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Samuel Berger

So the indie producer springs a change of plans: what do you do?

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Did the update get it more stops too?

 

 

I wish updates could add more stops.. :).. I,d be more worried about being paid.. if a producer told me this.. warning warning !

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I think if your careful it would be fine - protect the highlights, work hard in the grade to match colour and contrast and possibly apply some grain.

 

In general I think you can get away with quite varied images/textures these days if the story and film is interesting people won't notice. Audiences are increasingly used to it, but I can think of several films that mix formats/image quality in often quite jarring ways that are still successful films. Camera types would notice the difference but many people won't eg:

 

If (1969) - Mixes colour and B & W film seemingly at random at times; part of the films mystique

 

Run Lola Run (1998) - Intercuts 35mm and SD Mini DV - its for a story point but pretty jarring. Still I've screened this to many groups of students, most don't spot the DV

 

Any BBC sitcom/drama between 1960 and 1990 ish - SD video 50i for studio work - 16mm for exteriors - evident on Fawlty towers, Monty Python, Blackadder, Only Fools and horses, Doctor Who, Keeping up appearances etc.. etc... Its properly jarring, but most people don't notice - content is king.

 

Chris Nolan Films - Mixing spherical 1.43:1 IMAX with 2.39:1 Anamorphic 35mm - texture and contrast don't match - I find the aspect ratio jumps annoying - but again audiences seemed fine with it.

 

Touching the Void - Super 16/HDCAM

 

Slumdog Millionaire - mix of 35mm, DLSR, SI2K etc.. worked fine

 

Tony Scott films....

 

 

I think as long as both formats are well photographed and the post production is appropriate and you try to avoid intercutting formats within the same scene too much. Its doable...

 

I agree it would be better if you could stick to 16mm but if thats not affordable its better to have a completed film that perhaps isn't perfect in terms of consistency rather then not completing the film

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Thank you for the reply. But this morning it all fell through because I thought we were renting a UM4.6K, not borrowing it. The DP who owns the 4.6K won't lend it unless he shoots it himself, so I'm out of the picture...literally.

 

I confess to being relieved, I think I'd be too stressed out for tomorrow's shoot since I'd be learning digital as I went. I think it's the right decision.

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Sounds like a crap production if they're going to throw out the DoP for a "free" camera.

 

I have learnt the hard way to keep a good distance to productions which want persons mostly for their gear, not their talent :ph34r:

I recommend this to others as well if in any way possible, it will improve one's life at least 20 or 30% or more and can lead to better projects as well :lol:

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I have learnt the hard way to keep a good distance to productions which want persons mostly for their gear, not their talent :ph34r:

 

Agreed... usually the people who get hired that way aren't very good, because they bought the gear to take advantage of people who hire for gear rather than talent.

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Agreed... usually the people who get hired that way aren't very good, because they bought the gear to take advantage of people who hire for gear rather than talent.

Please note that there are some of us that intentionally use gear in lieu of talent because we're not there yet. I hope to be a very talented cinematographer some day, but I am not there yet. Maybe skilled would be a better term as talent often implies innate abilities. So, I hope to be a skilled cinematographer some day. Until then, I must work for free/cheap and give my gear away to continue to perfect my skills. I don't think we should disparage those of us taking this route. An interesting perspective from Matt Workman...

 

https://youtu.be/4KJ5vzxefRw

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That attitude puts you in the minority of newbies. Most of the newbies that I've met haven't shown much interest in developing their skills.

 

I also don't believe that talent is innate, regardless of the connotation.

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That attitude puts you in the minority of newbies. Most of the newbies that I've met haven't shown much interest in developing their skills.

 

I also don't believe that talent is innate, regardless of the connotation.

 

So, that's exactly the point I want to challenge Rakesh. Is it really your experience that most (more than 50%) of people that use their gear to get work are uninterested in developing their skills? That's not something I've experienced. Most of the camera people I meet tend to be camera and film freaks of one sort of another. Their skills and knowledge definitely vary, but still I see a passion beyond just getting gear and getting gigs. I mean if you just want to make money, there are more straight forward ways than production.

 

I will say I see a lot of posturing on sets, where people tend not to show their cards as to experience or knowledge gaps, but I will forgive that as anytime you're working you tend to do everything you can to keep working. I mean in general, I keep hearing about camera dilettantes, but I have yet to meet one.

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So, that's exactly the point I want to challenge Rakesh. Is it really your experience that most (more than 50%) of people that use their gear to get work are uninterested in developing their skills?

 

Sadly, it is true. A *lot* of the "cinematographers" I've run into in my area don't even show an interest in lighting; they let the gaffer decide that. It made finding a mentor in my area a challenge. I've even run into quite a few fairly experienced "cinematographers" around here who actually claim that lighting isn't their job. It's frustrating. Most of them are nice enough, but working with them wasn't all that educational.

 

So the few times that I ran into cinematographers who actually practiced the craft of cinematography were quite a relief! I just with that those folks were locals.

