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View Full Version : Composing the David Fincher way



Alan Maxwell
11-13-2014, 02:56 PM
I'm curious and I'm sure some one out there has the answer to this. What frame markings did David Fincher and Jeff Cronenweth use when shooting "Gone Girl" from my understanding they composed to 2.40:1. There is all this chatter on web pages about them shooting 6K with 5K extraction and the handoff to aftereffects and premiere.

If they were shooting a tight over shoulder what was the process for creating the frame composition then allowing the "wriggle room" for future stabilisation etc?

Did they have some special markings in the EVF or on onset monitors to compose to. I can't imagine just approaching every shot and composing the frame an approximated 20-30 wider than presumed needed. This looser framing approach seems counter intuitive to composing a film frame carefully. Where you are running your eye around the edges of frame and carefull about your pictorial composition.

Frank Glencairn
11-13-2014, 03:28 PM
Just mask your monitor with black gaffa and call it a day.

Chad Lancaster
11-13-2014, 03:33 PM
http://hdslrshooter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/GoneGirlBTS-001.jpg

You can set frame guides in the epic menu. When they eventually post the video from the Q&A session a couple weeks ago you'll see the before/after. David likes his shots to be as perfect as possible. Sometimes it needs a tilt up just a little faster or level the camera.. with the look around he has the room to do it.

Kemalettin Sert
11-13-2014, 04:04 PM
Just mask your monitor with black gaffa and call it a day.

why on earth you do this if you have perfect frameguide options in menus.

Phil Holland
11-13-2014, 04:53 PM
why on earth you do this if you have perfect frameguide options in menus.

The frame guide works perfectly fine. Some people don't like to be "distracted" by the look around of the larger format and mask off the extra bits, specifically when it comes to say a directors monitor. Both are done regularly.

Nathaniel Haban
11-13-2014, 04:56 PM
I'm curious and I'm sure some one out there has the answer to this. What frame markings did David Fincher and Jeff Cronenweth use when shooting "Gone Girl" from my understanding they composed to 2.40:1. There is all this chatter on web pages about them shooting 6K with 5K extraction and the handoff to aftereffects and premiere.

If they were shooting a tight over shoulder what was the process for creating the frame composition then allowing the "wriggle room" for future stabilisation etc?

Did they have some special markings in the EVF or on onset monitors to compose to. I can't imagine just approaching every shot and composing the frame an approximated 20-30 wider than presumed needed. This looser framing approach seems counter intuitive to composing a film frame carefully. Where you are running your eye around the edges of frame and carefull about your pictorial composition.

From what I remember of the articles, they shot in 6K 2:1, and set their frame guides to 5K 2.4:1

Menu > Settings > Display > Guides > Frame Guide

Settings:

Mode -- 2.4:1
Scale -- 83.33%

This will give you a 5k 2.4:1 frame guide.

If anyone knows - it appears in the BTS photo, in the monitor on the right that the area outside of the frame guide is shaded, and I haven't been able to figure out to replicate this. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Trent Lillehaugen
11-13-2014, 05:09 PM
If anyone knows - it appears in the BTS photo, in the monitor on the right that the area outside of the frame guide is shaded, and I haven't been able to figure out to replicate this. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

In Menu > Settings > Display > Guides under the 'General Tab' you will find a 'Shading' option. Change this from the default 'Recording Area' to the guide you want to shade outside of. You can also change the color and opacity of the shading.

Nathaniel Haban
11-13-2014, 05:10 PM
Perfect! Thanks, Trent.

Mikael Lubtchansky
11-13-2014, 05:11 PM
If anyone knows - it appears in the BTS photo, in the monitor on the right that the area outside of the frame guide is shaded, and I haven't been able to figure out to replicate this. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

You can select 25, 50, and 100% color shades in the camera menu outside your guides :

MENU>SETTINGS>DISPLAY>GUIDES>General TAB

Last line lets you select what you want to base you shading on (FRAME, ACTION, TITLE GUIDE OR RECORDING AREA), then the color and the density of your shade.

edit : oops, Trent was faster !

Mikael Lubtchansky
11-13-2014, 05:19 PM
To shoot 6K 2:1, extract center 2.40:1 5K but still be able to edit in a 1920 pixels wide timeline (allowing easy reframing and normal 'as shot' 100% pixel for pixel un-scaled playback), the exact Fincher technique was (from one of the articles) :


We transcoded everything to an atypical frame size, which was 2304x1152 ProRes 422 (LT) Quicktime.
The reason we chose that frame size is that when we were on set we were shooting 6K.
Those dimensions were 6144x3072 and we were extracting a 5K center from that, which was 5120x2133, and that was a 2.40:1 center extraction from a 2:1 image.
If you do the math there, and scale the 6144x3072 down to our offline editorial specs that I just mentioned (2304x1152), the center extraction of that 5K extraction matches 1920x800 which is a 2.40:1 center extraction from the offline.

Frank Glencairn
11-13-2014, 05:39 PM
why on earth you do this if you have perfect frameguide options in menus.


I was just kidding - thought that was obvious.

Gavin Greenwalt
11-13-2014, 06:47 PM
Also you can setup guides as presets and then assign presets to hotkeys. So you can have a button which changes the masked guide's opacity to 100% on "button down" and then return it to 25% on release. It lets you preview the guides but then when you let go you are back to having look-around when filming. On the shoot I just wrapped we were shooting or 4:1 and 16:9 so I had not only soft keys on the touchscreen configured to let you quickly switch back and forth between the guides but also 2 alternate guides where the 4:1 was on the top third and bottom third in addition to centered. That way if you needed to compose for both 16:9 and 4:1 you could see both.

Trent two features I would love to see is click-drag vertical guides. That way you could move the guide up and down on frame. Also the ability to set up a "toggle" pair or list. So if you defined a "Preset Toggle:
1) 100% Guides Preset
2) 50% guides Preset
3) 25% Guides Preset "

and named it "Toggle Guide Opacity" then you could go through the list: click -> 100%. Click -> 50%. Click -> 25%. Click -> 100%... etc. There are a number of presets I would like to create that I just want to toggle on and off. BOnus points would be an option to restore to the settings prior to the preset activation. So if you had a Toggle Preset with the option "Toggle" as "True" then you would specify one preset whose settings you want to activate and deactivate.

Alan Maxwell
11-14-2014, 01:55 AM
Thanks Trent this info is much appreciated and to Chad for the onset pic.