Jump to content
MattC

My First Short

Recommended Posts

Ok it's my first short of any kind. _I bought a light kit and decided to try lighting in sort of a Film Noir style. _Sometimes I succeeded sometimes I failed. _Please let me know what you think.

 

For background I was the only crew on this as well as acting in it so most of the camera shots are static. I did do a rack focus from a carafe to a glass but I don't know if you can see it. Also I did a slight zoom in one scene where only my girlfriend was in it. I shot this B&W in 24p with a shutter speed of 48. It was all lit with a Lowel DV Creator 55 light kit. I wrote the orchestral music. The jazz song is one that was written by Oliver Nelson and it is called Stolen Moments, I'm playing sax (poorly). This really wasn't meant to be seen - to be honest it wasn't meant to be a short - just an exercise in lighting - but one scene led to another and I decided to use it as an exercise in editing as well.

 

This is the first "movie" type thing I've ever made so I expect to have made many mistakes and would like whatever criticism you can muster. I've already received some feedback that my pacing is a little off in some places so I'm going to work on that.

 

You can download the file from here: http://homepage.mac.com/matthewjcherry/.Mo...20the%20Gig.mp4

 

MattC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok it's my first short of any kind. _I bought a light kit and decided to try lighting in sort of a Film Noir style. _Sometimes I succeeded sometimes I failed. _Please let me know what you think.

 

For background I was the only crew on this as well as acting in it so most of the camera shots are static. I did do a rack focus from a carafe to a glass but I don't know if you can see it. Also I did a slight zoom in one scene where only my girlfriend was in it. I shot this B&W in 24p with a shutter speed of 48. It was all lit with a Lowel DV Creator 55 light kit. I wrote the orchestral music. The jazz song is one that was written by Oliver Nelson and it is called Stolen Moments, I'm playing sax (poorly). This really wasn't meant to be seen - to be honest it wasn't meant to be a short - just an exercise in lighting - but one scene led to another and I decided to use it as an exercise in editing as well.

 

This is the first "movie" type thing I've ever made so I expect to have made many mistakes and would like whatever criticism you can muster. I've already received some feedback that my pacing is a little off in some places so I'm going to work on that.

 

You can download the file from here: http://homepage.mac.com/matthewjcherry/.Mo...20the%20Gig.mp4

 

MattC

 

pretty good for a first time out the gate. somethings i saw that you may want to take a look at. (trying to be constructive, hope it doesnt come off mean)

* watch your shadows. a few shots, especially in the smoking/drinking scene, displayed double/triple shadows -- what you did with the blinds casting the shadow can be a bit tricky.

* be careful not to have your lighting to flat. examples of the flat light are in the opening on the clock and on your girlfriend's back while you are standing infront of the mirror.

* same scene, different note. watch your unmotivated cuts. the medium cut to the wide cut to the medium didn't work for me, i would have prefered it play out in the medium. ((side note, camera should move about 15 degrees for edits to 'feel right'))

 

other than that I thought it was well made, I liked the the lower angle shots. don't be afraid to use colour, even if you're shooting B&W. for example a fill on the bar using maybe a pepper light w/ 1/2 or even 1/4 CTB would have made the glass sparkle a bit more.

 

keep at it, I hope this helped and please don't take this critisism to heart as it is meant to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pretty good for a first time out the gate.  somethings i saw that you may want to take a look at. (trying to be constructive, hope it doesnt come off mean)

* watch your shadows.  a few shots, especially in the smoking/drinking scene, displayed double/triple shadows -- what you did with the blinds casting the shadow can be a bit tricky.

* be careful not to have your lighting to flat.  examples of the flat light are in the opening on the clock and on your girlfriend's back while you are standing infront of the mirror.

* same scene, different note.  watch your unmotivated cuts.  the medium cut to the wide cut to the medium didn't work for me, i would have prefered it play out in the medium.  ((side note, camera should move about 15 degrees for edits to 'feel right'))

 

other than that I thought it was well made, I liked the the lower angle shots.  don't be afraid to use colour, even if you're shooting B&W.  for example a fill on the bar using maybe a pepper light w/ 1/2 or even 1/4 CTB would have made the glass sparkle a bit more. 

