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Monday, December 6, 2010

A Reel Education: Composition

A Reel Education: Composition: "This video blog is all about composition. Take a look to get some pointers on the different size shots and get some pointers on how to plan..."


This video blog is all about composition. Take a look to get some pointers on the different size shots and get some pointers on how to plan and compose your camera shots.

Creative Commons License
A Reel Education: Composition by William K. MacTavish, II is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Reel Education: Technicolor Closes LA Film Processing Plant

A Reel Education: Technicolor Closes LA Film Processing Plant: "In this podcast I report on the closing of Technicolor's North Hollywood film release processing plant and how the company is positioning it..."

Camera Filters

In this podcast I discuss the three categories of camera filters and how the use of filters in general is waining in this digital production era.

Technicolor Closes LA Film Processing Plant

In this podcast I report on the closing of Technicolor's North Hollywood film release processing plant and how the company is positioning itself for the industry's move into the digital production and distribution

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Improving the Look with Filters

One thing that professional Cinematographers have been taking advantage of for a long time is camera filters. As we move away from film and into the digital age the use of filters, an understanding of how to use them and how they can improve the look of your image seems to be slipping away.

Filter are an intgral part of the imaging process. By using them the DP can alter the light that travel through the lens. He can create specific moods, give colors a new vibrance, enhance the contrast and provide just that little extra lift you need to help turn an okay image into a great shot.

With all of the different choices out there its easy for a new Cinematographer to get over whelmed with what each filter does. Basically filters fall into three categories.
  1. Color Correction
  2. Light Modification
  3. Special Effects
There's not really much more than that to it. Now within each category there are lots of choices.

Graduated Blue #3 Filter
Before I go too much further lets talk about white balancing. Which is a electronic color correction. Why do we white balance. The simple reason is so that skin tones will look normal under any color of light. To the camera light is one of two colors. Orange or Blue. Blue light is natural sunlight. Orange light is artificial tungsten light. Both Sunlight and Tungsten light have a range of degrees Kelvin (°K,) that they are measured in. Basically its 3200°K or 5600°K. Color correction filters shift the light so that either your film or digital sensor sees these two temperatures of light as normal. They modify the color of the light as it enters the lens. Two of the most basic color correction filters are the 80A and the 85. An 80A is blue and you would use it traditionally with Daylight film to shift tungsten light blue; and an 85 is orange and you would use it to shift Sunlight to match tungsten film or setting on your camera. These two filter make an overall change that affects the whole image. It's quicker than gelling all of the lights.

Neutral Density (ND) Filter
Polarizing Filter
Light modification changes intensity or quality of the light. The two most common filters in this category are the Neutral Density (ND,) and the Polarizing filters. The NDs are used to cut the amount of light as they enter the lens to keep from over exposing. They don't change the color or quality of the light only the amount. NDs also allow you to open up in order to shoot with a smaller F/T-stop so you can get a shorter depth of field. The Polarizing filter changes the way the light ray moves and helps cut glare or increase color saturation of the sky.

The sfx filter category has probably the most choices of different filters. From contrast, to fog, mist, day for night, star effects, soft nets and a bunch of other choices. This category is the one that takes the longest to master because of the amount of trial and error of finding out how each different filters reacts to different lighting conditions.

Controlling the image is what the Director of Photography does. With digital cameras the first filters to learn and get to know are the NDs and Polarizing filters. Once a budding Cinematographer has mastered these I suggest learning how to properly use Color Correction filters. Then move on to experimenting and using SFX filters. You will be surprised with what a simple piece of glass on the front of your lens will do for the quality of your image.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Reel Education: Technicolor Drives Another Nail into Films Coffin....

A Reel Education: Technicolor Drives Another Nail into Films Coffin....: "Technicolor closing North Hollywood film release printing plant. Technicolor has been an iconic name in the film business for more than 95..."

Technicolor Drives Another Nail into Films Coffin.

Technicolor closing North Hollywood film release printing plant.

