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Steven Buckwalter

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About Steven Buckwalter

  • Birthday 12/29/1976

Profile Information

  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    New York
  • My Gear
    Random stuff.
  • Specialties
    Narrative, period, beautiful, passionate, colorful, artful, thoughtful.

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    https://makefilms.cc/about/steve-buckwalter/

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  1. Hi, I'm coming to the Palm Springs area from the East Coast for a shoot in February, and I'm looking for a Gaffer who can help me crew up and find gear for a one day shoot. Anyone have any recommendations? Thanks
  2. I'm sorry for the super basic stupid question. I was moving quickly today, working on a documentary shoot, with a glimmer glass 4x5 filter loaded in a matte box, and then decided to add a polarizer into the mix. I had a lot on my mind, but at that moment was frozen with indecision about what the "correct" filter order would be. I raced through all kinds of permutations of what physically is happening to the light as it's going through the filters, then tried it both ways, couldn't see a difference in the space of 10 seconds, and went with the glimmer glass in the front. I've been doing this a long time, and somehow I never put a diffusion and a polarizer together before, but I'm curious about other filter combos as well. So, other than a hot mirror always going in the front, does anyone have any rules or reasons for which way they stack a filter?
  3. I was recently given some old school net material by a friend. I've seen people that had nets glued into a thin plastic frame that you could drop into a normal filter tray, it was easier than having to stretch a net over the lens every time you did a lens change. I can't seem to find anything like it on sites like B&H, but I also feel like I am not using the correct search terms. I would appreciate any ideas for what to use. Thanks.
  4. Really great work Borja. It's not often that you see an SR3 on a stabilizer, it feels stylish and looks interesting. It's a lot of interesting setups considering you only had a day to do it. Here are my opinions (that's all they are). Likes: 1. The movement and lighting at :36. 2. Shot design at 1:10 3. The switch to handheld at 2:19 and the shot coming through the bleachers. 4. The backlit shot at 2:06 5. The way that evening light renders on film towards the end of the handheld sequence and at 3:01. 6. The way that film will hold skin tones even in cool light. (3:18) 7. Interesting use of flares in the last sequence. Dislikes: 1. I'm not sure if the light on the main character at :45 is a conscious choice or an artifact of how you had to light the whole shot, but I wish it was a little softer on his face, and the color of the light mixes poorly with his skin tone, giving him a little bit of a pink pasty look. 2. The tracking shot at :52 is so close that it lost all sense of motion because it cropped out any foreground that was moving faster. It was an impressive technical feat, but I like the wider tracking shot that comes a little later. OTOH, you or the director may have decided it served the story better to stay that tight, or to make the shot seem dreamier. 3. The coach's eye socket at :31 is just slightly burned compared to the runner's skin at :55. That's an incredibly picky thing to nitpick at, I'm not saying it's something that ruined the whole movie. I'm more just curious as to how that one highlight on his face couldn't seem to hold compared to the rest of the footage where the skin tones in direct sun held just fine. Even the backlight on the shot at 2:06 is way over, but rolls off or reads in a much more pleasing way. I'd be curious to know the difference in time of day between the two shots, and it's possible that just getting a frame of very light diffusion, or some powder on the coaches face could have softened it just enough. Could you give us some insight on your lab and transfer process? Did you do a one-light at the lab, or get a log transfer and grade it yourself? Also, what kind of prep did you do with the director? Sometimes it can be hard to get on the same page with a director about some of the visual language, and then you only had one day and were changing mags on a ronin, there had to be some challenges. Also, how involved was your color grade? A lot of the tones seem pretty straight on for what I would expect from Kodak film, but did you find that you had to do a lot of exposure or tone matching as the sun dropped toward the end of the day? Thanks for sharing.
  5. Starting Day 20 of 29 of a period feature, shooting “summer” in winter of course.
  6. I'll fly to Vegas and shoot it for you, sounds like fun! 🙂 But I'm a little confused by your post, are you testing your Moviecam for your short? Or are you testing it by shooting your short? But if you're looking to connect with other locals, Instagram isn't a bad place to start. Just start searching for Las Vegas DP or cinematographer and you'll start seeing interesting work I'm sure. Funny enough I'm really bad at keeping up IG, but I'm going to be making it a priority this year. Really I am!
  7. David Mullen answered this when someone asked about the LLD filter, basically it filters out some of the blue light that Robert is talking about. I used it successfully last year and can confirm that using Davinci's White Balance tool worked fine for me, although some colorists still insist on using the color wheels for some reason.
  8. I did some of my first work in the early 2000s with an ancient Arri 2c that had a viewfinder that didn't swivel, and the ground glass was held in by bars, so it looked like you were just operating through a jail cell. I'm not really sure how I got anything usable out of it, but I feel like it all held up pretty well the last time I looked at it. But I'm definitely thrilled to have a modern digital viewfinder to work with.
  9. Use a calculator and a tape measure. Those formulas are a ratio, where 1 is the vertical height, so if you're trying to find the exact crop for 2.39, measure the width of your panel and divide it by 2.39. For example, and I'm going to do this in metric to make the math easier, even though everyone measures their panels in inches. If your panel is 10cm wide, then the vertical height of the image should be 10/2.39=4.2cm. Divide that in two again to give you the size of the bars at the top and bottom of your screen, so each bar should be 4.2/2=2.1cm. Measure in that distance from the top and bottom and make that your tape line. Alternate way is to use a framing chart. Print out a framing chart that shows your desired frame line, then set and frame the camera to match that, and just align the tape on the monitor to the lines on camera. If you're having trouble finding a chart, you can use Arri's frame line tool, https://www.arri.com/en/learn-help/learn-help-camera-system/tools/frame-line-lens-illumination-tool. It's specifically built for Arri cameras, but you should be able to find a camera combination that would match most cameras in terms of resolution.
  10. I made the mistake last year of thinking that I could make it through a test using an older BL3, not realizing that the viewfinder would be so unusable. But it still astonishes me that so many older movies look amazing and sharp when you consider how awful the viewfinders were in their cameras.
  11. I've done a fair bit of macro work on tabletop, and it's very difficult to be smooth even on a dana dolly, so I can't imagine it being better on a doorway dolly, but you may find differently. What's worked best for me is dana dolly with a few extra shot bags on the dolly just to give it more momentum and help to smooth the starts and stops.
  12. This is not meant to be a digital vs. film post, I like both and they each have their place. I'm working on a feature, and in pulling a bunch of imagery as references for what I'm aiming for, and after diving through older threads on this website, I came across "Jennifer's Body", and particularly this frame. I love how it shows warmth, while her skin doesn't look orange, indeed there is a whole range of colors in her skin, from reds to pinks to oranges and even a little blue it seems. Earlier this year I did a side by side test between 5219 and the Alexa, and saw immediately how Kodak was able to really build skin tones into the chemistry of the film. Faces and arms and any exposed skin just seemed to pop with a wider range of color compared the the Alexa. I'd love to know if Mr. Mullen feels like he can get these kinds of skin tones working digitally now, or if he was shooting Jennifer's Body on digital, would he light it differently? More than that, I'd love to know if this frame was the result of a serendipitous combination of artificial back light and natural cool ambient? Or was he filling with a cooler light here? Or how much of it has to do with Amanda Seyfried's natural complexion or great makeup work? I always want to get better at my craft, and I'd love any input on how different people really focus on getting beautiful skin tones like these. Thanks in advance for any responses.
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