Young Roger Deakins (23 replies and 4 comments)
Dear Mr. Deakins,
You embark a ship that takes you to an alternate universe. In this universe you meet young Roger Deakins (living in 2017) about to get into visual storytelling. Unfortunately your ship is running low on fuel and you must return to your own universe soon. The young Mr. Deakins has something on his mind.
Young Mr. Deakins
I'm very passionate about being able to tell dramatic stories in moving pictures. I really, really want to improve my lighting skills. I studied a lot of cinematographers and methods, but at some point it becomes like learning how to ski on the blackboard. Unless you get on the slopes often there's only so much you can learn without hands on experience.
To this end I have allocated about $30,000 scrimped up as a budget which I would like to spend on lights (non-tungsten because that would blow up my fuses in 3 seconds). These lights would work like my home "chemistry set" allowing me to experiment and grow.
What should I get as a starter set for dramatic storytelling? I'd like to do my own small productions and experiment (with rentals as a supplement).
Kid, my ship is waiting... and how exactly did you get the $30,000? Now to answer your question...
I'm stuck at the part where you give the young man the answer to this question. Perhaps you can help.
Thank you for all the inspiration you provide and all the info on this site. I wish you a wonderful day.
Johnny S. Harris
I get jitters every time.
I guess I got to know many of the 'professional' lighting tools whilst I was at Film School. However, once I began shooting professionally I would quite often study photo-metric charts to find the specific unit that would suit my needs. I never worked with a Dino or a Brute Arc until I was lighting with them on '1984' and I never saw a Wendy light before I called for one on 'A Secret Garden'.
That's exactly what I did - worked it off the data and charts. But my first experience I encountered problems that were not on any photo-metric charts. For example, my rented M40 had a misaligned parabolic reflector and then had to deal with power issues. Guess it's first time jitters and trying to get some advice from someone before diving in... again 🙂
I wouldn't like to suggest what you should spend your money on. Film lights are quite expensive and what would owning your own lamps tell you anyway? If you are intent on learning about light then surely it would be more efficient to use a stills camera and use less expensive lights that you could buy from a range of electrical outlets.
Thank you for the reply.
Did that for the past 2 years. From really low end lighting to visiting my Home Depot. A lot was learned, but there's definitely a gap between them and the higher end lights.
Then I rented some higher end lights (hmi, neons and led) and had many problems. The issues were usually related to the fact that with the lower end lights I didn't have (or couldn't) use so much bounce or filtering etc... Example: my low end light filtered turned into candle pretty much.
I also faced gaffing issues of which I learned nothing from my low tech setup. It's quite "fun" to get an M40 then realize you have to work it from your main building panel to which you have no key, and even when you get the key you have to talk to the electric company to change your panel as it's not powerful enough. 🙂 (LIFE)
Also, color range and temp matching is something I could not do in my low end equipment (at least not properly).
Last but not least, I would need them for productions, on an almost weekly (sometimes daily) basis. Mathematically speaking, after working the numbers, I realized that renting them would actually cost pretty much the same as owning them (at least the main lights that are indispensable), add to that the headaches and impracticability of going to rent and them dropping them off every time I need them.
Upon reflecting on my original question I think it's my fault for not explaining things correctly. Sorry about that. A better way to put it would be:
I would like to PRACTICE PROFESSIONAL lighting.
Thank you 🙂