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Preparing to make my movie

Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 12:47am

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Cutty201

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We are doing lots of stuff to prepare to make our action movie this summer. One of my tasks in this endeavor is Cinematography. I have been researching soo much stuff and have been learning a lot of stuff and testing a lot of stuff out with the camera but I still have a couple of things i can't seem to find an adequate answer for. So I decided i'll try posting them here because you seem likea knowledgable group. Well here we go.

What are the benefits of a "Lens Hood", ya know those usaully black flaps taht surround the lens?

Should I get a wide-angle lens? We are trying to make this look as much like film as we can. The script is good it's now up to me (and the camera crew) to make this visually appealing and interesting. Will a wide-angle lens give me more of a film / fantasy look ?

Those are the only 2 major questions I have right now. I am sure I'll have more as I learn more stuff. Thanks ahead of time guys.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 1:09am

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jstow222

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A wide-angle lens will show allow you to see more, while the closer you get, the more distortion there will be, for action shots, this may be ideal to allow the viewer to se more of whats going on.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 1:12am

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Ryan

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About the wide angle lens, I wouldn't get one just for the price. You can get programs to do stuff like that and much more. I tried the demo for this program and it looks pretty good. It adds grain, changes frame rates, and can add red boost along with some other things.

You can buy it or try the demo Here
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 1:55am

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wdy

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Remember if you want a good look to your film make sure you use proper lighting!! Its very important and its clearly show a difference in your end product make it have that extra sharpness to your footage. You can easily by cheap lights on stand from a hardware store and just buy a boat battery and run them off that. I recommend not a generator, because they usually tend to make noice. Just wanted to run this by you cause lighting is a key factor in film and that's where you see alot of people go wrong.. they simply just ignore it, but those who don't it shows in their work. Wish you luck with your project this summer!
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 1:57am

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Ryan

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And remember not to increase the shutter speed more than 60 uh crazy , well crazy , shuts per second.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 1:59am

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Spanish Prisoner

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do a lot of test screenings and a lot of testing in terms of quality you want to achieve.

Personally, I shoot normal, with some zoom in it to get some disortion from the background, and I have what I want. I tape the LCD display with some tapes to get a view of what I am about to crop from the picture anyway in post production.

You certainly have to care more about the actors performance and the editing. Make storyboards and you learn a lot about directing movies, because you see a lot of what you want and what you can get onscreen.

just do it, with confidence.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:32am

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Cutty201

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I think it's great you guys hit what I was going to make another thread for. Lighting so freaks me out, tho I saw a flash that someone posted here that seemd to give me a much better idea of where to start. It seems that I always add a little too much light in all the wrong places. I have these Halogen Lights and I was planning (according to this site ) put one to the side of the camera pointing perpendicular to the camera and then a "Reflector" on the opposite side bouncing the unused light back to give a softer fill of the shadows. That looks easier than I think it is going to be.

Though my BIG question on lighting is how do you light at night. We are going to be filming half to 3/4 of the movie at night. We are doing this for a couple of reasons. 1 because teh (thats right teh) script calls for it. And 2, because I like teh grain that it gives. If you refer to my other post (...bah here is the link http://atlantis.nwngamers.com/teaser_compressed.avi) we made a teaser trailer for testing purposes and to have a little fun. we had no lighting except for the street light on the beach and we used Night Shot for the rest of it (as you will see) I noticed the other day that you can turn the NS lamp off whcih helps eliminate that blair witch look with lots of lighting in the center, but I really dont like nightshot unless I absolutely need it or a shot requires it (this is rare since it can be accomplished in post). So lighting at night...what to do different, especially out doors.

As for the storyboards, taht is something we do do regularly. This isn't the first movie we made, just the largest and most complex. This is the movie that we want people to sit through and enjoy like they would a movie they'd pay to go see. It's an action movie with a pretty decent script (if you'd like to read it and offer your opinion please PM me).

