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Author Topic: 10 commandments  (Read 2926 times)
bcooter
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« on: August 31, 2013, 09:35:13 AM »
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I think Michael is right on most of his points, though cinema for web and short form is usually much different than traditional entertainment.

Then again, the viewer's anticipations have also changed.   We just did a video that was 3 minutes in length and had over 125 cuts.   That would be unheard of in the traditional world 5 years ago, but with everyone suffering from ADD believe it or not the edit seemed slow.

I'm not saying every edit has to be 2 seconds a cut, but I find most photographers that move from stills to motion seem to have a problem not showing their pretty pictures.  They hold on a shot, sometimes move in, then slowly move back, then later cut back to the same shot.  It's like a David Lynch movie where the scene is locked down, the lighting and composition is wonderful, but the camera just runs for what seems like an eternity.

Given that don't get married to a shot.  It may be beautiful, it may be your favorite, but if it doesn't fit in the story, then cut it.

Also things that were no no's in cinema like zooming have a place in modern production, as a zoom vs. a track or crawl, gives the quick impression of immediate or pay attention.

Batllestar Gallactica even did zooms for the space battles to great effect.  You just have to have a reason, like all things in moving images, but the filmmakers knew the rules, before they broke the rules.

Also Still photographers want to get the exposure "right".   Motion doesn't have this "right" frame of mind.  If someone walks from shadow to highlight to shadow, that's fine because that's natural, but most still photographers, want to open the shadows, close the highlights . . . in other words they want to make each frame a perfectly exposed still and in motion it's important to know that part of the story is how a subject changes as they go through the transitions of life.   You can always tell a bad hollywood b movie, because it's shot on the back lot and everything if filled and exposed perfectly.

Go look at a TV show from the 80's if you want to see that very boring look and knowing this, don't just let your subjects stand there and talk.  American television is the worst for this, especially network TV.

They love to have three subjects standing in the room talking and the only excitement is cut aways, reverses and closeups to try to give the impression that the actors actually can move and walk.

Given that my best suggestion would be to learn how to edit and tell a story.    You don't have to be a long form editor,  but you do have to know how all that stuff you shot is going to make a story.

Nothing in this world will teach you how to shoot motion and build a story like editing.  Every first time film maker sets down with a pile of footage and the first cut will be twenty minutes long.

They panic and say, I'll never get that down to 3 minutes, though if they edit correctly at the end they are setting there with 2 minutes thinking how can I stretch this to 3?

Years ago I had a client that wouldn't allow a script.  They wanted just to work off of "talking" points.  I pleaded to let us produce at least a basic script, but no, it was talking points.

At the end of a two day shoot, I took the footage, laid it out and tried to make a story.  After three days work, called the client and said, well you have 20 very good 10 second spots, but it will never be a complete video.   They said of course it will so we had the footage transcribed and I suggested to the client to take the transcription, a pair of scissors and make a story.  A week later we were back in the studio with a script and a storyboard shooting a real story that worked.

So in other words start with a story, a voice over, a song, something with meaning.  No matter how beautiful the footage if your not telling a story, your just showing a moving slide show.

But the most important thing is to know your story and prepare for it.  Whether you wrote it or not, emerse yourself in the story and know it front to back, to the point you live it.

You should never have a moment during filming when you think, I don't know how to visualize this.

As far a technique goes there are a million ways to craft a visual, but the basics are the basics and there is a reason that in movieland you shoot an establishing scene, usually a lead in, then the establishing scene, then reverses, then right reverses, then cutaways for pov or just body and scene detail.  This allows you or the editor latitude to not produce a boring story, but make sure there is a reason.  No reason to have a subjects POV unless it adds to the story.

One point is, at least for me, I have to keep in mind I'm there to serve the talent.  Not roll over and be enamored, but to make sure that I get the most out of the subjects, make them believable, make them interesting and worth watching.  With motion, nobody can phone it in.   When you discuss the scene with the talent, real people, actors, models, talk to them in the same tone and speed you want them to portray.

I've seen a million clients and directors talk like their ordering a sandwich, then expect the talent to be upbeat and lively.   We're all human and we all react from our surroundings.  I just had a project where the client's AD would talk to the subjects in a corporate tone and in kind that would respond in corporate speak.  It took forever to get him to stop reading from the corporate list and talk to the subjects in the way they would naturally react.

