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

Reply to Thread
Page 582 of 588 FirstFirst ... 82482532572578579580581582583584585586 ... LastLast
Results 5,811 to 5,820 of 5880
  1. #5811  
    Turned out really well, judging from the parts I watched. You should be proud!
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #5812  
    Many thanks David, I really appreciate it!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #5813  
    Senior Member Ryan Purcell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    124
    Hi David. I'm a Seattle based DP and have shot about 10 low budget features and have recently been reading "Directing Actors" by Judith Weston. It has a pretty good section about breaking down the script from a directors point of view. A lot of it seems like it would transfer over. What is your process in terms of breaking down a script beyond just the basics? Finding the key images that would illuminate the script seems to be key. Do you comb through the script looking for strong images? How much do you dig into the script and how much does the director drive?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #5814  
    Before I get too far down the rabbit hole, I talk to the director to get a sense of their vision for the project, even if it's just a few pointers or things they want to avoid. That narrows things down.

    There is also a chance that the production designer has already been hired and there are reference photos and artwork that they have already come up with working with the director.

    Otherwise, the process of breaking down the script always starts from the general to the specific, you have to figure out the big brushstrokes first. Visual rules have to be very simple in order to track day to day when shooting. Sidney Pollack used to develop his scripts around a simple concept, like "freedom versus possessions" in "Out of Africa", so every scene comments on that conflict in some way. This is why a shot of the crates of china being shipped on the train in the first scene is so important. When Coppola did "Apocalypse Now" and Storaro at first declined the job because he couldn't figure out how to shoot a war movie, Coppola told him that it was a story about civilization, not war, and to read "Heart of Darkness". From this, Storaro developed the visual plan for the movie, that it was a conflict between the West and the East, between artificial energies and natural energies, which is why the night scenes with the U.S. Army are lit with search lamps or lots of tungsten lamps, to make it feel like they are an intrusion on the natural light of the jungle.

    I generally haven't come up with themes so big, but when I did "Astronaut Farmer", my visual plan was the juxtaposition of the Old West and the 1950's space age, with a heavy dose of Norman Rockwell.

    When portraying some of the office spaces in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", I refer to the look from 50's advertising as "industrial optimism" and use that as a guide.

    Often I look at a story and notice that it is structured in two ways -- some are a journey from A to B, some are a journey back and forth between A and B. So I start out playing a mental game of extreme opposites -- wide-angle versus telephoto, moving versus static, warm versus cold, etc. -- just to get my ideas flowing. Usually these ideas are too crude and obvious at first but as you get more specific, you realize how quickly they get diluted so you have to start out with strong, simple ideas. Probably if you thought "everything in this scene will be blue", by the time you shoot, maybe 50% would be blue, which might be better... but if you had started out wanting 50% blue, you might end up with 25% blue.

    So as I said, some stories develop from one look to another look, some juxtapose two looks against each other, and a few just have the same tone throughout. The story would be your guide. For example, look at horror films. Many move from Realism to Expressionism, everything seems normal, even mundane, at first and then things start to slide into horror and by the end, everything is stylized. But some horror movies just create a unique world right from the start ("Sleepy Hollow" for example, but even there, it moves into darker territory as the story unfolds.) Or look at "Seven", which has an overall grim and sad tone but certain sequences are heightened visually.

    So with some overall visual arcs in mind, based on a feeling for the script, you start to look at individual scenes and finding ways of reinforcing your visual plan. It might mean something as making sure an interior dusk scene has a strong blue cast outside the windows versus a warm golden sunset -- the scene itself might just say "early evening" with no indication of what that means in terms of the color of the sky, just that it is a transition between a day and a night scene. You might even just look for ways of creating some visual interest through variation -- for example, if you have a series of tungsten-lit night interiors that will probably be warm and the characters go to a night club, you might decide to use strong blues and greens in the club lighting to contrast with the warmth of the other scenes, if that chance in tone helps with the story.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5815  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn
    Posts
    8,789
    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    Before I get too far down the rabbit hole, I talk to the director to get a sense of their vision for the project, even if it's just a few pointers or things they want to avoid. That narrows things down.

    There is also a chance that the production designer has already been hired and there are reference photos and artwork that they have already come up with working with the director.

    Otherwise, the process of breaking down the script always starts from the general to the specific, you have to figure out the big brushstrokes first. Visual rules have to be very simple in order to track day to day when shooting. Sidney Pollack used to develop his scripts around a simple concept, like "freedom versus possessions" in "Out of Africa", so every scene comments on that conflict in some way. This is why a shot of the crates of china being shipped on the train in the first scene is so important. When Coppola did "Apocalypse Now" and Storaro at first declined the job because he couldn't figure out how to shoot a war movie, Coppola told him that it was a story about civilization, not war, and to read "Heart of Darkness". From this, Storaro developed the visual plan for the movie, that it was a conflict between the West and the East, between artificial energies and natural energies, which is why the night scenes with the U.S. Army are lit with search lamps or lots of tungsten lamps, to make it feel like they are an intrusion on the natural light of the jungle.

    I generally haven't come up with themes so big, but when I did "Astronaut Farmer", my visual plan was the juxtaposition of the Old West and the 1950's space age, with a heavy dose of Norman Rockwell.

    When portraying some of the office spaces in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", I refer to the look from 50's advertising as "industrial optimism" and use that as a guide.

