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Old November 14th, 2007, 06:01 AM   #1
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graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd

Ok, so this is a posting experiment as well as "showing my work". I'm not sure I understand how the attachments work, if the picture limit is per thread or per post in a thread or what, so I guess we'll see.

Anyway, I don't normally DP--I'm usually merely a videographer, but I agreed to DP a short (well, now it's looking like it might be not so short) for a friend. This is one of your bottom of the barrell no budget deals--you've all been there. Over the course of 10 months we shot this piece. We used my gear--an XL2, several fresnel lights, a chimera, and an assortment of gels, reflectors, etc. Small lighting package to be sure.

The movie is called "Hot Tamale" The basic story is that a guy must win $1000 in a hand-slapping tournament (Hot Tamale is the name of the hand slapping game) to prove to CPS he can earn a "steady income" so they won't take his child away. In this thread I aim to show the more impressive (in my opinion) stills (and these are color corrected, by moi--I'm doing the grading for the film as well), and there'll be link to the trailer as well. The trailer has no graded footage.

So, trailer:

http://www.robertsonstreetproduction...%20Trailer.wmv

And stills:

These are all from one of the early scenes, during a hearing to determine the father's ability to provide for his child.

This is supposed to be a chamber in a courthouse, and is actually a conference room in an office building. The exterior shot (supposed to be the court) is a mansion serving as offices for St. Thomas University in Houston. We used the overhead flo lights, and nothing else. We did use several flags of different sorts, right outside of frame, to block as much light as possible from the windows (off to frame right in the master), to increase the overhead light look/contrast.
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graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd-phone-call.jpg  
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Old November 14th, 2007, 06:23 AM   #2
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Ok, guess that answers the attachment question.

So, here we have several scenes represented. I meant to post the pics in the movie's story order, but I screwed up.

The interview shots against the black are from a scene in beginning where the current commissioner of the tournament (who is the director of the film) talks about its history. I can't recall what show the director said he was aiming to emulate---something where the interviewee is shot against black, and there are multiple cameras, some shooting arty farty cutaways. What we actually did was set up some black duvetyne as background, with typical three point lighting, leave the camera in the same place, and simply rotate him and the lights to simulate the different camera angles.

The stills inside the small room are supposed to be the guy's apartment during a scene where he ponders his prospects for getting his son back (in reality a room in the director's old house). We pretended there was a single window off to frame left (in reality, a doorway to the rest of the house). I used a 4x8 piece of white foamcore in the doorway, bounced a 1k fresnel off it to simulate ambient daylight through the window, and then had a 300w fresnel bouncing off a little mirror to simulate the direct sun. hitting the guy's torso/the floor. A 650w fresnel was bounced off the ceiling for general fill. I believe we screwed around with a piece of silver show card for fill in a closeup. The scheme is slightly different for the blue shots vs the normally colored ones, as it was supposed to be different times of day (blue is afternoon, normal is morning).

The outdoor stuff with the goldish tone is from the actual hand slapping "battles". We decided to go for a very over the top kind of Gladiator/Saving Private Ryan/Black Hawk Down look for this stuff, with the cam's shutter set to 1/250th (combined with 24p, to make the super jittery no-motion-blur look once revolutionary, now commonplace). I tried to constantly keep moving, either doing little arcs, or snap zooms, or something, no matter what was actually happening. The idea here was to juxtapose the utter lameness of standing still and slapping someone's hands with ridiculous camera movement for a humorous effect, like this is the most exciting thing in the world. I tried to grade it with sort of a gritty war movie look. The set, which you don't see much of in the pics, is supposed to be a junkyard or scrapyard. It was really an empty lot owned by the director's grandmother that we filled as much bulky crap as was nearby and easily available (wheelbarrow, trashcans, lots of pieces of gutter, a swingset, a trailer, etc.) Some nice shots in the trailer of the "set".

Most of the outdoor stuff is simply available light, because I was the only crew, save for the director, we didn't have access to HMIs or anything cool like that, and reflectors are only good if the weather is perfect or you have tons of time to readjust constantly. I used 'em a few times, but gave up a few days into the shoot 'cause it just wasn't doing much good. I did, earlier on, use a photoflex 42" 5-in-1, just the central diffuser piece, overhead on whichever actor was the focus of the shot, so reduce the harshness of the sun when it was an issue, but stopped doing that later.

Now I am out of picture upload slots and must make another post.
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graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd-battle-crowd-2.jpg   graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd-battle-crowd.jpg  

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Old November 14th, 2007, 06:31 AM   #3
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Lastly, we have shot that's supposed to be from a broadcast of the tournament, a demonstration of how the game is played/scoring, with the the hands illustrating the different techniques. I'm quite fond of this shot (except for the wrinkly duve, but oh well).


The black duve is the background, with a 650 (I THINK) with red gel somewhat spotted and hitting it. The chimera provides the "key" light for the arms, while a 300w fresnel with some degree of CTB on it is overhead for the bluish edgelight. It's supposed to look like it was shot from overhead, but it seemed unnessarily difficult to rig the camera as such, so we just turned our arms (that's mine and the director's arms) sideways so it would look right.