Last and my best suggestion is to slate everything and keep some type of continuity sheet, even if it's mos. 

It gives you a quick overview of where you stand, what you did and didn't shoot.

Also it won't  drive you and the editor crazy trying to find footage that belongs in a scene without a visual to tell you what you are shooting.

Even when we shoot vo on set or foly sound I fun it into a camera from the sound mixer and slate it.  It saves us many hours.

Actually the really last thing is to have expert sound.  You can fix, change, hide a bad visual, but bad sound is bad sound and can't be fixed.

IMO

BC






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john beardsworth
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 12:27:50 PM »
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BC, your thoughts struck me as interesting, but I lost the sense when you used acronyms like mos, vo, foly and so on. Maybe you could edit your post and put in the actual phrases?
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 12:29:37 PM by johnbeardy » Logged

Peter McLennan
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 01:14:56 PM »
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Heh. The movie biz is arcane, if nothing else.

"mos" (more correctly "MOS") means "Mit Out Sound".  ie the camera rolls, but no sound is recorded.  This was a big deal in the film days, since very specialized ("silent") cameras were required to shoot "silent".  Silent shooting means that you were recording sound.  See what we mean about "arcane" ?

"Foley" is a process whereby sound effects are generated in real time on a sound stage after an edit is fixed. Footsteps are a typical example.

"VO" is Voice Over.  That's when a narrator speaks but is not seen.  ("Voice Over" some other footage.)




Three salient points emerge from bcooter's excellent post:

1) If you want to be a good shooter, learn to edit.  There's nothing so instructive as cutting your own footage.

2) There's an old saying in the film business: "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage."  Script first, shoot later.  Disobey this rule at your peril.

3) Sound is more important than picture.  Picture without sound is useless.  Sound without picture is a whole 'nother medium.  Radio.

Regarding camera operating, Michael's advice is spot-on.  DON'T ZOOM.  EVER.  Or, if you must do a zoom, don't record it.  After you've been a Director/Cameraman for five years, then you can zoom.

Also, here's a really good rule about how fast you can pan the camera without producing annoying strobe effects: the Four Second Rule.

If you're shooting at "normal" fps rates, say 24 or 30 fps, when you pan across a more or less static scene, any object should take take a minimum of four seconds to completely cross the screen.  This rule seems to work regardless of lens angle of view or image aspect ratio. 

Sports Camera Operators are permitted to disobey this rule. Smiley


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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 01:40:06 PM »
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IMO messing with peoples' ADD is just as valid as accomodating it. Around the last Full Moon I was outside each evening watching it rise over the horizon. My friend Susan was over one of these evenings. "How can you just stand there and stare at the same thing for 20 minutes straight?!" In response I made her a six-minute video consisting of nothing but the Moon moving in real time diagonally through the frame. Shot on the E-M5 with a Nikon 400mm lens, and including ambient insect sounds. After a nice glass of tequila (Don Julio blanco, delicious stuff) in my low-lit den with the TV on she slowed down enough to finally get it.   Smiley

Check out the film Koyaanisqatsi for a great example of how to intentionally modulate an audience's sense of time passing. Of course you can't do such a thing easily in a three-minute piece, and I'm certainly not advocating a return to the static approach of the '70s or whatever. We live at a faster pace now. OTOH I can't count how often I've seen a short news/info piece on the TV and my immediate response has been "slow the f--k down already, you're making my eyes hurt!"

-Dave-
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 02:23:20 PM »
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OTOH I can't count how often I've seen a short news/info piece on the TV and my immediate response has been "slow the f--k down already, you're making my eyes hurt!"

-Dave-

Couldn't agree more.  Same thing with a lot of current action movies.
Also agree about Koyaanisqatsi.  A must watch for aspiring stills people considering shooting motion.

I did a sound-only record of a slow freight train passing across the valley from my house.  From crickets only to full train sounds with whistles to full crickets again took a half hour.  Fun.
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bcooter
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2013, 08:29:27 PM »
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I'm not advocating accommodating people's ADD, messing with it . . . sure.

The thing is most consumers are more savvy about motion than they are stills.  Every night 75% of the western world gets hit with about 220 million dollars of production values just by clicking on the tv and a lot of tv is very good right now.

