Light|Compose|Motion

The mind of a filmmaker/cinematographer
Katie

Katie

A Question on Lighting…
Question: Could you offer any advice about how you manage your lens aperture and how you lit the interview shots ? I notice that your depth of field is often deep for a 35mm lens. And what was your experience with the lighting ? (I mean, how much did it improve the look of your footage).
Answer: When shooting on a full frame, I love the 35mm because it’s wide without distortion, gives a relatively good deep DOF and can be shallow when you need it to. Can’t remember what my aperture settings were but I’d imagine it was greater that f2.8 for the interview shots. That shot was lit with a daylight balanced 650W (camera right) to boost the daylight coming from the windows. I’m a big fan of practical lights in my shots so I had them turn the house lights on and as you can see the bulb above his head gives a nice hair light and if I wanted to “intellectualise" the shot, I’d say it was part of the art direction to give him a light bulb moment "sharing wisdom"!
When it came to grading the shot, the lighting provided the right foundation, I had my blues (daylight) and my orange (tungsten), alongside my shadows (background) and highlights (camera right) so the image sings easily with the application of a simple LUT.

A Question on Lighting…

Question: Could you offer any advice about how you manage your lens aperture and how you lit the interview shots ? I notice that your depth of field is often deep for a 35mm lens. And what was your experience with the lighting ? (I mean, how much did it improve the look of your footage).

Answer: When shooting on a full frame, I love the 35mm because it’s wide without distortion, gives a relatively good deep DOF and can be shallow when you need it to. Can’t remember what my aperture settings were but I’d imagine it was greater that f2.8 for the interview shots. That shot was lit with a daylight balanced 650W (camera right) to boost the daylight coming from the windows. I’m a big fan of practical lights in my shots so I had them turn the house lights on and as you can see the bulb above his head gives a nice hair light and if I wanted to “intellectualise" the shot, I’d say it was part of the art direction to give him a light bulb moment "sharing wisdom"!

When it came to grading the shot, the lighting provided the right foundation, I had my blues (daylight) and my orange (tungsten), alongside my shadows (background) and highlights (camera right) so the image sings easily with the application of a simple LUT.

An Anamorphic Portrait.

I must say i’m getting carried away with flaring the lens when shooting anamorphic. It’s a new toy so I’m guess I’m allowed for the time being.

Although the project this is from isn’t going to the B&W, I thought these looked really good in B&W.

Camera: BMPC4K

Lens: Samyang 35mm T1.5 + SLR Magic Anamorphot 50 1.33x

Graded in Davinici Resolve

Growth is a beautiful thing
My first attempt at a short film was 2years ago and to be honest, I just did it as I knew best. I shot and lit I deemed fit and edited as I felt. I watch it now and a laugh out loud about my mistakes and errors but there were a few frames that made me think… i like that! (see image above).
Even though my approach to filmmaking is now somewhat theoretic yet empirical at the same time, one thing remains… your eyes and your style.
The frames above aren’t perfect but I think should I reshoot this again, I’d still think the blocking/shots above were nice.

Growth is a beautiful thing

My first attempt at a short film was 2years ago and to be honest, I just did it as I knew best. I shot and lit I deemed fit and edited as I felt. I watch it now and a laugh out loud about my mistakes and errors but there were a few frames that made me think… i like that! (see image above).

Even though my approach to filmmaking is now somewhat theoretic yet empirical at the same time, one thing remains… your eyes and your style.

The frames above aren’t perfect but I think should I reshoot this again, I’d still think the blocking/shots above were nice.

Postcard from Sardinia

A quick edit of a few clips I shot while on holiday in Sardinia.

It’s been a while since I shot something entirely on my 5Dmk3 ML RAW and it keeps blowing we away with the level of detail. I was able to grab some “magic hour” shots (my first ever magic hour… it’s truly magic to behold) while there.

After shooting this, I realized I need a telephoto lens, something like a 70-200mm or 300mm with IS. I’ve got a 135mm prime but it has no IS and the wind on the shores would have ruined pretty much all the shots!

Camera: Canon 5Dmk3 + ML RAW firmware
Lens: Tamron 24-70mm f2.8
Graded in Davinci Resolve 11 (using VisionColor Impulz LUTs)

I’ve been shooting with the ML RAW firmware on my 5D for over a year now and it still amazes me how great the footage looks. Can’t remember the last time I shot with the stock h264 codec on the 5D. ML RAW firmware is hardwork to use in the field (reason why I got my BMPC4K) but man, the images are so worth it. If only it was more usable (playback and sound*)

I know MLV supports sound, but from my understanding the .raw file type and recording mode is a lot more powerful than mlv i.e. 48fps isn’t possible in MLV (I might be wrong but that’s my understanding).

Camera: Canon 5DMk3 + ML RAW firmware

Lens: Tamron 24-70mm f2.8

Graded in Davinci Resolve

This is by no means a scientific test, just a quick bokeh test.

Like I mentioned previously, I wanted to see if the lens will help compensate for the lack of an oval bokeh in my 1.33x Anamorphot… and I believe it does!

Picture 1: Canon 50mm (no anamorphic adapter)

Picture 2: DogschnitOptiks FF58mm (no anamorphic adapter)

Picture 3: Canon 50mm + Anamorphot 1.33x 

Picture 4: DogschnitOptiks FF58mm + Anamorphot 1.33x 

The FF58mm does have a character to it which I like. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come in a lens set so you’ll have a hard time mixing and matching shots from different lens.

Can’t wait to try this out in the field.

Dog Schidt Optiks!

I stumbled across this about a month ago and ordered one whimsically! They are the handy work of Richard Gale, a British filmmaker who modifies old Russian lens (Helios 44-M 58mm F2.0).

I slapped it on quickly on my Canon 5D and it does have a distinctive look, very low contrast level (almost washed out look) and it does some interesting things to the bokeh (i ordered a 2x oval bokeh version).

I specifically ordered this for my 1.33x Anamorphot because of it’s lack of oval bokeh.

See quick test in my next post!

Anonymous asked: Hi Olan,currently planning to start video directing in Ghana but I will like to know which camera and lighting i should get for a starter?

It really depends on the kind of videos you will be making and largely your budget. If music videos, editorials, i’d recommend DSLRs, they are small, relatively cheap and are usually good value for money. The Canon DSLR range is falling behind the curve, so I’d suggest you look at cameras like GH4 or A7S. If you have more money, I’d recommend maybe the Canon C100, a lot of people swear by it, however, not sure it does slow motion natively, so I’d double check if I were you (if slow motion is important). If you have even more money, look into the Sony FS700, Sony F5?

Besides cameras, you need to consider lens too. I’d recommend you try you hands on a number of these cameras and see which one you like the look and feel of. Also checkout Vimeo and Youtube for reviews if you can’t get your hands on them.

Lights-wise, again depends on budget but I’d shy away from cheap LEDs, go with open face lights like ARRIs, the low wattage ones are relatively affordable.

#MagicHour Brilliant app. Will hopefully make use of this while I’m here and also going forward.

#MagicHour Brilliant app. Will hopefully make use of this while I’m here and also going forward.