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Two scenes from my first feature that just premiered (3 replies and 3 comments)

pbwinters
4 weeks ago
pbwinters 4 weeks ago

Dear Roger, I hope it is okay to post two scenes from my first feature film as a DP. You are my favorite DP on this planet and the fact that you have created this site and you speak so freely about your art is priceless. I thought long and hard before doing so (kind of scary showing your work to the master - and all of the others here), but how could I not? I do so humbly.  Amber and Grace is about a 15 year old girl who is sex trafficked.  I absolutely love being a DP! Thank you for giving your time on this site.

https://vimeo.com/355472403»»

https://vimeo.com/355476814»»

Paul Winters

Mike
3 weeks ago
Mike 3 weeks ago

You are probably looking for an endorsement from Roger.

May I chip in here with my thoughts.

It is very difficult to critique someone’s else’s work when there’s only one scene in it.  I think it is best to submit the whole film rather than just one scene, how can we form an opinion on one ‘sex’ scene, surely there are other elements to this film for us to scrutinise. Perhaps a ‘sex’ scene is the high point of this film and therefore the rest of it is rather dull and not worth watching. The dulls scenes can be exciting if handled right using a good script and sensitive Direction, you will be surprised how an audience can be drawn in by  well thought out lighting and delightful camera work. Grab one of your most boring scenes and rework it, you will surprised at the finished result, detailed research and planning will pay off in the long run.

The acting in your scene was rather good considering, lighting obviously came in way under budget! Camera work was very good imo but the music sound track was a great choice and synced well to the action. The most important thing was that you made a film and that confirms that you are serious, it doesn’t matter if it is a success or not, your ‘intent’ was to make it happen, which is more than other people can do!  Now make the next one.

pbwinters
3 weeks ago

Mike,

Thanks for the nice comments. I put that scene up in the lighting forum because I was playing with the colors in the room. There were so many different colors, I was trying for them too all make sense and to create a strange lair of the guy who kidnaps and rapes the young girl. The rest of the film doesn't contain any such colored lighting. For me, this location was the hardest. I found it difficult to design the lights without them getting muddy. I also have a question to Roger if he sees this and that is when one is working on a scene with color gels and such, what extra things are important when introducing the lights without gels? I found that the lights without gels didn't act normal, in the sense that they usually act. I guess that was because they were fighting with all of the colored light that was flying around. So, for me, I had to use them to light the places I wanted lit, but in so doing, not ruin the effect of the gels.

Mike, here is a link to the trailer. It shows the feel of the film as a whole if you are interested in taking a look. I wouldn't think of posting a whole feature film here. This is Roger's house.

https://vimeo.com/312230395»

The film is doing very well at limited theaters. It will be out in DVD later this year. The audiences are crying and they get quite wrapped up in it. It's doing well and I am at work on another.

It's funny. I was so excited to share all of this here. When I put it up, I felt like Roberto Benigni when he danced all over the seats at the Academy Awards when he won for Life is Beautiful. Not that I was Oscar worthy, but I had the same goofy excitement and I wanted to share it here. Once I put it up, though, I looked for a way to take it down because I felt weird about having done so. Now, I'm okay. This is the place that inspires me and I learn something new every time I come here.

Roger Deakins
3 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 3 weeks ago

That Benigni comment is funny! I know exactly what you mean though. It is good that you are excited and that you are also nervous, at least I think it is good! I am always both nervous and excited so I would feel OK with that! It is hard to expose your work in such a personal way.

For me, I think your lighting and camerawork looks really good. The trailer gives a better impression of the film, I suspect. My only question, what camera were you shooting with? It is very hard to tell from an image on a computer screen but it feels a little 'synthetic', if you understand what I mean.

pbwinters
3 weeks ago

Wow! Thank you, Roger!

I think I know what you mean about it being 'synthetic'. Some of the images I loved, but some of them, mostly exterior, were lacking a little something 'natural'. I shot it with a Panasonic Varicam LT. I didn't have a LUT. I am working now to try and develop one. I actually purchased the camera so that I always have a camera to work with. I have never developed a LUT before, so I am wondering if that will help me in the future. The settings that I shot this film on, in retrospect, seem a little on the red side. I would like to develop a LUT that is 'natural'. I never created a LUT before, so, I am looking to get some camera tech guys to help with that.

By 'synthetic', is this what you were referring too?

In this scene, I felt that the woman in the SUV, who puts on her glasses, was really 'synthetic' as she leaned out of the car. She looks better to me when she sits back into the interior and rolls up the window.
https://vimeo.com/355886422»

This next scene, I thought was not 'synthetic'. I felt better about it.
https://vimeo.com/355887147»

I'm hoping a well conceived and developed LUT will help me find the consistent, 'natural look' I am after.

Thank you!

Roger Deakins
3 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 3 weeks ago

Interesting. I don't know the camera myself.

Where the effect shows strongly is in the sunlight. The shadowed shots or lower light shots look fine. The horse behind the fence, for instance, looks quite odd. The bars of the fence look flat, almost like a cut out. Yes, a good LUT will make a difference. I know any digital camera can look pretty 'synthetic' with bad translation but some are more susceptible than others.

pbwinters
3 weeks ago

Thank you.

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