They may not know they are studying camera angles, effects, story lines, but they are and more than ever if the tv doesn't excite them, they flip on the computer or the ipad or something, but they don't just sit they mindlessly and watch.   Everybody says the computer is marginalizing television, like television did radio, radio did news coverage, but in reality, the most entertaining,or most appropriate content wins.

People have choice and Im as bad as anyone.  If I turn on an instructional video, no matter how good the information is and the visuals suck, the sound goes in and out, the presenter has no presence I just tune out.

So, no mater what you shoot if it's predictable or boring then it's gonna get turned off.

So messing with people is fine as long as they keep watching and once again it's not the computer that has made everyone's anticipations peed up, it's just the world in general has sped up.

Go to you tube and watch some old movie or tv shows.  Man they're slow, though might be good, they're slow to the punch line, slow to the setup.

_______________________________________

In what I wrote earlier, please understand I'm not a know it all, because everything I've mentioned, I've made the mistakes and all I can say is as much as I truly love a beautiful still photograph, compared to motion content  . . . damn it's easy.    I smile ear to ear if all I have to do is shoot a still, regardless of how many setups.

I can't count how many perfect motion takes I've done where the head sticks, or the subject hesitates, or someone in the room bumps into something.

I used one operator that was shaky keep saying "it can be fixed in post" and trust me, that's the last phrase you want to hear in motion creation.

Fact is I learn very little from watching a 200 million dollar movie, because that stuff is so planned and massaged over, it's just a basic format of high end production.

To get inspired I flip through my pbs app on the documentaries and since those are usually with real people and on the fly, shot fast, when done well they show tremendous directorial, camera and editorial talent.

Great documentaries are hard and I have the highest respect for the people that do them well.

_______________________________________

Sound

Sound should fall under the heading of pre production, because good sound is hard to find and takes planning.

Take a man and a woman walking down a sidewalk talking.  You'd think car noises, sirens, planes would be the biggest problems, but they're not, it's high heel shoes.  A woman's shoes can sound like somebody dropping a wooden block on the ground every two seconds and will ruin the dialog.  We have sticky pads we put on shoes, they sometimes work, sometimes get tossed off, sometimes just don't work.

So the answer is let em talk, have a dit station nearby or even use the back of the camera, go into a room, and have the people loop (or redo the dialog of your best cut).  Honestly it doesn't have to be perfect unless your shooting tighter than head and shoulders because at a distance nobody (and I mean nobody) notices unless it's way off sync.  I've even had a woman that said in German something like "I'm glad your here,"  to "we;come to our home" and in English and nobody caught it.

Then you or your sound guy takes a long run at the street noises, you lay them into another track, pull the volume down and wa-la . . . reality.

I always recommend getting a good sound man and rarely budge on that line item, but if you can't then buy some good Seinhauser radio lavs, a whole bunch of sticky pads so you don't hear skin twisting, or clothes crumpling and you'll be ok.

As someone here said good sound without a visual is good radio.

___________________________________________

The only other suggestion I have is to keep it moving, especially if the topic is for commerce.   No matter what you do, shooting a 10 minute take of someone talking is painful.  Painful to shoot, painful to watch.

Move the camera on a slider, by hand if your steady enough, from a wheelchair if you can't afford a dolly and find a reason to move the subject to a different location, even if it's 10 ft. away.

Long lenses wide open are great also.   They make great cutaways, give interest, look beautiful in motion and are hell to shoot smoothly.

IMO

BC



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john beardsworth
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2013, 03:10:23 AM »
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dit?

JB
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 05:22:01 AM »
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DIT = Digital imaging technician

The person that looks after the media. That may include setting up camera menus, copying/backing up/filing/storing files, converting shot files into something more easily viewed on site, maybe even doing quick rough cuts for directors, making tea etc.
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bcooter
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2013, 08:33:01 AM »
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DIT = Digital imaging technician

The person that looks after the media. That may include setting up camera menus, copying/backing up/filing/storing files, converting shot files into something more easily viewed on site, maybe even doing quick rough cuts for directors, making tea etc.

