LucaM

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  • in reply to: Meter reading on overcast days #215961
    LucaM
    Participant

      Thanks a lot Tyler! I am actually thinking about getting an entry level Sekonic meter, for my simple needs is more than enough (getting close to a decent exposure and learning a bit about lighting), but i was curious about this model Roger was talking about and in general the analogic ones, I find them a bit intimidating, ah ah!

      in reply to: Meter reading on overcast days #215954
      LucaM
      Participant

        I still use a meter to judge my exposure, even with a calibrated monitor. I use a Gossen Luna Pro, usually with the invercone and in incident mode. For the shot your reference I would have stood where the actors are and pointed my meter towards the camera.

        (sorry for going OT)

        Would you suggest this meter for a beginner?

        I searched for it on the web and, while I was expecting a super technological meter costing more than my car developped by NASA etc etc, i actually discovered that it’s  usually sold for a few euros (that technically is still more than my car value, ah ah) , at least a second hand analogical version of it (I don’t know if it’s the same version you use but I didn’t find other ones of it).

        in reply to: Practical lighting on small spaces and exposure #215929
        LucaM
        Participant

          Just a tangent to the OP’s question – I find what separates amateurish looking scenes from professional ones is the set dressing. Stip – the examples you included are a perfect example. So much texture and personal items fill up the intimate space in frame. It seems many lower budget films skip this and the intimate scenes have bare walls in the background. The set dressing really sells it I feel. I realize this is not the DP’s job, but certainly there’s a discussion to be had there.

          I agree with you on the importance of set dressing but I don’t think it’s the only element that makes a difference. I’m afraid that a blank wall shot by a great cinematographer will be more interesting than a stunning set shot by, let’s say, me. Consider Stalker by Tarkovsky: an immortal masterpiece, but to say that its sets are minimalistic it’s an understatement. Lights, set, camera movements, angles, blocking, etc etc. : every piece of the puzzle should be carefully planned to achieve the visual result. This is where i find the difference : a professional director know (well, at least he should know) exactly the result he wants to obtain and leads the production in that direction, an amateur usually does his best with what’s available, with limited knowledge and lack of a global vision.

          in reply to: New Project? #215919
          LucaM
          Participant

            A couple of days ago i read on Facebook that it’s possible that Roger will be the DoP on Sam Mendes’ Beatles movies . I don’t know if it’s true (it looked like more a rumour than a real cinema news, actually) and i don’t think Roger will announce his present and future projects here or around the web (you know, privacy, NDAs, contracts, etc etc.),  but perhaps it’s the project you remember?

            in reply to: Practical lighting on small spaces and exposure #215918
            LucaM
            Participant

              I’m in the very same situation (working on a short movie with little experience, practical lights, etc) , so I can’t give you advices, but perhaps the things that I tried for myself could help you a little and save you some time (i hope so, at least) .

              – you want the audience think that the light is created by a bulb, a candle, etc, but this doesn’t mean that you actually use them to light all of your scenes. Example : in a  medium shot you show the practical light, so the audience know that there’s that source there. This create the motivation to know where the light is coming from. In the next close up of your talent you could use another source (of the same color and type of light but stronger) that you won’t show but that will help you achieving the right exposure. A bit of creativity and DIY will help you in creating the right look. You want to use a nice lamp for the scene? You can hide a second bulb behind it, for example, to have more light from the same practical source (if i remember correctly Roger did something like that for 1917, in the tent scene to increase the light from a lantern).

              – if you want to shape the lights you could use some (black) flag to reduce the bouncing on the wall and the ambient light, if you manage to avoid to make the flag visible in camera (in a small space may be tricky, be creative with camera angles!)

              – mind the inverse square law. It could be a powerful tool but I’m afraid it could also turn into the biggest enemy of people like us using a small set of practical lights. When you double the distance the light gets 4 times weaker, that means you’ll need 2 stops more to achieve the same exposure (please, correct me if i’m wrong on that). On the contrary, if you halve the distance you get a 4 times stronger light, with a bonus of 2 stops in exposure. The same practical light you used in a shot will be stronger or weaker in the next according to this law: for example, mind it when planning actors movement.

