‘Marshall’: DP Newton Thomas Sigel on Lighting for Character and Shooting 80′ From the Ground

Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, brought courtroom drama ‘Marshall’ to vivid life despite a small budget and challenging locations.

Some of the most critical moments in American history have been realized courtesy of the country’s justice system and the courtroom. Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and the Scopes Trial were each landmark cases that dramatically shifted the tide of American life, helping lead to a national fascination with the courtroom that has extended to the cinema in the form of fictional masterpieces like To Kill A Mockingbird and A Few Good Men. On-screen, these monumental cases have drawn a great deal of attention, with movies suitably lending their focus to the dialogue. While questioning, cross-examining, and objecting remains at the forefront of the story in Marshall, DP Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, also makes sure to bring a visual life to the courtroom drama.

“It was several stories up, almost 80 feet in the air, with huge windows, and 90% of my work was daytime.”

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Heartbreaking ‘New Yorker’ cover honors victims of Las Vegas shooting

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The New Yorker‘s cover in response to the tragic Las Vegas shooting shines a heartbreakingly candid light on the problematic gun culture in America.

The David Plunkert cover, titled, “October 1, 2017: One Day in a Nation of Guns,” honors the 58 victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, which injured 527 others. Plunkert displayed each of the victim’s names on different-sized bullets, scattered across a red background. 

Plunket tweeted an image of the cover on Friday, announcing it was his second for the magazine. He also gave his condolences to the people of Las Vegas. Read more…

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Mashable

5 Things You Should Think About When Planning Your Shooting Schedule

Trying to nail down your shooting schedule? Here are some things to consider so that your plans don’t have a negative effect on your production.

Set life is absolute pandemonium on its own, but add some poor planning and confusion into the mix and you’ve got a real nightmare on your hands. To have a clear and concise plan for every day of production, filmmakers create shooting schedules—but if you’ve never really made one before it’s difficult to know how to draw one up so that it saves you time, money, and frustration down the road. In this video, StudioBinder lists five tips that will help you organize your shoots to make your production cheaper, more dynamic, and easier for your cast and crew to manage.

There are a lot of things to consider when putting your shooting schedule together, but the five mentioned in the video will really get you thinking about what a well-planned schedule looks like.

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A Filmmaker’s Guide to Shooting Beautiful Wedding Ceremonies

How do you go about capturing one of the most important days in a couple’s life?

Even if feature filmmaking is the big dream for you, wedding videography can be a major, even necessary stepping stone on the road to making it come true. Shooting such emotional, important, once-in-a-lifetime events, however, can be one of the most difficult and stressful things you ever do as a creative, but to help you be able to handle the chaos of your clients’ big day, Parker Walbeck and Brenden Bytheway offer up a ton of pointers on how they anticipate and prepare for it all so they’re not exchanging memory cards while the couple’s exchanging rings—or something equally as horrifying.

Before we get to the takeaways from the video (and there are a lot), take a look at the final product from the couple’s special day:

Now, here are the takeaways I thought would be most helpful for new wedding videographers:

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No Film School

How To Get a Proper Exposure When Shooting a Solar Eclipse (with Math!)

As the Solar Eclipse approaches, I figured this would be chance to flex some of the ideas I’ve been working on for a upcoming course on Exposure. Instead of an Exposure triangle, I will be looking at exposure as a path where each step gives us some control over how the image is exposed. So […]

The post How To Get a Proper Exposure When Shooting a Solar Eclipse (with Math!) appeared first on FilmmakerIQ.com.

FilmmakerIQ.com

Still Not Shooting in 4K? Here’s Why You Might Want To

Should you shoot in 4K? (Yes, we’re still talking about this.)

Even though it seems like every filmmaker has a camera that shoots 4K, there are still plenty of those out there still making movie magic in HD. However, if you’ve been wondering lately whether or not you should make the transition to a higher resolution, you might want to learn a few of the benefits of shooting 4K other than the obvious (a bigger, clearer picture). Filmmaker Peter McKinnon shares a few of those benefits in the video below.