Thanks.  Yea DIT, digital imaging tech, or someone that checks stuff, marks stuff and keeps stuff in order.  With motion it's vital everything is checked, because there is no economic way to fix it in post and if you have a camera that's acting up you need to know.  A week ago I was in Northern California shooting and about 3 hours in I realized I hadn't seen the tech.  I had this sinking feeling and ran out to the tech station and said "why the h__l didn't you come in and tell me how it's going?"  He replied, everything looks fine so I didn't want to bug you.  I felt relief and a little over reaction at the same time, but I wanna know that A camera is working, B camera is working, all the white balances match and (choke, cough, choke) we're in focus.

I have a big honking dit station from maxx digital that I don't use anymore except for studio, or very close in locations.  It's in a long large pelican case, holds a raid 5, battery backups, fans, lights, two powerbooks, a red rocket and it's a monster.  Did a gig from Bangkok to KL and back and after moving that bloody thing decided to never do it again.

One thing about digital is it may look easier to shoot than film, but it's not, it's just as difficult, maybe more.  Just saw the Lone Ranger (great technique, silly direction) and read that it was shot on Kodak vision pulled a stop to give an iso of 25.  25 seems very low in todays world and with our budgets would be a nightmare because we use a lot of fluorescent fixtures, led panels and my highest wattage hmi's are those blue broncolors at 800, though most are 575 watts.  For the RED's at 800 iso they're perfect, for the gh3's that pull a perfect film look at f2.8 more than perfect, but having base iso of 800 outside requires 3 or 4 stops of nd, which is kind of a pain.

At ISO 25 on the Lone, that gave them about f 5.6 in bright sunlight, though that's the problem of reading what people do in the 200 million dollar world.  I'll bet they had dozens of  10ks of fill everywhere and days of rigging prior to shooting and most of our real world budgets don't allow for that.

The director of the Lone mentioned that he went with film so not to add ND's and because he got 16 stops out of pulling the film so if they were 1 or 2 stops off they could recover that.  I guess, but at 200 million, I think being two stops off would be kind of a miss.

Anyway if I added to commandments I'd say that anything you don't do on set or in prep will cost you 4 times the effort (maybe the money) in post.  Just naming the scenes and building a file structure that is logical on set will save many hours in the backend, even if some of the file structure has a folder that reads, (Wild Shots Outside Of Kids Running), because somewhere down the line it's gotta be processed, transcoded to prorezz, knocked down for web and put in galleries for the clients and the editors to see and find.

We run multiple cameras a lot and keeping multiple cameras in order is difficult and you don't want to lose a great cutaway just because you can't easily find it, (it happens).

Actually I normally run two RED 1's and a Scarlet or GH3, though I've tried to keep scenes matched to cameras.  If I can run on supports I run the reds because they're not easy to hand hold, if we're more fluid, or hand holding, or small car mounts I use two gh3's, because it's a pain to match color from different cameras.   One thing I have to watch is becoming too technically perfect.  If everything is smooth, locked down, all even exposure it sometimes get's boring or you find yourself limiting the talent where they don't move in a fluid manner and it doesn't look real it looks artificial.  

Given my preference and time, I'd run just one camera, reset the scene for each change check each take and make adjustments, but my world doesn't allow for this. I have learned that just shooting a lot will never make up for shooting good (duh).   It's easy to get caught up in running too much footage, especially in digital, but good footage is good footage and c__p is c__p.

Since I run multiple cameras, multiple brands, we haven't done genlock (a wired or wireless system where every camera runs the same timecode), but now I almost always run one brand of camera for each scene and will begin to genlock when we can.  

Sound guys hate running to camera.  Michael mentions don't run sound to camera and I don't agree, as long as the sound guy has a mixer and you have a great sound guy.  (Always hire a great sound guy), because the RED 1's have 4 channels of sound and I've compared it until my ears bleed and what goes into the RED's from the mixer sounds just like the files the sound guy gives me.

For the GH3's sometimes the sound is good, sometimes I replace it, but even if your never running sound to a camera, at least put a scratch mike on the camera because it makes it much easier to find and identify the sound file for replacement and sync.

Once again sound is a monster and there is a reason they made sound stages.  Not for shooting convenience, but to allow clean sound and I firmly believe that the music score was not invented for added pleasure but to hide bad background sound.  (somewhat kidding).

