Measuring Light Levels

Now that we have set our camera speed and shutter angle, decided on an f-stop to light for, chosen a film speed, determined how much depth of field we need, and selected a lens, we need to know how much light is actually on the set right now. In order to gather this all-important piece of information, we need a light meter. If you have ever taken pictures, you are probably familiar with what a light meter does. It measures the available light, then tells you what settings to use on your camera....

Floating Camera Systems

There are five inventions that have defined the film industry and radically changed how films are designed and shot the film camera itself (1896), sound for film (late 1920s), widescreen film and projectors (early 1950s), blue-screen compositing (late 1960s), and, in the early 1970s, the floating camera system. The first floating camera system to become popular was the Steadicam, built by Cinema Products, and because of its firstest-with-the-mostest status, it has become a kleenex word that is,...

Seven Things Every Film And Iv Person Should

It is the everything tool pliers, knife, screwdriver. Beefier than a Swiss army knife and much more useful. Alligator clips. We are forever trying to attach things to other things on movie sets. I recommend a small collection of clipping things, from clothespins to small 'gator clips to one or two big ones. Gloves. You never know when heavy lifting or hot lights are going to become part of your job description. LA 411 or the local equivalent. The essential guide...

The Film Camera Package

A camera kit consists of everything that a camera needs to do its job, and that's a lot of pieces. Don't expect to pick up the camera in your two-seater sports car. It is not unusual for an entire truck to be devoted solely to camera equipment, and even a small, independent film can rent a camera package that will completely fill the largest SUV. A camera package consists of the following pieces Come with me now as I escort you on a fantastic journey through the intricate workings of a film...

The Basic Decisions

Creating lighting means solving a puzzle, fitting together such technical considerations as film stock and lens with story considerations like location, mood, and action. Despite the fact that film (and, thus, film lighting) is essentially about emotions, it rests on some fundamental technical realities. Having defined the five major artistic elements above, the DP must decide six very practical things before proceeding The f-stop determines how much light is coming through the lens. Although...

Film Editing

Back around 1910,1 mean. The camera was set up in front of a set that was indistinguishable from a stage set. The cameraman cranked up the camera the actors entered from the wings and played the scene as if the camera were an audience member sitting third row center. A movie was made by cutting together these scenes with cards containing narration or the actor's lines. The distinction between plays and movies wasn't really made until people like D.W. Griffith began...

Effects

Most people don't realize that virtually every sound you hear in a movie was added after the scene was shot. Every car door, footstep, sucker punch, gunshot, and siren was added by a team of audio wizards. While the basic technology of the picture hasn't fundamentally changed since 33 Wolff spent a great deal of time listening to Jerry Seinfeld's comedy routines and he realized that the comedian had a very noticeable tempo about 110 beats per minute. Thus, all his musical cues run at that...

The Lights

Because film and TV lighting is an art that is both varied and precise, there is a vast array of lights to fill every purpose, from lighting a football field to putting a sparkle in the eye of a leading lady. Gaffers refer to the lights themselves as heads, by the way, as in, Get the stands out of the truck and put the heads on them. When a DP is looking for a hard light to use as a key light, more often than not, she will reach for a fresnel pronounced fur-NELL . The original fresnel was...

Iighting Equipment

Somewhere back in the Stone Age of movie lighting, somebody had a sense of humor. Somebody decided that film work was too backbreaking, too frustrating, and too boring for us to just sit around and suffer. Some joker knew the fundamental truth about life in general and show business in particular To wit, if you're not having fun, why bother I am absolutely convinced of the existence of this person. Why else would film and TV lighting be so chock-full of goofy terms that could only have come...

Cameras On Vehicles

When it is time to go mobile, Hollywood has a fleet of vehicles and numerous camera mounts to take the camera along. An insert car is the optimum choice when you want to film a car through the front windshield. This is a specially designed vehicle that can carry not only the camera mounted on the outside, but additional lighting, as well. The insert car it is more like a pickup truck, actually has speed-rail bars attached all 16 Steadicam does make smaller versions that you can rent or buy....

Microphone Types

On the set, the microphone only has one job to pick up as much of the dialogue as possible, as cleanly as possible. To that end, the sound mixer may use various kinds of microphones to pick up the action Every mic has a pickup pattern, a chart that shows where the mic is more sensitive to sound. Omni means all, and direction means direction, so this mic will pick up sound coming from every direction. Therefore, the pickup pattern is a perfect circle, showing that the mic is equally sensitive in...

Directing Department

The phrase, But what I really want to do is direct, is so far beyond clich that it almost doesn't bear mentioning. EVERYBODY wants to direct. I want to direct. Directors are Hollywood's favorite sons and 2 For hundreds of these bits of location trivia, check out Shot on This Site, by William Gordon, Citadel Press, 1995 . daughters, even though they still serve at the pleasure of the producers. In Hollywood, the director is seen as the Great Artist.

The Recording Process

We already know from the Who Does What chapter who the sound crew is a sound mixer and a boom operator, at the very least so let's walk through their process on the set. In normal shooting circumstances, the soundman's setup is fairly simple, so he will wait until the lighting guys are done before even stepping on the set. Once he has arrived, he will find an out-of-the-way spot relatively close to the set and set up his mixer. Then he will begin to scope out mic placements in the scene. If...

Microphone Placement

Having chosen a microphone, the sound technician must now find a proper placement for his mic on the set. The number-one best place to put a microphone is right over the actor's head, hanging down from a boom or a fish pole. A boom is a long rod attached to a rolling stand. The operator moves the mic with a set of cranks to get it in the right place. A fishpole is just what it sounds like a handheld rod about the length of a fishing pole held over the actors by a boom man just off-screen. This...