Click here to go to the first RED TEAM post in this thread.   Thread: Ask David Mullen ANYTHING

Reply to Thread
Page 438 of 572 FirstFirst ... 338388428434435436437438439440441442448488538 ... LastLast
Results 4,371 to 4,380 of 5716
  1. #4371  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    961
    A lot of very classical directors don't mind crossing the line, even when it should be disorienting. Clint Eastwood seems to cross it from time to time and he's pretty classical. Lots of action directors go nuts. In the last scene in Casablanca there's a famous blatant line cross to get a better reaction shot. Lots of directors have no problem crossing the line. Does it bug you because you read it's bad to do or are you actually spatially confused? If you are confused, how bad a tradeoff is that relative to the other options: omitting the angle entirely, using a convoluted dolly move or eyeline shift to motivate the change of eyeline, etc?

    There are plenty of times when crossing the line is no problem: any time it's done with a dolly move through the line it's fine; if there's a strong match on action it's okay; if a new line is established by a change in eyeline it's always fine; if you cut to an angle that is exactly on the line or a really wide new master with opposite screen direction, you can take coverage from another side cleanly.

    The 180 line is almost ALWAYS on an eyeline, usually between two people. It can also be a line of implicit motion, like the path of someone who is running or a vehicle. But among a group of people, eyelines can intersect so you get some cuts that are clean between two specific shots, but then a third shot might intercut with one but not the other, like hinge shot between a group of three people or something. I think logistically dinner table scenes are the worst since you need to get more interesting than shooting from just one side, but you have so many different eyelines. The scenes in Drag Me to Hell and The Haunting are very elegant, but I haven't had a change to think about how they were shot. But in these instances you can break the 180 rule over and over and no one notices if you cut cleanly, because even if you follow continuity editing to the letter it's about eyelines, not about a single line you can't cross.

    There's a pretty cool book I'm hoping to read, Grammar of the Film Language, that deals with keeping camera placement spatially coherent, but I'm just too lazy to read a 700 page book on this right now. But if you really want to avoid crossing the line, this book has some good advice and maybe after I read it I'll retract my thoughts on it. But if you adhere blindly to the 180 rule you'll get some boring old coverage; if you ignore it entirely and just cut super fast you'll get equally boring spatially incoherent action.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #4372  
    thanks for the responses, very informative.

    David one of the things you mentioned made me think of another good question:
    many dp's/directors use very subtle (not always I guess) and subconscious effects to convey shifts of some sort, i.e. a shift in regards to the character's emotions or story line, etc. This is basically using cinematography in a very advanced way to subtley and subliminally convey certain things.
    An example would be for instance in King's Speech all those wide angle closeup shots that make you feel uneasy in a sort of claustrophobic way or the previously discussed (in this thread I believe) coverage shots in the same movie where Colin Firth's character is positioned in a very awkward part of the frame, i.e. facing left but also sitting at the very left of the frame thus not giving his eyeline any room to breath - a deliberate trick to convey unease and other subtle and complex cues.
    These things interest me greatly, the MOST interesting one I've personally heard of or read about came from an american cinematographer issue on Biutiful (at least I'm almost certain that was the movie) with Rodrigo Prieto. It discussed how they went from spherical to anamorphic lenses in the middle of the movie, a technique I've never heard used before. They did this to convey a dramatic change in the character and his scope/outlook on life etc.
    These sort of very complex cinematography tricks interest me greatly and so I was wondering if you could name some of your favorite devices such as these, whether ones you've used yourself or your favorite from other masters of cinematography?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #4373  
    There are examples that run the whole gamut of choices, the most extreme being a switch from color to b&w for example -- "Nixon" for example has two layers of flashbacks going through, one is the immediate past leading up to the resignation and the other covers Nixon's life from childhood, and there are different stocks, etc. for all of this -- but sometimes there is a change within the same scene to create some feeling of the fractured mental state of Nixon on the night he decides to resign.

