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Old January 29th, 2006, 12:43 AM   #16
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Some tips that will make you better:

Technically you need to learn to asjust the XL2 for different conditions. It is a very diverse camera but not in the auto settings. Always operate on -3dB gain when possible. Set your knee to LOW unless you want blown out or super contrasty whites. Outside, set the blacks to press and set them to middle inside or stretch when there is not enough light in the background. Also, try taking the Master Pedestal and SetUp level down a couple notches for everything and even more outdoors. The exception being when you have to raise the MP to deal with a blown out background that you can correct the contrast in post.

Control the light when possible with the ND filter, NOT the aperature. Your goal is ALWAYS to be wide open. The sweet spot of the Canon 20X lens is from 10X to 16X, you did not use that length enough. You can get a TINY depth of field with the 20x if you plan your shots right. White balance was very inconsistent, some was nice and warm, other shots very cool. I prefer slightly warm, find a light blue card and bring it with you to every location and MANUALLY balance the camera. DO NOT USE AUTOFOCUS! The 20X is a tricky lens but you have to use it manual, especially in lockdown shots.

Aesthetically, the indoor stuff needs to be lit better, even if it is a lamp, home depot light, etc. you just HAVE to have some light that defines the edges of faces, etc. if you dont everything is flat and nasty in your wide shots. Try to use PUSHES not zooms, they have different motivations and most your shots seemed more appropriate for a push, not zoom. You need to have more tight shots and be a little more creative with your framing, things seem to drift to the middle. Lastly, try and get better sound, a boom should be your next investment.

Main thing is to have fun and keep learning...

ash =o)
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:58 AM   #17
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damn! That's some good stuff Ash! Thanks!

I will print this out and take all of these suggestions for sure. You are very correct in saying that the XL2 is a tricky camera. I don't know 70% of what that camera does yet.

One thing to say is that I do own a boom and used to own the Marantz PMD670 compact flash recorder. Well, I used the boom on all of the shots with an Audio-Techica shotgun mic going into the PMD670 recorder. I have to say that I was surely dissappointed in the sound quality of that. It was tinny and short sound. I took most of the sound from the on camera mic for most of the film. I wasn't planning on that, but that's how it pretty much happened.

Thanks again for the incredible settings advice!! I will use it.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 06:54 PM   #18
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If you want a certain look I would be happy to help, just post a grab from a movie or a picture of what you would want it to look like and I will post/email you the settings...


ash =o)
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Old January 31st, 2006, 04:38 PM   #19
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Ash,

I must admit that, when reading your constructive critiscm, I was a little taken back, I felt bad for Mr. Rench for a few moments until I remembered a time when I was helping a professional director and he finally trusted me to do some camera work for him and I gave the actor too much headroom.

When watching the dailies he said to me, in front of eleven professionals...

"That's too much headroom, you have ruined the shot. It was the most important CU of the scene and you ruined it, I can only use my medium now."

Needless to say I was humiliated, devastated... everything... but I realized two things.

1. It would forever be written into my subconscious to ALWAYS check headroom when framing a shot (it's become natural now)

and more importantly...

2. I realized that I could trust anything this man says because he doesn't tell you what you want to hear... but what you need to hear.

One day I was visiting with him and I was showing him the first shot of a short film that I was working on... he paused and looked up and said...

"It's perfect."

and I had the joy of knowing that he wasn't patronizing me. He was being 100% honest.

In this business that is a rare thing... so thank you Ash. Keep being honest!

High Regards,

Daniel Riser
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Old January 31st, 2006, 06:18 PM   #20
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I only respond with criticism if asked for... if someone just posts "look at what I did" I will never say anything about what could be better. Remember, you learn from your mistakes and in something that is new to you, you may have to have those mistakes pointed out. The only reason I know this stuff so well is because I have screwed up so much stuff over the years!!!!!!!



ash =o)
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Old January 31st, 2006, 08:20 PM   #21
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I love the critisism. I don't take it bad at all. I've taken the good and the bad and taken the good and kept that in my back pocket and the bad I've printed out to go over with my DoP. We both agreed that looking back at the movie we realized all the things we did that we could have done better on.

Daniel - I loved your reply.

Ash - Your reply was so excellent that I will use it on my next film. I will also definately take you up on your offer to assist me with my camera settings. :o)

I worry about people who can't take critisism. Like you said Daniel, it was a huge thing for you and you are wise enough to appreciate it.

Ash - I'm a glass half full kinda guy so I don't call anything that I (or anyone else for that matter) do "screw ups" or doing it wrong, I say, that instead of being a screw up, it's a learning tool.

:)

Honestly, thank you all for your comments.
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