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J Costantini

documentary

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hello

i will shoot a short documentary (which could turn out to be a feature) soon.

 

it's about an actress who used to be very beautiful and glamourous in the 70s. there may be some other interviews with people that go to her house or family members when they show up there. but it won't be a film like "lots of interviews and compliments and funny stories". it's a film about her TODAY and she will be on the screen for the most part.

 

I'd like to get some advices not only for lighting her main interview but also camera work suggestions.

as we plan to shoot a few interviews with her (and they could be long) i'm planning to use a tripod instead of hand held. vary between a medium shot of her sitting and a close up. maybe an extreme close up sometimes. but as she has some "marks" of age i'm not sure if I should get that closer.

 

I was also planning to use a cheap solution such as a chinese lantern with a photoflood connected to a dimmer. and maybe a small kino for backlight. should I mix temperatures? have the keylight warm and backlight a little bluer? or the opposite?

 

we're using a dvx100A at 24PA gamma cinelike and matrix normal. setup at 7.5 and master ped at -2.

 

 

thank you for your suggestions.

Edited by nillo

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I'd like to get some advices not only for lighting her main interview but also camera work suggestions.

as we plan to shoot a few interviews with her (and they could be long) i'm planning to use a tripod instead of hand held. vary between a medium shot of her sitting and a close up. maybe an extreme close up sometimes. but as she has some "marks" of age i'm not sure if I should get that closer.

 

I would expect that, since she's a pro, you might have to atleast reassure her that the lighting will be flattering.

And if her old friends the make-up artist and her husband the cinematographer are there when you show up with "cheap solutions" she may just send you packing. So lighting-wise, you better have your best game on.

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A diffused key and some fill will cut down on the appearance of wrinkles and jagged bone structures.

 

Watch films such as "When Harry Met Sally" or "Reds" to see how the elderly were lit for their interviews. What Storaro did in "Reds" was VERY simple, but they always stand out in my mind because of how painterly they seem.

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it's about an actress who used to be very beautiful and glamourous in the 70s. it's a film about her TODAY and she will be on the screen for the most part.

Well, you could take several approaches based on what you're trying to say with the film.

 

Since she's the subject, I imagine that the look you choose will depend on how she sees herself today - if she's a delusional Norma Desmond type, then you could either show her as she sees herself, or as we see her (a potentially cruel approach, I know). With the former, I would research her old films and try to emulate the photography of the period (Diffusion? Hard/soft key? Angle of key? Key/fill ratios? Focal lengths?). With the latter, I'd go for a more modern realistic approach (Soft key, no fill, no diffusion, shorter focal lengths, mixed color temps), and not go out of my way to make her look good. I wouldn't recommend this approach, but it's an option.

 

If she's a clear-eyed type that has come to terms with the disparity between her past and present appearance, then you might take a more naturalistic approach, making her look as good as possible but not trying to make her look 25. (Soft key, moderate fill, very light diffusion, long lens, balanced color temp).

 

If she's vacillates back and forth between these, then I'd light her in both styles depending on what the topic of the interview is, and which side of her is most likely to come out.

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thanks a lot.

very interesting approach. selecting the lens focused on what the subject is and how she sees herself are good beginnings.

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