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Emerson Smith

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  1. Hey, everyone! I'm wondering how to light an area. Or, more specifically, how to color-balance it. I'm going to be shooting digital, but I'd also like the answers for (tungsten) film just to know in the future. I'm going to be filming in a particular bar (if all goes well—pray for me, please) which I've built the whole thing around. It has lamp lights and ceiling lights which appear to my eye to be incandescent, or else LEDs which look incandescent (I didn't check in the lamps). There are LED (?) panels which I'm told change color (I plan to work that in). And then there's the light from the night-time street. (I don't know what to do about that one.) I was thinking (thanks to a suggestion from Tyler Purcell) of just lighting the scene with some china balls so that I wouldn't have all that stuff to hassle with, but I'm trying to figure out what I should do. I might be able to replace the lamp bulbs, but probably not the ceiling ones, and definitely not the LED panels (obviously). So do I light the whole scene for the LED panels and then use a filter on the lens? What do I do here?
  2. Okay, gang. At the very least, you have convinced me to hire a DP. And then a gaffer. I'm still looking into which camera to use. I should have an update for you guys with some pictures of the bar so that you can see what situation I'm working with, if that's okay. There are some tight spaces that I'd like to know if it's possible to fit X kind of camera behind. And I'd like an opinion on the lighting there. If it's not too much trouble. I should have that tomorrow. Thank you so much to everyone who's already responded!
  3. That last bit about the film lab in Atlanta was silly of me. I remembered that Google existed and I found one: http://crawford.com/film-processing/
  4. I'm replying to a couple of people here. I should mention one thing: I've got until the start of November to work on this, so there's a slight time crunch. I believe in myself a lot, but I don't believe in myself to the tune of dropping $50,000 on a camera package. I don't even have a car; a camera package would be a beautiful luxury. But it's a good idea! I'm just not sure that it's for me. But I will think about it. Either way, I won't start paying for film school (assuming I get in) until next year, so I have plenty of time to change my mind. My reasons for wanting to use the camera are as follows. They may not be good reasons, but I think that they're what's motivating a lot of this: 1. It's a challenge, which makes me even more excited about the project. 2. I've been very, very impressed with the look of films and TV shows made with the Alexa, although I'll admit that A) I don't know how much of that is the Alexa itself, since I am not a cinematographer, and B) that doesn't mean that I'll be able to get anything like that look. 3. I've mentioned a concern about future-proofing, although someone has suggested film instead and I have some questions about that later in this post. 4. I'm worried about competing color temperatures in the bar and I've read that the Alexa is good at resolving them, although that could just be hype? 5. I'm also worried about the low lighting in the bar. I don't want a bunch of noise in the blacks. That is very good advice, and thank you for the link! I've made some short films before and I'm familiar with the editing side of things. Well, not like "Avid" familiar. "Premiere Pro" familiar. I'm not Marcia Lucas or anything, but the editing and the foley work aren't the parts I'm worried about. Thank you! I guess--and this is probably a case of mixed-up priorities--that I just don't want to look back on this in a couple of years and go "oh man, if only I had..." Also, if I don't get into film school this time around, I'd like to maybe show it to people or enter it in a festival or something. I'd like to have that option, you know what I mean? And I wish I could make it with a Panavision Gold II. I guess I'm just worried about how much these people cost, especially if I also have to rent equipment. I'm also worried about finding them. In order of the things I think I'm capable of doing, it would be: 1) editor 2) gaffer 3) cinematographer 4) colorist That part about admissions people loving film is intriguing.... How feasible is shooting on film really, and how would I find someone with a film camera? And could you recommend a good film reseller, if I decide to go that route? And are there film labs in Atlanta? Again, I am worried about the color temperatures in the bar. I'm also worried about space for the camera. Maybe I should take some pictures of the location to show you guys. This is the bar, but I'll try to get some better photos. This site leads me to believe that the cost of film, including processing and the intermediate, for my short film would be about... $2180. That's... not bad at all. The question is: how long does that take?
  5. Thank you, everyone, for all your advice so far. And especially thank you for not making me feel dumb--my least favorite feeling. I'm going to respond to it and try to elaborate a bit. I'm not familiar with these forums and I started responding to Mr. Rhodes before I realized I wasn't sure if quoting multiple people using the Quote button would erase my work here, so I'm just going to post this response and then work on trying out that "Multiquote" feature. Mr. Rhodes, you intrigue me. I think I'll have to give hiring a DP a try. ...How does one do that? I assume the answer is not "Craigslist." Also, how much will it cost? This would be for one or two days of filming, about an hour-and-a-half drive from Atlanta, with maybe another informal day just to come up and examine the location briefly. The time would be late September or early October. Would a DP have his or her own lenses? (I assume only the most expensive would have their own cameras.) Because not having to rent lenses would save me some money--or, rather, even things out. This statement is also intriguing, as you're right, that would probably solve a lot of my problems, and you make a convincing argument. Point of clarification: Is it that there's really that little difference, or is it that, as I'm not making a Hollywood feature, I may not need the latitude that ARRIRAW gives? Also, I do plan to buy a new computer, capable of editing 8K RED footage. Could you maybe give me a brief outline of the workflow if I did plan to shoot ARRIRAW? (Unless it would be super-complicated and lengthy--I don't want to impose.) I know that ARRIRAW Converter provides debayering, but I assume there needs to be more color correction on top of that (I'm definitely showing my ignorance here, I know). Would the DP know how to do color correction? Or would that add a lot of expense to whatever I would have to pay him or her (since I don't know how long it takes)? I will definitely take this under consideration. Do you have any recommendations if I decide to go that route? There are some non-ARRI cameras on that .pdf that I linked to in my first post. I should also probably admit that one of my reasons for wanting a really good camera is that I'm probably unhealthily concerned about future-proofing.