Technicolor has been an iconic name in the film business for more than 95 years. The company is the world’s largest film processor. They are also a leading provider of production, post-production, and distribution services to content creators, network service providers and broadcasters.

If you are film buff then you then you know that Technicolor has been associated with the color process since the early days of the industry. Technicolor made its name providing color cameras and prints for such Hollywood hits as A Star is Born, The Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain and Fantasia.

As digital video has grown the company has been transforming itself from a film-focused lab to a company providing all manner of digital services, including digital intermediate and visual effects. Currently the company is the largest independent manufacturer and distributor of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs; and it has become a leading global supplier of set-top boxes and internet gateways. Technicolor also operates an Intellectual Property and Licensing business unit managing more than 42,000 patents.
The Camera Rig from the ASC's 2009 digital camera test.
But in this age of digital moviemaking the company has also seen the writing on the wall. With the failure of the California economy, and it’s pending collapse the company is looking for a way to cut costs and prepare for the future.

On Thursday November 18th, 2010 Technicolor confirmed that it is shutting down its North Hollywood release printing plant. It is moving all release print operations in North American to its Canadian plant located in Mirabel a suburb of Montreal.

Technicolor will continue to provide film processing in LA in the form of dailies,  but will be closing most of its film processing and its printing plant. The factory does most of the film processing for the company.

Technicolor reports its actions are due to the theaters moving to digital projection technology . The company is preparing for a huge decline in feature film distribution print requirements in the coming years.

Currently North American digital penetration now exceeds 30%. The reduced demand for film prints doesn’t require the company to keep two facilities. With Technicolor’s lease on the property in North Hollywood expiring next year and the escalating cost of union labor, taxes and other expenses in California it only makes since to move all of its North American distribution print operations to Mirabel. This shift means that Technicolor will no longer strike release prints in the United States. A first in the history of the company, and just another sign of the changes that new technology is bringing to the film industry.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lack of Respect for Modern Cinematographers

There is a lack of respect for modern cinematographers in our WYSIWYG HD video production world.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Reel Education: Film vs Video

A Reel Education: Film vs Vidoe: "A Reel Education has been fortunate that to have shot on all formats of film and in SD and HD video. One thing t..."

Film vs Video

16mm Film
A Reel Education has been fortunate that to have shot on all formats of film and in SD and HD video.

HD Video
One thing to remember about shooting film. No matter the actual dollar amount Raw Stock is cheep. One thing some indie filmmakers do is try to cut corners on the purchase of film stock. This is a major mistake.
SD Video
Not having enough coverage because some bean counter decided that it's too expensive will destroy a good film's chances of finding distribution and thus making money. Put everything into whats on the screen. That's where it makes the most since, its what will give you the biggest payoff in the long run.

In the beginning video the quality and glossiness of the image just didn't hold the same appeal as film. It was too fake looking too perfect without that "real" quality that makes film so appealing.

HD video is not the same as SD in a lot of different ways. As a guy who worked his way up the ranks of the production business via the lighting and grip departments I think of the way that HD handles light as its biggest challenge. The approach of film and HD video are almost polar opposites. In film you can have expose for the darks and let the brights go. Or you can expose in the mid-range and have latitude but up and down the EI with bright highlights and dark shadows. In SD video everything has to be really close in exposure or you get lots of noise in the picture. With HD exposure has to be to the brightest element in the frame. Although newer technologies are changing I still find the practice to be much the same.

Lighting a TV Pilot Bumper
I think that in a few years (how long I hate to guess,) film will be reserved for only the big budget Hollywood films. We are already seeing less and less in the Indie world. The current film I'm involved with the director wanted to shoot on 16mm but the tiny budget wouldn't allow for it. In reality I haven't shot a commercial project on film in almost seven years now. Clients just don't want to spend the money.