Michael also mentions don't autofocus.  On this I also disagree.  Yes manual focus and an expert focus puller is ideal and if you have the budget, the time, the equipment then it works most of the time (though every focus puller will miss and always miss on the best take), but the Sony FS100 pulls very good focus (not the best file) but good focus with E mount lenses and the Pana GH3's pull very good autofocus if they're set up correctly and per scene.  They have about 10 settings and they excel in very fast point here, point there, back to here focus, seem to have more problems in long slow movements like tracking someone walking horizontal and then towards the camera, back to horizontal, though a dedicated focus puller also has problems with that scenario.

As a side note I have great respect for RED and Panasonic.  All three very different companies, but both of these companies have listened, take they're equipment seriously and responded with changes.

RED has made some mistakes, some promises not exactly kept, but they really changed the world in high end motion imagery, because I've never heard of a camera coming out of nowhere from a clean sheet that addressed what indie film makers have been asking for decades to get.   RED's aren't cheap in the still world, but in the motion film world, they're almost free, compared to 80 grand engs and hundred grand Arri's.

There are a lot of people that don't like RED, too many people that are fanboys regardless of what RED does, but RED has balls and looked at the world and said why not.   My R1's are the only cameras I've ever owned that I think I can use forever, except for my Phase One backs.   They've paid for themselves many times over and maybe I've been lucky, but those cameras are so good, so robust and understand I'm not a fan boy of anything have paid close to retail for everything I own.  I only like stuff that works.

Since I shoot the gh3's next to the RED's I have direct comparison and the gh3's are damn good cameras, great zooms, with little breathing and for the price, the deal of the complete century.

I can promise you I could shoot most everything I do with them and very, very, very few people would notice.   They're still digital, still a little funky sometimes with ambient color looks, but overall they're bloody brilliant and Panasonic really listened to people that work for a living.  I just wished they'd make a more dedicated motion camera with multiple sound inputs and some viewfinder options, but for the price, they put everybody in the league of no excuse film making.

The only issue with the Panas is they shoot h264 and have to be converted to prorezz and base colored and rely on third party coloring suites like baselight, DiVinci and a whole bunch of plug ins that kind of work, kind of not.  RED has the rocket that transcodes and Cinex that does first color and the workflow is very smart and fast.

Anyway, back to focus. 

If I am manually focusing myself on the REDs I use Zeiss Nikon Mount lenses, because they have the same glass as zeiss mini primes and the focus throw is 1/2 turn of the lens for about 100 ft. where a PL mount lens is a turn and a half, so you can do it yourself and do it well, but I need a viewfinder, not a flat panel because flat panels kind of throw me for focus.   The Zeiss still lenses are cheap (in the film world) sharp and kind of pretty, but they look a little silly with a 12 oz. lens on a 18 lb camera, but I love the RED 1's so what the heck.

One last thing.  In the motion world the debate of film vs. digital rages on.  

I don't like the word video because RED, Arri, Panasonic have done a great job emulating film looks and to me video is a Sony ENG for covering talking heads and football.  

With good post you can get digital close to film, though digital never has the continuous look of film, because it's too ambient color sensitive.  If it's a warm room, you'll have a globally warm shot with digital and film is kind of dumb and doesn't see a lot of color bleed.  Also people like technicolor have about a trillion years of working film to digital and unlike the still world, they share all that knowledge.  If you want a cold look, they'll tell you the stock, the settings, even the lenses and if you want warm and happy, they have a plan for that.  

RED has done an amazing job in building a film like digital camera, but film is film and a three light telecine is something you have to see to really enjoy.

Most of the paying world will not wait or budget for film and the hardest thing to explain to a client is at the rate we produce work, it takes 3 days minimum for every day you shoot to get a well graded, first light (minimum corrected) daily.  (Daily is a silly word because you won't see good digital in a day, unless your working one set, one style of lights.).

There is no perfect camera.  Yes we need a 4 sound channel, 16 stop, autofocus camera that weighs in at 3 lbs, has lenses that don't breath, has it's own built in cage to add peripherals and has a complete system where you put footage into a machine, twist a knob, hit the color, push a button and out pops perfectly graded footage, but that doesn't exist.  Actually the closest to this is RED because they do have a system where you can buy everything from them (at a price).  