  6. Hey there! I'm sorry if this is too many questions at once, but I figured it would be better to just lay my initial questions all out at once instead of peppering them throughout the thread over time. I graduated from college this May with an English degree and a minor in Communications, and I want to go to film school as a graduate student. In order to do this, I need a short film (I'd really like to go to USC). However, my university didn't/doesn't exactly have a cutting-edge film program, so I'm a little flustered. Here's a bit of background about my short film project. It concerns a young woman going to a bar in the early hours of her 21st birthday (it's like 12:08 AM) and ordering her first-ever drink. It's going to be shot without dialog--it will be all body language and sound effects, like a Pixar short, if that makes sense. I want the look of the film to be "objective" (I know that's not a real thing in film) except for a couple of wide-angle shots and a deep focus shot which pulls back over the bar to establish that she's in a bar (if there's a way to do this without deep focus, let me know). I'd also like to do something like this shot from The Music Man (https://youtu.be/CC33O52pGUg?t=2m43s). I don't know how they did it, but I suppose you can cheat it in post if you're a good/patient enough rotoscoper. Anyway, I was looking into what kind of camera I should use to film this project. I've saved up a bit of money and I want to get the best camera possible for the job without requiring me to learn a textbook-worth of information or have tons of hands-on time with the camera before I use it. Since I'll be filming in a real bar (sadly, I haven't saved up enough money to build one from scratch on a soundstage) at night, there will be low light and the possibility of competing color temperatures (since I can't exactly tear out any lights). I'd also prefer to go for as filmic a look as possible. I would shoot the project on film if I could, but I super-don't know enough about film to do that. For this reason, I was looking at either the RED camera or the ARRI Alexa XT. After reading about the RED, I came away with the impression that it was a very particular camera that had kind of a steep learning curve, and that the ARRI Alexa XT would be much easier to shoot with, although I don't know if it's easy enough. My experience has mainly been with that one miniDV Canon SD prosumer camera that everyone had. I also would like to shoot Open Gate ARRIRAW for the project to maximize the pixel count for upscaling to 4K. Since I live near Atlanta, I'm looking at renting from here: http://pce-atlanta.com/. Here is their list of cameras and lenses (PDF): http://www.pce-atlanta.com/pdf/Camera%20Catalog_4_8_2013.pdf. I'm going to be renting the camera and lenses for a weekend. So my first question is: how feasible is this? Especially as I've never used the Alexa before and I'm not an experienced color corrector. Can you just drop ARRIRAW footage into the free version of Da Vinci Resolve or Adobe SpeedGrade and get good results just by messing with a few presets, or is it going to be a month of tedious work? Because I don't have the time to devote every day to it, especially as I'll also be doing foley work. My second question is this: ARRIRAW is flat footage, correct? So how do you know how the colors are going to look when using the monitor? My third question is: how much is that Codex docking station that plugs into the USB 3.0 connection on a MacBook Pro? I've been unable to get a straight answer from their website. And do I need to buy a software license to transfer the ARRIRAW files to a hard drive using it? My fourth question is this: what kinds of lenses should I use? I was thinking of just getting a zoom lens, since that would be cheaper, but would I be able to pull off that deep-focus shot with it? And ARRI's website tells me that shooting in Open Gate ARRIRAW can be a problem because a lot of lenses don't fully cover the sensor area. Do any of the lenses on that list qualify? I'd rather not abandon the Open Gate part of my plan, but I'd sooner abandon it than abandon the Alexa XT (although if I weren't shooting in Open Gate ARRIRAW I guess I could switch to an Alexa with the XT module), so if I have to, I will. My fifth question is: do I need to get a new tripod? I mainly have the kind which you can use for still camera work or for that relatively light Canon prosumer camera I mentioned. Is the Alexa XT a heavy camera? My sixth question is: lighting. I don't understand it. I have a lot of questions about it. I'm considering just using the available light for this reason. For instance, I understand the three-point lighting method (or I think I do, anyway) and I understand how it's easy to do in close-up, but what happens when you cut to a long shot from a different angle, exposing where the lighting rigs would be? My seventh question is: how do I keep it from looking like TV? Let me elaborate on that. I initially thought that aspect ratio played a part in making TV look like TV, but Better Call Saul looks like a movie to me, and Witness for the Prosecution, mistakenly presented in 16:9, looked like a movie as well--not like TV. So my theory is that it has something to do with coverage and composition (and maybe editing and lighting, too). I want my short film to look like a film. What are some common pitfalls I should avoid if I don't want my film to be mundane? I think that's it for now. If you guys could do me a favor and keep checking this thread, I'm sure I'll have more questions. Thank you so much for your time. Also, please let me know if in the future I should make separate topics for questions with separate subject matter. I just didn't want to clutter up your forums.
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