Sony PMW-F3
Also as larger format sensors have come on line the ability to achieve short depth of field has become much easier. Sony just announced a new affordable ($16,000.00) camera to fight the HDSLR craze of 35MM sensors for video. I am waiting anxiously or the camera to come to market.

Film is still the gold standard of quality. What is it most always say when they see a video where lots of hard work has gone into the image quality. "Oh, it looks so much like...," or, "I wish it looked more like... film".

Producer's don't understand, or care, except for the bottom line, quality is secondary. In Hollywood when a project is shot on video the rate of a DP is less than with film, good for the bottom line. The original reason was that SD video didn't require the same workload as film, so the pay was less. No changes in the pay scale were made as HD came into existence, because it's still considered video and not its own new format, which it is. But the workload for a DP went up. One has to work harder to make HD video look like film than one does to make film look like film. But the producer's still want it to look like film... the gold standard... but it's only video so why should they pay a higher rate. Just a little rub of mine and many shooters in the business.

Another thing that I can say about video over film is that for years and years DP's were a requested and important production partner. They were the only ones who knew what it would look like, a video tap doesn't have the same look as the final processed film does and everyone had respect for the Director of Photography. Even with SD video there was still respect for the knowledge base of the Cinematographer. Now with HD video and the WYSIWYG of a HD monitor there is less respect, new DP's don't have the same skill level or knowledge base. Everyone including the client, producer, and director question choices made by the DP in lighting. They all think they know... better! No respect! And many cinematographers are tied to the the monitor, and have lost the skills and confidence to make decisions without it. The skill of understanding exposure and latitude is slipping away. The ability of many to use a light meter correctly is going away.

Technology is a good thing. I really like the images that some of the newer HD cameras are making. And I love the solid-state memory work-flow over both film and tape based work-flows. I really want to work with some of the new Arriflex cameras that have optical viewfinders and mechanical shutters. There is even one that all you have to do is switch out a magazine and "poof" it shoots digital or film. The footage I have seen from these cameras is so much better than the all electronic cameras that are "hot".

However, technology is also producing a generation of filmmakers who don't understand the basics of photography. Am I biased because of how I had to learn? Does it really matter if a DP understands how to really use a light meter or not?

I believe so but.... Time will tell.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Reel Education: Lighting Questions

A Reel Education: Lighting Questions: "So here is a little quiz about lighting. Any textbooks on lighting should be able to provide the answers to these questions. I will provide ..."

Lighting Questions

So here is a little quiz about lighting. Any textbooks on lighting should be able to provide the answers to these questions. I will provide them in my next post.

1. Name the three lights in a three point lighting set-up.

2. What does a back light do?

3. What is a hair light?

4. What is the color temperature of tungsten light?

5. What is the color temperature of daylight?

6. What temperature scale is used to measure color?

7. Name one advantage and one disadvantage of open-faced lights.

8. Name one advantage and one disadvantage of Fresnel lights.

9. What is a round screen that is placed in front of the lights called?

10. If that same object mentioned in question #9 has a green frame, what does that mean?

If you provide your answers to these question in the comment field I will grade them for you. These are 10 basic questions that anyone interested in movie lighting should know. If you are looking for a textbook to study to answer these question try "Placing Shadows: Lighting Techniques for Video Production" by Chuck Gloman.

Good luck.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Reel Education: Lighting

A Reel Education: Lighting: "Lighting is one of the most important things that you can do to make your film look good. Don't ever believe some camera manufacturer when t..."


