I am hired as a Director here at Pattaya Chanel, www.pattayachannel.com, a TV station in that country often called ”Amazing Thailand“. One of first things I had to do once on duty was to take care of the equipment. The quality of the footage was not top notch, and they wanted me to take it to the next level. What a great chance to give a go to what I have learned so far, and put it into practice.
Sorry for not writing any sooner, been busy, lots happening in my life! I will update you folks with some major news pretty soon, hopefully. In any case I am always experimenting, testing, story boarding, creating, learning and sharing experiences. Cinematography is a never-ending story, a master art and you will never master it all. So intriguing.
I believe that lenses are important in any production, but definitely lighting has the edge. It sets a mood, it creates your cinematography, better still it’s the eternal fight between the shadows and the light that rules the world out…. as the Chinese would say, by drawing a Tao logo. So lenses are no more than boys’ toys? No, they are not. They are meaningful, but do not get too crazy about them, try to focus more on directing or DP-ing… lenses are just tools.
This part will focus on post production, usual step for any kind of video work you would like to present to your audience.
The very first bit of the whole chain is to have all your clips matched in terms of luminance. In the IRE scale the blackest point has to be set to 0, while the whitest to 100.
This way you know that anything below 0 will be totally black and anything above 100 will be pure white; both 0 and 100 are the threshold to get any detail in your picture. You have to do this work for all the cuts in your final editing, plus balancing out the RGB channels. It’s quite a tedious work, but once it’s done, you’ll know that the whole piece will be like one.
The next step would be to fix any issues, like under or over exposed areas of your footage… hopefully you will not have to deal with it, but chances are that it might happen if you are shooting solo or on a very small production. Especially doing exteriors, it’s difficult to control the action and the tech part as well. Never mind if you are shooting manual as well, we film-makers mostly do.
The good news is that this video got the 3rd prize in this great competition engaged by respected worldwide manufacturer Rode.
I guess it cannot be called “news” anymore as it was awarded a month ago, but I have been shooting something else, I had little time to write this behind the scenes (BTS) post.
I saw this opportunity on Philip Bloom’s website http://www.philipbloom.net just a month before the actual competition deadline and the main idea behind it came to me pretty quickly, while I was driving along the motorway.
I tried very hard to have other people on board to help out, but for whatever reason they had, no one was able to make it.
In end I was on my own expect some little extra help I had in the final scene of the short movie, in which a baby is featured.
I thought I should have dropped it, at first. Too much to shoot, too little time and a one man band, tough I felt the idea was great, I really wanted to shoot this and what the hell I already shot something all by myself.
So I took the plunge, and went for it.
In this post I would like to spend a few words on how cinematography was a gift to me, in the same way DSLR film making has been.
I guess I was born in a very judgmental family. Back in the days my mum and dad used to chat a lot about how things should have been done, how they would have done stuff, how this or that was entirely wrong and so on. Call it fate or Karma, but in the end I ended up being a super critic for a long part of my life. Just because I did not realize I was critic, to me it was just being “normal”. Apart from the fact that it’s hard to draw a line, and say what can be considered normal and what can’t, I guess it’s just how you feel about your world.
Doing some group therapy, getting a partner and having a baby…. well, that changed my life. Even more doing what most might call “spiritual” work, rather I would rather call it just food for your soul. The path ahead of me it’s rather long, mostly you will never end walking, again that is just “normal” now.
It safe to agree that taking pictures and film making differ but the term “motion picture” is somehow strongly related to photography.
In other terms, we could say that making films is taking pictures with a motion camera. This art is also known as Cinematography.
What difference is there between the term “cinematographer” and “director of photography” often abbreviated in DP or DoP ? To many, both terms seem quite interchangeable. Some insist that a cinematographer is a DP sitting behind the camera, but this is far from being universally accepted.
Color correcting your footage is pretty much unavoidable, these days every movie or music video clip you watch has been post processed and color corrected.
This is an art in itself and that is why it requires skills, training and a dedicated professional.
Fact is that on smaller productions, budgets are quite tight, and you end up doing it yourself… much like it happens for other traditionally separated roles, such as a director of photography, a camera operator or an editor. In the end, it’s all good. First you have to learn it all to understand and then truly appreciate the work of others you might team up with.
Color processing is part of the post processing work that needs to be done on the footage you shot, which may include other tasks like re-lighting or re-framing a particular shot, or VFX work.
There are some tools of the trade that come into rescue and one of the most well-known is Red Giant’s Magic Bullet. Mostly, it works with presets, and it’s a one-stop process. Super easy to use and with visually catching results.
One of the great things about the micro four thirds format is that you can simply mount anything on these. It’s just a matter of finding the right adapter, among the variety of available offers. In this particular case, the C-mount to M43 one pictured above is indeed well made, but there are cheaper ones starting from just a few bucks.. Fotodiox comes to mind.
C-mount lenses are still in use, no longer as 8mm or 16mm cinema lenses as they used to be but as security devices lenses, namely closed circuit television lenses. Normally they are pretty fast lenses as they need to work 24h and they come under the commercial term of TV lenses (from the CCTV acronym).
This is why some may be interested in the vintage C-mounts on a cropped sensor. Fast glass is expensive and C-mounts are not.
You have certainly noticed that I mostly write about the GH2. I used to own the 5DmkII, it was the first DSLR I shot video with. It has indeed been the first love for many and still truly is. But since the coming of the hack for the panny it was sudden divorce for me.
I still love the colors you get out of the Canon, there is a certain richness and overall dynamic range you simply cannot get out of the GH2. I feel that the whole color pattern has a grey, duller base throughout the gamma, with a green bias.
You have to work hard around this in post to make it look great, but it’ s doable. I have an upcoming post dedicated to color correction and I will discuss this matter in greater depth soon. The way your final work looks it’s too much of an important subject to be done with a few lines.
While there is no doubt the above sticks as a con, 0n the pro side
- the panny it’ s true 1080p as opposed to the lower resolution of the Canon, that claims to be full HD but looks like HD ready (720p)
- magic lantern it’s a very nice addition, but even in its latest incarnation cannot deliver as much as Vitaliy Kiselev and all his community have so far achieved with Ptools and the patches
- it’ s got a swiveling screen in place of a non sens fixed lcd
- it’ s way cheaper