Trick Photography and Special Effects
Many optical effects are produced in camera, among them irising in and irising out (an effect that relies on literally manipulating the camera's iris, a technique already well established when Billy Bitzer (1872-1944) shot Broken Blossoms for Griffith in 1919 and blanking out areas of the field of view to emulate binoculars, telescopes, keyholes, gun sights, and similar shapes. Double exposure can be achieved in camera as well as in postproduction, by the simple expedient of rewinding the film and shooting over it again.
Production staffs see their films in professional motion-picture review rooms and the resulting television transfers on professional monitors with carefully adjusted, stable color and brightness settings. Most home viewers, however, watch the show on receivers which may be only casually adjusted and in a room with the lights on. Such viewing conditions act primarily to limit the picture contrast range which can be effectively reproduced in the home. Therefore, the director and cinematographer should be aware that the available range of photographic effects is limited, and film photography for television must be adapted to exploit those styles and techniques which are most effective for the home viewer.
Asphalt Jungle and Huston's next film, the severely abridged The Red Badge of Courage (1951), was equally stylish. Rosson was especially adept at close-ups, with the camera trained on the gang's strained faces for much of the robbery. Rosson's perspectival photography accentuates spatial trios within the frame, accentuating the depth of focus on the screen. These compositions reflect trio alliances in the story Cobby, Emmerich and Brannom Doc's three-man gang and Emmerich, his wife and mistress. Another distinctive photographic effect was The Asphalt Jungle's rain-slicked streets, an image borrowed from Carol Reed's The Third Man (1946), while a shining getaway car, reflecting the night lights, gleams as though it is infused with neon.
The following filter types are available in a wide range of grades useful in both color and black & white imaging. They have no recommended filter factors, but may require exposure compensation based on a several considerations. Filters that lower contrast or create flare, where contrast and or light intensity is higher, will do more for any given Many different techniques have been developed to diffuse image-forming light. Stronger versions can blur reality for a dream-like effect. In more subtle forms, diffusion can soften wrinkles to remove years from a face. The optical effects all involve bending a percentage of the image-forming light from its original path to defocus it.
Rosenstrasse begins with a montage of New York. Sisters, unusually beings with a tracking shot into the woods. This abstract image will recur throughout the film. The visual metaphor is unusual in 272 Von Trotta's work. More often she is straightforward with the images. Her narrative agenda is so considerable that she needs to devote the visuals to carrying us from narrative point to narrative point. In this sense, Von Trotta is not flashy visually but rather functional. She shows us what she needs to show us in order to follow the narrative. All else is excluded. Another quality of her visuals is that she prefers to focus on the performances rather than the visual power of a shot. Substance in her work triumphs over style.
Camera filters Symbol conversion or light balancing series CC Color Compensating series (Pages 124 and 125). El column is exposure compensation in T stops for filters. Camera filters Symbol conversion or light balancing series CC Color Compensating series (Pages 124 and 125). El column is exposure compensation in T stops for filters.
Either a reflected or incident exposure meter is satisfactory. When taking an exposure reading at the subject, remember that water acts as a filter so one must compensate for the distance between the camera and the subject and adjust accordingly. A rule of thumb is 4 to Vi stop. An underwater reflected light meter which works on a gray scale principle, such as the Sekonic Marine 164B is ideal. This type of meter requires no calibration after the shutter speed and the ASA rating have been set.
Your choice of exposure for a given negative (the f stop and shutter speed that you decide to use) should be based on the amount of detail you want in the darker areas of your finished print. If you want the shadow areas of your print to appear well lit and detailed, give the film more exposure in other words, either use a wider aperture or a slower shutter speed. If you want the shadow areas to be darker and less detailed, give the film less exposure use a smaller aperture or faster shutter speed.