Lighting is one of the most important things that you can do to make your film look good. Don't ever believe some camera manufacturer when they say that you don't need to light your film. Hands down, the most time consuming thing that happens during production is good lighting. It has been a long time since the need has existed, where lighting was just necessary for exposure. With most modern camera's and film stocks we can now get exposure with very little light, but the mood, and feel of your film can be greatly affected by the lighting.
Think about this:
Even without an actor on screen - your audience in just a few seconds can gather a lot of information about the image they see on screen. A dark shadow filled shot is mysterious and scary. A bright low contrast shot is inviting and safe feeling.
Do you like walking around your house in the middle of the night with the lights off? Or do you prefer to do it in the middle of the day? Remember your audience feels the same way.
A few pointers:
Flood lights with a Fresnel lens produce hard single shadow beams of light. They are the best for lighting people because they produce only one shadow. You can soften this light by shooting it through a diffusion frame or clipping a diffusion gel on the doors of the light.
The larger the beam created by a diffusion material the softer the light will be.
But any type of light can be used to light your scene, candles, work lights, neon, florescent. It doesn't really matter, but remember the more you shape the light the better it will look to your audience.
Also remember to white balance your camera. Sunlight is 5600 degrees Kelvin which is blue in color. And Tungsten Quarts lights are 3200 degrees Kelvin or orange in color. Florescent lights have a puke green color of about 4500 degrees Kelvin, even color corrected Kino-flo tubes will generate this green spike the longer you burn them and the hotter the tubes become. It's always good to have some minus green on hand when using florescent lights.
For those who do lighting for a living there are four properties that are important to always remember.
  1. The Color of the light.
  2. The Direction the light comes from.
  3. The Quality of the light, how hard or soft of a shadow it makes.
  4. And the Intensity or quantity of light that that exists.
If you can master these four properties you are well on your way to being able to produce good lighting in your films.
I'd wager to say that good lighting is more important overall to the look of your film than what type of camera you shoot it with.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Reel Education: HCC Filmmaking Students

A Reel Education: HCC Filmmaking Students: "This is a series of interviews with students enrolled in Houston Community College's filmmaking program. Listen to their own words about wha..."

HCC Filmmaking Students

This is a series of interviews with students enrolled in Houston Community College's filmmaking program. Listen to their own words about what they think of the education that they are getting. HCC is very innovative in its approach to teaching filmmaking. Providing real world, on set instruction. Students are able to learn more in the few weeks of production than in entire semesters work of lecture and class work.

"The only way to learn how to make a move is to make a movie," Robert Rodriguez.

A Reel Education: The Preachers Daughter - Changes On the Production...

A Reel Education: The Preachers Daughter - Changes On the Production...: "This week The Preacher's Daughter film is undergoing some major changes. The show was to wrap on 10/20 but it is two weeks behind schedule. ..."

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Preachers Daughter - Changes On the Production

This week The Preacher's Daughter film is undergoing some major changes. The show was to wrap on 10/20 but it is two weeks behind schedule.
As I had stated before I normally work as a DP but was talked into being the Gaffer on this film. (The gaffer is the head of the lighting department.) The current DP isn't able to continue on the film, he has a conflict with other work.

Michell Mower the director

Tonight I met with the Director who approached me about taking over the position of Director of Photography. I am sorry to see the original DP go.

Unfortunately, I am unable to step-up and be the DP. I have to return to my regular teaching duties on Thursday and Friday's at Houston Community College. As such the film is taking a long weekend break and looking for a new Director of Photography to take over.

Best of luck. I hope they can find someone who will be able to continue the beautiful look started by my good friend John Sherren.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Caveman Theory

In the Spring of 2010 Houston Community College's Filmmaking program used it's students and equipment to help Aqua Foxx Productions produce a TV pilot for the show Caveman Theory. It is currently being shopped in LA, and there is buzz about the quality of this single camera comedy.

The following video is interviews with the producer and some of the students working as crew on the 10 day production.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Preacher's Daughter - The 5 P's

There is a term that I learned when in film school back in the 1980's. It has stuck with me since I first heard it. It is referred to as the 5 P's. The five "P"'s are Poor Pre-production Produces a Poor Production. This film is suffering from it in a bad way. They are in denial. The script calls for maybe 30 to 40 shooting days and they are trying to cram it all into 20 days. With multiple company location moves. Major Hair and Make-up changes that take over an hour to do. Wardrobe changes and a lead actress that isn't available for more than the twenty days of shooting. This ship is in rough sees. Camera, Lighting & Grip are usually set and waiting on other production departments but since they are the visible on-set entity its "G&E that is the reason this show" is running behind schedule.
I wish I knew what cool-aide they were drinking, so I could get some and maybe it would help me deal better with the blame that I have been receiving.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Reel Education: The Preacher's Daughter - Moving Along

A Reel Education: The Preacher's Daughter - Moving Along: "We are starting day 6 of a scheduled 20 day shoot. Again we have been shooting inside a the Church, and will be there today. This old struct..."