Also I'd be wary of anyone that tells you one camera does it all, because it doesn't. Sure there are great works done on everything.  Shane Hurlbut (the guy that Christian Bale screamed at) shot Act of Valor with 5d's and it's very, very pretty, though I've heard they spent a long time in post.

Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) who I think is one of the best dialog directors presently working shot her breakout film Hurt Locker on a 16mm A minima and the camera didn't make the movie, don't think it even helped it, but her direction did, plus that script and her talent could have been shot with GH3's and had the same look in proper post production and if you look at that movie, it's real, always fluid and breaks about twenty rules in established film direction.  I guess my point is it's better to get a compelling shot, than it is to get a technically perfect one and though hailed as an overnight success, Ms. Bigelow did Point Break in 1991, so it takes a long time to be an overnight success.

I really don't believe that digital is exactly there in motion or stills.  I know you can make any camera look like good film, given the time (time more than budget, though time is budget) and I also know that everything everybody tells you as fact gets changed by someone that knows the rules then breaks them for a reason, but it's important to know the rules first and regardless of what is written or told, there is no one workflow or exactly right way of doing motion imagery.

If digital has a good side (it's kind of hard to find it's good side in todays budget cutting world) it's that motion imagery is accessible to anyone that has the will to produce something with their vision.  I know those phrases are always used, but there is some kid setting somewhere with an Iphone right now shooting something that is good, maybe better than 90% of what we see on any commercial screen and I'll bet he/she doesn't care if it's in focus, 2k or 4k, 8 bits or 14 bits, -4 db or peaking past level of ear drum bleed.

I know the best motion piece I have produced was done out of dumb luck and probably being a little stupid.  I had a song from someone I admire that I always wanted to shoot to.  I got a call from an AD whose agency wanted to pitch a real world look for a soft drink and I drove out to an old 1/4 mile dirt track to scout it, had a Nikon D700 and a 200mm lens and just started shooting it with my finger held down.  I put it light-room, graded it, threw it into fcp 7 and made motion imagery out of it, made notes, listened to the song 40 dozen times and went back out to finish it up.  Funny thing was I loved it and didn't want to present it for the commercial project because I'd have ruined it.  I told the AD I'd shoot something else for them, (he got laid off so that never happened), but I did shoot it for me and that piece has brought more work into our studio than anything I've ever produced.

Magic Man

I also know that since I did this piece a lot of clients expect me to make it up as I go along . . . and I do . . . sometimes because spontaneity is good, sometimes because that's just the way life goes, but I've also found it's very important to have an open mind. I consider anyone that points a camera at a subject is there to serve the subject.  If I walk away from the day and the subject(s) are proud of the way they talk, walk and look, then I've done my job.    Not everyone will agree with me though.

Especially clients that want B roll.  


IMO

BC
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Manoli
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2013, 09:25:28 AM »
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I consider anyone that points a camera at a subject is there to serve the subject.  If I walk away from the day and the subject(s) are proud of the way they talk, walk and look, then I've done my job.    Not everyone will agree with me though.

Some most certainly will.

BC,
Thanks for the many, cogent & informative posts. I'm sure they're much appreciated by many - myself certainly. Forgive me for asking though, and I ask with tongue in cheek, are you on steroids lately ?

M

ps Absolutely no offence intended; it's what the English call a 'backhanded compliment' ...
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bcooter
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2013, 10:44:08 AM »
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are you on steroids lately ?

Uh, no.   Kinda of wish I was.  I'm actually totally zonked out after weeks of production.  Now we're running multiple stations, transcoding, building galleries, front pages, etc and this is just a break.

I think cause I'm tired I start to answer a question and start ramblin', though being a dumb a__ Texan I guess I could talk to a wall, though really it's mostly just a release from staring into 27" of bad Apple lcds.

Also I hate partial answers.  Somebody will say ______ "tethers great" and I'm like, ok shooting what . . . still life, people, wirelessly, etc.


BC
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2013, 11:44:50 AM »
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bcooter's references to "The Lone Ranger" are interesting.  I agree that the story might be a little weak, but for those who appreciate production values and production techniques, TLR is very instructive.  This is a Big Time Hollywood Movie.  I loved it.

