I’ve been very impressed with the quality of questions asked by everyone who has booked a consultation with me thus far. Some have been in regards to a career path but most have been of a technical or logistical nature. The overwhelming impression I’m getting is that everyone wants to get better at their craft and is putting the work into achieving their goals.
I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to help out in even the smallest way. Example: A caller was having problems with green spill on reflective product shots and my suggestion was to turn off the green screen and do an old fashioned “matte pass” – white background/silhouette of subject. She tried it and was pleased with the outcome. I also had a lengthy discussion about where to go to get a start in production. He thought Los Angeles and I pitched other regions in the US that were making more movies without a large and hungry crew base. Lots of questions about light meters, exposure and why I might prefer one F-Stop over another. My answer: if depth of field doesn’t play a part in the storytelling, and there is enough light to dictate any setting – set a stop in the middle - as the lens looks best in this range. In other words stay away from 11, 16, 22 and 32. This led to a productive discussion about how to manage the F-Stop with neutral density filters.
Lots of people ask questions about why green instead of blue screen, how to light the screen, how far should the subject be from it, managing spill and how to expose for a good result. It’s difficult to relay all of this information in an all day seminar much less a 20 minute session! But we try, and I never stick to the 20 minutes anyway.
How does one come up with the “look” for a project? This is a recurring question and one that I will do a video about one day. This is all about your creative process that starts first with the written word. React visually to the story, the characters and the time and place. It can’t be stated more simply; and it is this interpretive process that sets one Cinematographer apart from another. Once you have an idea for the look - commit to it, sell it and try to make it work within your budgetary constraints! (Try to have some fun too!)
To Be Continued…Return to Musings