The Preacher's Daughter - Moving Along

We are starting day 6 of a scheduled 20 day shoot. Again we have been shooting inside a the Church, and will be there today. This old structure was built in the 1930's in Kileen, Texas on Fort Hood. It was the forts chapel for a long time. In the 1960 it was moved to its current location in Alvin, Texas and a few years ago was purchased by the Prep-school that we are filming at. They use it for graduation services but most of the time it sits empty. It's a nice place but small with limited access. Getting power and equipment inside has been a challenge.

Below is a picture of the films DP - John Sheeren.
Below is a picture of the films Director Michell Mower.
As talked about in a previous post. The film is recording digitally to AJA's KiPro. Here is the unit at the video village set-up. It is the small unit on the right side of the frame with bright blue text display. Below the KiPro is a audio recording unit sitting above the audio mixing board. The film Soundman has been tasked with pressing the recording button. In the center of the screen is a HD monitor and on the far left are video scopes and wave form monitors.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Reel Education: The Preacher's Daughter - First Few Days

A Reel Education: The Preacher's Daughter - First Few Days: "The film has been in production for a few day now and things are moving along. There have been some production problems. Transportation had ..."

The Preacher's Daughter - First Few Days

The film has been in production for a few day now and things are moving along. There have been some production problems. Transportation had the wrong pick-up time for a principle actor on the first day. Which caused us to start the day late and caused things to get behind schedule.
On the second day there was some kind of problem with make-up and wardrobe that caused the first shot to get started late. In the middle of the day the generator went down. Turns out that the company that production rented the generator from sent out one that was smaller than the one ordered. The lighting department ordered a 35KW and generator company sent a 20KW one out. When the lighting department turned on all of the lights needed for an exterior set-up they overloaded the generator and it went down. The overload also affected the quality of the electricity that the generator produced once it was turned back on. Good thing that production was close to a building where they could get at least on light and video village working so the day could continue while the generator supply company sent out a new generator.
This is a picture of a branchalorous, which is a cookie or a gobo and is a type of light break-up. The shot was set up with this tree in the background. Just bright light on the tree by itself was not natural looking. This branchalourous makes the light on the tree look like it is sunlight streaming through the trees branches and makes the tree trunk look natural in the back ground.

This is a shot of a lighting set-up in a park scene. The large white square on the right of the frame is a 12'x12' white reflector that bounced the natural sunlight onto the actresses who were sitting in the swings. The overhead material is a 12'x12' Highlight plastic material like a shower curtain, that it translucent and helps take out the glare from the sun light and allows the actresses to open their eyes. Out of frame to the left is a HMI back light that added a nice rim light the the actresses faces and helps add shape to them.

This is a lighting set up inside of the church building in The Preacher's Daughter. Their is a smoke machine known as a hazer that creates a even particle field in the air. This smoke allows the camera to see the beams of light. The lights in the back ground simulate sunlight coming through the buildings windows. Very pretty and beautiful scene.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Reel Education: Preproduction The Preacher's Daughter

A Reel Education: Preproduction The Preacher's Daughter: "I'm worried about this project. Last Thursday 9/21/10 production was to have a truck delivered for the loading of the lighting equipment to ..."

Preproduction The Preacher's Daughter

I'm worried about this project. Last Thursday 9/21/10 production was to have a truck delivered for the loading of the lighting equipment to Houston Community College.

