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Old April 2nd, 2012, 03:16 AM   #16
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Re: Varying light levels

Ha, well sure, I'd call my 1st AC a close buddy, why not!

I'm fortunate to have two great focus pullers on the show (we have A and B cameras fulltme) and this was a particularly tough one for Doug Oh, the A camera 1st, because we ended at such an open stop. I shoot most of the show between a 2.8 and 4 because my zooms are 2.8, but because I needed the full range of the iris on this, I used a prime and we ended up at a 1.4 for the interior portion. It's not all that apparent when you watch it, but it's pretty shallow and there's not a soft moment in there. Using the Preston FIZ Doug was able to walk alongside and judge distances with the handset while I did the iris pull from the monitors with a separate handset.

This one wasn't my favorite take for the pull--I was a touch late so the exposure at the transition is momentarily dark-- but it still looks pretty natural. The bulk of the pull happens quickly, from T16 to T4 or so, and as the characters walk from the door to where they turn the corner, I'm sliding it further open to T1.4. I had an 8x8 bounce with two Arri M18 pars lighting the entrance through the doors to a T4, and as they walk the 10 steps or so to the corner (and I take the rest of the pull), I had the grips slide a triple net up into the bounce to dial the output of the source down. The idea was to not have to make the exposure change as gradual as possible, and that two stops helped soften it a little.

Interestingly, because we went from daylight balance outside to tungsten interior (I needed to work with the existing wall sconces), I knew we would be doing a color temperature correction dissolve in post and I wanted to help soften that change also, so attached to the triple net was also a half CTO frame. I already had the HMI's corrected with half CTO, so this took the correction all the way to tungsten.

So in a nutshell: the guys walk from the outside at a T16 and 5600k, as they break the threshold I start to open the iris to a T4 (and in post, we begin to dissolve in a correction to around 4400k, the color of the HMI source) That all happens within a few seconds. As the guys progress forward, I'm opening up from T4 to T1.4, the net and gel is rising up into the source to counteract two stops and the rest of the correction down to 3200, which is being compensated for in post. It's all about softening what would otherwise be a pretty abrupt shift right at the doors.

Whew! That's a lot happening in a few seconds! But we weren't the only ones working hard at that point--the wardrobe folks were struggling to get the suit front attached to Keegan just after this. Sadly this too was not a great take for them--if you watch closely, the neck springs open at the back just after it was clipped in place by our lovely on-set dresser Wendy (the short blonde who can be just glimpsed behind Keegan doing the work). It's still a pretty neat magic trick although one of the cuffs didn't work out that well either, and there is a flash at the stairs to the stage where you can see the open back of the suit as Keegan rotates just a bit too far.

It took about 18 takes to get one that was seamless enough to use and a few options thereafter. My Steadicam operator Nick Franco killed it--not easy backing up the ramp and through the doors that quickly--and as noted, focus is bang on. A lot of people don't even realize that the shot plays out in a continuous take, which means we did our jobs.
Charles Papert
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 06:10 AM   #17
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Location: Sydney.
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Re: Varying light levels

Thanks for that Charles, a wonderful insight! I once worked in live TV and can follow what you're saying.

Do you go and participate in post, send in sheets .. or do they just know it?

Yeah 18 takes, there's a piece that goes, 'we work like blazes to make it look effortless'

And to work in a creative environment like that beats all, every-other-thing. With your comments I'm going back to look again.

30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 06:17 AM   #18
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Re: Varying light levels

Thankfully our schedule is such on Key and Peele that by the time the episodes go to color correction we are months out of shooting. Thus I am able to attend the color correction, which is important because every sketch has a different look and requires a different approach in post. Peter Atencio, the director, is also very hands on with color correction and between the two of us we puzzle through the looks.

This season we will be dialing in LUT's on-set via LiveGrade from the looks of it, which will get ported through dailies and into the Davinci as a starting point.
Charles Papert
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 08:45 AM   #19
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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Re: Varying light levels

Great work by a master(s).
Jacques Mersereau
University of Michigan-Video Studio Manager
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