Okay, admittedly this subject seems a little dated. These days, everybody shoots 4K, right? Well, it would seem so, but there are still plenty of filmmakers out there who haven’t been able to (or don’t want to) get their hands on a 4K camera—most likely those who are trying to ball on a budget on a Canon Rebel T7i that only shoots HD. And that’s pretty understandable given the fact that many popular (and expensive) cameras from even just two years ago weren’t built with internal 4K recording. Suffice it to say that the switch from 1080p to 4K was a relatively quick one.

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No Film School

Shooting Day-for-Night on a Micro-Budget Feature

On my second micro-budget feature film – Frettin’ – I tackled a technique I had never tried before: day-for-night shooting. With the low light capability of the latest DSLR cameras (like the Sony A7), you CAN shoot at night with minimal light. But, if you don’t want the inconvenience of a night time shoot, or you don’t have the latest low-light camera, day-for-night could be the way to go.

I’m not a trained lighting cameraman, just a micro-budget filmmaker who does what he can with the camera to tell my stories. So, on my second micro-budget feature Frettin’, I researched day-for-night techniques and then shot those ‘night’ scenes in the day on a Canon 60D. Here are some tips for getting convincing day-for-night set-ups:

1. On the camera settings dial the colour temperature to the lowest Kelvin setting (around 2500). This will give you an instant blue hue straight out of the camera. Less post-production grading means less opportunity for the picture to start falling apart at the edit stage.

2. As we can’t change the shutter (this must be at 50 degrees to give us that ­­­­slightly blurred film look) use a variable neutral density filter to cut out more daylight. Remember, we’re trying to mimic how we would shoot at night: so that means aperture wide open (or close to wide open), hence a shallow depth of field. The variable ND filter helps us to get there.

3. Underexpose by a couple of stops – make the shadows darker. Don’t just expose normally and then think you can crush the blacks in post-production. Best to darken the image in-camera so your images don’t break apart in the edit. I guess this applies to those shooting 1080p. If you’re shooting 4K RAW, you can push the image further in post. But, how many micro-budget filmmakers are shooting 4K RAW right now? I had to get my head around this fact: YOU HAVE TO LOSE SOME DETAILS IN THE SHADOWS if you want the night-time effect. I had to tame the perfectionist in me. So, you might as well bite the bullet and lose some shadow detail right there and then while you’re on location shooting. Perfectionism? Pah. Let it go, let it go! Unless you’re an owl or Riddick, you’re not going to see all the shadow detail; a glimpse of detail, yes, maybe a glint in the eye, but you need to let shadows be shadows.

4. This next one is counter-intuitive, but it can work: the sun is your friend! Shoot with the sun on your actor’s face. When the shot is graded, the sunlight highlights can look fantastic, like subdued moonlight. If you shoot in the shade, the final graded shot can look flat and muddy, with no ‘moonlight’ highlights. It sounds counter-intuitive, but shooting day-for-night in the sun can work wonders.

A variant on this is to shoot under some foliage, like tree canopies, so you have a dappled light source – some highlights, some shadows. This can work out really well. What doesn’t work is NO sunlight at all. When a shot with NO direct sunlight is graded, it can look muddy and flat.

One last point on shooting day-for-night and using the sun as your friend – block your action so the sun is behind your actors, so they have a back light. This back light will help separate them from the background. Back lighting is key for any kind of shooting, and can particularly help in day-for-night shooting.

Final word on using the sun as a light source – as with normal daytime photography, shooting at midday with the sun right overhead will not produce great results. Shooting close to the golden hours could also help you to sell the day-for-night gag better, too.

5. Most birds don’t fly at night, so be very careful when you’re framing shots with the sky in the background.

6. Add a practical light source within the frame to sell the gag – car headlights, a house light, a candle. Be wary of getting passing cars or streetlamps in shot, too. In reality, at night, they would emit an artificial light source.

7. Finally, add post production grading. Crush the blacks even more with your exposure control. Add more blue hue with the colour wheel to supplement the blue colour cast you’ve already got by dialing down the Kelvin setting. De-saturate the colours. If you need extra help, the artificial graduated filter vignettes can help darken areas where there’s too much sunlight spill, or where you have a lot of sky that’s not selling the effect.

8. Oh, and a second ‘finally’ – in the edit, sell the scene with your audio: night time ambiance (city nightclub/owl in rural areas etc).

