DSLR Cinema Crafting the Film Look with Video Kurt Lancaster Focal Press Front-matter. Advance Praise for DSLR Cinema “A huge thank you to Kurt Lancaster. Large sensor video cameras (DSLRs) offer filmmakers an affordable, high-quality image previously impossible DSLR Cinema Crafting the Film Look with Large Sensor Video DownloadPDF MB Read online. Book title: DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video Dаtе: Fоrmаts: pdf, i.
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dslr cinema crafting the film look with large sensor video cameras by author read and free download online unlimited ebooks, pdf book, audiobook or epub flmc. Large sensor video cameras (DSLRs) supply filmmakers a reasonable, top of the range DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Large Sensor Video PDF. There is a newer edition of this item: DSLR Cinema, Second Edition: Crafting the Film Look with Large Sensor Video $ (19) In Stock.
Pages pages. Subjects Arts. Export Citation. Get Citation. Lancaster, K. New York: Routledge, https: View abstract. In the morning it could be around degrees. To keep the light looking white and not orange, you will need to set your color temp at Kelvin. By midday it should be around to Kelvin. You repeat the same approach at sunset. We had a sequence in Act of Valor on a dry lake bed that posed for a landing strip in the Horn of Africa. We started before the sun came up and were there until it went behind the Sierra Nevadas at around 7: I used this micromanaging approach and the image is so consistent.
In the final color correction we hardly had to do any manipulation other than dialing in contrast. Hurlbut, S. However, the color temperature is a guide; you may decide the warm image is the color temperature you're looking for to capture the feeling of your story. Photos by Kurt Lancaster. In addition, many of these cameras allow you to create presets for the picture look. Several DSLR shooters have mimicked the look of a variety of film stocks to create different looks as well.
See Chapter 4 for details on adjusting color temperature, as well as steps for shaping your picture style. In addition, postproduction color grading allows you to further shape the look of your project Philip Bloom, for example, uses Magic Bullet software to utilize color grading plug-ins to achieve his looks.
There is no one way to determine color balance. Do you balance for tungsten if you're indoors near a window, do you just go with the camera's preset daylight, indoor, outdoor shade, and so forth , or do you dial it in? You need to look at the image and think about how it relates to the story to best determine what you need.
Shane Hurlbut, ASC, dials in his color temperature by eyeballing the monitor or the camera's LCD screen and getting the look as close as he can get it before turning it over to postproduction.
Others suggest using the presets for consistency depending on the lighting type you're in, and setting manual white balance only when in a mixed lighting setup halogens, fluorescents, incandescents in one room, for example. The Canon 7D tends to go a little red when shooting indoors with the incandescent setting. White Balance Tip Do not manually white balance during a sunrise or sunset because you would be adjusting the nice golden flow into white, and you don't want to lose the golden glow!
Sample Lighting Setups The following stills and diagrams with brief explanations show basic setups for shooting outdoor day, outdoor night, indoor day, and indoor night as tied to the idea of composition and light quality.
Outdoor Day Soft and Hard —Philip Bloom's Cherry Blossom Girl When shooting outdoor locations, time of day and weather are the two most important factors to consider; they determine your light source and shadows. Big-budget films may use generators with daylight lamps, but when shooting a documentary or an outdoor wedding, for example, you need to be aware of the sun's location because it will be the primary light source see Figures 2.
Mornings and afternoons tend to provide better shooting because the color temperature will provide warmer skin tones; it will also provide long shadows, so you can shape the look around this light and shadow placement. In addition, to soften the quality of the light, you may want to use a scrim to remove the harshness of the light on a subject's face, or you may want to bounce light off a reflector to provide fill light.
Figures 2. In the first, we see the woman lit from the side with soft-quality lighting, reflected sunlight causing fill light on her right side. The sunlight reflects back onto her face, acting as a soft fill. Stills fromCherry BlossomGirl. The rear side lighting lights the screen-left side of the couple, while a bit of reflected light on screen right helps add a bit of fill to the scene. Notice the color temperature of warm hues, compared to the cooler tones of the woman in Figures 2. Still fromCherry BlossomGirl.
The street lights in the background, soft and out of focus, provide some backlighting as well as ambience to the scene. The red light is unmotivated; we don't see the source of the light in the wider shot. Indoor Day—Rii Schroer's 16 Teeth: Cumbria's Last Traditional Rakemakers In shaping the interior during the day, many cinematographers will use windows for short shoots see Figure 2.
They may add in a daylight lamp from the direction of the window on longer shoots, so as not to lose light direction when the direction of the light changes over the course of a day. The light bounces off the back wall and ceiling, acting as fill light on the characters.