Day exteriors, for example, were mostly shot without additional artificial fill lighting.  The DOP, Bojan Bazelli, estimates that the useful dynamic range of Kodak 5203 exposed at 25 ISO to be 16 to 18 stops.

says Bazelli:

"If you wanted to create an impossible scenario for a cinematographer, then you would include black, deep brown and white in the frame, shade faces with hats, and put bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds in the background — and then keep the actors in full, bright sun. That’s the case whenever Tonto and the Lone Ranger share the frame. Johnny wore a large, black bird on top of his head, his face was painted white, and to avoid squinting he wore custom neutral-density contact lenses that darkened his eyes significantly. Next to him, sitting on a pure-white horse, was Armie, wearing a white hat, a black mask and a black suit — and all those extremes were heightened by the bright sun. 5203’s range is unbelievable, especially at 25 ISO. There was no loss of detail at either end of the curve. I think it has 16-18 usable stops, and almost double the highlight range of [Vision2 50D] 5201."



Bazelli shot day exteriors with 5203 and night work on Arri Alexas.  The two media cut together seamlessly.

For those who have seen the movie, there's a shot from inside a dark rail car, looking out the open doors at bad guys approaching on horseback across the sunlit desert.  To balance the exposure, the inside of the rail was lit with two 18K ArriMaxes.  That's 36,000 watts of light inside a small rail car.  Imagine.  As bcooter said, shooting motion is WAY harder than shooting stills.

Production-wise, the entire movie is one colossal jaw-dropper from end to end.  I don't understand why it tanked.

As a huge fan of 3D (sorry) I was at first disappointed to learn that TLR was 2D.  I never missed it. : )


Very interesting reading here.

http://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/August2013/TheLoneRanger/page1.php
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 01:38:37 PM by Peter McLennan » Logged
Les Sparks
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2013, 12:37:10 PM »
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For an expanded version of the 10 commandments and other good advise check out
How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro  by Steve Stockman.
About $10 or so. Best $10 I've spent on improving my video.
Les
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2013, 01:38:02 PM »
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b
Production-wise, the entire movie is one colossal jaw-dropper from end to end.  I loved it.  I don't understand why it tanked.

As a huge fan of 3D (sorry) I was at first disappointed to learn that TLR was 2D.  I never missed it. : )


Very interesting reading here.

http://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/August2013/TheLoneRanger/page1.php


I think TLR was great cinematography (of course a lot of that depends on how much is post, how much real) but why did it tank?  I guess cause it was silly.

The studios probably thought the same because the trailers are nothing like the movie.  The trailers look purposeful and man of action type of stuff, the movie was kind of Captain Jack become Tonto with his sidekick the Ranger that doesn't like guns.

Personally I think a movie that has an action figure has to be bigger than life, or if not that vulnerable and I never felt any of those emotions.

If you watch a Bond movie you also know he's not going to get snuffed, but at least you know he's gonna get hurt and I never felt that with TLR.

Consequently if you saw Hurt Locker and the guy  walks up to the bomb, you always have the feeling that this guy might get it and he's in danger.  Never felt that with TLR.

Beautiful production values though.

IMO

BC
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2013, 01:50:12 PM »
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It was silly.  For me, that was just part of the buy-in.  "Despicable Me II" was silly, too and I laffed myself nearly to death, so I guess it's just me.

Production values in the animated Despicable Me II are just as good as those in TLR, IMHO, and there's no Camera Department at all.  Shocked

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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2013, 02:29:35 PM »
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Great stuff here, folks. Let 'er rip, BC...it's a pleasure, not to mention highly informative, to get a window into the world you work in.   Cool

Forgot to mention this before: Battlestar Galactica...I'm a huge fan of that show all around. (The gritty Ron Moore version, not the silly original.) IMO the at-times jumpy camera work, with the jiggling and abrupt zooming, just works for the show's mood & vibe. Robert M. Young directed some episodes and I suspect he had a big influence in the camera-as-participant look, especially early on (the camera work does calm down a bit as the show progresses).

