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    'We Need to Talk' (F3 getting its Fincher on)
    #1
    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    The old F3 has been keeping busy lately. This one was an intense little single scene short film, for which the director's visual references came from Fincher's 'Mindhunter' and 'Gone Girl'. From these preliminary grades I'm pretty pleased with the results.



















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    Senior Member abreu-canedo's Avatar
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    Very nice! Thanks for sharing!

    How much did you bring the green into set vs. how much was it pushed in the grade?

    The reference hits home since I worked as a rigging electrician on Mindhunter.


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    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    The green is mostly from the grade. Though we did have a godawful greenish-daylight balanced street light playing in from across the road that I wasn't able to flag off safely.

    The whole thing was lit with clean tungsten, though that wasn't originally the plan. I was going to throw half CTB with full green in as 'streetlight' and use that for colour contrast with the warmer tungsten key from the window. However the blocking forced most of the dialogue to be delivered while the actors were looking away from each other and out to the street, and that caused me to chicken out.


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    Senior Member abreu-canedo's Avatar
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    We have lots of Mercury Vapor street lights where I live, and they are suuuper green. Well handled, though!

    That's a tough lighting scenario where actors are not always facing each other, backlit, up against the wall.

    Were you using mostly 1K's and 2Ks? Or did you have a gennie on set?


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    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    It's pretty awful, I hated all of our wider front-on shots (of which we had quite a few, due to the blocking). It was a lighting puzzle that I just couldn't quite solve on the day.

    The lighting plan I'd prepared in pre-production was based around our actors talking towards each other, with the window providing a usable key. But when that went out the door, and our coverage became primarily front-on (rather than from the sides), I was instantly robbed of my ability to create a sense of depth to those shots. If I could have pushed a stronger backlight out of the window for those shots, that might have helped considerably, but I couldn't do that without blowing out detail in the window, so it really hamstrung me.

    It's a puzzle I'm still pondering, as I have no doubt I'll run up against it again before too long. And it'd be good to have a solution in my backpocket 2nd time round.

    And I should have said "clean tungsten-balanced". We were shooting overnight in a quiet residential street, so a gennie was off the table. And the power available from the house was pathetic (I think I had two 16amp circuits in total). So I just used a few BBS Area48 remote phosphor LEDs with tungsten panels, and switched out the house lights for incandescent bulbs.

    The "lighter" gag, which is our opening shot of the film. Was achieved through running a 650w Dedolight through a Flickerbox, which was run through an inline dimmer (so that we could fade up a flickering back light motivated by the lighter. That was pretty much the only complicated setup of the night.


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    #6
    Director of Photography
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    One plan of attack would have been to add a tube under the eaves of the porch as a very subtle downlight for the wide shots. As you come closer for frontal coverage, replace that with as large a soft source you can make (which will also serve to flag off your errant streetlight) and keep it several 2-3 stops under key. Just enough to be able to read the faces for the frontal work. Then when you come around for the cross coverage, you can rotate that fill source as needed to keep it from being two side fills (aka "sandwich") which usually doesn't look great.
    Charles Papert
    charlespapert.com


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    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    One plan of attack would have been to add a tube under the eaves of the porch as a very subtle downlight for the wide shots. As you come closer for frontal coverage, replace that with as large a soft source you can make (which will also serve to flag off your errant streetlight) and keep it several 2-3 stops under key. Just enough to be able to read the faces for the frontal work. Then when you come around for the cross coverage, you can rotate that fill source as needed to keep it from being two side fills (aka "sandwich") which usually doesn't look great.
    Thanks Charles, would you be skirting off the tube and trying to make it feel like a back light (essentially reinforcing the light coming from the window) in those wide shots? Or would you simply be putting it in play in the wides to bring a little more life to the actors on the bench, and then discarding that it as a 'motivating source' entirely when you move into the closer coverage?

    Or are you suggesting a top-light would make a better source in this kind of scenario, where you've discovered that the blocking was going to thoroughly compromise the original lighting plan of keying from the window?


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