A fireplace also adds backlighting screen left. For additional details, see Chapter Still from16 Teeth. TV light in front with blue screen. Rim light with bare bulb from behind couch. Checklist for Lighting 1. The quality of the light: The kinds of light you're using: Yes, there are many different types of lights—from sunlight with a reflector to hardware store halogen work lights, but you need to determine how they're going to be utilized.
Many scenes will have all four of them, but there's no rule. Sunlight with a reflector may be all that's required.
With DSLR cameras, Philip Bloom says that he tries to use as much natural and practical light as possible before bringing in other lights. But he's an experienced shooter. Light placement of each light. Lighting placement will determine shadow placement, all of which will convey a different mood. Lighting zones or contrast range A. Will everything be lit evenly?
Will there be some contrast between bright and darker areas? Will there be great contrast between the light and shadows? Will you need to scrim the lights to dim them, use a dimmer, move lights closer or farther away from the subject? Do you have shutters on the lights to control where the light falls? Do have blackout scrims flags to control where the light and shadows are placed? If you're shooting outdoors, what time of day will provide the best mood for the scene?
Because sunlight is your key light source, it will determine to a large extent the mood of your scene. A high-contrast scene with harsh light might be best during late morning through early afternoon, while early morning or early evening will provide the golden hour look with long shadows and rich sunlight tones. Use of reflectors and scrims will help you control outdoor lighting. Night shots may require additional lighting setups if there aren't enough practical lights from storefronts and streetlamps, for example.
Control your color temperature. Indoor lighting is different than outdoor lighting. A fluorescent light will look different than an incandescent bulb. Know your primary light source and adjust your white balance accordingly.
Zones 0—3 represent black and deep shadow values details and texture in an image can begin to be seen in zone 2, while 3 shows dark details and some texture, and 4 reveals landscape shadows and dark foliage. In addition, zones 4—6 represent face tones from dark-skinned to Caucasian facial tones. Zones 7—9 hit lighter grays and highlights an 8 would reveal texture in snow, whereas 9 would represent blown-out highlights, and 10, pure white.
Each zone number indicates a doubling in brightness from the previous zone; the gray in 6 is twice as bright as the gray in 5; the gray in 7 is four times brighter than 5 each step is a multiple of two. The black in 1 is half as bright as in 2. Figure 3. One zone is twice as bright as the next when moving toward the white, while it's half as bright when moving toward the black. This matches the value of f-stop settings. Based on Zone System.
Eight of these fall in the over-exposure highlights while 5. Simply put, the zone scale is a tool DSLR shooters can use to train their eye in controlling how much light should be in a scene—to properly shape the exposure range of the DSLR camera.
Don't use it as a technical tool for every shot, but practice with it so you can begin to see the potential range of darks to brights and learn where your camera can handle the exposure range. The shot may look flat in-camera, but in post, you can make it shine. If you have a laptop on set, you can test the flat look, shoot an image, and color grade it to see how it looks.
This process will give you the most flexibility in post.
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Let's look at the indoor night shot from Laforet's Reverie to see how we can use the zone system practically. In Figure 3. To accent the darkness, Laforet lets the blacks fall off, revealing no or little detail in much of the shot 0—2.
We can begin to see details in the 2—3 range, while 4 and 5 allow us to clearly see the patterns on the pillow, the texture of the t-shirt, the man's arm and hand, as well as the table.
Zone 6 is typically the value of Caucasian skin tones, and, save for the soft focus on his feet, we would clearly see the detail. The screen-right side of his face is shadowed, and we lose detail here, whereas the screen-left side of his face reveals details in the skin tone, edging on being a bit bright 7. The blue's brightness tint and shade changes depending on the tonal values; it's really dark in the background where the 3 is , and a bit brighter in the zone 5 areas, to being really light in zone 6.
By keeping the dynamic range within six stops and exposing the brightest part of the face at 6, Laforet is able to shape the rest of the scene around the blacks, letting the exposure of the man's body fall down to 0; blacks dominate the scene stressing the nighttime feel of the shot.
He allows the Caucasian skin tone to shine the brightest with the face and feet, with part of the arm and hand to hit zone 5, with shadows falling off into the blacks. Lighting for Film and Digital Cinematography, p.
Most independent filmmakers and video journalists will usually just eyeball the exposure so that the image on the LCD screen looks right. Lighting and the Zone Scale A fast way to set your lights so as to brighten or dim your subject is to remember the inverse square law as a main property of light.
