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Jacob Mitchell

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About Jacob Mitchell

  • Birthday May 24

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    Los Angeles
  • Specialties
    Cinematography, 35mm and 16mm, Red and Arri Cameras, Underwater Operating

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  1. To start, I would focus on ways in which you can make lighting easier by using either low-light performing sensors and secondly lenses that are fast and can operate at low apertures while maintaining quality. I like to start the thought without restriction; say this was just one subject and closeup, how would you light it? Say you want to give everything some edge and definition with something harsh, you could use whatever background/midground out of frame to place some wide-lensed HMIs and simply give everything some depth. Then for your key maybe something very broad and soft to bring some attention to your subjects and keep things looking nice. Taking this idea further, in this situation I would say you'll need to approach it from a grip standpoint. With such a large scene, you'll need to maybe multiply the size and scale of everything you're using almost by a multiplier. More heads, more output, larger lengths of stands, etc. If possible, I'd look into using a cherrypicker, condors, what have you to place your key light or back light setup in a place where it has effect but at the same time is out of frame. Or if you don't need it that extreme, a max menace or normal menace arm. Or maybe it simply is too wide for that, and you'll need to designate one side of the set to pushing HMIs through a large 20x or booking through a large 20x. I always find in large scenes like this it is super helpful to have extra heads ready incase you incorrectly predict how strong a certain light is, or if you need to bring up little details of the scene here and there, etc. In summary, start from a theoretical point, thinking with no restriction in how you would light it. Then work further in understand how you can scale this up and what tools you may need to achieve this. Then, hopefully, see if its possible within budget!
  2. Dealt with this a lot, typically where I start is with a solid on a frame, whether that be 8x8 or 12x12 (make sure to get window measurements to determine this). I'll place this frame at about a 45 degree angle and shimmy it up as close as possible to the exterior of the building, leaving space for lighting. Then, I'll essentially create a giant floppy, by getting more solids of the appropriate size and simply tying one end to the edges of the existing frame and letting it drape down. Makes it easier than setting a million floppies. Big note, ANY little leak or gap in the blackout will show very easily. Gotta be pretty dilligent to cover it up tightly. Tape is always your friend in securing the edges of the rags to the exterior of the building. In terms of seeing out this window, I would suggest having either curtains or blinds atop the window to bring the attention away from the blackout and potentially hide any details seen in the rags outside. Also helps to flag off any spill from your heads outside to keep it off your blackout canopy. Now, it sounds like you may be adding diffusion onto the windows, which would probably be my next suggestion. Something like opal or Hampshire frost would be nice and light to stay illuminated, but completely blur anything on the other side of the window. If you are simply recreating daylight and need the all day consistency, if you've got diffusion on the windows you probably don't need to go so crazy on the blackout, probably just the one solid above the window to kill most the daylight. Maybe just note there will be a shift in your fill levels with the small amount of ambience coming in.
  3. Hi everyone! I will soon be venturing into the 360 world of cameras on a music video. I've always been intrigued by the format but never have touched it yet. What's everyone's favorite value 360 camera? Is it a combination of say, 8 go-pros, or is it standalone products with two lenses? Do any 360 cameras offer a stitched feed via SDI or HDMI for wireless viewing on set? Do any of them offer slow motion?
  4. For me a beautiful example of night exterior cinematography is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Throughout the 3 films there's an immense amount of different types, from the plain forests of the shire, magical, glowing elven fortresses, to massive battles lit by both torch and moon. Albeit this example may be very fantastical, giving the lighting style a lot of leeway to be "unmotivated" - in the Fellowship of the Ring I can think to a few shots where you can basically see the source they're using as the moon. But it all "works" and is incredibly beautiful and striking. Additionally, I think one of the most interesting things about the difference between an audience "detecting" a day and a night scene is the background. For me, you could leave the same style of key light between two scenes unchanged, and set the time of day purely by the illumination of the background.
  5. Hi all! I will soon be using a 16mm bolex with the weaver stead man 2-axis head - essentially I will be spinning the bolex 360 degrees, and the camera will be completely turned upside down. I'm wondering if this will effect film movement? I've heard some things about shooting upside down and possibly getting ghosting/movement issues with the film.
  6. Ah I've been wondering if there's anything reflective in 12x! I use 4x mirrors so much but they often are only good to backlight one subject. Is it basically a 12x of shiny?