Another thing I have been practicing and reading up on is camera movements. If anyone has any suggestions on how to keep the shots interesting and the best looking way to move the camera around. My latest toy is a "UniPod" my dad brought home. It's like a tripod without the three legs just one pole and you attach the camera on the top. I am loving it cuz it keeps shots nice and steady and you can move with it with ease (not likea tripod that gets you into a position that keeps the camera stationary). However as this is fine in open flat areas, when it comes to going up and down hill or rough terrain it tends to get harder and annoying to have to use it. Though if I use my hand I run the risk of getting Blair Witch. There is a scene in the movie that has me (who happens tobe the main character with 2 lines smile ) being chased through the forest...at night.

Also back to the wide angle lens. My friend, who has a similar camera to mine, got one for $50 and seems to do the job (I only saw it once and through the LCD) he did say that they range from $20 to $4000 but my camera isn't really top of the line, it's not a GL2 (the camera of my dreams) it's a Sony TRV-260, well my younger brother...oh lemme clarify I am 18 and a video student (sort of I take Video Production at my High School but I have this shit class with the worst group of kids, i spend my free period in the better class that the other MAIN PLAYER in this movie is in), my brother is 16 (an aspiring film director and writer) anywho we are really willing and giving 110% to make this the best video we can. So any who I know the what and how behind a wide angle lens but I don't know how to use it or how it should properly be utilized or if it should. We want to try and make this as much like film as we can and if that'll do it then I'll be willing to get one and learn how to do it.

anywho this is turning out to be quite a long post...you guys are cool so it's worth it. I have been part of some communities that just flame you for asking questions so I appreciate and thank that you don't.

OHH and the LEns Hood whats the point of this?! smile thanks
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:32am

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Spanish Prisoner

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I mean, who is ever going to make this kind of irrecognizable music with the italo-western music?

I am using it for my short movie.... it is perfect. Ennio Morricone and Srrgio Leone knew they were doing some great stuff. The Trio will always be part of film history like Quentin Tarantino proved.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:36am

Post 9 of 27

Spanish Prisoner

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Cutty201 wrote:

I think it's great you guys hit what I was going to make another thread for. Lighting so freaks me out, tho I saw a flash that someone posted here that seemd to give me a much better idea of where to start. It seems that I always add a little too much light in all the wrong places. I have these Halogen Lights and I was planning (according to this site ) put one to the side of the camera pointing perpendicular to the camera and then a "Reflector" on the opposite side bouncing the unused light back to give a softer fill of the shadows. That looks easier than I think it is going to be.

Though my BIG question on lighting is how do you light at night. We are going to be filming half to 3/4 of the movie at night. We are doing this for a couple of reasons. 1 because teh (thats right teh) script calls for it. And 2, because I like teh grain that it gives. If you refer to my other post (...bah here is the link http://atlantis.nwngamers.com/teaser_compressed.avi) we made a teaser trailer for testing purposes and to have a little fun. we had no lighting except for the street light on the beach and we used Night Shot for the rest of it (as you will see) I noticed the other day that you can turn the NS lamp off whcih helps eliminate that blair witch look with lots of lighting in the center, but I really dont like nightshot unless I absolutely need it or a shot requires it (this is rare since it can be accomplished in post). So lighting at night...what to do different, especially out doors.

As for the storyboards, taht is something we do do regularly. This isn't the first movie we made, just the largest and most complex. This is the movie that we want people to sit through and enjoy like they would a movie they'd pay to go see. It's an action movie with a pretty decent script (if you'd like to read it and offer your opinion please PM me).

Another thing I have been practicing and reading up on is camera movements. If anyone has any suggestions on how to keep the shots interesting and the best looking way to move the camera around. My latest toy is a "UniPod" my dad brought home. It's like a tripod without the three legs just one pole and you attach the camera on the top. I am loving it cuz it keeps shots nice and steady and you can move with it with ease (not likea tripod that gets you into a position that keeps the camera stationary). However as this is fine in open flat areas, when it comes to going up and down hill or rough terrain it tends to get harder and annoying to have to use it. Though if I use my hand I run the risk of getting Blair Witch. There is a scene in the movie that has me (who happens tobe the main character with 2 lines smile ) being chased through the forest...at night.

