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  1. #41  
    Senior Member Casey Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    Casey,
    As a director, you will probably delve as deep into any subject as your intellectual curiosity drives you to, regardless of exactly how practical everything you learn is. I love researching about obsolete film processes like 3-strip Technicolor, Cinerama, Autochromes, etc. Don't know the real value in that, but it's interesting to me. How much you need to learn technically sort of depends on what you'll be trying to do, with what equipment, and if you'll be doing it on your own or not. Even among DP's, there are different depths of knowledge - I know one DP who does his own densitometry readings of his negatives while another does his own lens collimination work. This is sort of deeper than I necessarily want to go. Ultimately all that matters is the quality of the work you do. As you shoot more, you'll find more areas that you want to study and explore, while other areas may seem less and less important over time.

    What I encourage any filmmaker to do is develop their ability to previsualize, to develop a visual imagination, and find ways of conveying emotion and story information through images. Learning the technical stuff is useless if you don't have a creative idea to express using that knowledge.
    ___
    David - Thank you for taking the time to answer. It's a good feeling to hear positive words that affirm the idea that I'm on the right track. :) I was very curious of what level of technical prowess various Directors have brought to the projects you have worked on and how much that was a factor to the success of the film... (are there successful directors who haven't a clue what lens to choose for a setup? - I suppose so) - but what it seems is that no matter what role one plays, the same rules apply: Dive in as deeply as you like, and find creative ways to express your vision.

    Thank you, again.
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  2. #42  
    Whether or not they are photographically knowledgable, most directors are fairly smart (not all, but most) so it doesn't take long on a feature shoot of putting up lenses for them to learn the effect of different focal lengths.

    If I have a lens finder on the package, I can put the actual prime lens up on the finder and let the director watch a rehearsal through it. Then he can say "too wide" or "not wide enough" etc. or get a sense of whether the action is too spread out to capture in one composition or moving shot.

    Working like that, it isn't long before the director and DP then start to guess the lens and come to similar conclusions ("let's try shooting the master on the 27mm...") because they've gotten familar with the lenses in the package.

    Assuming your lens choice isn't based on practicalities like filming in a small room and trying to get a wide shot, then mostly what you and the DP will be trying to decide on is the level of perspective compression or expansion to use for the shot. An over-the-shoulder looks different on a shorter lens than a longer lens because the focal length affects the relative sizes of the two heads in the shot.
    David Mullen, ASC
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    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
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  3. #43  
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    Now for a normal question....

    What do you feel is leading more and more Cinematographers/Directors today to shoot with a very, "MTV" sense of style?

    It seems that the days of long, slow, meticulously composed shots are out the window in favor of the wide followed by a usually un-controlled procession of mediums, close-ups, and the more than ocassional ecu.

    Perosnally, I'm a huge fan of the Kubrick / Kurosawa framed film. I won't lie though, I think that some films are perfectly fit for an ecu filled extraveganza such as Requiem for a dream.

    How much of this trend would you contribute to todays music video, reality tv, in your face sense of media exposure?

    Do you think that these decisions have more to do with the Cinematographer or the Director?

    I know that many french and spanish films tend to still stick to a slower tempo of story telling but do you see the pacing of Hollywood films ever coming back down to the same tempo of the past in the sense of wider framing and slower more drawn out shots?
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  4. #44  
    Senior Member Casey Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    Whether or not they are photographically knowledgable, most directors are fairly smart (not all, but most) so it doesn't take long on a feature shoot of putting up lenses for them to learn the effect of different focal lengths.

    If I have a lens finder on the package, I can put the actual prime lens up on the finder and let the director watch a rehearsal through it. Then he can say "too wide" or "not wide enough" etc. or get a sense of whether the action is too spread out to capture in one composition or moving shot.

    Working like that, it isn't long before the director and DP then start to guess the lens and come to similar conclusions ("let's try shooting the master on the 27mm...") because they've gotten familar with the lenses in the package.