Doubling the distance of the light from your subject by either moving the light or your subject drops off the brightness four times. If you halve the distance, the brightness increases by four. So if your subject is being lit inside by a window, and she's too bright for your exposure range, you can move the subject farther away or place a gel filter on the window.
If you're using lights, then you can simply move the lights farther away or closer to the subject to change the intensity or you could use a dimmer on the light—although this will tend to change the color temperature of the light, thus impacting your white balance.
DSLR cinema: Crafting the film look with video
In either case, moving the light or moving the subject toward or away from the light source will change your zone scale. So choosing which zone to expose provides an idea of where your highlights and shadows will fall out of the exposure range. Choosing to properly expose at zone 5, for example, will tell you that you can capture a fair amount of detail when exposing in zones 4—8 or 3—7.
The histogram represents the amount of your scene that's bright or dark the tonal values. Essentially, it allows you to quickly monitor whether the blacks have been crushed or the highlights blown out. Photo courtesy of Canon. Histograms are valuable for showing you how much of an image is blown out or crushed.
But you can adjust your light and shade accordingly if you're trying to place your subject in the middle of the histogram exposure zone. See Reichmann, M. Understanding Histograms. Furthermore, if you're using a low-contrast picture style for postproduction work, the histogram becomes a useful tool for you to engage in order to watch whether or not you're crushing blacks or blowing highlights.
Exposure Exposure represents the amount of light allowed to fall on a camera's sensor. An iris—like the pupil of your eye—controls this. When it is opened all the way, more light falls in. When it is nearly closed, less light enters see Figure 3. Photo by Kurt Lancaster. The lower the f-stop, the more open it is, letting more light in. The higher the number, less amount of light enters.
Each f-stop number represents a halving closing or doubling opening of light. Notice the shallow depth of field; the iris is sharp, but the front of the lens is out of focus. For DSLR cameras, the range of the aperture opening is measured with f-stops: Furthermore, different f-stop settings will also influence the depth of field of your lens. The lower the f-stop, the more shallow the depth of field becomes.
Higher f-stops increase the depth of field. The 7D should be around a 2. This gives the focus puller a chance and still retains a beautiful fall off of focus.
I do not like to go above it. This filter was specifically designed for the HD world. It is very pure glass to give you the best image for your post color correction. The filters that were originally made for film had brown and green in the glass that was no problem to dial out in film because of the uncompressed 4: But now with HD 8-bit compressed color space, you do not have that range of manipulation in color correction.
By using neutral density at higher levels to achieve a shallow depth of field, you must deal with the problem of infrared IR pollution. As a cinematographer, I want to limit this contamination because it ends up showing in the blacks as well as skies in day exteriors.
See Hurlbut, S. Beware of the Reaper of Cheap Glass. Most people eyeball the exposure by using the LCD or an external monitor, but this approach will not provide an accurate reading. Philip Bloom recommends against it. By using the camera's metering system, Bloom feels you can get a more accurate read—important for professional use. You can meter your exposure with DSLR cameras.
A button on top of the Canon 5D Mark II, for example, allows you to adjust the white balance and the type of meter you want to engage: I use the spot meter to determine the precise value of exposure for the center of the screen, moving the camera if I want to get a reading on another part of the scene.
A small exposure index provides a meter with a center scale indicating proper exposure with a latitude of two stops in either direction—another tool to use in your zone scale if you don't have a spot meter see Figure 3. When you press the shutter halfway, a bar below the exposure index will appear, indicating where your actual exposure is—it will flash when it falls below 2 or above 2.
You can also force over- or underexposure by turning the quick control dial while pressing down the shutter halfway.
Image courtesy of Canon. Get the Canon 5D or 7D? The 7D is not bad, but it's a 24 mm sensor. And you're not able to get that depth of field you get with the 5D —to have the ability to go really shallow. In a shot from The Last 3 Minutes with that carpet line, I've never seen anything like it.
What makes the difference, Hurlbut argues, is the pixel size. So the image, the pixel sizes—they are larger. The bigger the pixel, the easier it is for light to enter and give a more graduated fall off into the shadow areas, so it looks more filmic. But the 7D is going to see that more like a black diamond run on a ski slope.
The 7D has the advantage of slow motion, a film gate that's closer to regular 35 mm film, and a depth of field that isn't as hard to fight with as the 5D Mark II. Notes from personal interview, March Press the WB button after turning the camera all the way up to the symbol. Adjust the main dial to select which meter you want to use the spot meter is indicated by a dot. Point the camera at your subject using the center of the screen for spot metering and press the shutter button halfway down.
