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Sawyer Thurston

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About Sawyer Thurston

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  • Occupation
    Director
  • Location
    Michigan

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  • Website URL
    http://www.SawyerThurston.com

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  1. Hi All, I'm prepping for an interview with three individuals on one side of a table. As we are doing it in their offices and space is somewhat limited, my thought is to use a china ball or pancake above and between all of them. I worry if I lit from more of the side, as they speak they might shadow each other as they talk/move. So my thought is to use a Chimera 35" pancake with a skirt for the key. Then a pair of two foot kinos above and behind for a little bit of backlight. The example below doesn't include the backlight but you can imagine. Anyway, does this sound right? In my example I liked how it's still soft and flattering. There is actually a tutorial associated with the picture, but they were setting up a similar set up that didn't look quite as flattering as this. In plenty of other examples, it looks sort of harsh and toppy. Do you think that's just because in many cases it's too high / not far enough in front of them? As I haven't used a china ball or pancake before, I'm not sure if there are small tweaks that you feel make a world of differences. Maybe I'm overthinking a simple shot, but I thought I'd see what others thought. Thanks guys!
  2. Hello all. I wanted to reach out to hear about your techniques for lighting backgrounds beyond the talent. So much of what I’ve learned is about creating the right lighting on the talent, but where I struggle is lighting the background. It either comes across as too artificial or too distracting or too forced. Did anyone else struggle with this? Any resources online help? There is unlimited on lighting people and I’m understanding adding depth to the shot via people, but adding depth in the background is much harder it seems.
  3. Usually late at night when I can't sleep I feel unproductive. I know I definitely learn the most when I'm on set, but I'm looking to add more to my routine to self-improve as a DP. What tactics do you use to make better images in the future? I'd like to incorporate some of these in my spare time or when I can't sleep. Personally I've screenshot tons of images that moved me in someway or another and tagged them, but I know there are other ways to continually grow. Even if that is what you do, share the way you go about it, chances are we may be differing in some way. I've heard about Patrick O'Sullivan lighting mannequins by himself for hours on end or looking at his favorite shots through false color. Again, it makes me wonder, what you guys do? I'm hoping to hear if you take notes, how you organize it, how in-depth you go, overall process, etc. Thanks!
  4. Hello, For all of the people that started off as a "Videographer" or one man crew, I'm curious how you expanded as budgets grew - I mean aside from taking positions on other productions. Also - the work I'm mostly focused on right now is commercial. For instance, for a while I was on the lonely grind of shooting and editing all by myself. Last year however, I began having higher budgets that allowed for a few more crew. The marketing director of whichever business I'd be shooting for would usually act as a Producer. I would share the Director / DP role. Then I would hire someone for grip / gaff (One person sharing both roles). Some projects the clients would supply someone for hair/makeup or even an art director, but because that wasn't constant on most shoots, assume those are fair game for possible next role as well. In post I've also had enough budget for a professional colorist on all projects last year, but I'm still the one editing. From either your experience, or what you've read of mine, what is the next role I should be looking to add as budgets grow that will add the most value to the production? Lastly assume it's MOS because if there was audio needed, that is mostly likely the role I would pull in.
  5. Hello, Im reading a book and Im hoping someone can give me more details on a few sentences I read. It says, When setting the aperture on a lens, never go backward. Most apertures have a certain amount of backlash that must be compensated for. It is necessary to go to a larger stop, open the lens all the way up and then reset the stop. So if I start at 2.8 to 5.6 Im fine, but if I wanted to go from 5.6 to 4, I should first reopen to 2.8 before moving to 4? Is this a common practice I missed? What is the backlash they speak of? Thanks!!
  6. This might be a silly / dumb question. I have a monitor coming with false color. Im super excited to start using that as I dont have much experience with it but it seems incredibly useful. I usually use a light meter when I scout but also during the shoot itself. Im wondering if false color eliminates the need for a meter on the day of shooting to nail exposure? I understand using the meter during scouting since I wont have the camera or lenses, but Im curious how they work together during production or if its usually one or the other. I guess Im asking how do they compliment each other and it what ways is one better than the other? Thanks!
  7. Ah yes, I can see both of your viewpoints. I read this great article from wanderingdp: http://wanderingdp.com/cinematography/cinematography-school-lighting-ratios-101/ That's what had me wonder in the first place since he at some point measures Key to Background. But I would imagine that in particular wouldn't have to be a ratio but just X number of stops over or under. Does anyone have a personal rule of thumb as a minimum standard for the background to key? By that I mean like if someone said "at least 1 stop over or under from the key to add depth or else it can easily look too flat." - just curious, perhaps I phrased that too odd.
  8. Hello, I've been trying to learn more about lighting ratios, but it had me wonder a few things. Now I know it's kind of a blanket question and people can do whatever they want, but I'm curious about: 1. What are all the ratios that people typically look for? (Key to fill, key to background, etc.) 2. On average, is there a rule of thumb for lighting ratios, such as background is typically at least 1 stop under key? Again I know that it is ever changing and it's hard to give it a rule, but I think in a way I'm asking what do you as a cinematographer think as you are setting those ratios? Thanks!
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