Also back to the wide angle lens. My friend, who has a similar camera to mine, got one for $50 and seems to do the job (I only saw it once and through the LCD) he did say that they range from $20 to $4000 but my camera isn't really top of the line, it's not a GL2 (the camera of my dreams) it's a Sony TRV-260, well my younger brother...oh lemme clarify I am 18 and a video student (sort of I take Video Production at my High School but I have this poo class with the worst group of kids, i spend my free period in the better class that the other MAIN PLAYER in this movie is in), my brother is 16 (an aspiring film director and writer) anywho we are really willing and giving 110% to make this the best video we can. So any who I know the what and how behind a wide angle lens but I don't know how to use it or how it should properly be utilized or if it should. We want to try and make this as much like film as we can and if that'll do it then I'll be willing to get one and learn how to do it.

anywho this is turning out to be quite a long post...you guys are cool so it's worth it. I have been part of some communities that just flame you for asking questions so I appreciate and thank that you don't.

OHH and the LEns Hood whats the point of this?! smile thanks
when I am awake, I will respond to your questions. You got some good questions here. Just wait for 24 hours wink
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:39am

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Cutty201

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Spanish Prisoner wrote:


when I am awake, I will respond to your questions. You got some good questions here. Just wait for 24 hours wink
Agreed

Spanish Prisoner wrote:

I mean, who is ever going to make this kind of irrecognizable music with the italo-western music?

I am using it for my short movie.... it is perfect. Ennio Morricone and Srrgio Leone knew they were doing some great stuff. The Trio will always be part of film history like Quentin Tarantino proved.
wtf ? lol
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:41am

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Spanish Prisoner

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if I do smoetinhg like Brian De Palma did with Obsession, taking the story of vertigo and making it my own version would you bash me down? No, I was just doing some legitimate thing. I know Brian De Palma is my favourite director.

I am going to make some hommage to him, because I know he is a great director. That is what I call the love for movies.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:42am

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Spanish Prisoner

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Cutty201 wrote:

Spanish Prisoner wrote:


when I am awake, I will respond to your questions. You got some good questions here. Just wait for 24 hours wink
Agreed

Spanish Prisoner wrote:

I mean, who is ever going to make this kind of irrecognizable music with the italo-western music?

I am using it for my short movie.... it is perfect. Ennio Morricone and Srrgio Leone knew they were doing some great stuff. The Trio will always be part of film history like Quentin Tarantino proved.
wtf ? lol
wait a while and will respond it when I am clear in my mind.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 2:46am

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wdy

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For lighting at night and to reduce to much lighting, you want a soft light. You can buy soft lights or what you can use is some sort of diffuser for your lights to recude the amount of light being shinned on the object and its surrounding. If your in a forest and want a good straight moving shot you might want to perhaps build some sort of dolley on a track. Unless you will be running all over the place through the woods etc. Hope this helps a bit, but i'm sure Spanish will have some more idea's for you. Good luck with it though, i'm planning on doing a horror film this summer on an island out on a big lake at night. Be cool to see each other's films when we are done. Anyways, later.
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 11:06pm

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Xel

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wdy, could you tell us anything else about the soft light/diffuser things? I too have need for some outdoor night-time lighting tips, I tried to film something the other day late at night, and.. well, some of the shots came out reeeeal crappy. biggrin

How much would one of these things cost? (anyone else have any other solutions?)

