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A western short film I shot has been released. Shot in October 2019 over 3 days (all over night). I used the Alexa Mini with Atlas Anamorphics (32, 65, 100). For the look of the film, we wanted to emulate the highlight response of kodak film, so we underexposed the entire project by two stops and brought it back up in the color grade. This gave us a lot of highlight detail and fogged the shadows at the same time.

I've done this before on the feature film, The Watchman's Canoe. Under-exposing the logc image essentially redistributes the dynamic range of the image. Bringing it back up in the color grade will introduce noise, but de-noising or grain hides all of that. We I get, in the color grade, is a lot of highlight detail that I think shrank down. In the film, look at the curtains of the interior shots. They were really bright when we looked at them on set with the proxy LUT, but I was able to finesse them in the color grade.

What do you think?

 

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  • 5 months later...

I think it's really nice. The cigarette match and candle exposure is impressive. And doesn't feel digital.

The fire effect felt artificial. It was too slow and the shadows didn't flicker. That was the only thing that didn't sell me. Given the amount of time on screen, I would have tried for real fire via propane tubes. Or a combination of fire and LEG gag.

 

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Thank you! We did the fire gag with a hand squeezer and an open face tungsten.

Any recommendations on LED's that can do a fire gag? We toyed with Asteras, but they were SUPER red.

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On 11/4/2020 at 1:13 AM, Gabriel Devereux said:

May I ask how you lit the first scene? The moonlight is stunning. It looks like a relatively harsh source but the colour temp and possible gel used looks great!

Thank you! The opening shot was down a hillside. At the top of the hill, we set up a 4k PAR HMI with a wide lens acting as a back light. For the key, we used a 4x4 bounce card.

For the exterior shots of the cabin, we used the same 4k as an edge and brought in a 575 PAR HMI shooting into an 8x8 ultra bounce for key lights, but we really only used the 575 for the wideshot of the cabin. The 4k was enough for almost everything else!

@Miguel Angel:

Thank you! I really enjoyed their lenses, especially the 32mm. If I had only one issue with them it would be how easy they flare; the final edit of the film cut the opening shot in half because we couldn't hide the flare enough from the backlight.

Other than that, they're great!

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Wow @AJ Young it looks amazing. I love the color and texture! 🙂

Congratulations!

On IMDB it says that the budget was about 70000 grand.
Is that in the right ball park or was it overstated a little?

What was the process like from how you got involved and then forwards?

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Thank you!

I'm not sure what the budget was, $70k seems a bit high. Remember, anyone can edit IMDb, there's no vetting process.

The process was like any other movie I shoot. Lengthy discussions with the director in pre-production about the look, blocking, framing, etc. The couldn't afford to fly me out for a tech scout, so I planned the lighting around the location photos.

I had a very small crew and lost a crew member after day one (they had other obligations). Essentially, I had a 1st AC and a Gaffer. We were all pulling double duty to make the film happen and I appreciate their hard work!

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2 minutes ago, AJ Young said:

Thank you!

I'm not sure what the budget was, $70k seems a bit high. Remember, anyone can edit IMDb, there's no vetting process.

The process was like any other movie I shoot. Lengthy discussions with the director in pre-production about the look, blocking, framing, etc. The couldn't afford to fly me out for a tech scout, so I planned the lighting around the location photos.

I had a very small crew and lost a crew member after day one (they had other obligations). Essentially, I had a 1st AC and a Gaffer. We were all pulling double duty to make the film happen and I appreciate their hard work!

Yeah I can imagine. These days all shoots are small crews. On our last shoot the producer doubled as a sound guy! 😉

I really loved the two opening shots. The one on the porch and the one of the house.

I've been wanting to do a shoot with a house in the forest back light like that but haven't found the opportunity to do it.
Also I have no idea how we'd go about lighting a scene like that.

I'm lucky because my DP is my girlfriend and our writer is her sister so we always develop the projects together. 

Anyway congratulations again. Love it. 🙂

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Very attractive lighting. I believe it was Dean Cundey who once said something along the lines of someone asking him once "Well where is the light coming from?" to which he responded to them "The same place the music comes from". It's refreshing to see something stylishly lit in 2020 where many people seem to digest the whole "practical lighting" thing in a far too literal context.

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I thought I would share, I have actually lived in the same home in Ashburn, Loudoun County, Virginia, near Leesburg for the past 22 years. :-)

I first thought the film was about the place. The atmosphere fits, the history fits.

But, sorry to tell you the speech, accent, the way the words are spoken and/or stressed, and mannerisms seem modern, young America to me, and I have only been in America for the last 32 years (and I have my own accent!). The movie is captivating, but somehow the period isn't convincing.

Photography, lensing, lighting, the cabin, blocking, the technical skills are all so inspiring! I just started this journey around August this year so I have a lot to learn still. Congratulations for a very impressive bit of work.

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I don't have any insightful feedback for you, just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, the last thing I was expecting to see was a couple of legendary UFC fighters!

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/18/2021 at 6:23 AM, Eddy Winding said:

Just discovered this! Thanks for the share and I love the work and scenery.

 

4 hours ago, Joel Andersson said:

Looks great, good job man!

Thank you, both!

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On 11/3/2020 at 8:11 PM, AJ Young said:

Thank you! We did the fire gag with a hand squeezer and an open face tungsten.

Any recommendations on LED's that can do a fire gag? We toyed with Asteras, but they were SUPER red.

To get that realistic shadow play, not really any, despite the feature being in some panel lights.

Although in an AC issue, for Infinity War, they used several Chauvet COLOrado Batten LED light banks and built a softbox around them. It was used in the scene below, and it was beautiful. They controlled either each bank, or each individual LED, thus the shadows were not static. I'd love a reason to do that!

Avengers_IW.jpg

 

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