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Here’s five films that have heavily impressed and helped mold me into what I am today:
1. Manhattan (1979) and The Lighthouse (2019). I’m a big fan of the gothic genre, and more importantly, Edgar Allen Poe. I find the use of black and white photography, framing, and hard light in these films fascinating.
2. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). I’m a big admirer of Kubrick’s films, and although I was tempted to pick others, The Shining really stands out with its steadicam shots, blocking, zooms and framing.
3. The Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems (2019). This was the film that really introduced me to ‘cinema.’ I find the use of framing with its long lenses nothing short of astounding. Really cements the film as a two hour panic attack.
4. Sicario (2015). It was on a second viewing where I noticed and appreciated the POV of the camera, there’s such a menace and presence to the way the camera moves and frames the shot, that went right through me on the first viewing. Along with a few other films, this is one where I wish I could watch again with no memory.
This is my list of films that shaped me and my perception, you might not agree with me or find it as inspiring and helpful as I did, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.
Thanks Stip 🙏
What did you mean by ‘some, small and big budget films, look fake to me?’
Do you mean that it’s a case of style over substance? Or something that brings you out of the experience when watching a film?
This conversation reminds me of one of Albert Einstein’s quotes: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
As a former film school student, I found the rules or ‘fundamentals,’ a great help because they set boundaries and restrictions that helped me progress with my learning. But as I improved and grew stronger as a filmmaker, I required them much less to guide me because I found something else. I developed my personal taste and character, and still am developing it.November 29, 2022 at 1:42 pm in reply to: Skyfall lighting question and Sicario camera question #171831
The T12 created the sunlight effect and the 2Ks were set to bounce soft light into the corridor and the room. There were no lights inside the set. I was shooting the opening scene of ‘Sicario’ on set and a deeper stop, with more depth of field, would, in my opinion, felt more like it was shot on location.
Thanks for the time and reply Sir!
Thank you for the great advice Sharkbait, and thank you for sending a great example TimoVanLierop!
We have already shot the scene weeks ago, but we changed the concept, and reduced the intensity of the light to match the new tone and emotion the director desired.
I don’t believe a longer film generally means a better film, nor a feature film being classified as ‘worthwhile’ because of its extended period of time.
First you’d have to develop a story and see where that takes you, but I think you’re prioritising looks over substance. Just because you have a great set designer, camera or lighting rig doesn’t mean your short/feature film will be a masterpiece.
I’d really encourage you to watch David Sandberg’s <i>Lights Out</i>, its an amazing and thrilling 3min short horror film. Of course your short film might differ from his, but nonetheless, it was shot on two rooms, with an IKEA lamp, a strong bulb and a redhead.
A polariser filter would help reduce the amount of reflections, but it won’t get rid of all of them, also be careful when using one as they reduce the exposure. I haven’t read the script nor seen your gear list, but a china ball can spread the light source quite a lot.
I’d consider flagging and controlling the angle of the china ball, so you’re reducing the amount of light that is hitting the walls/furniture the window is facing, resulting in less reflections on the mirror. Maybe I’d do as you say and use a flower pot to cover the camera’s reflection and move the table/scene to the middle to build a larger depth. But again I haven’t read the script so my advice may be inappropriate.
I don’t think I could come up with a better idea, nonetheless, that was an amazing work done by you and the crew considering it helped tell the story, and none of the work seemed noticeable enough to disturb the scene. Up until I heard your commentary, I thought the scene was done sorely through a steadicam rig.
Thanks for your answer!
Wow that’s so cool. Thank you for sharing Simon!
It’s crazy to see the amount of solids, stands, and bounce that was used for a scene that looks like it had no lighting or rigging work.
I can’t imagine a 2K being effective. It also seems you might need to control the natural light so that it does not overwhelm any source you use. I would expect to use an Arri Max for this kind of effect or, at least a powerful HMI Par.
Thank you for your reply Sir!
I’ll keep those lights in mind when we do a prelight day.
Thanks for your time.
Yes I forgot to mention that, but we have already tested a hazer and are happy with it.
Thanks for mentioning it!
Thanks for the advice James, another factor I also think played into it was the need and want to stand out. I’ll keep your advice at the back of my mind for next week’s shoot!
Placing diffusion on the barn doors of a lamp will not really make the source ‘softer’ unless your subject is very close to it. The diffusion will spread the light in a more even wide beam but it won’t actually soften a shadow. A second layer directly on top of the first might spread the light even more but it will still not soften the light. To do that you need to make your source larger, as would be the case if your second layer of diffusion is set a few meters in front of the first. In general terms, the further your diffusion from the lamp the softer the light.
Thank you for your time and advice!