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Old May 10th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #16
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Ok,

So I rebalanced a bit...

YouTube - A Prayer

Comments??

(ignore the audio... it's just there as filler)
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Old May 10th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #17
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Perrone:

All of the difference in the world. This looks really nice, I like it. This sample is totally different than the previous one and I could see what you were going for now.

Nice work.

Dan
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Old May 12th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #18
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Chiaroscuro wasn't intended to create dramatic lighting. The Chiaroscuro technique was created to give depth and dimension to an otherwise flat canvas by creating sequences of light(chiaro) against dark(scuro) areas. The dark areas must have just as much details as the light areas (but darker) otherwise the chiaroscuro effect and illusion of dimensional depth will be lost.

This should give some explanation of the basic principle of Chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro
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Old May 12th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #19
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Poor Perrone, can't escape that Chiaroscuro thing! I renamed this thread and removed that from the title.

I agree with Dan that this is more like it!

I do have some thoughts about this image but I actually would like to hear from Perrone HIS feelings about it. Are you completely happy with it? Would you do anything differently if you had access to other instruments, more grip gear? Anything you would want to change?
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Old May 12th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #20
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Charles,

Thanks for renaming the title. It is much more apt now. In terms of things I'd do differently, there just isn't much of anywhere to go. 4 off-white walls, with a necessary hero shot was all I could do. There was supposed to be an actress in the background who had to leave early so I couldn't even get the shot I really wanted.

The tonality of the back wall is just about the level I wanted. I would have likely done less "hatchet lighting" and more Rembrant" lighting had I been able to effectively flag the back wall. I wish I could have had some effective screen depth, but the other angles I shot give a bit more of that.

Sometimes location shooting really limits your options.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #21
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I'm going to chime in and also note that the new plot does something critically important.

It gives the ACTOR back the ability to do precisely that... act.

Now we can see the mood and expression he's bringing to the performance.

That was largely missing in the first lighting plot, IMO.

Again, Charles has it right that it might be a defensible directors choice to eliminate all expression and emotional clues from the character at that point in the story. But the danger is that it could well rob the scene of a lot of potential punch.

Reminds me of the old Richard Dreyfus film "Who's Life is it Anyway?" He was in 95% of the movie - and for virtually ALL of it, he played a bedridden quadraplegeic - so the ONLY tool he had to act with was facial expression. Period. Talk about an acting clinic!

Quite a compelling movie and a simply AMAZING performance - but NOT an easy "feel good" movie to watch.

Maybe that's why I feel so strongly that giving this character back the gift of allowing the audience to see more of his expression is a great choice.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #22
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Hi Bill:

Did you see "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"? Similar situation, very well executed. I thought it would be a bummer to watch but it turned out to be brilliant. A must see from a technical filmmaking and from a storytelling POV. Definitely reveals the human experience.

Dan
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Old May 15th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #23
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OK. Given that, here are some of my thoughts.

To me, the shot itself doesn't feel striking. It doesn't have much emotional resonance. It's essentially neither here-nor-there. The film appears to be framed to 2:35, a ratio that creates a lots of choices when framing a single. Here, the subject's placement in the frame is virtually neutral, just off-center. There's no real statement being made by the composition.

With a contrasty image like this, the eye settles on the hottest/brightest thing in the frame, which in this case is the actor's shoulders. It's a function of the bright red color and the luminance of the shirt. Since there is so little skin tone and detail in the face to hang on to (and you can't see into his eyes), the ripples in the shirt become the focal point in the frame. The red tones are popping considerably (used to wrestle with that with the various Panasonics, which really seemed to play up those tones--was this shot on your DVX??). You can always knock down both the luminance and saturation of the reds in color correction, of course. On set, especially since you were using hard light, it would have been fairly easy to slow down the level on the shoulders--assuming you have extravagant items like c-stands and nets (which I know you didn't)!

As you mentioned there is other coverage of this scene, but I wasn't sure if that included other setups of this shot. I might have liked to have seen the actor off-axis so that his shoulders weren't so squared off to the camera, more towards a profile, with the light playing more like an edge. A practical in the background such as a floor or table lamp against the wall could provide both a motivated source and an opportunity to play him mostly in silhouette, with that touch of exposure wrapping around as if from the lamp. While it might seem like a practical would just blow everything out on the wall, if it were dimmed down far enough (or the ambient brought up enough and then exposed down in-camera), the falloff could be quite dramatic. This would play better given a shallower depth of field, but still not impossible to appreciate even on a 1/3" camera. That's just one approach of many.

White walls are a challenge for us. Obviously they are less than ideal as they pick up ambient light very easily. Still, they can be approached as an instrument of contrast; the answer may not always lie in darkening them as much as possible, you can also play a range of levels on a given wall that suggest contrast even though they are all shades of light gray to white.