The Production is tight on funds that they are using the filmmaking programs advanced students to staff the film. Only department heads have any real non-academic experience. This will be the seventh project that I have worked on where Real World producers come to HCC to take advantage of this opportunity. Its a win win situation usually. However this production's non-academic production manager is struggling with this micro-budget show.

Back to the equipment truck example. It didn't come until today at 6:15pm. However I have been waiting since Thursday last week for its arrival. everyday. I repeat, everyday they have told me that the truck is coming. So I and the students have been waiting. Today was the make or break since in the morning call is at 6:30am. I have to say that the students stepped up. An empty 24' U-haul showed up and by 9:30pm shelves had been installed and a 5-ton G&E package, was loaded up one of those steep ramps.

If this crop of students steps up like this for the whole show. Any other problems encountered can't be blamed on HCC's filmmaking students.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Reel Education: The Preacher's Daughter and the AJA Ki Pro

A Reel Education: The Preacher's Daughter and the AJA Ki Pro: "One of the most important choices facing filmmakers these days has come about because of the move to digital image capture. The possible cho..."

The Preacher's Daughter and the AJA Ki Pro

One of the most important choices facing filmmakers these days has come about because of the move to digital image capture. The possible choices for image acquisition are formidable. There are so many different cameras, different formats, different recording media and different compression codecs it can drive a filmmaker crazy just trying to keep up with all of the choices. A dream of many filmmakers is for uniformity so that image acquisition could be the same for virtually any camera, digital or analog. AJA has heard the call and produced the Ki Pro.
It is a tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto computer-friendly media. It features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs, it allows the filmmaker to interface with almost any type of camera that can be purchased or rented. The Ki Pro also allows for monitoring flexibility through several simultaneous outputs allowing the filmmaker to connect to both professional and consumer monitors.
The unit is portable and rugged. It has been designed for the demands of the toughest production conditions.
The Preacher’s Daughter will be using the Ki Pro via HD/SDI to capture a “thicker negative,” with a 10-bit full-raster codec-Apple ProRes 422. Since The Preacher’s Daughter will be edited using FCP the native capture to Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files for this production was a no brainer. We will be capturing straight to a hard drive. We will also be capturing to the SxS cards in the camera as a backup. Since this will be A Reel Educations’ first production to do this it will be interesting to see the quality difference of the two capture formats back to back.
The unit is powered through an industry standard 4-pin XLR, which makes it flexible with both AC and battery options power options. It also has both balanced and unbalanced audio connectors, LTC input/output, and even LANC, are provided.
A Reel Education will keep you updated on how the Ki Pro works out. There is a lot of good buzz out there and we are excited to find out the truth.
The video is right off of AJA’s website. Hope the hype stands the test of production.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Camera Filters

One question that i get asked all of the time is about camera filters. Filters come basically in three categories.

* Light Modification
* Special Effects
* Color Correction

This blog is about ND filters and how to use one on your video camera to get a shorter Depth of Field, or shallower in focus, thus getting more of a film look without using a DOF adapter. 

Neutral Density filters are used for light modification and are the filters that get used the most. On many Prosumer camcorder ND filters are included.

The thing about a Neutral Density filter is that it reduces the amount of light without changing the color or quality of the light.
On film and video cameras ND filters have three main uses.
* To decrease DOF by allowing wider apertures to be used, which helps separate subjects form the background.
* To decrease the effective ISO of high speed films above 400 and allow it to be used outdoors in bright situations
* To allow film and video cameras with fixed sutter speeds to film subjects that are bright like snow or sand without overexposure.

ND filter come in four main factors. Or thicknesses.
* An ND.3 often referred to as just an N3 or ND3 cuts 1 stop of light, or reduces the ISO by half.
* An ND.6 often referred to as just an N6 or ND6 cuts 2 stops of light, or reduces the ISO by 1/4 (this is usually the first ND setting in a prosumer camera referred to as a 1/4 ND.)
*an ND.9 often refered to as just an N9 or ND9 cuts 3 stops, or reduces the ISO by 1/8.
*An ND1.2 often referred to as an N1.2 or ND1.2 cuts 4 stops, or reduces the ISO by 1/16 (this is usually the second ND setting in a prosumer camera referred to as a 1/16 ND.)