In this example I'll use the shutter speed as my Reference Reading so I entered 1 30 in the box provided for that purpose. 5. The next step is to take a careful meter reading of the Important Highlight Area (previsualized as Zone VII) using the same shutter speed as the previous reading. In this example the reading is 1 30 sec f 22. shutter speeds
Meter both of these areas using either an aperture or a shutter speed as a reference For example your two meter readings might be In this example, the shutter speed of 1 30 is your Reference Reading the two apertures are your Measurement Readings. APERATURES SHUTTER SPEEDS
If your camera is equipped with an automatic built-in meter, you will either have to set it to its manual setting or override the automatic function otherwise when you stop down one stop, the meter will automatically change the shutter speed to one step slower in order to maintain its Zone V exposure. Check your owner's manual if you are not clear on how this is done with your camera. See page 74 for a discussion of how to override automatic built-in light meters.
He made his screen debut in Moliere in 1909, at the same time reluctantly accepting a job in a law office and hoping to make his mark on the stage. Struggling through poverty and illness, Gance set up a production company in 1911, and that year directed his first film, La Digue. Kept out of the war by continued illness, Gance achieved renown for his innovative optical effects (it is said that he introduced the close-up to French cinema) and mobile camera work as a director for the Film d'Art company with Mater dolorosa (The Torture of Silence, 1917) and La Dixieme symphonie (The Tenth Symphony, 1918). These films were commercial and artistic successes, despite the concerns of his management that his visionary camera techniques were outlandish.
Multiplicity of ways renders it, as it were, unreal. It does not appear to us as the creation of engineers aiming at a determinate end, but like a curious series of optical effects. ITiese are visual variations on which it would be difficult for a goods train to travel.12
Answer print the composition print that emerges from the laboratory after the combination of the sound with the graded picture, optical effects and soundtrack. When the print is approved a computer tape is made which tells the printer what to duplicate and ensures that all subsequent copies are the same. Also known as the first trial print.
In his groundbreaking film The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann) (1924), Murnau achieved expressionistic distortions of the cinematic world not by photographing painted expressionist sets, but by capitalizing on the expressive capacities of the cinematic apparatus extreme camera angles, special optical effects, and exuberant camera movements.4 The film vividly portrays the emotional deterioration of an aging doorman (Emil Jannings) at a luxury hotel in a big city when he is demoted from his proud station at the entrance to the hotel to the position of lavatory attendant in the basement below. His downfall comes when the manager of the hotel observes that he is no longer equal to the task of lifting a patron's heavy trunk. The change is tragic for the old man because his self-esteem derives from the impressive doorman's uniform he wears, which makes him the idol of his working-class neighbors. Without his uniform, he becomes the object of mockery and scorn. In The Last Laugh, the doorman...
At the same time that Eisenstein was experimenting with the capacity of editing or montage to give heightened emotional and political impact to his filmed narratives, the German filmmaker F.W. Murnau was concentrating on the potentials of the enframed image, the way specific photographic effects could add psychological expressiveness to the profilmic action. (As discussed in chapter 1, the term profilmic refers to the characters, settings, props and other aspects of the film's mise-en-sc ne before they are captured or enframed on celluloid.) Like many of his contemporaries working in the German film industry in the 1910s and 1920s, Murnau was influenced by Expressionism, the art movement that dominated German painting, literature, theatrical production and acting in the early twentieth century.1
While I have been primarily emphasizing the way Murnau uses photographic effects, that is, cinema-specific means, to project the subjectivity The look of the city is also enhanced by Murnau's carefully controlled, non-naturalistic use of light, which conveys subtle nuances of Stimmung, or mood, that coincide with the doorman's mental state throughout the film. The use of the expressive, unchained camera and special photographic effects, combined with stunning sets and lighting techniques, all in the service of telling a complex story focusing on interior feelings rather than exterior actions, made The Last Laugh seem to many film theorists and critics of the time the ultimate example of film as high art, equal or superior in its evocative power to drama and literature.
The second thing a light meter does is to convert its light reading into an exposure that you will use to take the picture. It's as if the meter were saying I can see that the wall is light gray (the measurement) so I'm recommending that you use this combination of aperture and shutter speed (the exposure) to make it look that way in your print. Analog hand-held light meters have an indicating arrow or pointer that is used to line up opposite the indicated meter number. When this is done, the meter's dial matches an f stop with a shutter speed for the correct exposure. As I mentioned above, in-camera meters combine these two functions because to center the meter's light measuring symbol, you have to match an aperture with a shutter speed and these are the meter's recommended exposure.