    Assuming your lens choice isn't based on practicalities like filming in a small room and trying to get a wide shot, then mostly what you and the DP will be trying to decide on is the level of perspective compression or expansion to use for the shot. An over-the-shoulder looks different on a shorter lens than a longer lens because the focal length affects the relative sizes of the two heads in the shot.
    Makes a lot of sense... the wisdom and advice is greatly appreciated.

    thanks again,
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  5. #45  
    Though it makes sense at times, like for action scenes, I'm not such a fan of the "more is more" attitude in modern Hollywood directorial style -- more shots, more movement, more close-ups. It can be self-defeating because you quickly run out of tricks to pull out of your hat when you actually need to get the viewer's attention. In fact, these days it's the occasional extreme long shot that these directors use to create an impact, because the close-up is so overused.

    What I tend to like is a little musicality to the directing, where shot size and length is varied like in a symphony -- choppy alternated with fluid, loud with quiet, close with wide, etc. Spielberg is good at that approach. I remember the opening montage beginning the truck chase in "Raiders" -- the quick cuts to tight inserts (doors being slammed closed, foot on gas pedal, googles going on, etc.) emphasized by the beats of the music score, followed by a long slow boom down from a wide shot to reveal Indiana Jones watching on the low hill. It's almost like iambic pentameter or something: short, short, long, etc. (not that that's iambic pentameter...)

    The thing is that when your framing gets tighter and tighter, you are almost always forced into making more cuts because so much action is happening outside the frame, so you have to cut to it to see it.

    A nice bit of directing is in the climax to Michael Powell's "Black Narcissus" (the attempted killing of Deborah Kerr by Katherine Byron), which was staged to music playing on the set. Although you really should see it on DVD (the colors are gorgeous), you can see the clip on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...&search=Search
    David Mullen, ASC
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  6. #46  
    Senior Member Roberto B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    What I encourage any filmmaker to do is develop their ability to previsualize, to develop a visual imagination, and find ways of conveying emotion and story information through images. Learning the technical stuff is useless if you don't have a creative idea to express using that knowledge.
    at last, there..

    something that i can label as the most relevant truth that i could hear from a dp..
    "The BBC alow the EX1/3 to be used on SD productions, the 5D is not considered aceptable to the BBC for SD Production"

    the most funny post ever is courtesy of gang's good friend.. mr Williams.. old stephen
    ###.com forums
    on Oct 30 2009

    link to gang's former avatar
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  7. #47  
    Senior Member Costelloe Michael's Avatar
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    David,

    Thanks for all your input it makes good reading.You guys sure stay up late, I'm eating breakfast writing this in the UK!

    I take it you work mostly on 35mm, most of my commercials work has gone from 35mm to HD in the last two years in the UK. Are you feeling a similar push in the States? And, is it your interest in Indie that leads you to this forum or do you see yourself adopting the Red Camera 4k route through commercial budget pressures?

    Mike Costelloe
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  8. #48  
    Senior Member Casey Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Costelloe Michael View Post
    David,
    Thanks for all your input it makes good reading. You guys sure stay up late, I'm eating breakfast writing this in the UK!
    hahah - after wrapping on a recent production, I finally can catch up on the important things. :)
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  9. #49 facial imperfections 
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    David, with high definition displays becoming ubiquitous in the home, and Blu-Ray and HD DVD becoming the consumer standard, will lighting, and even lensing undergo any significant changes to disguise the skin or body imperfections of actors? After all, with the need for more content and the dounward spiral in general health, it will soon be impossible to find apparently flawless-skinned talent, when that is called for. I'm thinking that makeup will be more noticeable to the viewer as well, so how would you approach any problems that a director might present you with, in re: the above?
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  10. #50  
    What about the 40 ft. movie screens we've had over the past 100 years? Film is the oldest high definition format. Why are facial imperfections now just becoming a problem (besides the over sharpening on HD cameras?)

    FYI - there is no such thing as "flawless-skinned talent" - never was, never will be. Why do you think they use everything from stockings and Vaseline to Promist?
    If it's not difficult, why do it?
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