              – pay attention to the noise created by high ISO : a low key scene will probably mean that you’ll need to rely on high ISO to achieve the correct exposure. Use it as very last resource

              That’s what i’m doing for my short, perhaps it can give you some idea:  my short movie the character will have only a torch and a bit of blue backlight from a (fake) window. But this means that nothing will actually light his face: you put a torch in front of you, not on you… My possible solution: in some shots the torch will be visible (that’s the motivation), but in the close ups it won’t and i’ll give him 2 or 3 torches and place a bouncing surface at the right angle in front  of him.  Since it will create a lot bouncing lights i’ll place a black flag right behind him to make the room darker. My goal is creating the right contrast ratio between him and the background while keeping the ISO as low as i can. It should work, as long as i manage to keep all of this stuff out of camera in a really small space.

              I hope it helps somehow!

              LucaM
              Participant

                Roger will be the best source for these informations of course but in the meanwhile you can begin with these things (i’m sorry i can’t paste the link but i have some kind of bug when i post links here) :

                – “Bio” and “Musings” pages in the “Team Deakins” section of the website

                – The “Beginnings” episode of the podcast (but informations are everywhere in the podcast – for the record, my favorite is Roger telling the story of his documentary in Jamaica that turned in an masterpiece of experimental cinematography for unexpected reasons)

                – The article from American Cinematographer “Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC: Six Favorite Films ” (it’s available on AC website)

                – The article from British Cinematographer “Visionary – Sir Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC” (it’s available on BC website)

                I hope that helps!

                in reply to: Happy Birthday, Roger! #215887
                LucaM
                Participant

                  Happy birthday Roger!

                  I join Shea in thanking you for all the time you dedicate to explain and teach even the simplest things. As a school teacher I know that the majority of the time the questions are a bit stupid but still the answers are  important for people looking for them.

                  By the way, I was curious about Shea’s post, I didn’t  know you follow football and support United. It’s   funny to know that even world renowed artists have some “common man” passion, ah ah.

                  LucaM
                  Participant

                    I’ve a (quite) similar problem and doubt, but i think that while you could quite easily match in post some difference (for example in the colors) , other differencies could be more noticeable (chromatic aberration, type of “bokeh” if you blur the background, sharpness, breathing of the Lens, etc etc). Perhaps the result of integration changes from lens to lens?

                    in reply to: Lighting for mood and evoking an emotion. #215773
                    LucaM
                    Participant

                      As always, my little experience makes my opinion of limited help, but I’d suggest to start from analyzing the movies you like, according to what mood and emotions you want to convey. Joy? Fear? Hope? Sensuality? Find great examples of these moods and try to understand why they worked in terms of types of lights, palettes of the images (for example, cold colors usually give a sad emotion, so i expect to see colder palettes in horror movies than in comedies) , types of shot, how music is used to create emotions, etc etc.

                      in reply to: Am I a rubbish cameraman or is it my autism? #215772
                      LucaM
                      Participant

                        I have not the experience to suggest to you how to improve you camera work or in which areas you could work to get a better result (i leave that to Roger, David or other forum members) but honestly I liked your examples and I didn’t notice any “rubbish” work in the videos I watched. Which is your main area of expertise? Music videos and short movies? As far as I am concerned you are good enough to do that!

                        This said I think the majority of people has some level of social anxiety, some is better at hiding. I am afraid that, to say one, meeting new people is a problem for a lot people. It’s a problem for me too, for example. I think that there’s a huge gap between being very shy and being autistic, did you do some test with doctors expert in the autistic spectrum  to have such a diagnosis?

                        But actually I think that you found yet the real problem : the networking one. From what I’ve seen in almost every field, not only artistic ones, the real boost to your career is knowing the right people and being the right person at the right place in the right moment. You do a great work with A  and when B needs the same work, his friend A will say “Why don’t you call Daniel? He’s great at that job!”

                        Consider also that , from what I’ve seen in many fields, there’s a diminuition of job offers in the artistic fields (to my opinion this is due to the explosion of AI tools that are killing the dreams, hopes and jobs of countless people) .