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A bar will appear below the exposure meter, indicating where you are exposed—whether under or over. If you're off the scale on either end, it will flash until you adjust the aperture.
You can use this tool to see how far you're over or under with background and foreground lighting. For example, if you're off the meter range, then you know you're pushing the latitude of the camera's exposure. You can adjust the lighting accordingly, if possible. Cinematographer Tip Jim Mathers, president and co-founder of the Digital Cinema Society, discusses how he approaches exposure: With exposure tests, what I'm basically looking for is the sweet spot somewhere between two competing extremes of underexposure on one side, where the image would start to become unacceptably noisy; and on the other, the point where I would start to clip, or lose detail in the highlights.
It would seem logical to flatly expose a chip chart, then simply count out the number of steps between the two limits to find the median value. However, I find that this is not always the exact center between these poles; it can be more of a creative choice, and it can vary depending on the subject. For example, in a high contrast daylight exterior, I might tend to rate the sensor a little higher, looking to protect the highlights, which would lead me to allow less exposure to reach the sensor.
However, in a low key setup I might be looking to capture shadow detail, treating the sensor as if it is less sensitive, allowing more light to pass through to help insure my shadow areas stay free of too much noise. Now, I'm way too pragmatic to have a different meter setting for every scene, but I have found two or three different ratings varying with the broad category of the shot to be appropriate, just as I might shoot a movie on two or three different stocks.
Digital Cinema Society Newsletter. You have to give this sensor light. It is better to feed it a little more light and then adjust your color and contrast in post. See Appendix 2. Focus is nearly impossible at a 1. Shooting the 5D at a 5. Nobody shoots movies at a 1.
If you shoot action or move the camera around with a bit of handheld, you will not have a prayer. Using Neutral Density Filters Filters can change the quality of a lens, diffusing an image to make it slightly soft.
The most important ones are designed not only to protect your lenses from scratches, but filter the amount of light hitting the lens; they are called neutral density ND filters. This type of filter allows you to keep the aperture open under bright light conditions; the filter essentially stops down the f-stop aperture setting—without closing the iris—the amount depending on the type of filter used. Filters can be screwed onto the lens or dropped in front of the lens when using a matte box, or they can be conveyed electronically if the camera has a built-in neutral density function; none of the current HDSLRs have electronic ND filters.
Filters are assigned different numbers depending on their density, their ability to block out light. ND2 will be labeled 0. Companies also make variable ND filters so you can adjust the filter without having to switch them out. Table 3. The IR is especially useful for DSLR cameras because they're sensitive to infrared, causing oversaturation of red, as well as focusing interference issues. Questions to Consider When Using Filters 1. What is your exposure latitude?
Are you shooting in bright sunlight, for example? Set your ISO level where you want it and then set the exposure. If you're blowing out the highlights, then it's too bright. Adding a neutral density filter will change your exposure latitude and allow you to get the shot you need.
How much light do you want to come through? The density determines the strength of the filter. The higher the number, the less light will come through. Be aware of the changing exposure latitude with ND filters. So if you're using an ND filter only to prevent a blowout of the highlight, be aware that your shadows will deepen, and you may lose detail, although before the ND placement, it was fine.
You'll need to brighten the shadow if you don't want to lose the detail. Cinematographer Tip Philip Bloom recommends using variable neutral density filters. He prefers the Singh-Ray 77 mm screw-on because it dials in 2 to 8 stops of neutral density by rotating the filter.
Other filters, such as soft and frost, and so on can be applied in postproduction using Magic Bullet, for example. Considering Shutter Speed Typically, you would follow the degree shutter speed rule. The shutter in a film camera would normally be half a circle degrees , so if the film speed is of a second fps , you would double that to get the shutter speed.
I use a 40th or a 50th of a shutter. You never go above that. Anytime you go above, it starts looking like video. By just going up to of a second it instantly takes a beautiful 5D that gives filmic images and turns it into a video camera.
The more you sharpen the image, the more it looks plastic. I use the motion blur to soften the crispness of HD. Shooting at a 50th is like shooting with a degree shutter. I shot the whole Rat Pack on a degree shutter—I loved that look. Considering Frame Rates Before addressing in-camera settings, I want to address frame rate.
Currently, film has a 24 frames per second rate, and provides one of the benchmarks for getting the film look video shooting at 24P , which engages a judder effect when shooting and that's part of the film look. However, such filmmakers as James Cameron offer a different opinion. He feels that unless you're transferring your project to film or have it projected on a 24 frames per second fps player, then you don't need to shoot 24P.
In an interview with David Cohen of Variety, Cameron actually argues for a faster frame rate in order to increase the smoother quality of the image: I've run tests on 48 frame per second stereo and it is stunning.
