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I just re read Vassily Grossman’s books ‘Stalingrad’ and ‘Life and Fate’. Anyone with a few hours to spare should…… More understanding of ‘life’ than any film.
It is a shame that there is no longer the softer 20o0ASA stock. My past experience led me to shoot on a tungsten balanced stock with an 85 correction rather than a daylight stock. I felt the daylight stocks a little over-saturated and had that bit more contrast, but I am talking of my experience a while ago now.
Hard to give advice as to exposure as it would depend a lot on whether you are shooting on a beach or amongst dense foliage! I have overexposed and underdeveloped in the past but I would not recommend doing it today unless you have great confidence in your lab! Besides, it seems like complicating your task without a vast amount of reward.
I think you should run a test to be sure which you yourself prefer and to give yourself a little more confidence.
I used hexagonal soft boxes that were supplied with the Fiilex lamps and come with a variety of diffusion. I had a total of 5 lamps with these soft attachments and either use a line of 3 or of 5. I would usually dim the outside units more than the center of the line and I might add warmth to these as well. In this way I was, to some degree, replicating bounced light as if off a series of 4′ x 4′ cloths. As I said before, using the Fiilex with the soft boxes attached was a much more efficient way to light and served its purpose on ‘Empire of Light’.
The easy color adjustment on the lamps was a big bonus as our key set, the theater lobby, was built on location and facing out across the seafront. Therefore I was balancing my lighting to the ever changing temperature of the daylight. I wouldn’t say this use of LEDs is now my preferred way to light but it certainly suited the conditions on this particular project.
Interesting! I shot both interiors and exteriors for ‘Shawshank Redemption’ on a tungsten stock without a correction filter and I exposed at the ‘box speed’. I did the same on other films and always exposed the tungsten balanced stock at the film’s base ASA. I don’t see any reason you wouldn’t shoot at 500 ASA but I am open to persuasion!
It was the Fiilex LED light that I found came close to a conventional 1K. There was only the one wattage available in the UK at the time we shot ‘Empire’ but the same light now comes in a series of three. Of course, the advantage of this lamp is that it provides a full color range without a need for gels but I found it particularly useful as an open face with a soft box attached to the front. Using a series of lamps with soft boxes attached I found I did bounce less than I might have done in similar situations on previous films. I felt this technique produced a similar effect to bouncing off a series of 4′ x 4′ reflectors while being more adaptable for the spaces and situations I was working in.
The Astera range is very useful and we used a large number of both the tubes and bulbs. For one interior we created a series of large rings of bulbs, just as I have done in the past for films like ‘A Serious Man’ for instance, but the advantage here was that I could adjust the color from one scene to another.
The panel lights are useful, especially when creating a large soft source to project through a window either on stage or on location. The technique of using multiple sources to create one large soft source is something I have always used but the latest LED lights make things easier and definitely a little more flexible.
In the case of ‘The Company Men’, I would say the intended ‘look’ would have been between the two versions posted. The Blue Ray looks more natural but that may only be in comparison to the other, which looks lifeless. There may be a master of a film, whether from a DI or a tape transfer, but we all know every monitor is slightly different and every eye also.
Your opinion is as relevant as any other. As I said to the director, I would like to see a film that deals with the ‘between the wars’ period, after Versailles. War itself can be ‘entertaining’ on film (‘Top Gun’ and the rest) but is less interesting than the sociological reasons that lead up to it and the consequences that follow when the fighting stops.
Thanks to everyone who makes this site useful. And I for one would like to express a special thanks to James for both the site and the podcast. It obviously does not register with some people just how much work my wife puts into each.
Instead of criticizing James and myself for, supposedly, losing interest in the site perhaps you could save it for the person who hacked us. They are, after all, the reason the old posts no longer exist. If we had the technology and, quite frankly, the time to retrieve them we surely would.
Whether film or digital the resulting look depends on the eye behind the work. That is why the ‘film digital’ discussion seems so off the mark to me. If a film is well shot I can’t tell the difference though some, both small and big budget films, look fake to me and that is not a problem with the technology.
I think you have that wrong. I shot ‘Empire’ on the Arri Signature prime lenses.
I have tested the Leica film lenses for sure. They are very good lenses.
During prep I went to the rental house to see every LED fixture that was available. I don’t like carrying a large number of different fixtures and I was looking for a range of soft panel lamps, a Fresnel type of LED that would be an equivalent to a conventional 1K Fresnel or a Tweenie, and a range of tubes such as the Astera. The Arri SkyPanel is a great lamp but you can’t always get what you want as they are often in short supply. They are also relatively expensive and there are a range of options if you do not need their wide range of color control. Once finding what was available and within our budget I shot camera tests to check color and for any abnormality in their dimming etc.. A color meter is handy but the odd variations in color don’t always show up on a dial.
Most certainly! Exposure is obviously important, just as is knowing how depth of field works or the inverse square law, but is it really ‘fundamental’. When you ‘know’ all these techniques what is left? What makes an image resonate? What makes an image reveal more than a word on a page?
Maybe I have only see ‘Stalker’ 20 times. The most memorable screening I ever attended was in Brisbane where they showed a pristine new print struck off the original negative.
What Tarkovsky could do was create something that was more than the sum of it’s parts. ‘Stalker’ becomes a reflection, not to put too finer point on it, on human existence but, unlike most contemporary products, it is not manipulative or showy and it doesn’t shout out how clever it is or tell you exactly what to think. I don’t see the look of the film as either beautiful or as ugly. It just feels true, at one with all the other elements that combine to create the whole. A brilliant marvel of a film.
I don’t know if you have seen Tarkovsky’s first film, ‘Ivan’s Childhood’. That too is an exercise in ‘more than the sum of its parts’. In his book, ‘Sculpting in Time’, Tarkovsky talks about the scenes that he was advised to shoot in a certain way and that he, too late, considered a mistake. For him the scenes didn’t feel ‘true’. Watch it and see how much of a perfectionist he must have been!
I wonder what ‘the fundamentals of photography and lighting’ actually are? The more I do the less I seem to understand. I don’t mean technically, for that I can read a book or ask someone far more proficient than myself, but what really are ‘the fundamentals’?