                        I’ve your same age and more or less a similar background, I studied environmental sciences and i work as a science and maths teacher at school but i’d would have liked to do very different jobs (i worked a bit in the illustration and comics field and cinema is an old love of mine). But I have to take care of my family too and I have to be realistic: i need a stable and “normal” job to rise my children, I can’t feed them with my dreams.
                        So, be realistic : are you in the position to work on better networking to improve your career opportunities? Do you see around (in your city, online, etc) enough job offers to keep a stable career to live of your camera work? Do you think the market in your area of expertise will stay stable in the next future? Does your family depend on your job? Do you have somebody you worked with in the past that could help you networking proposing you for other jobs to people they know? Is it an option to do a regular day job and a second job as camera operator? I did it for some time (working at school in the day and working as illustrator in the night)  i admit it was very fun and it allowed me to pick the illustration jobs i liked – i had another source of income – but it was so energy consuming that i had to give up the illustration one. But it could work for you.
                        I hope it may help somehow!

                        in reply to: Shaky cams. #215748
                        LucaM
                        Participant

                          The handheld effect perhaps is fine for action scenes and in general  it’s more natural to the eye, but the abuse of it is a problem to me too. There are  movies with camera movements so confused  that make the audience really sick at a point that it’s impossible to understand what’s happening on screen. Same for the orange and teal palette: for each fine example of it you find many terrible scenes with that palette. Why? I think because both things (the handheld skaky camera and the palette) are a cheap and quick way to look “cool and modern”.

                          My humble opinion is that the camera movement (or lack of) should be motivated by the story narration, but different directors could tell the same story in different ways.  First minutes of “Saving Private Ryan”, for example, have a documentary like approach and they would be way less effective – on me –  without the shakiness of the camera. While “1917” has a steadier look and it’s perfect the way it is. There’s no a perfect rule that could work for each movie but just the right cinematography for a given scene, as Roger said many times.  And then there are cheap copies of it.

                          On the other side, I was watching “Fargo” the other day and i had to re-watch a scene a couple of times, since the camera  got closer to the actor so gently and slowly that the first time i didn’t even notice it (I just realized that suddenly a smaller portion of the background was visible). I think you need talent and a bit of courage to use such an elegant and classy approach!

                          in reply to: Choice of focal length #215739
                          LucaM
                          Participant

                            PS: the Studio Binder video i was talking about is on Roger’s use of lenses,  not on lenses in general (but they have nice videos also on that). Sorry for the confusion! The video offers some visual example (you don’t say? Ah ah) but Is mostly based on the Episode 7 of the podcast, which of course offers a better context to the reason behind choice of lenses.

                            in reply to: Oldschool Hollywood lighting 50s/60s #215738
                            LucaM
                            Participant

                              A bit unrelated to your question, but in One interview (if i remember correctly, i apologize if i’m wrong) Roger talked about the lights of old western movies looking fake once you think about It: if the sun is projecting the classic hat shadow on actor face, where the light on eyes and face Is coming from? Once you realize it, it’s impossible to un-see It.

                               

                              in reply to: Choice of focal length #215737
                              LucaM
                              Participant

                                Episode 7 of the Team Deakins podcast is about Lens choice. On YouTube you can find also a video by Studio Binder on the same subject (i can’t paste the link here but you can find It easily on the site).

                                I’m a newbie too but the idea i got from the podcast, the interviews, the articles, etc is that a short prime lens (instead of a zoom one) force you to take artistic decisions and create an “intimacy” with the actors (you have to stay closer) and a “natural” view for the audience.

                                I hope It’s a good starting point!

                                in reply to: Brightness Decisions #215728
                                LucaM
                                Participant

                                  You might light the space in exactly the same way and then it is just multiples or larger lamps.

                                  This is a detail I still don’t completely understand looking at the lighting schemes you put on the site: I see rows of multiple lights but how do you calculate their number (experience apart of course) ? Is it on the base of lux emitted (at a given distance) by one lamp and the total surface you have to cover (to allow you the lens aperture you want to use) ?

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