    Sometimes the shifts in other movies deal with choices of focal lengths -- "Prince of the City", for example, either goes from wide-angles to long lenses or the reverse as the story goes. Lumet often does this in his movie, restrict the focal lengths to certain sections -- for example, in "Murder on the Orient Express" you see the same scenes repeated as flashbacks as Poirot recounts his interviews with the suspects in the train, but the repeated scenes are shot with very wide-angle lenses.

    But other subtle effects... well, there are handheld close-ups in Deckard's apartment in "Blade Runner" which don't move much, the subtle movement creates a feeling of tension between the actors, as if something is about to happen.

    Of course, color design and lighting often are used symbolically or emotionally, a lens flare at a key moment may suggest unease or enlightenment.

    Speaking of eyelines, you'll note that in "Silence of the Lambs" many of the key dialogue scenes between Hannibal Lector and Clariss Starling in the prison have the actors in single close-ups almost staring right into the lens rather than off to one side, creating a disturbing feeling that you are looking into their souls (or that Lector is looking into Starling's soul at least...)

    Another example is "Kiss of the Spider Woman" where the director tried to shoot the two main characters in separate shots all the time, saving shots where the two are in the same frame together for later as their connection to each other develops. So shooting someone "clean", unconnected visually to the person that they are talking to, can have the effect of symbolizing their lack of connection, their distance.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #4374  
    thank you David.
    Quick random question, how much light do CTB/CTO take off of a light? I can't find the info anywhere, let's say a full CTB/CTO?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4375  
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Dmitriyev View Post
    thank you David.
    Quick random question, how much light do CTB/CTO take off of a light? I can't find the info anywhere, let's say a full CTB/CTO?
    Basically the same as 80A (blue) and 85B (orange) camera filters, nearly 2-stops for Full Blue and 2/3-stop for Full Orange... But the gel manufacturers can supply you with actual transmission figures.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #4376  
    Have you ever tried the Tiffen 80C, 80D Hot Mirror's? They don't go all the way to 3400, but Tiffen claims only 1 stop loss for the 80C (3800), and 1/3 for the D.

    Cheers.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #4377  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    744
    David, on the topic of screen direction and crossing the line. Have you found doing this creates problems with the lighting setup. Not just that the lights may have to be moved because they now may be in shot but because it may look flat or bad from the reverse angle. Assuming you have time to re-light for it, do you find it's a compromise between what looks good and matching the original screen direction lighting? These have been of observations.
    #6544
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #4378  
    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Sterrett View Post
    Have you ever tried the Tiffen 80C, 80D Hot Mirror's? They don't go all the way to 3400, but Tiffen claims only 1 stop loss for the 80C (3800), and 1/3 for the D.

    Cheers.
    No, I haven't tried them.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #4379  
    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Sterrett View Post
    Have you ever tried the Tiffen 80C, 80D Hot Mirror's? They don't go all the way to 3400, but Tiffen claims only 1 stop loss for the 80C (3800), and 1/3 for the D.

    Cheers.
    I've used the 80C and the loss is 1 stop, but never the 80C hot mirror. Would the hot mirror component really not lose any light, making the 80C HM equal in stop loss to the 80C?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #4380  
    Quote Originally Posted by scott william View Post
    David, on the topic of screen direction and crossing the line. Have you found doing this creates problems with the lighting setup. Not just that the lights may have to be moved because they now may be in shot but because it may look flat or bad from the reverse angle. Assuming you have time to re-light for it, do you find it's a compromise between what looks good and matching the original screen direction lighting? These have been of observations.

    I don't think that's a "line" issue, just a reverse angle issue. Funny thing is that if you do key a person from the direction that they are looking, then when you do the reverse angle on the same line, you'll find that the key is coming from the same place for that person, who will also be looking in that direction. So sometimes when you do a "fake" reverse angle (you know, where to same time if the background is non-descript etc. you just have the actors spin around on their marks) you find that you have to now flip the key light to the other side of the actors to feel like you are shooting the reverse angle.

