Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shooting for the Scene Assignment

     When it came time for me to choose a camera for my scene assignment, it became extremely clear that I should use one of the DSLRs. I wanted to work with one of these cameras to learn how to use them and to see what capabilities they have. We chose to work with a T2i, since it is a little more lightweight and accessible. It could shoot what we needed, and it would do it with ease.
      Although the main goal for this project was to learn how to work with the camera and a director of photography, I wanted to convey so much more. I wanted to convey the meaning of light, which would be great for the T2i to handle, since it and the rest of the DSLRs can make even the smallest amount of light beautiful.

I had an inside scene and an outside scene. The inside scene needed to be vastly different from the inside scene. I wanted it to be ugly and gray. The DSLR can handle this type of manipulation with the correct light and ISO setting. The inside shows what light does not actually look like, because light is not gray and muted.
     I could also place things in the background and create a space without them being in total focus. If I had chosen the EX3 or JVC HM100u, I would have had problems with the incorrect things being in focus. I can crush it and make the subjects look cinematic.

 The above pictures are part of the inside scene, however, these so a distinct difference between the two. We shot at around 4 or 5 for these two shots. The DSLR handles the orange light beautifully. The best part is it picks up the light on the side of her face and on her hair. Colors are now vibrant with the amount of light the iris can take in.

     The best part of a T2i?
     I can shoot late, around six or seven, and have shots like this one, with all the color, all the light. The camera can manipulate it and make everything so beautiful.

     I can continue on about why the T2i was the right choice for my project, but I feel I need to touch on the EX3, my second favorite camera. Why is it one of my favorite cameras? It shoots on tape, which means it can shoot for a long period of time with physical evidence that cannot necessarily be deleted. It can also shoot a lot longer than the T2i, since the DSLRs heat up much faster than the rest of the cameras. The EX3 also delivers a somewhat gritty picture that I go for in some of my work. It's great for run-and-guns as well. However, the T2i would win out over the EX3 for me almost any day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Make a Pretty Picture

     Camera choices become harder with each passing day as technology advances. Right now, I'm struggling with the decision of whether to buy the T2i or spend more to get the T3i. Although these are both Canon DSLRs, both have different perks to them, T2i being its price tag.
     I would have to say that choosing a camera, though, has to do more with what meaning you are attempting to go for. I like grainy material, things that look like they've been shot with an old film camera. To get that now-a-days, I have to get something that has good gain on it. My first response to this would be the JVC HM100u. However, I despise this camera. It is almost too automatic for my tastes. Great for run-and-gun. Horrible for any narrative film. It does have a manual setting, but the picture quality is still "ugly," as I say. This is probably not a camera I will shoot with again.    
     If I needed something like the JVC HM100u, though, I would get the Sony HDV. It shoots beautifully yet still has close to the same settings as the JVC.  But my second personal favorite camera is the Sony EX3. I like to capture with tape. It's continuous and gives me the look that I want. Although the log and transfer is difficult, it still gives me the picture quality I look for when I'm shooting one of my "gritty" narrative films.
     But my first favorite camera is a DSLR, any of them. I like to work with focus and low lighting, so this is the perfect camera for me. I can pull beautiful focus on my subjects and get the nicest light at 7:30 PM when the sun is literally about to set. I enjoy playing around with this camera, because there is so much you can do. Match it with a Zeiss prime, and you have yourself one of the prettiest pictures.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's Move

     It is, at times, completely unnoticeable. Yet is so essential to telling the story that it cannot  be over looked. Camera movement is possibly one of the most important elements of film. Rather than me sit here and continually pound this idea into your head, let me show you.

     Love Interruption by Jack White has been a large influence for my creativity lately. First off, it's Jack White. If that's not an influence, I'm not sure what is. Secondly, this video is very awesome. From the color scale to the camera work, it's a solid piece. But what attracts me to this video the most is the camera movement. The song is a blues song about love not interrupting the character's life. To convey this, the camera is dollied around the two subjects. However this isn't an ordinary dolly. They use a shaky dolly to convey the unsure ground the character lives on. Everything, in fact, is very shaky. It makes the whole thing seem so chaotic. You are paying attention, because the camera is almost constantly moving.

     I watch a lot of music videos, because they are the most inspiring to me. There is only a limited amount of time to convey a meaning, therefore cinematographers pack large amounts of information into that time period. With this in mind, Elliott Sellers packs as much as he can in Jason Mraz's I Won't Give Up lyric video. Sellers has a certain style that is a little bit off the beaten path. However, in this video, the beginning has more interesting camera movement to establish the location. The jerkiness is almost like a person is picking something up that has an eye and starts to walk around to look at the different items. Then, the zooming starts. This is how he gets the viewer's eye to look at the lyrics. At the end of the video, the lyrics are shapes of stars. There is fast pace panning to show the different lyrics, which shows that the song is climaxing. His camera movements are slow and convey the story of not giving up on love. It makes the video simple yet adds so much.

     I prefer simple camera work. You don't need a lot to get a viewer's attention, unless it's something not too noticeable. Handheld works for what I usually aim for. This is because I want things to look like you're actually watching it with your own eye. But handheld is extremely tricky, and you have to know how to work with it. Therefore, sometimes it does not work. The best example of this is the opening scene of The Hunger Games. I understand they were attempting to show you from Katniss Everdeen's point of view, but it does not work. In fact, you get sick and have to turn away. They needed better establishing shots. Tripod to handheld indicates that something big is about to happen. In the opening scene of the movie, nothing huge is going to happen except establishment. Therefore, it is not needed.