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Seems surprising to hear about a cinematographer who isn't interested in lighting, it's like a cook who isn't interested in eating. Lighting is possibly my favorite aspect of the job.

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Sadly, it is true. A *lot* of the "cinematographers" I've run into in my area don't even show an interest in lighting; they let the gaffer decide that. It made finding a mentor in my area a challenge. I've even run into quite a few fairly experienced "cinematographers" around here who actually claim that lighting isn't their job. It's frustrating. Most of them are nice enough, but working with them wasn't all that educational.

 

So the few times that I ran into cinematographers who actually practiced the craft of cinematography were quite a relief! I just with that those folks were locals.

 

there MAY be actually some benefit in buying gear but on indie production that only includes stuff which is very difficult or expensive to rent compared to the purchase price or if the learning curve necessitates owning the gear...

this may include:

 

-low to mid range steadicams (learning curve + rental costs+availability)

-brushless gimbals (rental costs+availability)

-onboard monitors (rental costs)

-some basic lighting stuff (always needed)

-computers and programs (rental costs+availability)

-some very often used low cost lenses (I for example use my Nikon AI-S lenses on almost every indie job unless PL lenses are needed) (rental costs)

-hazers and smoke machines (at least here they are difficult and also expensive to rent. one day rental may cost the same than a basic hazer purchased online) (rental costs and availability)

-underwater stuff if you need it often (availability. very expensive to buy though)

 

cameras not needed generally if you have a basic kit like dslr

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I heard from one of the people involved today and apparently the production is on hiatus for re-casting. If what the young woman told me is true, it turns out the director decided to really make the digitally shot scenes different from the film shot stuff...

 

The reason? He wants to use a couple of SAG actors. So he's having the actors perform the rest of the script nude.

 

Yes I also went like "Wait, what?" Then she explained it to me. Apparently they found out the SAG performers aren't allowed to work for so little. Unless SAG considers the work pornography. Then they don't control what the actors can or can't do.

 

So everyone in the scenes I shot is dressed, but the guy coming in with the Ursa Mini Pro is shooting the remainder of the cast unclothed. This meant the bulk of the cheap talent working for deferrals left and the film has to be recast.

 

If this is true and she wasn't just pulling my leg...they're going to need a much bigger area heater in that strip mall "studio". In fact it really gives the term "strip mall" a whole new meaning.

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I heard from one of the people involved today and apparently the production is on hiatus for re-casting. If what the young woman told me is true, it turns out the director decided to really make the digitally shot scenes different from the film shot stuff...

 

The reason? He wants to use a couple of SAG actors. So he's having the actors perform the rest of the script nude.

 

Yes I also went like "Wait, what?" Then she explained it to me. Apparently they found out the SAG performers aren't allowed to work for so little. Unless SAG considers the work pornography. Then they don't control what the actors can or can't do.

 

So everyone in the scenes I shot is dressed, but the guy coming in with the Ursa Mini Pro is shooting the remainder of the cast unclothed. This meant the bulk of the cheap talent working for deferrals left and the film has to be recast.

 

If this is true and she wasn't just pulling my leg...they're going to need a much bigger area heater in that strip mall "studio". In fact it really gives the term "strip mall" a whole new meaning.

 

that is getting rather interesting :blink:

at least you have a great story to tell... "they fired me because they wanted to shoot porn instead of paying film developing costs and this new guy had better camera for porn" :D

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Seems surprising to hear about a cinematographer who isn't interested in lighting, it's like a cook who isn't interested in eating. Lighting is possibly my favorite aspect of the job.

On the opposite end, I've run into gaffers who believe lighting is THEIR job and my job is only to "tweak"the lighting. This, I've never understood. I've got the schedule and the director and producer's needs in mind and I'm thinking 10 moves ahead. And the script and story. The gaffer is usually not so involved in the process, though I'd like them to be :)

 

I love getting input and suggestions from the gaffer. And if they understand my preferences well, they can do most of the heavy lifting, so to speak. But in the end, it's my job I believe. When we go into overtime, the producer comes to me, not the gaffer :)

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Seems surprising to hear about a cinematographer who isn't interested in lighting, it's like a cook who isn't interested in eating. Lighting is possibly my favorite aspect of the job.

 

Mine too, especially as I've been getting better at it.

 

Given that lighting is such a large part of crafting the look of the image though, it's even more baffling that people call themselves cinematographers without showing an interest in lighting... but I think that it's just that so many of the folks in my area are taught to believe that "directing the photography" means operating the camera. I'm glad I found a group that doesn't actually care about what kind of camera I bring along, because they love the way that I light scenes for them.

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I love getting input and suggestions from the gaffer. And if they understand my preferences well, they can do most of the heavy lifting, so to speak. But in the end, it's my job I believe. When we go into overtime, the producer comes to me, not the gaffer :)

 

That's my favorite kind of gaffer. I have worked with a few of those... I ask for something and they set it up and then show me some ideas they came up with in the process that sometimes improve the look another notch. I like that :)

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