Aperture-priority meters allow you to choose the aperture you prefer and the meter will adjust the shutter speed. Shutter-priority meters allow you to choose the shutter speed you prefer, and the meter will adjust the aperture. Manual Setting. If your camera has a manual mode, you can set both the aperture and shutter speed to the exposure of your choice. For example, if the meter recommends an exposure of f 11 at 1 30 for an area you wish to print as Zone III, you can simply change your setting to either f 22 at 1 30, or f 11 at 1 125. These exposures are equivalent and are both two stops darker than the meter's recommended setting (Zone V). Exposure Compensation Dial. This function allows you to change the meter's recommended exposure by up to three stops darker (-1, -2, -3), or one to three stops lighter (+1, +2, +3). Some cameras use (x1 2, x1 4) for darker exposures and (x2, x4) for lighter exposures. Refer to Appendix P if the use of these exposure factors is not clear.
Charles Chaplin was a very different kind of director from F. W. Murnau or Sergei Eisenstein, and his films make an instructive contrast with theirs. In the twelve films Chaplin made for the Mutual Film Corporation between 1916 and 1917, which include The Rink, Easy Street, The Adventurer, The Pawnshop, and One a.m., there are little or no photographic or editing pyrotechnics. The majority of the shots are static long shots or medium shots with only occasional close-ups for dramatic emphasis. The editing is mostly invisible, because the shots are linked together to convey the narrative smoothly, not to make a comment, create a striking visual contrast, or to distort real time and space for dramatic effect. The lighting is universally high key,11 and the camera, if it moves at all, usually does so just slightly, to reframe the action. There are no expressive camera angles or camera movements, no superimposition of images, no distorting optical effects, nor any fancy forced-perspective...
A In general, the correct exposure with electronic-flash units is calculated by carefully measuring the camera-to-subject distance with the range-finder on the lens and using this to select the proper f stop with the exposure dial on the flash. You must use the shutter speed that is synchronized with your flash, usually 1 60 or 1 125 of a second (check your owner's manual). As noted in an earlier chapter, with modern electronic-flash units, the exposure is determined by a thyristor circuit that controls the output of the flash. Dedicated flash units automatically adjust both the f stop and shutter speed of the camera. In a photographic lighting studio where you are essentially starting with a blank canvas, the art of previsualizing becomes an extremely important part of the overall creative process. Ordinarily studio photographers use powerful electronic strobe units with power packs to light their subjects. The lighting composition is done with built-in modeling lights that are much...
Value is common knowledge in the motion-picture industry. In more recent years, the adaptation of computer technology to the optical effects printer has basically simplified the control and accuracy of some of its important functions, thus making it much easier to produce certain complex visual effects at lower cost as well as to greatly expand its creative scope. This has made it possible to program, record, and to repeat the movement of certain of its devices with such a degree of accuracy that area-blocking functions can now produce traveling-matte composite scenes that were heretofore highly impractical, if not impossible. One can truly say that the creative capability of the modern visual effects optical printer is only limited by the creative talent and technical skills of the operator. In recent years such major film productions as Star Wars, The Black Hole, The Empire Strikes Back, and Cocoon have all utilized the full capabilities of the modern optical printer to create a...
If you are going to try using an in-camera meter in the ways described in this book, you will have to take these factors into consideration. For example, if you fill the frame of the camera with the area you are trying to meter, the fact that the meter is center-weighted will not matter. If you are metering a model's hair, this means getting close enough so that all you can see through the viewfinder is her hair. If you then center the needle or dot by adjusting the f stop or shutter speed, you will have placed her hair
Shutter Speed The time that a shutter remains open, expressed in fractions of a second (i.e. 1 125 of a second, commonly referred to simply as 125). Viewfinder The camera's window, which shows the photographer the image that will appear on the film. Many viewfinders also indicate the amount of light entering the lens, the shutter speed and other technical data.