The cameras can do it, the projectors can with a small modification do it. So why aren't we doing it, as an industry? Because people have been asking the wrong question for years. They have been so focused on resolution, and counting pixels and lines, that they have forgotten about frame rate.
A 2K image at 48 frames per second looks as sharp as a 4K image at 24 frames per second … with one fundamental difference: Higher pixel counts only preserve motion artifacts like strobing with greater fidelity.
They don't solve them at all. For DSLR shooting, 24P will best represent the film look because that's the aesthetic of film and best engages the film look when shooting with video. But getting the film look isn't just about shooting 24P. You need to sculpt light and shadow and work within a specified dynamic range, engage smooth and stable camera work, choose lenses and filters, and get proper exposure at the proper shutter speed when telling your story as powerfully as possible.
Checklist for Exposure 1. Set your camera to manual video mode. Determine your exposure latitude. Knowing your latitude range from shadows to highlight will help determine how much light you need for your subject, foreground, and background.
If you know the dynamic range of the camera, you can determine how much light and light blockage you need to control the amount of light throughout your entire exposure range. A light meter is helpful for this process, but you can also use the histogram to see the dynamic range from dark to bright. And you can use 3. As you practice with image, light, and shadow, you'll be able to eyeball the exposure range for your particular camera. How rich do you want the image? The higher the number, the more light sensitive it will be but will result in more video noise; the lower the number, the richer the image will look but will require more lighting.
They feel all the other settings are digitally manipulated. Bloom says he'll use when it's darker and under a blazing sun. He was able to expose a scene with candlelight with ISO How much light do you want? Set your aperture's f-stop the lower the number, the more open the iris, letting in more light; higher numbers close up the iris, cutting off the amount of light falling on the sensor.
Neutral density filters are used to cut out light without changing your fstop. See the earlier section on filters. How much depth of field do you want? When the aperture is more open, you'll have less focal depth of field; when the aperture is more closed, the depth of field will increase. Set your shutter speed. Lenses The human eye can see about degrees with peripheral vision.
Lenses do not reveal what the natural unaided eye can see. Rather, the cinematographer uses lenses as a way to shape the emotional equivalency of what the human eye perceives and feels. If you stand within typical talking distance from someone, this is what may translate on film as a medium shot. If the person is in a wide or long shot, this may be equivalent to someone standing on the other side of a room— shouting distance. A close-up would be equivalent to an intimate conversation, a kiss, or a fight—where you are inches from a someone.
Different lenses render how we perceive the subject and setting descriptively and emotionally. The focal length on a DSLR camera is simply the distance of the lens to the imaging sensor when the focus is set to infinity. Photo by Kurt Lancaster A short focal length lens a wider convex lens bends the light sharply, bringing the image in focus only a short distance from the lens, but the image is smaller and therefore can capture more of the scene and place much of the foreground and background in sharp focus.
A long focal length lens is less convex, bending the light at a smaller angle, placing the focal distance farther away, making the image larger with less of the foreground and background of the scene in focus. As a comparison, the angle of view can be broken down to a 25 mm lens having a field of view of 80 degrees, 50 mm with 46 degrees, mm with 24 degrees, and mm with 13 degrees.
About six feet from the subject. Photo by Kurt Lancaster Figure 3. Same distance. Photo by Kurt Lancaster One of the selling points of shooting HD video with DSLR cameras is the ability of the cinematographer to use a variety of lenses to shape the look of the project. While most prosumer HD video cameras allow for good HD clarity, digital filmmakers were limited by the fixed zoom lenses and small sensors. Larger sensors and removable lenses of the hybrid DSLR cameras open up important creative elements not readily available on standard HD video cameras without complex and expensive 35 mm lens adaptors.
The ability to play with depth of field opens up the possibilities of utilizing more of the cinematographer's film tools to craft better and stronger visual stories. In Laforet's Reverie, for example, the opening shot see Figure 3.
However, the angle of the lens is different. The first one looks as though it utilizes the shallow depth of field of a longer lens but was used with the tilt-shift lens see Figure 3. If you look closely, you can see that in this moment of the shot which changes focus over time , the arms of the man and woman are sharply focused while the heads are in soft focus. The second shot Figure 3. Note Opening up the aperture decreases depth of field but will, of course, increase the amount of light exposed.
If you want a shallow depth of field and you have too much exposure, then use neutral density filters. Light from above on Profoto 7B with a head and beauty dish and grid. Modeling lamp from 7B head only. A small LED flashlight was used from the ground for backlight—a rim light glow edging along the woman's back. Same lighting as in the previous shot. A low-cost alternative to the tilt-shift lens is the Lensbaby, profiled in the equipment chapter.