    The main reason you have to relight reverse angles is more the background, which you didn't light because the camera and crew were there. That's the bulk of the work because often the key lights for the actors just have to be moved slightly for the reverse, otherwise they are all right there -- but you may have an entire room in the background of the reverse angle to light, not to mention, get all of the equipment, the crew, the video village, the sound cart, etc. moved out of the shot... because everyone wants to be as close as possible to the action.

    Often for the actors, the key light, if a 3/4 frontal soft light for example, just has to slide over a few feet to keep it 3/4 for the reverse person, or else it would be 1/4 and probably sticking into the shot. Backlights and fill have to flip to the other side though.

    Sometimes you are asked to shoot simultaneous over-the-shoulders with two cameras almost pointed at each other. Obviously that can get a bit tricky -- outside in natural light, it's not so hard, especially if you don't have to glamorize anyone's close-up, but inside with lighting, you have to think a bit. If the two actors who are facing each other are being keyed by a practical source between them -- let's say it is a big floor lamp with a shade, or both have a window to one side with soft daylight coming through, or are standing by a lightbox with a milkglass top and light coming from below, etc. -- by which I mean that if the source sticks into the shot in either person's over-the-shoulder shot, it's OK, then it's not hard to shoot the two overs at the same time.

    But if you aren't so lucky, then often you have to key them from just above or below the frame line. A common approach is to have two soft key lights almost side-by-side, above and between the actors, but angled to light the face of each actor from a 3/4 angle. Fincher has done this in movies like "Fight Club" and "Social Network" to shoot both sides of a conversation at the same time. It can be a bit "toppy" since it has to be above the frame line, but sometimes if you also put a soft eyelight next to each camera, it not only acts to fill in the faces but also creates a kicker light on the opposite actor, since that light is behind them.

    I don't have actual frame grabs to show you, but these images from online sort of show how Cronenweth lit this dialogue scene in "Social Network" with soft 3/4 frontal "cross keys" in the profile 2-shot that also allowed overs to be shot simultaneously (though I don't think they also shot the profile 2-shot at the same time -- at some point, it becomes a sound problem with so many background extras having to move around for every angle at the same time...)





    Now if a high key light is motived, like from an overhead source, then it's easy to do simultaneous overs if the actors can just stand under a large Chinese Lantern, for example. I just did that the other day but I got away with it because I was shooting two male actors who didn't need any glamorizing in their close-ups.

    I think the real conundrum, and probably what you are thinking of, is when you have a really strong backlight in one person's close-up -- in the reverse angle, the other actor would be brightly front-lit. It's the same issue when shooting outdoors in the sun. In "Casino" there is a confrontation between DeNiro and Pesci in the desert that Scorsese shot simultaneous close-ups so one actor is in frontal sunlight and the other is backlit. Other times, people will arrange things so that both actors are backlit in their close-ups. There's a shot in "Out of Africa" where Redford and Streep are strolling in the woods backlit by the late afternoon sun (when he tells her that their mutual friend Berkleey is dying of fever) -- she stops and spins her back to camera to hug Redford... they cut to the reverse angle and she is backlit by the sun in her close-up, when in real life she would now be front-lit.

    To some degree you get away with this for two reasons: one, it's still natural light so audiences don't perceive this as looking artificial, and two, the visual change between a face front-lit by hard sunlight and backlit by the sun is so jarring in terms of contrast, saturation, look, etc. that often the intercuts are smoother-looking if both angles are backlit, though completely illogical.

    Now this gets us back inside when doing a hot backlit ala Robert Richardson -- do you let the reverse angle be hotly front-lit because that's logical, or do you flip the backlight on the reverse angle so the opposite person is backlit also? There's no hard rule here. To some degree, it depends on how it looks to the camera. If the backlit person has a window behind them justifying the backlight, then you would probably let the reverse angle be front-lit since it's obvious that the person is facing the windowlight, it can't be coming from behind them. But you'd probably soften the hard light in that reverse angle unless it looked interesting.

    But if you are in the middle of a room and can justify the hot backlight as coming from a skylight in the ceiling above the frame, or some stage-like practical spotlamp, then it's easier to just keep the reverse angle backlit and get away with it.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts