Stirring & Stylish: Distinctively Dark Imagery

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

One thing I never want to see on a scout…

In Shoots on July 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I awake at night, a cold sweat upon my forehead.  It was only a nightmare…or was it.

Not only are fuses difficult to deal with, and an additional cost each time one blows, but they speak  to the general age and condition of a building’s electrical wiring.  If I don’t have a dedicated and ticketed electrician on my crew (meaning I can’t tie directly into house power bypassing the fuse box), and I need house power then seeing one of these fuse boxes on a scout makes my heart sink.

By the numbers I should be able to draw 1800 watts from a 15 amp circuit, assuming 120 volts.  But, older circuits can be touchy and I am hesitant to even approach this number.  I want to stay down around 1200-1300 watts max.

Also, older buildings tend to have fewer circuits in total, so total electrical capacity is reduced even further.  In a case like this having access to outside power, such as a generator is handy, but not always viable, especially on lower budget shows.  Careful consideration of the lighting design is a must, and will save time, exasperation, and fuses.  This is one of the major values of a good technical scout.  I am able to both get a sense for how I can light the space to make it look great as well as get information on the technical limitations of the location.

Like a bad penny, you keep popping up.

Vancouver Short Film Festival

In Updates on July 22, 2010 at 1:58 am

I’ve been doing some work with a great group of folks at the Vancouver Short Film Festival, and we wanted to make sure you know that submissions are due by Aug. 1.

Don’t wait!  Visit the website for more details.

One finds the most interesting things on a scout.

In Inspiration on July 20, 2010 at 7:26 am

But, tell us what you really think.

Today I was location scouting, and came across these three posters plastered up on a construction site plywood fence.  In and of themselves they’re unremarkable, but someone took the initiative to give an unsolicited band review with the aid of a Jiffy Marker.

This got me thinking about the band, and how difficult it must be for them to make any strides in their careers.  Do they really suck?  I don’t know, I’m not familiar with their music.  Likely they work very hard trying to promote themselves, write and practice their music, book shows, and perform, not to mention all of the other business that must surround any creative endeavour.  Then, after the incalculable man hours it must have taken to get to the point where the band could place these posters in such a well planned position, out of nowhere somebody who’s likely never heard of the band scribbles across the poster cruelly turning them from a promo piece into a joke.  I laughed.  All that hard work dashed apart in an instant.  It’s sort of sad.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t have noticed the posters if the marker wielding mystery man hadn’t taken it upon himself to throw in his two cents.  True, I laughed when I saw them, but I wouldn’t have even noticed the posters without the punch line sprawled across them.  Maybe he did the band a favour.  Maybe now that you’ve seen the photo of the posters you’ll be curious about the music, and want to check out what the band is really all about.  Do they suck?  Maybe you’ll want to decide for yourself.  Maybe the band will win a new fan who doesn’t think their music sucks.  In fact, a fan would think just the opposite.  Maybe then, the joke is on the editorialist.  Maybe he and his nay-saying marker suck.  Maybe.

Quarterly Update – July 2010

In Updates on July 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

Every quarter I deliver an update on what’s new with and in my work. This quarter I’m focusing on my new and varied ways of communicating with you.

Please take a moment to view the update.

HIKE – a polarizing filter at work

In Shoots on July 11, 2010 at 4:44 am

I don’t want this blog to become a techies dream, but from time to time it’s important to discuss some aspect of filmmaking from that point of view. After all, film is a very technical medium.

On Wednesday I was off in the bush working on some B-roll footage for HIKE, a short horror film about…well I guess you’ll just have to see it for yourselves. One of the most useful tools for making daytime exteriors look great, especially when it’s sunny, is a polarizing filter. Looking at the two images the differences are quite clear. A polarizing filter blocks light vibrating in a particular plane. When the light emitted or reflected off an object vibrates all in the same plane (therefore the light is polarized), and one spins the polarizing filter to a perpendicular plane it blocks the polarized light. This is why some blue skies are darkened and the blue deepened when using a polarizer. The same is true for reflections off of water and glass. These direct reflections are called glare.

On an overcast day the polarizer’s effects are reduced, but it can still help reduce glare – darkening foliage and reducing reflections off of glass and water.

A polarizer is the first filter I would recommend anyone to put in his or her kit.

Shooting Exteriors

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2010 at 6:22 am

I’m shooting a series of exteriors for the short horror film HIKE tomorrow, and very much looking forward to chance to get outside now that the beautiful weather has arrived.

I’m hoping this will be a great chance to break out the polarizer. We’re shooting on the 5D, and with it’s limited dynamic range the sunshine might prove problematic. I’m expecting we’ll have to underexpose the image somewhat to keep the highlights within range, and with a pola we should be able to get some absurdly dark skies. Perfect for a horror film!

I’ll post up a few still from the days shoot on Thursday or Friday.

I will also try my best to remember my sunscreen! Burning bad, dark blue skies good!