Grabs from a recent shoot. Opinions wanted... at

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Old March 22nd, 2005, 06:53 PM   #1
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Grabs from a recent shoot. Opinions wanted...

Ok so some of you saw my lighting test. Well I shot this scene and have been playing with color correction. Obviously I'm going for a (wait for it..... wait for it.......) "film look". Now bear in mind that this scene should be lush looking and have some punch to it (that doesn't mean that I did this well, but if you offer suggestions please do so with that in mind. The earlier part of the short will be shot more drab getting progressively more "beautiful" (think joe versus the volcano)...

Ok have at, what do you think? I'm wondering if the images are too saturated?


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Old March 23rd, 2005, 05:03 AM   #2
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In general I think it has a good atmosphere, but it looks a bit too
much. Too artificial, too good perhaps.

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Old March 28th, 2005, 07:02 AM   #3
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Hi Matthew,

I agree with Rob here - however to expand a little I think the main problem lies with the skin tones. The first JPG looks very nice, however as soon as you have a person in frame the skin-tones look to warm, and this is what's giving it an "artificial" look.

You could compensate to some degree with a cooler midtone in your CC, but a better way to do it (assuming this is possible with all of your shots, which shouldn't be too much of a problem) is cool off the lighting on your subject - perhaps a 1/2 CTB or such on your key light - this will take the warmth out of the skin tones whilst leaving the majority of the image untouched.

Nice stuff though!....
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Old March 29th, 2005, 04:07 PM   #4
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I think he did a great superjob. The furniture looks pretty real to me (hollywood style). The candles show up great as well. The only think that doesn't seem right is the white/redish skin colour. The man comes straight from a frankenstein movie. He needs less lighting / less white and less light bulbing on his cheeks. For the rest, great stuff!
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Old March 29th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #5
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I like the background lighting as well, but the light on his face is too hard.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, I redid the color correction a bit, taking into consideration what people have said, and I think I've achieved much better results. Subtle changes, but still I think they make a big difference. I'll post more still as soon as I get a chance.

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Old March 30th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #7
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Beware the overstylized and unmotivated lighting


Indeed, I agree that the saturation is way over the top.


Without knowing the context of the film or "seeing" the room, I understand you may very well want an overstylized look and could very well have a window motivation for the background blue light on the wall.

But in my personal opinion, the images look like they're straight out of a porn or a re-enactment from America's Most Wanted. Unmotivated stylized lighting works well when you have a talking head interview on VH1 and nobody cares that the bookcase in the background is flooded with a blood red light. But it's rare that you'll find this type of unmotivated splashes of light in traditional narratives these days.

There's certainly no denying that this type of stylized unmotivated "beauty" lighting is still around and can be used effectively. Conrad Hall's lighting in American Beauty had totally unmotivated top down spots on flower vases! But it's hard to be Conrad Hall. And usually if not executed flawlessly, you get a very pretty video that looks as if the actors are about to take their clothes off and get it on!
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Old April 1st, 2005, 06:46 PM   #8
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Matt, I think there are a couple of things you can try to improve the scene.

The key light is too hot and too hard. (The subject is as bright as the candle flame.) Try a very soft key for the candlelight effect; a softbox from the key position. Try pulling it down with a dimmer till it gives off a slight reddish look to insinuate candlelight. Make sure it is as close to the subject as possible. Knock it down with an additional layer of diffusion if necessary. It would be great to lose some of the light on the front of his suit and shirt. Swap out that white shirt for a darker color, like a tan or brown.

Or...for more drama, use a harder source from a farther distance. Again, take it down on a dimmer, or add a CTO to the light to insinuate candlelight. Now, use "gobos" or cutters in front of this light to create shadows on his suit, and maybe the top portion of his head. Remember the light source should be at about the same level as the candle source.

Place a bounce card to the camera right side of the the subject to bounce a bit of fill into his off-key side.

Instead of that 3200K light on the back of his head, try using your moonlight effect with a blue gel.

Try adding a Soft EFX filter.

Watch films by Peter Greenaway, such as "The Draughtsman's Contract."

As a final general note, many years ago a Director of Photography gave me one of the best pieces of advice I ever received. He said, "Remember, Wayne, first the actors, then the camera, then the lights." It may not apply here, but I want you to keep it in mind for the future.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old April 6th, 2005, 06:44 PM   #9
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Question for Matthew

hello Matthew,
Could you tell me, are you using a "Low-contrast filter" for these shots? The reason I ask is because I just read about them in a book and they say these filters "affect the shadow areas but not the hightlights. Colors are less saturated and the overall look is softer." It goes on to say that these are also called (pro-mist and ultra-contrast filters) reference:The Filmmaker's Handbook by Steven Asher and Edward Pincus. Thanks.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 11:31 PM   #10
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I used a Tiffen Black ProMist 1/2 on this, which does increase latitude in the blacks.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 10:11 AM   #11
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ratcheting down the saturation and maybe going with a whiter light could even out his makeup... you could always select and tweak those colors in a talkie fairly simply with garbage masks and color selections...

it's tough doing ecu's too because it clearly isn't a macro look and it messes with your "film-look" quality...

in scene 3 the other person totally blends into the background...

that guy has a great face!
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