In addition to the focal length and depth of field of lenses, another important factor is the speed of the lens. Less light is needed to expose the film—better for low light and night setups. The difference in the two is significant: The terms fast and slow refer to the shutter speed. Typically, a slow lens would need to keep the shutter open longer to let in the same amount of light, whereas the fast lens allows for less time to let in light, thus a faster shutter speed.
The Director's Lens App for iPhone To help you make the right lens choice, you could use Artemis, the director's digital viewfinder iPhone app, which allows you to set the format and angle of the lens, the iPhone acting as a viewfinder, including settings for the Canon 5D and 7D see Figure 3.
It provides lens size, angle, and a visual outline representing the field of view on-screen. Developed by Chemical Wedding http: Image used with permission. The formats, with more in development, include: With most prosumer HD video cameras, filmmakers are stuck with the fixed zoom lens. Expensive adaptors allowed for the addition of a 35 mm lens, but with DSLRs, changing lenses is now a standard option.
A zoom lens may be good for shooting documentaries, but many of these lenses adjust the exposure speed. Zooming all the way in requires more light to expose, whereas zooming out to the widest angle requires less light. Many lenses have fixed angles, so when you place a 50 mm lens on your camera, the only way to change the size of the composition would be to move the camera closer or farther away from the subject.
Different lenses determine the depth of field of what's in focus. They also determine the quality of the image, whether the lenses capture a wide image with wide angle lenses or whether they compress the image, creating tight shots with long lenses and shallow depth of field. The type of lens determines not only what you will see, but how much light will be exposed.
Checklist for Lenses 1. Zoom or primes? Cheaper zoom lenses change the aperture speed rating. If you have the budget, more expensive zoom lenses will maintain their aperture rating all the way through the zoom—such as Canon't L series lenses.
Prime lenses have a fixed focal length and aperture rating. These are the best lenses but can be limiting in documentary work because you may want to change lens angles quickly without having to change lenses. What is the manufacturer's brand? Different lenses require different mounts to fit different brands and different lens sizes. PL mounts are used for cinema lenses. It's recommended that you do not download a camera with the kit lens, but invest in high-quality zooms and a couple of primes.
What to look for: If you're using DSLRs in cinema projects with focus pullers or shooters needing precision, getting a lens type that stops is essential, especially when using different manufacturers' focus assists. Zeiss primes, for example, are designed for manual focusing with a lower turn ratio a half turn usually covers the full focal range.
Also, image stabilization is important because a slight shake or vibration can cause ruined shaky shots, especially on longer lenses. A list of recommended lenses can be found in the chapter on gear. Furthermore, when swapping out lenses, be aware of dust. You should get into a car or go inside if the wind is blowing or cover your camera with a jacket. How much of the scene do you want the audience to see? Wide angle lenses present a wider field of view, whereas long lenses narrow what can be seen.
How much of the scene do you want in focus? Wide angle lenses put more of the scene in focus, whereas longer lenses decrease depth of field and narrow what's in focus.
Both of these questions are answered by the length of the lens and the placement of the camera. If you want the audience to see more of the scene, then use a wide angle lens. If you want them to see less, use a long lens. If you want more of the scene in focus, then use a wide to normal length lens; if you want a shallow depth of field, then use a long lens. Decide the speed of the lens. Faster lenses will also allow you to lower the ISO setting, giving you more room to choose a richer look, as well as providing a shallower depth of field.
Now that we've covered some of the basics of cinematography, the next chapter will examine how you can shape the picture style of your DSLR, so you can get the look you want in-camera before you begin shooting. Generally, video can express a contrast latitude ratio of Knowing this, you can make choices as to proper exposure for a person's face; for example, lighting the set accordingly so that your ratio stays within four to five zones and letting the rest fall off.
And if you want the audience to see details throughout the shot, you can set up your lights so that everything stays within four zones, for example. The contrast ratio for video cameras reflects their small chip sizes to inch.
Each of the camera's exposure settings the f-stop or T-stop , matches the change in the zone scale; a stop down will halve the value of the exposure, whereas opening one stop will double the brightness. So the DSLR filmmaker can take advantage of the zone system by either setting up lights and adjusting exposure or using natural lighting and adjusting exposure.
