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

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 22nd, 2005, 06:53 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Stamford, CT United States
Posts: 212
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?


Matthew Cherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2005, 05:03 AM   #2
RED Code Chef
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
In general I think it has a good atmosphere, but it looks a bit too
much. Too artificial, too good perhaps.

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search for quick answers | Buy from the best: sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 28th, 2005, 07:02 AM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Brighton, England
Posts: 225
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!....
Dominic Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2005, 04:07 PM   #4
Major Player
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Holland, Europe
Posts: 214
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!
Jose di Cani is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #5
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Albany, NY 12210
Posts: 2,610
I like the background lighting as well, but the light on his face is too hard.
Marco Leavitt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #6
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Stamford, CT United States
Posts: 212
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.

Matthew Cherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #7
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 242
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!
Jon Fordham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2005, 06:46 PM   #8
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Northridge Ca
Posts: 734
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
Wayne Orr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 06:44 PM   #9
Major Player
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: kentucky, USA
Posts: 429
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.
Steve Witt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2005, 11:31 PM   #10
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Stamford, CT United States
Posts: 212
I used a Tiffen Black ProMist 1/2 on this, which does increase latitude in the blacks.
Matthew Cherry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2005, 10:11 AM   #11
Major Player
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 439
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!
Josh Brusin is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:31 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network