, he just got some friends together who were more interested in having a good time than being part of a video. One person in the audience actually vomited on the floor in the middle of a take haha. I know that's no excuse and certainly not ideal but I'm just starting out so any chance I get to film anything, I grit through it for the sake of experience and practice. But I know that good excuses do not make any bad aspects of a video any better. The final product will only be judged on its own merits. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.
  9. Yeah thats a good suggestion, seems obvious right now haha. And its too dark because I need to recalibrate my personal aesthetic taste. I've been doing amateur astrophotography for years and years and only recently started getting into filmmaking and my own personal style of astrophotography image processing is very ingrained into my head. I will work on that, or at the very least actively compare my work to similar shots until I develop better instincts. That being said I did want most of it very dim and kind of muddy but this was definitely too much.
  10. From what the artist told me, the song is about trying to help somebody that isn't aware they need help. I thought it would be interesting to try capturing this feeling by having an audience that is barely paying attention to the band playing, more concerned about hanging out and drinking beers than observing the performance. I thought juxtaposing this with the singer focusing intently would maybe pull it off. But obviously if I have to explain it than I did a poor job capturing it. Watching it now the crossing is indeed distracting, I could have done the same thing by simply having more of them looking away from the stage area without disrupting the image. Thank you for the feedback.
  11. This is my first music video, shot for a friend. I've done a bit of narrative and web based commercial work but really I'm just starting out. No budget or time and we only had the space to film in for a few hours but I'm pretty pleased with it. Wanted to try to get a gritty yet ethereal sort of feel. Basically just listened to the song 40 times in a row and this made sense to me. There are a few glaring problems chiefly some stumbling camera parts and I messed up the framing halfway through for a bit, but we did six takes and the little details I liked about this take overtook the framing issues so I went with it. Also I should have had more ambient room fill using a bounce in the back of the room. And I did not match the strobe light to the shutter speed so it splits.Now tear it apart. Shot on a Canon 5D3 and a 24mm Kiron lens @ 5.6
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