9. Oh, oh. A third ‘finally’ – sometimes, you just have to accept that you can’t fake a day-for-night sequence. On my third feature, Slasher, I wanted to shoot my main character following some other actors around a town at night, and also inside a moving car at night. The street lights, the shop windows, the passing cars would ALL have light sources (window displays/headlights etc). In this instance, the audience would see the deception, as no practical light sources would be in the frame. In this instance, I had to actually shoot at night; I used my fastest lens, portable lighting and a camera that gives good results in low light conditions.

10. Oh, oh, oh. A fourth finally – don’t trust your editing set-up’s computer monitor. Export the day-for-night scene and see how it plays on a TV screen. And also please do this – export and see how it plays on a tablet and laptop screen. There can be a huge disparity between how day-for-night scenes play on different playback devices. You have to grade the final scene for the weakest link in the ‘viewing chain’; in my experience, a tablet screen. You have to think: where will my film most likely be viewed?

In conclusion, you can successfully shoot day-for-night on a 1080p DSLR camera for about a tenner – the price of a cheap variable neutral density filter. It worked for me on my second feature film Frettin’, and it could work on your project, too.

The trailer for Lee’s second feature film Frettin’, where these day-for-night techniques were employed, can be found here.

Words by Lee Price

Lee has written for children’s television (including episodes of Sooty and Bob the Builder) and has made numerous short films, on digital and 16mm film. His first self-funded feature film ‘Neville Rumble’ (made with Richard Miller) is available now in the US on Google Play and Microsoft Stores. His second micro-budget feature film ‘Frettin’ has been completed. His third feature film ‘Killing With Alice’ is in pre-production with Bradgate Films. His fourth feature film Slasher is in the final stages of principal photography.

The post Shooting Day-for-Night on a Micro-Budget Feature appeared first on Raindance.

Raindance

Superhero Bits: When to Expect Phase 4 Titles, Avengers 4 Not Shooting with Infinity War & More

Spider-Man Homecoming

Which Superman villain might be coming to Supergirl before the end of the second season? Would Joss Whedon ever have Alicia Silverstone make a cameo in his Batgirl movie? Want to hear David Hasselhoff rap on a track from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack? Are Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 still shooting at the same time? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.

Here’s a clip from the upcoming spring return of Gotham, featuring an episode about The Riddler, on April 24.

Captain Marvel has been confirmed to start shooting in February of 2018 now that directors have been hired.

Guardians of the Galaxy Ride - The Collector's Fortress

Marvel officially revealed The Collector’s Fortress from the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland.

A new rumor indicates that General Zod may be making an appearance on Supergirl before the end of season two.

Here’s some more B-roll footage from behind the scenes on the set of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Don’t expect to find out what movies Marvel Studios has planned for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe son.

Spider-Man Homecoming

An article over at Hero Complex breaks down some of the new features of Spidey suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

A casting breakdown for two new characters in Luke Cage season two may hint at the arrival of a new villain.

Continue Reading Superhero Bits>>

Due to the amount of graphics and images included in Superhero Bits, we have to split this post over THREE pages. Click the link above to continue to the next page of Superhero Bits.

The post Superhero Bits: When to Expect Phase 4 Titles, Avengers 4 Not Shooting with Infinity War & More appeared first on /Film.


/Film

From Iconic Low-Budge Horror to ‘Kong’: DP Jacques Haitkin’s Shooting Advice

DP Jacques Haitkin’s 100+ credits include everything from ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ to today’s biggest blockbusters. Here’s what he’s learned.

If there’s such a thing as a cult cinematographer, Jacques Haitkin is it. He has lensed some of the films that defined the last quarter century of horror, not the least of which are Wes Craven’s first two Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Lately, his time behind the camera has been spent as Second Unit DP on Hollywood’s biggest titles: Furious 7, Captain America: Civil War, and most recently, Kong: Skull Island.

In advance of Kong’s release, Haitkin shared with No Film School some of his lessons learned over many years on set, including what skills he brings from low-budget work onto blockbuster projects.

“Budget doesn’t matter. The higher purpose of all movies is to touch an audience’s hearts and minds by illustrating that narrative with picture and sound.”

No Film School: You’ve worked on smaller budget films and many Hollywood blockbusters alike. What skills do you bring from smaller films to bigger ones?

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