 

keep at it, I hope this helped and please don't take this critisism to heart as it is meant to help.

 

Thank you very much, and please I posted this FOR the criticism!! I'm not sure I understand the shadows part, but I'll look at it some more and try to figure it out. I hung a blind from a mike boom and shot a light through it, I probably did it wrong. As for the flat lighting, I did see that. I lit the short by eye and set things up by looking through the viewfinder and it didn't come out as I thought it would, but it came out pretty close so I do need to work on that. I didn't use any gels or flags or things because I don't have those yet, so my only control was barndoors and distance. I'm going to make some flags and get some gels and try to position my lights better.

 

I did put little spots on the crystal (the candlestick, carafe and ashtray) but didn't think to use a gel, as I didn't have any, I will get some and try that. Is this what you mean by a "pepper"?

 

Thanks again!

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you very much, and please I posted this FOR the criticism!!  I'm not sure I understand the shadows part, but I'll look at it some more and try to figure it out.  I hung a blind from a mike boom and shot a light through it, I probably did it wrong.  As for the flat lighting, I did see that.  I lit the short by eye and set things up by looking through the viewfinder and it didn't come out as I thought it would, but it came out pretty close so I do need to work on that.  I didn't use any gels or flags or things because I don't have those yet, so my only control was barndoors and distance.  I'm going to make some flags and get some gels and try to position my lights better.

 

I did put little spots on the crystal (the candlestick, carafe and ashtray) but didn't think to use a gel, as I didn't have any, I will get some and try that.  Is this what you mean by a "pepper"?

 

Thanks again!

 

Matt

this is an example of a pepper, almost like a 3-4 inch fresnel light -- lightsp1n1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first short was also in the style of film noir. It was based on a short story by Bill Pronzini called "Black Wind". I wish I could show it to you.

 

As far as the film goes, here's my input:

 

1.) Credits seem to contrast oddly with the interestingly foreboding image of the grandfather clock

 

2.) GREAT use of negative space on the shot of him walking down the hall

 

3.) Watch the shadows - sometimes they seem unintentional

 

4.) Cool sophia coppola lost in translation-esque shot of woman, but strange cut between that shot and the similar one after it. In that same shot, the practical lamp next to the man is not lit - why? It could have an interesting effect, and looks strange unlit.

 

5.) Good lighting with the shade shadows cast on him - but sourcing that light would have been good. Maybe a shot through the shaded window of a moon or something, to add to the effect.

 

6.) Many shots are held far too long. A few long lasting shots are good to build up suspense to some intense event, but in this film that event never comes...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto on the use of negative space, very nice. I think in the closeup on the bed, the woman could have been lit a little hotter, maybe something highlighting her hair. The opening shot could have perhaps been a little shorter, quicker cut to the man opening the door. I do, however, enjoy what you did with the blinds, the light on the saxophone, and the transition from the burning cigarette to the end title. I also really liked the sound design; having it sort of stark and not too heavy worked well for the piece. Also, thank you for inspiring me to go back to one of my first films and re-cut. :-)

-A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a very good first swing. A few things didn't really gel though. I got the feeling this was at night then you did the lighting through the blinds that didn't seem to fit. The cut from woman on the bed to a very similar shot didn't work so well. You have to cut to a somewhat different looking (I've heard 15, 20 and 30 degrees difference from different people) to make the cut look right. The style kind of implied tension soemtimes and the tension never came.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

Just my 2 pence worth!:

 

I think many DPs hate double shadows, though you do see them more often in B&W films.

 

For me personally I would have liked to see a few backlit shots e.g. when he walks in to the bedroom - even his girlfriend's back would have looked nice backlit. Many of the shots seemed to be lit from the front.

 

I thought the wardrobe with the shelves was a bit flat as well as well as the high wide of him walking across the frame and the shot of him pouring his whiskey.

