» Posts Tagged ‘lighting’

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ArriLighting, whether we like it or not, is a highly technical craft. Even though it isn’t necessary to know the amount of footcandles or lux that a light gives off at a certain distance, or how a light’s CRI will affect the final image, in order to light a shot effectively, you can bet that the most discerning cinematographers and their gaffers are absolutely thinking about those technical characteristics when they light. Even though that type of information can be intimidating for beginning (and even intermediate) filmmakers, Arri’s new Photometrics app puts all of it right at your fingertips: More »

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Dean Semler LightingOver the past few weeks, we’ve talked about lighting a few different times. First we shared a perspective on lighting Hollywood films from renowned gaffer, John Higgins. Then we wrote up a post about methods for improving your daytime exterior lighting. All of these posts have some helpful information, but lighting is such an expansive craft that it takes constant study and practical application to improve your skills. Today’s post: a masterclass in creating artificial firelight from the Oscar-winning DP of Dances With Wolves, Dean Semler. More »

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Stillmotion Lighting OutsideIt’s one of the clear-cut signs of amateur filmmaking: daytime exteriors that look terrible. This usually manifests itself in the form of harsh, blown out areas on the face of your talent, or as overly flat images in which there’s no separation of foreground from background. Avoiding these exterior lighting maladies doesn’t require an immaculate understanding of light, however. It just takes a basic understanding of a few simple concepts that are easy to put into practice. Read on to find out what these concepts are and how to start incorporating them into your work. More »

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biggles_deakinsJust about every cinematographer will tell you the same thing: their work wouldn’t be half as good without the help of their most trusted gaffer. This can be attributed to the fact that lighting successfully for film and television is one of the most challenging aspects of production, and the larger the scale of a production becomes, the more intensive the lighting needs will be. John Higgins is one of the industry’s leading gaffers, and he has worked to light some of Hollywood’s biggest films alongside some of today’s most accomplished DP’s such as Emmanuel Lubezki and Roger Deakins. Higgins recently sat down with thecallsheet to discuss the lighting philosophies behind some of the biggest films that Hollywood has to offer: More »

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MidnightCoiterieI’m pretty sure that just as this amusing little trailer satirizing the iconic style of director Wes Anderson was made available to the public, filmmakers were asking, “How did they do that?” Many have tried to replicate Anderson’s aesthetic — and many have failed. So, what did the filmmakers of the SNL spoof trailer, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intrudersdo in order to capture Anderson’s signature cinematic sensibilities? Alex Buono, SNL’s DP, explains just how they did it. More »

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music_videoLights Film School is one of those awesome internet resources that doesn’t get enough props for its content. Even though they offer various paid iterations of their online filmmaking program, Lights still has copious amounts of free educational content on their blog, and it’s all top-notch. Recently, they sat down with acclaimed music video cinematographer Matthias Koenigswieser to chat about everything from gaining representation as a DP to his theories on lighting. Read on for some of the best tidbits from this fantastic interview: More »

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Let There Be Light DocMany new filmmakers spend a lot of time honing different crafts, such as screenwriting, camera operation, and editing. While those skills are important to develop, light and shadows are a large part of the foundation of filmmaking, and learning how to control light is one of the most important skills for filmmakers to learn. Check out Let There Be Light, a short documentary/tutorial (docutorial?) by Mark Vargo, a second unit DP who guides us quickly through the history of artificial lighting, the Inverse Square Law, different light fixtures, and how they are used in filmmaking. More »

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Gordon WillisOn the set of The Godfather, one of the biggest lighting “mistakes” in filmmaking became one of the most iconic cinematographic choices in film history. The decision to light Marlon Brando from the top, casting a complete shadow over his eyes, was that of master cinematographer Gordon Willis. He recently sat down with Craft Truck for an interview, discussing how he got his most famous shots, what it was like working with Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen, and what he thinks new cinematographers should avoid and pursue when starting out. More »

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Video thumbnail for youtube video DIY Reflector - nofilmschoolSometimes you need a solution to a problem on set and you’ve got limited resources and limited time to solve it. Recently for Luke Neumann, that problem was figuring out a way to have a number of sturdy reflectors for fill light that wouldn’t blow in the wind, and would also be relatively easy to set up with a small crew. In this video below, Luke shows you how to make some inexpensive DIY reflectors: More »

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Lighting Interview Against WindowWhen I first started learning about lighting various scenes, almost every book I read advised not to shoot your subject in front of a window (unless you want to create a silhouette, of course.) That’s good advice for beginners or people who don’t have access to sufficient equipment, but — what if you want to use a window as a backdrop? A tutorial by NextWaveDV shows us how to get an even exposure by using a butterfly frame as a soft key light. Hit the jump for the video. More »