Ordinarily, f stops and shutter speeds have an equal effect on exposure. Changing the f stop from f 8 to f 11 is equivalent to changing the shutter speed from 1 60 to 1 125 of a second. In either case, the exposure is one stop less. This is because f stops and shutter speeds are calibrated to be equivalent, or reciprocal. Unfortunately, this is true only within a certain range of exposure times (camera shutter speeds). If your exposure is longer than 1 2 of a second or shorter than 1 1000 of a second, the reciprocity rule fails.
Probably the most exciting new optical printing development has been in the field of electronics. The adaptation of video image transfer through sophisticated high-resolu-tion scanning systems in conjunction with the new developments in cathode-ray tubes, lenses, film-moving mechanisms, special-purpose film raw stocks and the latest research in electronic image compositing, have opened up exciting new vistas in special visual effects. The modification of filmed color motion-picture images through computerized electronic transfer back to film is making it possible to create photographic effects on film or tape faster, more economically, and with a scope of creativity heretofore not possible. The ability to easily and quickly transfer areas or moving objects from one film to another through their instantaneous electronic isolation and self-matting will be of tremendous economic benefit in this area of film production, as well as in stimulating creativity in the wider use of special...
Special effects in cinema can be divided into physical and optical effects (in the industry often referred to as effects and special effects,'' respectively), the former done in front of the camera, the latter after the negative has been exposed. Unfortunately, this neat distinction breaks down over some optical effects that are produced by double exposures of the film strip or rear projection during shooting, and increasingly in the use of physical ( practical ) elements as resources in digital postproduction. Effects are most commonly associated with creating images of scenes, events, and characters that do not exist in the real world or that cannot be photographed, but they are also used for economic reasons. Cost is both a stimulus to and a major constraint on the use of special effects. Closely related to the cost factor are time constraints, and increasingly the physical capacity of computer processors. Many effects techniques have been designed expressly to increase the...
Many optical effects can be achieved through this method, particularly combining live-action footage with artwork, where the movement of animated artwork has to correspond to that of the live-action frame by frame. The projector which is equipped with registration-pin movement carries color positive or separation masters. The camera carries color negative stock. The artwork, which has a self-matting function, is illuminated from above front. The top lights have no effect on the background image since there is no reflective surface involved in the projected aerial image. Nevertheless, polarizing filters are recommended for the top lights to eliminate multi-reflections from the field lenses.
Work on the final version of the soundtrack is also completed at this stage. The final sound mix is made to synchronize perfectly with the finished image track, and the sound is recorded onto film in order to create an optical soundtrack. A negative is created from this and combined with the interneg. Any titles and optical effects are also added at this stage. The resulting combined optical print will be the source of the interdupe negative, from which the final release prints will be struck.
Neutral-density filters are also available in combination with other filters. Since it is preferable to minimize the number of filters used (see section on multiple filters), common combinations such as a Wratten 85 (daylight conversion filter for tungsten film) with a ND filter are available from manufacturers as one filter, as in the 85N6. In this case, the two-stop ND .6 value is in addition to the exposure compensation needed for the base 85 filter. Polarizers need approximately 1 Vi to 2 stops exposure compensation, without regard to rotational orientation or subject matter. They are also available in combination with certain standard conversion filters, such as the 85BPOL. In this case, add the polarizer's compensation to that of the second filter.
Before we do that, we'll need to review shutter speed as well, to gain an understanding of how aperture and shutter speed work together. Set your camera at the point of departure setting. Your aperture ring will be on f 16, and your shutter speed dial will be set at 125.
In photographic terms, there are two ways of printing an image contact printing by placing a negative transparency against a piece of photographic paper, and optical printing or taking a picture of a picture. This is done by placing a transparency in front of a light box, composing and focusing the positive image on the viewfinder, balancing light intensity with regard to lens aperture and shutter speed, and making a negative from the exposed film. Contact printing two strips of film, emulsion to emulsion, in an optical or process camera accomplishes optical printing in moviemaking.