 

Also for me the shot of his girlfriend staring from the side of the clock looked a bit too contrasty - I would have preferred a bit more fill to make her a little more glamorous.

 

Also when you cut from shot to shot, you need to move the camera approx. 30 degrees or you have to make a change in shot size of 'significance'. A shot cuttng from a long shot to a medium or a medium to a medium close up looks good but a shot from a medium to a slightly tighter medium looks strange - there's not enough difference in the shot sizes to make the cut look good.

 

A pepper is a brand of 100w or 150w small fresnel.

 

Just some thoughts

Morgan

 

p.s. What does 'negative space' mean?

 

p.p.s. Why would a light with 1/2 or 1/4 CTB make the glass sparkle a bit more?

Edited by MorganPeline

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
p.s. What does 'negative space' mean?

 

Negative space is any space where the subject of the frame isn't. Here's a B/W shot I took that shows this in action. The subject stands on the far left of the frame, with much of the right side being left in dark shadow. This essentially forces the viewer's attention on the subject standing in the lit doorway.

 

http://alvin.craized.net/doorway-sm-v.jpg

 

Another, more intense example:

http://alvin.craized.net/staircase-sm-v.jpg

 

(If you'd like to see the images straight off the negative, remove the "-v" from the URL).

 

Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello MattC,

I will approach this from the standpoint of what I like about your short film

and also state some things I would have done. I am a professional photog-

rapher of over 20 yrs. experience, I am a student cinematographer. Let me

start by saying that there are no rules in photography. I think one should be

true to the story/script and light for that mood. I liked your blacks in the hall

scene but you needed a little more contrast,I especially liked the sparkle of

the latches on the horn case,hall scene. I thought the walls were a little to

flat for my taste. Keep in mind that I look at b&w with zones(tones) in mind.

I think you needed a little more contrast in the hall scene. I agree with jared

gaffer that the clock scene was flat,other than that I like the clock scene and

your use of the camera. Then again you were using one light kit I assume. I

think you established time of day effectively. For the girl in the bedroom I

would have preferred to have her in a satin slip, would have lit back of slip

with reflected light from a reflector,maybe kino-flo into reflector. I would

have lit her hair ever so slightly and just enough that you could tell it was

lit. I would have had her in slip in the living room when she went to get him.

I liked the shadow of the male actor on the door of the bedroom. Think of a

blue slip(color of) now think of that tone,scale,zone in b&w. Thats the way I

would want the slip to appear,lit from the back. Great Project! Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MattC,

What I'm trying to say is that I would have wanted the slip to appear satin

(satin in look,texture in b&w). Maybe a pepper(maybe filter also) into a re-

flector would achieve this, I don't know. I think I'm going to shoot a scene

with my girlfriend Stephanie(4X5) on T-Max sheet film and see if I can ach-

ieve lighting desired,effect. I'll have to experiment with the lighting. Overall

sir I like your film,story,there is no doubt what the story is,means. Maybe

you are developing a John Cassavetes style here? Now you have much better

films to work with than he did. How does it feel to be a filmmaker? I am in the

process now of looking for a 16mm camera. I'm a jazz man(I photograph jazz

stars) I liked "Stolen Moments" .

 

Greg

Edited by pd170user

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Aagain MattC,

I just got done watching "Persona" 1966 Ingmar Bergman film,b&w and

DP was Sven nykvist. If you have access to the film you might want to

view it. Its very interesting how nykvist lit the Int. scenes of bedroom,

living room,hospt. room etc.. Just thought I would pass this along to you.

You may be interested in the crystal the girls drink from and how its lit,

also some nice Int. scenes with practicals. Best Regards. He left the char-

acters cast shadows in several scenes,Int.'s.

 

 

Greg

Edited by pd170user

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alvin, I loved those shots. They seriously were great. Were they shot on 35mm film or on video?

 

Thank you, I'm glad you like them!