-Xel
Posted: Thu, 29th Apr 2004, 11:48pm

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wdy

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Well you can buy diffuser's for real filming light kits. Or you could also use a blue gel on your lights and at night it'd give a very nice blue moonlight look, it actually looks very good. Back to the diffuser's what I would just use it get some nylon stocking and strectch it over some wire to make a panel of it and place it over your lights to decrease the amount of given light being placed on your object. You could also use different colours of tissue paper, which we have tried before, but be careful lights can get very hot and tissue paper can burn wink
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 1:56am

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Cutty201

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I am gonna get creative and make a Diffuser to go over the lights with jet black sheet metal. I am gonna make it go right over teh lights and it's gonna sorta look like this:
________
|\-----------\
| \ _______\
-\ |__|__|__|
--\|__|__|__|
(please ignore the "---"'s they are just to keep the spacing right)
Sorta like that if you can make it out... hold on lemme go see if I can finda picture. Can't find a picture, but thats gnna go over the light and be flat black, aborbing most of the light giving a softlight that shines thru. we have some professional lights like these mounted to the ceiling.

Also I am still awaiting a response on the benefits of a lens hood, to clarify, i am talking about this:

Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 4:43am

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Bryce007

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My vx2100 came with a lense hood, and i took it off a couple times to see if it looks too different, and it definately does. Also, on a completely different note, whatever you do dont use the songs "clubbed to death" or "bring me to life" in your video. EVER! biggrin
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 1:15pm

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Cutty201

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Do you have a clip of the hood on and when the hood is off? Is it a good different or depends what you are looking for different.

As for the music choices i agree!
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 2:45pm

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Solidus

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The main useage of a lense hood is the following:

- To eliminate lense flair
- To keep only the wanted light going to the camera, so you don't get too much seeping in from the side angles.
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 2:57pm

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padawanNick

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The lens hood prevents glare from the sun or bright lights from getting into the lens.

Say you have a lens with no hood.
You're shooting in telephoto, so a huge light, 45 degrees off to the left is NOT in frame.
The light from this will still hit the front of the lens and the resulting reflections and refractions can bounce around in the lens, resulting in glare on your video.

The hood helps protect you against this by putting the front of the lens in a shadow so these extra lights don't get into the lens and cause troubles. smile

By the way, it sounded like one person was saying you could reproduce the effect of a wide angle lens via software.
While you can create distortions in software, you can't get back scenary that is out of frame after you've completed you shoot. (at least not without compositing anyway)
The wide angle lens makes for dramatic perspectives and helps make far objects appear smaller compared to objects closer to the camera. This is an in-camera effect that is difficult, if not impossible, to do effectively in post.

For night lighting, (as with anything) nothing beats having a lot of good reference material to study. Payback and Good Fellas come to mind as movies that had some cool, action-y shots. Conair also opened with a night-time fight outside a bar. Watch these (and whatever else comes to mind) with the sound off so you can focus on the lighting. Then practice a lot, even just in your back yard, to get a feel for how your lights work with your camera.

For camera movements, make sure you pick up a copy of Film Directing Shot by Shot : Visualizing from Concept to Screen by Steve Katz. This is litereally THE textbook on camera work. As such, don't limit yourself to what's in the textbook, but it's a great resource for learning the basics and getting ideas about planning.

Good luck.
Have fun!
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 5:09pm

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Cutty201

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Umm wow you guys.. wow I really appreciate teh tips. letm tink what other questions do I have. OH Um ... jeez those were i... um.. OH ACTUALLY Sound. I am gonna get a unidirectional mic for the boom mic and debating whether to get a soundboard / mixer. We are probably going to be using 2 or more cameras so I figured that we can get a sound board and we can use multiple mic's and adjust the sound to get as good enough and then feed that to all the camera's that way they all are getting the same feed to keep everything nice and sync'd well anyway suggestions on multiple cameras and als oon sound and boom mics and stuff. I have never worked with bom mic's and stuff so any advice would be good thanks smile
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 5:21pm

Post 22 of 27

anonymous

do u mind telling us the plot of ur movie? everyone is honest here and wont rip it off. i was just curios.
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 5:49pm

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padawanNick

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If you're doing your editing on a computer anyway, just record the sound directly into the cameras. A mixer is just going to add a pile of extra wires and headaches to your shoots.