The f-stop doesn't measure tonal values; it's simply a representation of how much light is reflected on the surface of what's being shot— the light coming through the lens. Thanks to all of the manufacturers, artists, and photographers—too many to name individually—for permission to use their images in this book. Without the pics, it would have just been words, which would just not have been as exciting. Furthermore, much appreciation for the critical eye and keen advice of Julian Grant and Dave Anselmi—my deep appreciation for their comments.
This book is better than it would have been without them. Many thanks to the reviewers who gave comments at the beginning of the process: Dave A. Thanks also to Peter Tvarkunas, Director of Education at Canon, who was open to the project and offered much support. I also wish to thank my colleagues at the School of Communication at Northern Arizona University who provided moral support during the writing of this manuscript as I held down a full teaching load.
Norman Medoff offered advice and encouragement. Paul Helford and Janna Jones were always there with a smile. Mary Tolan was a friend who jumped at the chance to shoot a project with a DSLR and asked the right questions.
Mark Neumann always provided moral support and was always open to faculty willing to push the envelope in the classroom. Peter Schwepker lent me his 5D over spring break before I decided to get mine—many thanks. I also want to thank my dean, Michael Stevenson, who offered encouragement when I took on the project; it was a boost of support during a hectic semester. I also want to thank my friend Beau L'Amour, who not only gave me a place to stay in LA, but offered detailed advice on audio and lenses, and got me contacts at Bandito Brothers.
Finally, special thanks to Stephanie and Morgan Petrie—who have been my family in Flagstaff. And of course to my mother, Judy Bennett, and her husband, Clay, who opened their cottage on Sebec Lake in Maine—providing a place to relax after the book was completed. I have been neck deep in this technology since January 26, It has been a roller-coaster ride trying to figure out this new disruptive technology from a motion picture cinematographer's perspective. Forging ahead with normal operating procedure did not translate.
I had to think out of the box and teach myself about menus, picture styles, and create a new checksand-balances ritual for shooting. There is not much that this camera system cannot do because it can be small and compact or as big as you choose to make it. The platform is so liberating that I feel like a five-year-old again—full of possibility and endless creativity.
This is the future, and as technology gets better so will the camera's data rates, processing power, and ability to do more uncompressed media capture.
I have shot with film for my entire career that includes 15 movies, hundreds of commercials, many music videos, and 20 short films because the HD landscape never attracted me. It looked plastic and too sharp, with a depth of field that felt false. If the story and characters are engaging and the film transports you, the capture medium doesn't matter. So now why the sudden shift in thinking about HD? The Canon 5D is not HD.
It is what I call digital film because the quality is unlike any other HD camera available to date. The image looks unique. It is its own genre—one that I believe looks and feels the closest to film. I believe HD video capture has finally come from the right place, the still photography platform. Canon has been working on this sensor for years.
It was trying to make a sensor that felt like film and could replace film in the still photography landscape. The Canon engineers did the exact same thing. When I set out on my creative journey with the camera, it involved a steep learning curve. The Elite Team and I made tons of mistakes in the beginning.
We tried so hard to understand and breathe cinematic life into this camera. Midway through the journey, everything just worked. I continued to hone my abilities with the 5D camera system, tried to ingest as much knowledge as I could and share it with the film community. My wife, Lydia Hurlbut, whom I have known since I was three years old, used to come over with her Dad to give communion to my grandmother, who was living with us on our family farm.
We soon became friends and started dating in We married in the fall of , and I have been blessed with the most amazing soulmate in history. Now Lydia is cofounder of our website, which was her brainchild. She wanted to showcase my fearless, pioneering, trailblazing spirit with this new technology.
My wife also convinced me that I had to change the way I think because the old rules of holding things close to your chest and keeping secrets of what you have learned don't apply anymore. So, I started giving away everything as I was experiencing it shooting a full-length feature, Act of Valor forthcoming and a variety of commercials.
None of this was in a manual; you had to fail many times before a success, and that is what the Elite Team and I did every day. Once we added HurlBlog, our website took off in a variety of unexpected ways. I answer every comment personally and give practical on-the-job learning. The unexpected piece was the amazing dialog that occurs with everyone's input. I learn so much from the bloggers and feel excited about our forum.
Lydia's vision of an intimate, personal, and heartfelt experience that was not just about an individual but about the synergy and team effort involved in creating beautiful images came alive in the blog.
The mission of Hurlbut Visuals is to educate and inspire one filmmaker at a time. Cutting-edge visuals are a critical part of our site. We had to have the right creative mindset to embrace this new technology with a flow in the online world that was elegant yet simple, informative but not confusing. Ryan and his Elite Team were the perfect fit. He and Lydia have collaborated to take a great idea and turn it into a powerhouse site in less than seven months. On a daily basis, I get comments from students saying that they learned more from my blog entries than from three years of study at NYU.
