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David Mullen ASC

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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Excellent work as always on S3. I think this was mentioned before in an article on S1 but I'm not sure. David, have you guys ever discussed adding grain to the image?

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Briefly in prep. It didn't seem necessary and Amazon warned me that making the HDR version is trickier with grain, you basically have to do a separate (milder) grain pass for the 4K HDR master because it gets stronger looking with the contrast / resolution increase. 

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Just wanted to show everyone a scene in Season 3 of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" in the Button Club set. I asked the production designer to add a small window to the design so I could establish a day and night look. Since the space had been a factory floor at some point, he added an exhaust fan to the wall that I could light through.  I had a top light from three, sometimes four Litemat 4's in a row that for day scenes I set to around 4300K so I could let the tungsten in the room look warmer.

This scene was played mostly in one long take that pushed in from wide to close to the stage, then pulled back with Joel walking up to Mei, then came around to a profile 2-shot angle and then ended up on Joel after she walks out.  We later did a single on Joel and a single on Mei.  So you can see the issues I have, basically most of the lighting has to be in the wide shot -- we see almost 270 degrees of the room. At best, I had a handheld Litemat 1 for an eyelight that moved with the Steadicam.

10K Molebeam for the sunlight. Behind the curtain on stage, I had a second hot slash of light from a Leko and I hid a tube on the ceiling to light the guys on the ladder. There's no window on the stage wall but being a theater stage, I figured I could add almost any lighting effect I wanted.  ARRI Alexa Mini, 24mm Primo, #1/4 Hollywood Black Magic filter.

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5 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

maisel12.jpg

 

I find that sort of thing is heavily reliant on the camera in use. Many would not have rendered the overexposed highlight on the floor very prettily, which brings up the wider issue of using a light that's sufficiently bright and directional to create a bold aerial effect without requiring excessively dense smoke, but which also looks good if we have to see the area where it lands, which will inevitably receive a lot of light.

Alexa does well here and things like Ursa Mini are also surprisingly capable in this sort of situation but I wouldn't have wanted to shoot that on, say, a Red Helium.

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It is really beautiful. 
I think that in that set you show the ceiling sometimes, am I right? Where did you hide the Litemats!!!?

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The ceiling was high enough that we usually never saw it but in the final episode when it opens as a club, we start at the back of the stage looking out and then Steadicam down a ramp into the audience, so we see the ceiling. To hide the Litemats, which were gelled Steel Blue for this scene, we put a black teaser behind a row of tungsten lights (Pepper 300's?) hitting the performers.

You've reminded me that at the start of the push in on the room in the daytime, I had to have the Steadicam stay a little high because as it passed under the circular arch, it just barely misses seeing the Litemats in the ceiling -- a few takes we did see them momentarily and I had planned on asking that they be painted out in VFX. Either that or I would have zoomed slightly into the frame to lose them, they were just skirting the top edge briefly.

maisel14.jpg

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8 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

  

 

I find that sort of thing is heavily reliant on the camera in use. Many would not have rendered the overexposed highlight on the floor very prettily, which brings up the wider issue of using a light that's sufficiently bright and directional to create a bold aerial effect without requiring excessively dense smoke, but which also looks good if we have to see the area where it lands, which will inevitably receive a lot of light.

Alexa does well here and things like Ursa Mini are also surprisingly capable in this sort of situation but I wouldn't have wanted to shoot that on, say, a Red Helium.

Yes, the floor gets clipped at this kick angle to the backlight, but it would have been clipped on film too.  At some point, even film burns out to white, I don't think one has to always avoid that, but it is true that with the Alexa, the burn-out effect is more graceful and organic than with many other cameras, which is why I tend not to worry about it unless it is right next to the actors' heads and looks distracting. Sunlight effects on curtain sheers, for example -- I tend to look carefully at the degree of clipping when they are near the actors, I don't want that to look too ugly. But a hot spot on a floor, I tend to let that go unless it looks weirdly digital.

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Lovely work as always, David.

About what stop/footcandle level are you lighting these club scenes to? I know you’ve mentioned in the past sometimes cutting the shutter for scenes with dance numbers. 

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I generally lit to a f/2.8 at ISO 500. Though because when the club opened to a show and the director wanted the room to look dark, I ended up closer to an f/4 here.

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I took some still photos of some miniatures a while ago which went down well and all I really did was light the background in blue-green (using an Aputure MC-12 colourmixing light) and the foreground in tungsten let go slightly warm. I did that based on a memory of seeing Theo van de Sande do something in that sort of colour with a gelled joleko and a pebbled reflector at the old Mole demonstration stage, during one of the ASC courses a few years ago (Mr Mullen might even have been there on that day.)

Apparently green is the new blue as regards night scenes and I can't say I object.

 

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On 7/6/2020 at 5:56 PM, David Mullen ASC said:

The ceiling was high enough that we usually never saw it but in the final episode when it opens as a club, we start at the back of the stage looking out and then Steadicam down a ramp into the audience, so we see the ceiling. To hide the Litemats, which were gelled Steel Blue for this scene, we put a black teaser behind a row of tungsten lights (Pepper 300's?) hitting the performers.

 

Brilliant solution!

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