 

These were shot on Ilford HP5 Plus film and printed on Ilford Multigrade-IV RC Deluxe paper. All the shots, even at 400ASA, called for a 1/4th second exposure, since it was all lit with continuous lighting (no strobes!). Here's another:

 

http://alvin.craized.net/bed-sm-v.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see the old HP5, used to use it a lot. Have you tried Oriental or

Seagull papers? I like your tonal range,especially like the shadow

of your subject on the bed spread. I come from the school of every object

in scene either greatly in detail or slightly in detail, as touching shadows

ever so slightly with fill.

 

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you, I'm glad you like them!

 

These were shot on Ilford HP5 Plus film and printed on Ilford Multigrade-IV RC Deluxe paper. All the shots, even at 400ASA, called for a 1/4th second exposure, since it was all lit with continuous lighting (no strobes!). Here's another:

 

http://alvin.craized.net/bed-sm-v.jpg

 

 

 

Very nice work. I see you're one of those happy, uplifting photographers :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have you tried Oriental or

Seagull papers?

 

I have not yet experimented with different papers (I'd really like to use the non resin-coated stuff, as I hear you get much more pleasing prints out of it), for B/W photography is just a little hobby I do on the side.

 

I plan to use some of that Fuji Acros 100ASA film some day soon, as I hear the grain structure is really quite smooth.

 

But, this has gone off-topic now... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW, You guys are GREAT!!! I go away for a few days and look what I come back to - wow!! I have decided to flesh out this story into a full blown film noir short. I have developed a script and am now storyboarding how I would like to shoot it. It will start basically the same way, but I'll try to incorporate all the fantastic suggestions mentioned here.

 

Yes, I only have the one light kit and I can't really afford to buy another, but I might rent a few more lights or maybe buy a "pepper or two".

 

Really, thank you all so much, this has been a great experience.

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I only have the one light kit and I can't really afford to buy another.

 

You can make them for a small price.

 

I did a short on a 16mm bolex using B&W Ilford stock once. We didn't have any lights so I bought two 500W security flood lights at a hardware store to use as key lights. We ended up gaffer taping them to some spare stands that we had. I'm sure you can buy some stands at the store for cheap.

 

I also made some chinese lanterns -> For this go to a hardware store and buy a ceramic screw-fit bulb holder, then buy some cable (preferably sturdy and heat resistant, though to be frank that is not that important) and then buy a plug. And then assemble safely at home using electrical tape.

 

Then go to photographic shop and buy either 500w or 275w tungsten photoflood bulbs (recently I just learned you can get also get daylight balanced photoflood bulbs). Also get a chinese lantern from a domestic lighting shop - you can use these as fill lights or as ambient.

 

Remember 500w (and 275w, to a certain degree) photoflood bulbs get very hot and fragile when switched on - it's easy to jiggle them and blow the filament - be gentle with them and be careful that you don't set the paper lanterns alight. And also take your time when assembling, it's very easy to electrocute yourself when making your own lights.

 

Also you can go to a hardware store and buy an un-assembled 500w plastic household dimmer box. They have a rotary switch which you can push to switch on and off and you can rotate the same knob to dim up and down. You also need cable or a 3 socket gang and a plug... Assemble.

 

And then there you have it; home-made 3-point lighting kit!. Because you are shooting B&W you can key with the floodlights, and then fill with the chinese lantern photofloods on a dimmer. Remember, when shooting colour, that when you dim things, they change the colour temperature.

 

I actually used this same kit for a no-budget 35mm short shot on an old Eclair with shoulder battery pack and an old Angenieux zoom lense. We used Kodak EXR short-ends. As a lot of our shots were hand-held, I felt very French New Wave!

 

Also if you get a bit of Diffusion, .ND and CTB and CTO gels, effects gels and blackwrap; you're all set for some fun no-budget geurilla film-making. I've even gelled the 500w floodlights with CTB to use them as keys, backlights or bounced fills when shooting colour day interiors, albeit several at a time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Tai Audio



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Metropolis Post



    Glidecam



    CineLab



    Just Cinema Gear



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    G-Force Grips



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Ritter Battery



    Serious Gear



    Abel Cine



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Paralinx LLC



    FJS International



    Wooden Camera



    Visual Products



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...