One thing that video cameras tend to have is a very deep DOF. By zooming as much as possible and adding the appropriate combination of filters you can open the iris as much as possible and this will shorten the DOF thus providing a out of focus background. When you zoom in you will need to physically back your camera up from your subject until the size of your subject is about the same in frame as when you were on a wider angle lens setting.

Go try it. Experiment and have some fun getting that out of focus look that is so desired.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Houston Community College Filmmaking Program

This innovative program is helping young want-a-be filmmakers achieve their dream. Learn how this program is giving filmmaking students real world experiences, while still in school. The Preacher's Daughter film will be crewing most of its staff positions with students from this program.

The Evolution of Media Convergence

Six experts are interviewed about technology and the current trend to blend both media and technology into a single type of platform.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Preacher''s Daughter - The Camera

The production budget of The Preacher's Daughter is very small. It is a micro-budget in reality. As such the camera for this production will be the Sony PMW EX-3, and will use a Red Rock Encore M2 depth of field adapter. Zeiss SLR prime lenses with a Nikon mounts will be used with the adapter.  There is also a Nikon 80mm to 200mm zoom lens as part of the package. There is talk about using a Nikor 10mm to 24mm super wide angle zoom lens, but testing will take place to see if it provides the necessary affect desired by the Cinematographer.
The advantage of using this adapter is that it will create more of a film look with this 1/2 inch three chip camera. If you have never used a 35mm adapter before you might be asking how one works.
A 35mm adapter simulates the conditions that allow for shallow depth of field that is easily achieved with larger format 35mm lenses. Traditionally video has a long depth of field. The Depth of field is the area which remains in focus. When you watch the news on TV for example a reporter on the street is in focus, and so is the building and people across the street. When you watch a move depending upon the shot, the star sitting at a table at an out door cafe' is in focus but he people in the background across the street are out of focus.
The Red Rock Encore M2 is a small box that has a piece of ground glass inside. Similar to a glass pane in a bathroom window except on a much finer scale. This ground glass spins so that the camera is unable to see the roughness of this glass, which adds that sought after film look to the image. If you were to run your finger over the glass you could feel the roughness. With out this roughness the light would pass directly through the glass just like any window. This roughness allows the image from the lens at the front of the adapter to be seen by camera.
In reality the video camera is filming a small TV screen which is showing the image viewed by the SLR lenses.
So for very little money The Preacher's daughter will be able to film in video, saving thousands of dollars in film stock, and processing, and work print cost. Yest still achieve a short depth of field and a grainy film look.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Preachers Daughter

For the last two days we have been scouting locations for the film. On this project I will be the Lighting Director working with my friend and fellow cinematographer John Sheeren. The Director/Writer of the film is Michelle Mower, and we will be filming in the greater Houston, TX area. I will attempt to provide information about the technical aspects of camera, lighting, grip and sound recording on this film.
For the past two days for about 13 work hours a day we have been dong a combination of location and technical scouts for the film.
Typically location scouting and technical scouts are performed at different times but due to the availability of certain crew members the scouts were combined. Just so you understand a little of what is involved in a scout we over the two days our little group of 6 to 10 people at different times traveled a over 450 miles around the greater Houston area. That's a lot of travel time and we still didn't lock down all of the locations. If you have a map of Houston we will be shooting mostly south of the city in the Friendswood and surrounding areas and in the Richmond/Rosenberg areas. However we did travel as far away as Wharton, Texas to the south and League City to the Southeast of Houston.
The film is not period but does take place mostly in rural looking small town atmospheres. The Preacher's Daughter is about a recovering addict who returns home, and discovers her younger brother following in her footsteps. And she finds a mission to save him from making the same mistakes as she did.