The BIG thing to remember is that, for most movies, 99-100% of what you hear in the theater was NOT recorded on set!

(Rodreguez (Desparado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids) couldn't even record sound on the camera he used for his first movie, El Marachi. Once a scene was shot, he'd put the camera down, pull out a cassette tape deck and hold a mic to the actor's faces as they repeated their lines again. Then synced the best he could on a VCR during his editing phase.)

Dialog is usually re-recorded later (called ADR or looping).
Incidentals (paper rustling, footsteps, snaps, object movement, etc.) is typcically recorded in a controled environment (this is called "Foley" sound)
Of couse sound effects are ... well ... just effects.

Personal recommendation...
Get one good shotgun mic, maybe even just something from the Azden SMG line and use this with one camera. These come with a mount that will work on a pole or a camera.
Get the best sound you can on location, also record ambient sound. (Nobody talking or moving. There's still a lot of background noise to record.)
Then, any dialog that didn't quite work out can be recorded again later, and you can put the live background noise in with it to make it sound natural.

Have fun.
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 7:01pm

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Spanish Prisoner

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What I am testing now for my movie, is doing sound seperate from the cam. I take a MD Walkman and put my shotgun mic on it. When I start a scene I have someone holding the mic and someone filming (usually me). To get the right sync, someone just has to make a tap noice or use one of these:
Posted: Fri, 30th Apr 2004, 11:33pm

Post 25 of 27

Cutty201

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I want to get all teh dialog on the tape all the other sounds i dont have a problem adding the other sounds in later (I was sorta planning on it.)

to denise cookxcla:

Yep no problem:

It's an action movie like I stated and its not COMPLETELY realistic, it has some spots that were made "For the movies" but its about these two theives, but not just like shoplifters, we are talking like I can break into the CIA Building and extract top secret files kind of contract theives. Anywho the main character (sorta) is "The Midnighter" (hence the title "Escape of the Midnighter") and his partner Dave, who usually sets up the deals and is the wheelman. Anyway the Midnighter is #1 on the Authorities "Needs to be Stopped" list so they setup a sting operation and set try to set the Midnighter and Dave up on a mission and catch them in the act using a crime boss type character who they have made a deal with. In the mean time Dave falls in love with the undercover Agent who was a part of setting up this whole operation. I don't want to go into detail what happens and ruin the ending but Its a pretty fun script. The dialog between dave and the girl gets quite humerous at times, there is a corny underlying love scene and two major action sequences. I, The Midnighter, do not have many lines because origianlly my brother informed me he wanted to create some mystique around the character and just make me come off as badass and mysterious and sneaky...and that I might not sound bad ass enough however I get a couple of one liners, I am hoping my main line and 'll catch on like the "I'll be back" or any of Bruce Campbell's but we'll see. If you want to check out our test footage for our "air bullets" we came up wiht our own method and workup tell me what ya think:

http://atlantis.nwngamers.com/hobobillybonb.avi ya my bro edited and decided to give our test footage a story smile
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2004, 2:04am

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Xel

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Hm, blue gel, that's a neat idea. I've been trying to wait for the next Full Moon, but I guess maybe that's a smarter idea. smile

The probably though would be making very large shots look moonlit too.. color correction prolly won't work too well on plain ol' darkness.. Hrm. Back to the drawing board. (Damn you moon, come out and play!!)

-Xel
Posted: Sun, 2nd May 2004, 2:36am

Post 27 of 27

Cutty201

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Ya how does the gel work would someone explain that to me. Do I gety this gel and smear it on my lens (protector) then let it dry film... then peel it off and throw it away? Also where do I get this gel. and dont i need a pressure contraption to take all teh air bubbles out of it. INFO PPL INFO!!!