I don't have all the footage yet, and this is the best of what I have, so I'll post more when I get it.
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graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd-hand-demo.jpg  
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Old November 24th, 2007, 04:27 PM   #4
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Seems it won't let me add to the last post, so I make new one. I got my second batch of footage, though the pickin's are slimmer from this batch, as it's a lot of the same looking stuff as I posted before.

Not that many this time---- the second batch of files I graded has much the same stuff, looks wise, as the older batch, so only showing the interesting stuff (to me).

So, the super diffused dreamy looking stuff is from two flashback shots. The one with the spray bottle was shot against black duve, and I used, I think, the 1K with some kind of yellow gell on it, and let him fron his front with the 2x3 chimera. . .don't think I used fill. The kitchen used mostly real daylight from the window off camera left, and a hard reflector put a little splash on the wall somwhere behind him. There was a light off cam right and above, but I strangely can't recall it's purpose. . .I think it must have either been lighting the table, which seems unlikely, or bounced off a low angled reflector for fill on his face.

The scene under the awning is where a villain attempts to buy a snack. I kind of like that side light coming in, other than that, not that special. That was done with a reflector bouncing the sun under there, since there was obviously no real light under it.

I sent the shots of the bloody guy (the villain grabs his hands and head butts him instead of slapping) just 'cause I think they're awesomely cheesy. There's nothing but available light on those. I just think they're fun.

That 2shot against the tree-y background was just a nice accident. It's a dramatic point in the movie, so it's fitting that the sun happened to be almost gone when we shot it. That's firect sun hitting them (from from frame right), though my photoflex diffuser. Looks nice. That's it. Enjoy 'til next batch.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 12:29 AM   #5
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The lighting is great for a low/no budget movie but I think I like the color better from the ungraded trailer. The blue tones make it seem too dramatic for a comedy IMHO. Perhaps it was just done that way for a few scenes that aren't in the trailer so I could be wrong. Regardless, good work especially without spending a lot of money.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #6
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I lightened up the blue after I posted this, and yes, it's only for the start of the movie. I don't really agree with the whole idea of "looking like a comedy." In a way, it's condescending to the audience. I feel the movie should look however the material calls for. Doesn't have to look like Something About Mary / Scrubs just 'cause it's a silly, light movie.

Though it was pretty forgettable, "40 Days and 40 Nights" (the one where Josh Hartnett vows not to have sex for 40 days" actually had some pretty cool looks to it, which I appreciated. If anything hurt that movie, it certainly wasn't the cinematography.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 06:56 AM   #7
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last batch

Okay, so this is from the last batch of footage. Only a few stills this time. Somehow, along the way, the 30 minute-ish short became a 70 minute feature, excluding credits.

Anyway, basically the same stuff as before, but I really like these shallow depth of field CUs, so I thought I'd include 'em. I was of course 20-30 feet away from the subject, zoomed all the way in, with iris wide open, to get those. The other stills I included are from a section of the movie the director wanted to look like "300". I don't know how it looks on yall's computer monitors, but on my Sony 14m2u, it looks damn close. The shot with the bearded dude actually looks like it could've come from "300", but fear not, it's from our movie.

the shot with the glowy kid is the hero's child, who he's attempting to save from CPS with the tournament's prize money. In this particular shot, he remembers him fondly during a rough time. I don't think I talked about this before, so: This was shot almost like a talking head interview. He got squirmy after a while, so I had to stop lighting and just shoot. . .I didn't quite get where I wanted. It's just a 2x2 Chimera off of frame left, I think maybe no fill, and a 300w fresnel off to cam right, high, with a yellow gel of some sort on it. The background is actually my 42" photoflex 5 in 1, the diffusion center piece, backlit by a 650w fresnel (I think--this was quite a long time ago).

Hopefully, in the near-ish future, I'll have fully functional, graded clips on my site to post.
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graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd-mikon-prof-cu.jpg   graded stills and trailer from short film I DP'd-santino-dreamy.jpg  

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Old January 8th, 2008, 11:25 PM   #8
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. . .And the future is now!

I've finally gotten the go ahead to put the graded edited stuff on my site. So here's a few of the better looking clips (I wanted to include some "battle" footage, but didn't because it might give away important story points).

Oh, the sound and whatnot might not be exactly like this in the final final version. . .this is from the project file I was grading, so I don't know what he did after I got the stuff back to him. Should be real real close though.

Anyway:

http://joshbass.com/Site/Camerawork_...nterview_1.wmv

http://joshbass.com/Site/Camerawork_...amaleapt_1.wmv

http://joshbass.com/Site/Camerawork_...ulesdemo_1.wmv

http://joshbass.com/Site/Camerawork_...ashbacks_1.wmv

http://joshbass.com/Site/Camerawork_...lehotdog_1.wmv
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