    Often I look at a story and notice that it is structured in two ways -- some are a journey from A to B, some are a journey back and forth between A and B. So I start out playing a mental game of extreme opposites -- wide-angle versus telephoto, moving versus static, warm versus cold, etc. -- just to get my ideas flowing. Usually these ideas are too crude and obvious at first but as you get more specific, you realize how quickly they get diluted so you have to start out with strong, simple ideas. Probably if you thought "everything in this scene will be blue", by the time you shoot, maybe 50% would be blue, which might be better... but if you had started out wanting 50% blue, you might end up with 25% blue.

    So as I said, some stories develop from one look to another look, some juxtapose two looks against each other, and a few just have the same tone throughout. The story would be your guide. For example, look at horror films. Many move from Realism to Expressionism, everything seems normal, even mundane, at first and then things start to slide into horror and by the end, everything is stylized. But some horror movies just create a unique world right from the start ("Sleepy Hollow" for example, but even there, it moves into darker territory as the story unfolds.) Or look at "Seven", which has an overall grim and sad tone but certain sequences are heightened visually.

    So with some overall visual arcs in mind, based on a feeling for the script, you start to look at individual scenes and finding ways of reinforcing your visual plan. It might mean something as making sure an interior dusk scene has a strong blue cast outside the windows versus a warm golden sunset -- the scene itself might just say "early evening" with no indication of what that means in terms of the color of the sky, just that it is a transition between a day and a night scene. You might even just look for ways of creating some visual interest through variation -- for example, if you have a series of tungsten-lit night interiors that will probably be warm and the characters go to a night club, you might decide to use strong blues and greens in the club lighting to contrast with the warmth of the other scenes, if that chance in tone helps with the story.
    This is so great, thanks David.
    Nick Morrison
    Founder, Director & Lead Creative
    // SMALL GIANT //
    smallgiant.tv
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5816  
    Senior Member joshua csehak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    424
    Okay, I've got a question. Let's say Amazon came to you and was like, "Dave baby – great job but Jeff wants all his money to go into SpaceX, so we're cutting the Maisel budget. Your entire G&E kit needs to fit in a one-ton." Would you say no way? Or could you still shoot something decent with compromises? If so, what would you bring?
    http://www.magicgoggles.com

    Red Epic Dragon #7703 "Ilsa"
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #5817  
    It’s a strange hypothetical if for some reason, the budget for sets, costumes, and NYC locations remained the same and yet they only wanted to shoot all of that with a tiny G&E package. Sure, I could make it look good — many scenes are already lit with minimal lights — but you wouldn’t have the occasional “big” scene like in a period nightclub set with a floorshow going on. You needs lots of lights for a set like that, so no experienced producer would put a cinematographer in the position where a big night club set is created but it’s expected to be lit by a couple of Litemats. So smaller budget means smaller sets, smaller scenes, etc. and I’d light them at the same quality as I did before. It’s just about scale.

    The best-looking scenes in the show are not necessarily the ones that used the most lights, or the biggest lights.

    A shot like this, for example, is just lit with a small LED hidden in the phone booth, augmented by a 750w Source-4 Leko bounced into the wall next to the phone, plus a Litemat 1 under the lens for fill and another one armed out as a backlight, plus a small light in the background hitting the wall:


    And this one is just lit by the practicals in the shot:


    But this shot took a 2K coming through every fourth arch, so it ended up being over 20 lamps in a row. So that's hard to do on a much smaller budget. However, maybe I could have done it with 1K's coming through every fifth arch and stopping after 10, and pushing the camera to 1250 or 1600 ISO and shooting at a T/1.9 (I think I shot this at 1000 ISO at T/2.0-2.8 split.)


    But the thing is, we shot this at the Palais Royal in Paris -- so why spend the money to fly to Paris and shoot at this palace, and then tell the cinematographer that they only get a handful of small lights?
    Last edited by David Mullen ASC; 02-04-2019 at 12:54 AM.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #5818  
    Senior Member Aaron Green's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    147
    David, sorry if this has been asked, but im so curious what you use as key lighting for scenes in the Weisman’s apartment.
    Aaron Green - Chicago, IL
    DRAGON X
    www.instagram.com/aaronkgreen
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #5819  
    Senior Member joshua csehak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    424
    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    So smaller budget means smaller sets, smaller scenes, etc. and I’d light them at the same quality as I did before. It’s just about scale.
    Sorry if it's a weird question! I guess I'm trying to figure out: on projects I get hired on, budgets allow for a sprinter or a one-ton and that's about it. So I'm trying to learn how to best use the resources I've got. On the last film I shot we only had a sprinter and it was almost all set in one house, so I didn't really feel like I was lacking in lights, but I know you would've made it look ten times better at the same budget, and also would've identified situations where more/different units would've helped. But it's hard to even articulate what questions to ask to learn how you would've done things better.

    That makes sense though that it's just about scale. It's probably also about making lots of mistakes. But I want to know everything NOW, dammit :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Green View Post
    David, sorry if this has been asked, but im so curious what you use as key lighting for scenes in the Weisman’s apartment.
    Not sure exactly what you're looking for, but did you see his answer on pg 580?
    http://www.magicgoggles.com

    Red Epic Dragon #7703 "Ilsa"
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #5820  
    What I use for a key partly depends on how close the actors are to the windows where the lights outside might be doing a lot of the work, but when the actors are more in the middle of the room, most of the time I use a Litemat for the key, maybe through a diffusion frame. Sometimes I bounce a tungsten lamp, especially for a ceiling top light effect.
    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