Session Three: Camera, Lighting and Grip
Review and Start-Up
- Paige's account of being a sound mixer
- Last time -- Editing
- Review for Paige
- Lingering questions on editing?
- If anyone who wants to try editing themselves, we can make the footage available (as long as that's acceptable to Cecily and Erin).
- The workshop so far...
- Questions? Thing we haven't covered that you'd like to explore?
- Things that are going well? Things we could do better?
- Any ideas on how to share this info?
Using camera to tell the story:
Scaling Performance to Camera
- How much the camera reveals - Show clips from auditions.
- RETURN TO OUR CLASS SCENE: Cycle everyone through as The Visitor, one at a time, theater vs. film scale.
Working with the camera department
Demo of how the actor's interaction with the camera department works
- Who's in the camera department:
- Cinematographer (sometimes called "director of photography" or "DP," but find out what title they want, because this can be touchy -- especially "DP" for older cinematographers)
- In addition to the camera department, the cinematographer also
- Camera Operator
- Move so that the camera can keep up with you, and/or keep the operator apprised of what you're planning to do (stand up, sit down, lean in/out, etc.).
- First camera assistant -- In charge of focus, turning camera on and off
- Second camera assistant -- Bangs the slate, helps rest of the department
- Camera department must work quickly and efficiently; it may seem like a slow process, but it’s not nearly as slow as they might want.
Chris Baffa's advice to a stuntman friend who got an on-screen acting job:
- Set up complicated blocking (including standing up and/or sitting down)
- Have volunteers get/set marks
- Let volunteer operators try to follow the action.
Finding the lens: Anatomy of a Murder and The Maltese Falcon
- At home, practice hitting marks.
- Listen to what everyone tells you.
- Cameras are getting more and more light-sensitive, so that it sometimes seems like no lighting is being done.
- Turner Classic Movie shoots: Old-time Hollywood actors would come in and think we weren’t serious, because the lighting was too dim.
- Three-point lighting.
- Finding the light (not the opposite of “losing the light”).
- Feel the light, don't let it get blocked or block anyone else's
- Demo of feeling the light.
Actors must find ways to accommodate the technology of filmmaking and make it fit into their characters' behavior.
- Sometimes, scene partners may not be able to get close enough to camera, so you'll have a piece of tape on the mattebox for your eyeline.
- Other times, crew will be moving around in a distracting way. (Hopefully, they'll know better -- but Christian Bale's notorious outburst on the set of Terminator Salvation was prompted by a crew member's repeated intrusions into the actor's eyeline during takes.)
- The camera will often be in your face, or bumping you in the shoulder.
- The Shining documentary - Interaction between Kubrick and Nicholson.
- Brazil - Huge pull-back; camera was undercranked, so Jonathan Pryce had to act in slow motion.
- Raging Bull - Big Steadicam move (also all of Birdman)
- Don’t think of parameters and restrictions as a limitation, think of them as an opportunity.
We did basic, very traditional coverage on our scene last week: master, over, over. If we’d had more time, we’d have done closeups, too.
- Punch Drunk Love
- Demo of overhead schematics to show camera placement for different set-ups. (Point Blank, Amelie.)
- Homework: Do an overhead schematic of the scene you chose to work on.
- Masters of Light (Dennis Schaefer)
- Visions of Light (DVD) - Documentary on the craft of cinematography, featuring interviews with many noted directors of photography.
- The Light on Her Face, Joseph Walker and Juanita Walker; Barbara Stanwyck (foreward)
- Film Lighting Technician's Handbook, Harry C. Box - Very advanced book about the tools and techniques of the lighting department.