I shot a while ago in an apartment that was all white with essentially nothing on the walls; to make things worse, about a third of the film took place with the main character sitting on a sofa up against the wall. Virtually a worst-case scenario. Because it was a comedy, I didn't go over the top with the look but I still wanted to deliver a reasonably rich palette while suggesting the passage of time, with various sun hits, venetian blind patterns and eventually full night shooting. Naturally our schedule was upside down enough that much of the day scenes were shot at night and vice-versa! Lighting package was essentially a one-ton, with a couple of HMI's. Link below (and be warned, first 30 seconds or so should not be watched at work with the sound up, or with children around):

YouTube - CHUMP - a short film.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
OK. Given that, here are some of my thoughts.

To me, the shot itself doesn't feel striking. It doesn't have much emotional resonance. It's essentially neither here-nor-there. The film appears to be framed to 2:35, a ratio that creates a lots of choices when framing a single. Here, the subject's placement in the frame is virtually neutral, just off-center. There's no real statement being made by the composition.
You are correct here. I tend not to do final framing in camera. I don't have the skills to nail it time after time, especially when I am pulling focus, iris, and everything else. In this case, the camera was still, but I prefer to leave myself some working room in case I need to make adjustments in post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
With a contrasty image like this, the eye settles on the hottest/brightest thing in the frame, which in this case is the actor's shoulders. It's a function of the bright red color and the luminance of the shirt. Since there is so little skin tone and detail in the face to hang on to (and you can't see into his eyes), the ripples in the shirt become the focal point in the frame. The red tones are popping considerably (used to wrestle with that with the various Panasonics, which really seemed to play up those tones--was this shot on your DVX??). You can always knock down both the luminance and saturation of the reds in color correction, of course. On set, especially since you were using hard light, it would have been fairly easy to slow down the level on the shoulders--assuming you have extravagant items like c-stands and nets (which I know you didn't)!
The saturation was brought up in post. Again, it's not final, but the color "red" is a motif for this character and the directors intent was to emphasize it. Every time this character has on something red, it's signifies something in the film. And this was shot VERY flat and on the EX1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
As you mentioned there is other coverage of this scene, but I wasn't sure if that included other setups of this shot. I might have liked to have seen the actor off-axis so that his shoulders weren't so squared off to the camera, more towards a profile, with the light playing more like an edge. A practical in the background such as a floor or table lamp against the wall could provide both a motivated source and an opportunity to play him mostly in silhouette, with that touch of exposure wrapping around as if from the lamp. While it might seem like a practical would just blow everything out on the wall, if it were dimmed down far enough (or the ambient brought up enough and then exposed down in-camera), the falloff could be quite dramatic. This would play better given a shallower depth of field, but still not impossible to appreciate even on a 1/3" camera. That's just one approach of many.
If you can imagine this scene, I am basically shooting a "hero" shot with a low tripod. To my center is an actor on the bed. To my left is a nightstand with a lamp on it, and a mirror. To my right is a chest of drawers which we did not want in the shot, and my 1k. The back wall has a laminated map. There is supposed to be an actress laying in bed behind the actor, but she had to leave the shoot early. So my shot selection was bound on 2 sides and the y-axis. Directive I was given was to make it "very dark". The director listened with amusement as I told him the comments from our discussion here, and reiterated that he absolutely LOVED the first shot and it was exactly what he wanted.

While I totally understand and respect what you are saying, it was NOT the director's intent or desire for this particular shot. When I shot the reverse of this, I did include the nightstand, mirror, some of the floor, and the room door. It's way down in the toe, but it's there and it is visible.

I will also say this. This was walking a tightrope for me. So I shot this entire scene with more conventional lighting, including use the practical as motivated light. So I had that in the can before walking out on this limb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
White walls are a challenge for us. Obviously they are less than ideal as they pick up ambient light very easily. Still, they can be approached as an instrument of contrast; the answer may not always lie in darkening them as much as possible, you can also play a range of levels on a given wall that suggest contrast even though they are all shades of light gray to white.
As I post a few other samples from the movie, you'll see how I've worked around the white walls and other production issues. It is my hope to post some of these things and invite discussions such as this. As long as it can stay civil, I think these kinds of discussions can be very useful not only for myself, but for other filmmakers wondering how certain challenges are met on set, and then doing some Monday morning quaterbacking to see how things might have been done differently.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 12:44 PM   #25
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As I said earlier in this thread, it's good that you delivered what the director wanted. That should get you hired back. However every DP would approach that same assignment slightly differently, so it's not to say it was the only way to approach the shot.

At this point I'll reserve all further judgement until I see the rest of the film. Context is everything in this situation.
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