Monday, July 23, 2007

Some Days The Bear Gets You

I finally got to see the entry we did for the 48 Hour Film Project on the 14th. I was the gaffer and Mark Schapiro came along to help out. The team was Matograph, which is derived from the middle of the word Cinematographer. I vaguely recall coming up with that name about 20 years ago but I could be mistaken. Anyway this is the first time that I have seen footage coming out of Benito’s camera. Ever. And I was not happy with the result. It is not awful but to quote the spouse, ‘Here’s the thing.’
When shooting film you know the sensitivity of the film and you adjust your light meter accordingly. It has an ASA rating of 125 then you put on a 10X slide or set the digital to 125, along with the shutter speed. Then you can light with some confidence that you can give a decent F stop to the camera operator or fudge it if need be,

A month or so ago Mark, Benito and I were looking over the camera with the mind to establish the camera’s sensitivity. To do this we put the camera on Auto Aperture, and focused on a grey area. I took my light meter (A Spectra) and with all the slides out took a Foot candle reading. It was something like 65 Foot candles. Then we checked the camera for what it thought the F Stop should be and it read something like 2.4. (If you are at home doing the math please do not take these numbers as gospel since they are for demo purposes only. Anyway, if I am reading 65 FC and my shutter speed is 1/60th second (Roughly 30 FPS) and the camera tells me the F stop is 2.4 I can plug those values into a little mechanical computer on the back of the meter and viola, this camera is relatively X ASA. Now I know what slide to put into the light meter or in the case of my Digital meter, what values to set it to. We did this and determined that the camera was about 125 ASA.

Only later did I discover that my Spectra needed to be recalibrated as comparing it to Marks FC meter and his Spectra, it was not reading correctly. This of course changes the actual value. Further not having seen any of the footage, I was unaware there was an issue until just this moment. I take pride in my work and I want it to be the best I can make it for those that trust me to light for them so this is kind of embarrassing. The show came out overall overexposed by about a stop or two. If there had been time, the editor could have dropped the luminance values to get what I was hoping for but that is not the case here. So This weekend we go through the exercise again, this time shooting examples at different F Stops to see if that is what we really want.
You will notice in the attached video shadows coming off the key lights. I like a bit of shadow, really I do but in this case it is bad. The heads were as high as I could get em and I was shooting to have the shadows minimalized useing the exposure.

Here is the Video, 'Trippen'. Careful for those with sensitive ears, there is language in it.
[EDIT]There are also some really crappy cuts in this show. Especially since there was plenty of time to polish it up. They had two hours to spare when they turned it in.



At 1:01 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

i wouldn't have noticed the shadows, except i read your post before i watched the video.

i thought it odd the director wanted you to film the one actor's back in two scenes.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Hah! I came back and found this post just after leaving a post on your blog. Kismit
There was an extreme time constraint as the location we were using (on of the Crewmember's house) roommates were hosting an unknown dinner party which meant we had a hard out at 6:30 PM
So they got the line and no coverage of the two scenes. But your right the actors should have been blocked better so that they would both be playing to the camera in both scenes.
C'est L'vie

At 11:35 PM, Blogger Grish said...

No animals were used in the making of this film..:-P


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