-Dave-
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2013, 08:22:13 PM »
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Aloha,

some great stuff here!
I am getting prepared to go back to Patagonia next fall; their fall so April.
A friend of mine is a awesome young director/cinematographer , and I was thinking of asking him to come along, for a day rate.
In my planning I had thought; well whats the story, and how do you get that down to understand if it is a story, and i started to do basic drawings of shots to make a story and set the pace, its really telling right off the bat.
Mapping things out on paper works like a charm, even to the time needed/allowed for some things,
I also set the pace in the story boards to the score which helps...
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2013, 11:39:12 PM »
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"The Five C's of Cinematography" helped me learn film grammar a long time ago.  Still a classic introduction to film-making.

http://www.amazon.ca/Five-C-S-Of-Cinematography/dp/187950541X



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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2013, 09:19:08 AM »
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I think Michael is right on most of his points, though cinema for web and short form is usually much different than traditional entertainment.

Then again, the viewer's anticipations have also changed.   We just did a video that was 3 minutes in length and had over 125 cuts.   That would be unheard of in the traditional world 5 years ago, but with everyone suffering from ADD believe it or not the edit seemed slow.

I'm not saying every edit has to be 2 seconds a cut, but I find most photographers that move from stills to motion seem to have a problem not showing their pretty pictures.  They hold on a shot, sometimes move in, then slowly move back, then later cut back to the same shot.  It's like a David Lynch movie where the scene is locked down, the lighting and composition is wonderful, but the camera just runs for what seems like an eternity.
I've seen quite a lot of single take scenes of late as it happens. Which I think works much better than fast cuts for certain action scene as you are more involved because every time there's a cut, you subconsciously know they've reset and redone scene, particularly fight scenes. A single wide moving shot of a complex fight sequence is nearly always better than rapid action cuts to hide the fact that the lead can't fight to save his life - so to speak.  Wink Jackie Chan's fights in Hollywood film are insipid and dull compared to his HK movies for that very reason. Not to mention that the Michael Bay type action scenes are so hyperkinetic I have no idea what's going on a lot of the time. Fast cuts seem to be taking the place of good choreography/story, not adding to it.


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Given that my best suggestion would be to learn how to edit and tell a story.
So, so very important. Telling stories is what the moving image does and the best thing I ever did with regard to film making was learn to write scripts. And then I finally got how film making worked.
Robert Rodriguez's story of how he learned to edit films as documented in 'Rebel without a Pause' makes for for useful reading for any aspiring film maker.

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So in other words start with a story, a voice over, a song, something with meaning.  No matter how beautiful the footage if your not telling a story, your just showing a moving slide show.
I said we be inundated with moving slide shows when the 5DII came out and all the photographers suddenly thought they were film directors. And unsurprisingly that is exactly what happened.
Though some great work was done on the new kit, an awful lot of twee time-lapses and story free visuals filled the hard drives at vimeo 

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As far a technique goes there are a million ways to craft a visual, but the basics are the basics and there is a reason that in movieland you shoot an establishing scene, usually a lead in, then the establishing scene, then reverses, then right reverses, then cutaways for pov or just body and scene detail.  This allows you or the editor latitude to not produce a boring story, but make sure there is a reason.  No reason to have a subjects POV unless it adds to the story.
That's the problem some people miss about with film particularly those who come from stills, everything should serve the story. Everything!

Lots of extremely good advice in your posts on film making BC, kudos.
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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2013, 04:57:17 AM »
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Well, I retired from the video production business when most cameras were still analogue (ah, how I loved the Sony 330...) So I'm pretty out of date on what passes for convention these days. Most of the stuff in this piece seems pretty uncontroversial. But there's one thing that bugs me whenever I see people out and about shooting video, even in professional news gathering and EFP style situations.

A camera operated properly from a tripod (I'm excluding DSLRs, whose ergonomics when shooting video simply horrify me) requires a zoom-servo remote incorporating the "run" botton!

You simply can't control a camera properly with both arms wrapped around it. Even if you observe the convention of never zooming - which is sound enough as a rough generalisation - you're still going to have to pan sometimes and particularly on a long lens (sports etc) one hand needs to reside on the pan bar...

The best pan head I ever used, and I've used Sachtlers, Ron Fords and others, was a Vinten Cygnet L-bracket type head. When set up properly it just remains in the position where you leave it without the obligation to lock it off. The Vinten legs weren't as good as Sachtlers though. Porta-Pods are great too - having another axis of movement is extremely useful when trying to animate otherwise static subjects.

Ancient history.

Roy
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