  7. Hi everyone! Thanks for the replies, good to see some approaches I can integrate. I love the white sheet idea inside the car. Some more context: - The car will be parked in one position, with talent only ever outside the car. - I have choice over time of day, but it can't be blue hour as this would ruin consistency with the other parts of this scene. I'm going to try to get the most backlight on the car as possible so aiming for 3-6. Luckily we're shooting in winter, so sun will be quite low most of the day.
  8. Hi all! Been racking my brain for a while on how to best light a car for a spec I’m shooting - specifically in the desert, exterior, during the day. Unfortunately our piece has a lot of narrative moments, so I can’t shoot during blue hour/sunset as this wouldn’t leave time for our long scenes and totally throw off the consistency. Long story short, I’ll have to deal with the sun - that being said, does anyone have some tricks for dealing with the big, flaming ball in the sky? My current thought is to just use sub as backlight, edging the car and potentially losing the reflection, and then using some soft 12x bounce in one of the car’s blind spots. I figured the sun being direct in any sense would look bad and secondly adding diffusion frames won’t work for some of our wides and would be seen in reflection.
  9. Hi all! I will soon be shooting my first car spec. I'm doing as much research as I can in order to craft a well-polished and beautiful piece, and to understand the logistical requirements and best practices. We're aiming for a very moody, narrative driven off-terrain piece, employing a black arm setup as well as some drone work. Looking for some guidance, tips, advice - what has everyone learned from their car shoots? Looking back, what would you have done differently from the beginning? What technical difficulties did you overlook?
  10. Hello everyone! I would love to get some opinions on the following. Let’s say you’re shooting a narrative, a 10 page dialogue scene over the course of 2 days. This scene takes place in one location, with blocking all in one vicinity. Would you rather A) Shoot 5 pages/day, jumping around to all of your camera/light setups for those 5, or B) Shoot 10 pages/day, shooting out half of your setups like wide, two shot, etc. Theres interesting pros and cons to both; as a DP I jump for the 10 page idea so I can be efficient with setups and time, yet a director might see benefit performance And continuity wise for the 5 page option. Worked on a feature recently where this problem arose, and would love to hear everyone’s opinions and logic.
  11. I feel that in most cases, as a DP I hire those I trust and have worked with multiple times, as this experience has helped us work more efficiently together. And with the people I work for, producers and directors, they trust me in my assigned position, and therefore trust my hiring choices as well. This is where the less talked about part of DPing comes in, the leadership and team management aspect. Often if I bring my favorite Gaffer, Key Grip, or 1st AC in, they have a choice over who is below them, be it 2nd AC, Cam PA, Grip, etc. Of course there are exceptions, for example if I'm doing a very complicated sequence over water, but my go-to crew has no experience working in water, I will likely outsource for those more experienced for the job. This is where maybe the producer or director knows someone, and therefore does the hiring. Like most things, this all depends on the "level" you're working on. Since I started making films in high school, to now non-union freelancing, I feel I have had full discretion on who I hire to be apart of my team. The only time I haven't is when maybe the director or producer are looking to bring in one of their people, either as a favor or a suggestion. In terms of union, I'm not up to that level yet, so I don't quite know. Also I should mention, technically speaking, I "hire" them, but I'm not the one sending them emails of contracts and such. I forward their contact information on to the production and they take care of the rest. Here's a list of positions that I can have a choice over who is hired. I've bolded those who often have say in who is hired below them: Camera Operator (Steadicam operator, crane operator, gimbal operator, underwater team, drone team, etc) 1st AC (focus puller) 2nd AC (in some cases also a film loader) Camera Tech (for specific scenarios) Camera PA Gaffer/CLT BBE/ACLT Electric/SLT Dimmer op/Board op Key Grip BBG Grip Rigging Team
  12. For starters, it most definitely looks like Alexa just from the dynamic range. In terms of lenses, its hard to tell. Seems super fast, maybe a 1.4, the bokeh is almost perfectly circular, and the focus is crisp but still has a nice falloff to it. No funky vignettes or artifacts dominant. Looking at the subjects' edges against overexposed backgrounds, you can see some very slight green chromatic aberration. Makes me think of one of the many Zeiss super speeds, but the flaring on the super speeds has a more blue/purple dominant tinge to it, where as I'm seeing a more polychromatic range in the flaring. The colorful yet well resolved flaring reminds me of the Ultra or master primes. Past this it's hard to tell. Don't see any mention of Panavision on the Vimeo description. I feel like most DPs like to credit them.
  13. Yeah the arri mags are an absolute breeze! Also is the intermittent mechanism on the XTR different? I heard somewhere that it doesn't have a registration pin like the SR.
  14. Hey all! Shooting a small music video on S16 soon, and wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the Aaton XTR vs. SR3 vs. 416. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each when compared against eachother? I'm seeing XTR packages are almost half the price of the SR3, and our budget is tiny so I'm trying to see what I'm giving up for the cheaper price.
  15. Hi all! I'm interested in pairing the Zeiss CP2 lenses with the Arriflex SR1. Will the flange depth on the CP2s be a able to work with the SR? Is it possible to pair these two? Thank you!
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