By using the correct combination of f stop and shutter speed, you can give the film the proper exposure for any photographic subject. See Chapter 5 for more information on this subject. In this example, any of these combinations of f stop and shutter speed will give you the same exposure. This is true because any given f stop and any given shutter speed both allow the same amount of light to enter the camera. (The one exception to this rule is explained in Appendix O in the section Reciprocity Effect.) If the meter recommends an exposure of f 11 at 1 30 of a second, f 16 at 1 15 of a second will let the same amount of light into the camera. This may sound confusing, but it will make sense if you think about it for a moment. F 16 is one-half the aperture size of f 11, but 1 15 of a second allows f 11 to stay open for twice as long. This means that the combination of f stop and shutter speed that you choose should be based on whether depth of field or stopping motion is more important...
Each f stop or shutter speed is equivalent to one zone. Note Remember that in-camera light meters don't have meter numbers and instead, translate light readings directly into recommended f stop and shutter speed exposures.This will be discussed shortly. Of course, you could use either whole f stops or shutter speeds to make this adjustment because zones, shutter speeds, and f stops are equivalent. The corrected exposure would then be f 22 at 1 30 of a second.
Frame 1 Take a careful meter reading of the dark wall and make an exposure of only that surface using the meter's recommended f stop and shutter speed. With built-in meters, center the dot or arrow of the meter and shoot. Frame 2 Make an exposure of the same dark wall using an exposure that is one stop less than the first. Do this by either stopping down one f stop from the first exposure or using one shutter speed faster. I will explain the purpose of this adjustment later in this chapter. The goal of this step of the exercise is to underexpose the film by one stop (Zone IV) when compared to the exposure used for frame 1.
One last aspect of cinematography remains, this being depth of field. Depending on shutter speed, aperture and the amount of light available, a camera can focus on just a small part of what is in the frame or on the whole scene. Focusing on only part of a frame is known as shallow focus and is often used as a device for encouraging the audience to concentrate on a particular part of the scene. Conversely, seeing everything in focus, from foreground to background, is known as deep field photography or deep focus.
If it's raining, or the sky is heavily overcast, you may want to use a larger aperture (or slower shutter speed) to brighten the photograph. If the whole scene seems too bright, you may want to darken it by using a smaller aperture (or faster speed). Be aware of your position in relation to the sun, and the effect that has on your results. Experiment, and take notes on what you're doing, so you'll know what worked and what didn't.
Set your shutter speed to B and your lens to its largest aperture (remember, that's the lowest number). Make sure the film advance lever has been wound, to cock the shutter. Open your camera back. Aim the lens at any convenient light source. While looking at the shutter screen, press the shutter release button and hold it down. Set the lens to its largest aperture again. Cock the shutter and set the shutter speed to 60. Click and watch again. Try the same thing at 125. Try it at 30. Can you tell them apart Move up and down the shutter speed With the shutter speed still set at B, cock the shutter. Press the shutter release and notice how the mirror swings up out of sight. The black rectangle you see at the back is the metal plate that holds the film in place. Let go of the shutter release and you'll see that the mirror drops right back into place. Now try the same thing at your camera's fastest shutter speed.
If large, two-dimensional pictures are used at the rear of the set to create the illusion of a space that does not exist, they are the responsibility of the scenic artist. Sometimes the background paintings are not physically incorporated into the set but are combined through optical effects. These images are created by a matte artist they were traditionally painted on glass, but techniques are changing with the growing sophistication of digital effects.
Previsualization Examples Dramatic and Subtle The Zone System gives you the freedom to previsualize your subject in a variety of creative ways. You may, for example, want to create abstract images by greatly increasing or decreasing the subject's contrast. Figure 22A is an example of how an ordinary beach scene can be dramatically transformed by previsualizing it as a curving white pattern of foam against black sand and water. This image is the result of greatly underexposing and then overdeveloping the negative.