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You can learn a tremendous amount by simply watching great films — paying attention to the details, breaking down a scene, concentrating on how elements come together. But if you really want to start making movies, learning a specific cinematic craft, it’s not enough. You have to get hands on.  It was with this in mind that I found myself increasingly intrigued with the idea of taking a compelling shot from a movie and seeing what could be learned by attempting to recreate the lighting as a cinematography exercise. I reached out to the very talented DP Seth Iliff, and asked him if he’d be up for the challenge. Despite our lack of budget and limited time he jumped into it with gusto. I got to witness the process first hand — here’s what I learned: More »

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Enhancing Interview LightingIf you’re looking to give your interviews a little bit more aesthetic energy, there are a bunch of things you could try. Backgrounds, lighting, props, and varying perspectives help with setting your Q&As apart from the common “guy in a chair next to a fern” canon, but if you’re looking to really enhance aesthetics, check out this lighting tutorial from NextWaveDV. Learn to employ the parallax effect to add depth to your shots, and take your interviews to the next level. More »

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Shot depthSince we shoot on a 2D plane, creating the illusion of depth is an important aspect of cinematography. Sometimes a few blocking choices, like filming your subjects against walls, can (not always) make a scene look flat and uninteresting. So, let’s take a look at what gives a scene depth, and if there’s a lack thereof, what options you have to bring your subjects from the dark and boring abyss of the background.  More »

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Christopher DoyleOftentimes, Youtube can be a dark and desolate place, leading even the most focused of viewers on hour-long journeys through series of absurd cat videos that, by all accounts, are too ridiculous to even exist. However, sometimes the myriad links to the right of your videos can send you in the direction of some fantastic content. That’s what happened to me today as I stumbled upon an old segment from the BBC Culture Show about Christopher Doyle, the legendary cinematographer who is most famous for his work on the films of Wong Kar-Wai. So without any further ado, here is the segment in all of its low-resolution glory: More »

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Ed Lachman on Craft TruckCinematographer Ed Lachman has had a storied career working with some of cinema’s finest directors, the likes of which include Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, and Todd Haynes. Craft Truck sits down with Ed to discuss his background in German expressionism, his approach to storytelling and his philosophy behind his use of color in his films. Hit the jump for the excellent two-part interview: More »

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Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 12.57.38 PMHow often do we think about the effect that light has on shaping the human face? It’s one of those questions that experienced cinematographers are always contemplating, but one that younger shooters tend to think less about as camera technology dominates most filmmaking discussions these days. Luckily for us, every now and again a profound example of how powerful light can be comes along that slaps us in the face and forces us to look back at one of the most fundamental aspects of cinematography: lighting the human face for emotional impact. Opale’s recent music video for their song Sparkles and Wine provides one such example. Check out both the teaser trailer and the video below: More »

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StoraroDo you follow light like the moon follows the sun? How do the colors in your film express the thematic content? It’s in answering these kinds of questions that legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (The Conformist, Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor), has developed his approach to lighting over the course of his incredible career. In the 1992 documentary profile of Storaro, Writing With Light, we not only get an overview of his career, but we get glimpses into his working process and how that translates into his films. More »

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Tom Richmond Craft Truck InterviewHere’s another awesome Craft Truck interview to munch on. Cinematographer Tom Richmond, who has shot some insane movies with the likes of Todd Solondz, Roger Avary, and James Gray, puts emphasis on composition and understanding that photography in a film is its own language. They discuss the grammar of the language and why working with directors is more akin to being a “Detective of Photography.” Hit the jump for the full interview: More »

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kino flo fluorescent soft light lighting Frieder Hochheim Shane Hurlbut ASC hurlblog visuals interview documentary filmmakingThere are several exciting new lighting revolutions in development these days, namely LED and plasma fixtures. The first such high-output/low-footprint alternative lighting technology — all but perfected for the performance needed in high-end film production — came about twenty-five years ago, with the advent of Kino Flo Lighting Systems. Kino Flo isn’t the only manufacturer pushing alternative lighting solutions with filmmaking in mind, but its name is still nearly synonymous with the technology it helped revolutionize. Check out an excellent interview below from Shane Hurlbut, ASC, with Kino Flo founder and president Frieder Hochheim to hear about how it all began and about how the company plans on lending its namesake to some of those new revolutions in lighting, too. More »

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From Wendy and Lucy to The RomanticsSam Levy’s work as a cinematographer is marked with naturalism and attention to character blocking. Here he sits down with Craft Truck to discuss his work, how he began as an assistant and lensed his first feature film on a standard def Mini DV camera. Hit the jump to learn more and to watch the full interview: More »