March 15, 2019

Math for Filmmakers: 3 Calculations That'll Make Your Set Life Easier

Thought you could avoid math by being a filmmaker, didn't you? Well, guess what...

Math isn't everyone's cup o' tea. Lots of people hate it, very, very, very few love it. But you know what, you guys...everyone needs it...to some degree, at least...even filmmakers.

Luckily, working in film doesn't require you to understand advanced calculus or operator algebra...just memorizing a few simple calculations will do just fine.

In this video, Griffin Hammond of Indy Mogul breaks down a few very important and very simple mathematical calculations that you should know if you're going to be out there making movies.

While the vast majority of us got into filmmaking to express ourselves creatively, there is a pretty decent amount of math involved, which requires us to exercise our logic from time to time.

No problem. This stuff is easy, even if you're not a "math person."

Movie Math: F-Stop Scale

If you're going to be shooting a camera, you need to memorize the f-stop scale. Didn't know memorization was part of the deal? I'm sorry, baby, but it's really, really, really important. As Hammond explains in the video, all you need to do is memorize two numbers: 1 and 1.4. 

If you can do that, all you have to do is double them to get the next two numbers on the scale: 2 and 2.8.

Double those to get the next ones: 4 and 5.6, double those to get the next ones: 8 and 11 (rounding down of course), then 16 and 22, and so on and so forth.

Movie Math: Shutter Angle

If you want to get that nice "film look", one thing you might want is cinematic motion blur. In order to get this, you'll have to know to calculate your shutter speed when your frame rate is set at 24 fps. I won't keep you in suspense: it's double the inverse of your frame rate...which would be 1/48 (or 1/50). 

But Hammond goes over shutter angle, which is similar. The key is to be able to 1.) choose your frame rate, 2.) get proper exposure, and 3.) capture the motion blur you want.

Movie Math: Avoiding Flicker

So friggin' annoying, right? You go out and film some sweet slow-mo shots downtown only to come back and see that your footage has that damn flicker. 

What do you do?

There's a calculation for that.

And you won't even have to change your frame rate...if you don't want to. You can change your shutter speed to match the sine curve of the lighting unit that's causing you problems.

Also, I can't help myself. 

Avoid fucker at all costs.

What are some other helpful math calculations you think filmmakers should know? Let us know down below.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

I try to avoid that motherflicker everytime

March 17, 2019 at 9:01PM

0
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David Superville
Filmmaking Badass
1

Math plays a critical role in several careers involved in the film ... “Mathline: Independent Filmmakers Jane Wagner and Tina DiFeliciantonio. More Information CLICK HERE

March 18, 2019 at 8:01AM

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Math plays a critical role in several careers involved in the film ... “Mathline: Independent Filmmakers Jane Wagner and Tina DiFeliciantonio.

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March 18, 2019 at 8:03AM

1
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What does american express have to do with this?

March 19, 2019 at 10:28AM

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Florian Claaßen
Director, Editor, Writer
8

Just thought you'd wanna know this... The image description for the "Flicker" pic says "Avoid f*cker at all costs"... doesn't seem right @VRenee

March 18, 2019 at 10:41AM

6
Reply

Avoiding fucker.

March 19, 2019 at 10:27AM

0
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avatar
Florian Claaßen
Director, Editor, Writer
8