Producer Arnon Milchan co-producer Patrick Cassavetti production coordinator Margaret Adams screenplay Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, Charles McKeown 2nd unit director Julian Doyle assistant directors Guy Travers, Chris Thompson, Richard Coleman, Christopher Newman, Terence Fitch, Kevin Westley photography Roger Pratt model effects photography Roger Pratt, Julian Doyle, Tim Spence camera operator David Garfath video consultant Ira Curtis Coleman editor Julian Doyle sound editors Rodney Glenn, Barry McCormick sound recordists Bob Doyle, Eric Tomlinson, Andy Jackson sound re-recordist Paul Carr art directors John Beard, Keith Pain graphic artists David Scutt, Bernard Allum draughtsmen Tony Rimmington, Stephen Bream matte artist Ray Caple production designer Norman Garwood set dressing designer Maggie Gray costume designers Jams Acheson, Ray Scott, Martin Adams, Vin Burnham, Jamie Courtier, Martin Adams, Annie Hadley make-up Maggie Weston, Aaron Sherman, Elaine Carew, Sallie Evans, Sandra...
Concurrent with all the preparations for the sound mix are your decisions about titles, credits, and optical effects. The usual practice in film is to mark in opticals, dissolves, and supers during editing. If not, they must be marked in before the film goes to the lab for the negative cut. Title and credits are another matter. You may well have left your decisions on these what they are, where they appear, and how they appear until the fine cut is completed. But now the time has come for a final decision on these matters.
The simplest way to define a good exposure is to say that it means choosing a combination of f stop and shutter speed that will allow the right amount of light to expose the film. It is important to understand that if the film receives less than this optimum amount of exposure, the negative will be too thin in the areas that correspond to the darker parts of the subject. What makes proper exposure so crucial is that the only time your film can record visual information in the darker shadow areas of your subject is during exposure.
The second mechanism that the camera uses to control the amount of light that exposes the film is called the shutter. The shutter is a device that determines how long the film is exposed to the light that passes through the aperture. The longer the shutter is open, the greater the exposure. The shutter is controlled by setting the shutter speed dial. Typical shutter speeds are 1 60,1 30, 1 15, and 1 8. These numbers represent fractions of a second. Therefore, 1 60 of a second is less time than 1 30 of a second and is said to be a faster shutter speed. Shutter speeds faster than 1 60 are useful for making objects that are moving appear sharp, and also for helping prevent camera motion from blurring the image. As a rule, you should try to avoid using shutter speeds slower than 1 30 of a second when you are shooting without a tripod.
When in-camera light meters are in their manual mode they measure quantities of light through some sort of nulling system. For example, bright light may cause a needle or a red dot to move up and you may need to turn an aperture or shutter speed dial until you see that the dot is in the center of a scale, or perhaps a needle is lined up with a ring.
The Special Effects Department creates a range of illusions to enhance the film that are unobtainable during production. These involve using optical effects such as front and rear projection, models, mechanical or physical effects such as fires, explosions, flying or falling objects, and increasingly computer-generated imagery. Graphic artists work on the titles and credits of the film.
While the film is stopped in front of the lens, the shutter (H) opens to allow light to enter through the aperture. After the film has been exposed to light, the shutter closes and the film advances to the next frame. If the shutter is not completely closed before the film starts moving, the image will be blurred. The most basic shutter is in the form of a rotating disc, and the standard shutter speed, or exposure time, when shooting at 24 fps is 1 50 second. Some shutters are variable, and can be adjusted to allow longer or shorter exposure times. Once the shutter closes, the exposed film advances, continuing past another loop beneath the film gate, and finally ending up on the take-up reel in the magazine.
At this point, the important question is How do zones relate to f stops, shutter speeds, ASA numbers, and the numbers that light meters use to measure brightness The answer is that all these controls measure equal amounts of light. F stops, shutter speeds, meter numbers, ASA numbers, and zones all measure light according to a ratio of 2 to 1. This means that whenever you see two of these numbers side by side, one represents twice as much light as the other. For example, f 8 exposes the film to twice as much light as does f 11 and one-half as much as f 5.6. Note Keep in mind that for these examples I'm referring to the classic whole f stops and shutter speeds rather than the incremental numbers that appear between them on some meters. Another way of saying this is that f stops, shutter speeds, ASA numbers, and meter numbers all measure amounts of light that double going in one direction and halve going in the other. The ratio of light measurement between all whole photographic settings...
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