That is not only very humbling but a huge responsibility and one that I take seriously. The Last 3 Minutes is the next chapter where we figured it all out without any more mistakes, just imagery that held up on a foot screen. The piece is moving because you identify with the characters on a journey through time, in reverse.
The imagery and story would never have been possible without the writing and direction of one of the most talented directors I have ever worked with, Po Chan. She has passion and a clear understanding of how to get the best performance from an actor by writing a backstory to make the characters come alive. Po embraces a visual style that is not ordinary but unique in every way.
She is visionary, and I thank her for writing and directing a short that will continue to change the way people think about this technology.
Finally, I would like to discuss the concept of recycling. It is such an easy idea, one that many people discuss every day, but when it comes to changing behavior, few people follow through. We consume more than any other country in the world. When will we stop?
When will we say enough? Every little step that one single person takes adds up to a big change. There is so much waste in the film business that it boggles my mind. Sets are built, torn down, thrown into a dumpster, never to be seen again. Think of all the wood, glue, nails, labor, design, and creativity thrown into the trash. This new technology recycles. It is small and requires less space, fewer crew members, less light, less power, less fuel, and less food.
One thing it does not lack is creativity because it leaves a big vision while using a small footprint. Filmmakers who would never have a voice now have one. Isn't that what we want to teach our children? To make a difference in the world by leaving a small footprint while keeping a strong vision.
I ask all cinematographers, videographers, still photographers, directors, producers, agency creatives, production companies, studios, actors, technicians, and so forth to embrace, push, sell, believe in, experiment, inspire, convince, persuade, and not to do business as usual by thinking out of the box to save the planet. It starts with one and grows exponentially.
This technology is not only ecofriendly but financially friendly by saving lots of money while shooting. I welcome him on the set any time after his assistance on The Last 3 Minutes. He jumped into action when our sound person was stuck in traffic and did excellent sound recording. Kurt was like a superhero sound guy in the night to save our project. Kudos, my man! Please be sure to visit! Please mark this for your records. If you're concerned about mistakes you will hold yourself back.
They're primarily stills cameras. But thousands of DSLR shooters are using them as cinema cameras. A lot of indies gravitated toward this camera for their cinema projects.
Today, consumers can download mini point-andshoot HD cameras that James Bond could use on his spy missions. Yet, all of these cameras—whether HD or not, whether shooting in 24P or 30P, whether recorded on P2 cards at Mbps—look like video, feel like video—that uncinematic, flat, overly sharp look that make cinema-makers and photographers cringe.
Because video cameras are so crammed with features needed for ENG work and for ease of use for low-end consumer cameras that it becomes everything for everyone. Video cameras can shoot family reunions, reporters can shoot news, sporting events can be caught in full HD glory—but none of those video cameras capture the look and feel of cinema without special 35 mm lens adapters.
Video cameras are full of compromises, such as high zoom ratios with fixed lenses that do not come close to the quality of the glass found in Zeiss or Canon L series prime lenses, for example. You're looking at the image and even with HD cameras it doesn't look like a movie to me, and I immediately found out that that had to do with color. And it had to do with creating looks.
Whether or not someone prefers to shoot HD video on a standard video camera or on a DSLR, what can't be argued is how photographer Vincent Laforet redefined the argument overnight. It was a Friday.
Laforet took a peek, but they wouldn't let him touch the camera until he signed a nondisclosure agreement. Indeed, when he found out it was the world's first DSLR camera to shoot full-size HD video, he begged Sparer to let him borrow one for the weekend. But the cameras were to be shipped out to other photographers for testing on Monday, so the answer was no. Laforet made a pitch.
Figure I. Used with permission. When Laforet first saw the results of the 5D Mark II on-screen, he knew this was different from any type of video he had previously examined. It's one of the best still cameras out in the world.
But between the size of the sensor and the lens choice and the way it captures light it's absolutely stunning. After Laforet put Reverie online Canon liked it , it received over a million views in a week, and Laforet's life changed overnight. The day after the upload, he received three different film project offers within a day.
HD at least at the prosumer level may have been a game changer for news, sports, and event videographers—but not for many filmmakers. Hurlbut, among other ASC members, attended.
But Hurlbut saw the potential right away. I knew that this was going to change everything. I thought it was revolutionary. When McG, the director of Terminator Salvation , called Hurlbut and asked him to direct and shoot a series of webisodes to promote the movie—all based around a first-person perspective of a helmet cam—Hurlbut was all over it.
Hurlbut saw the potential right away. I was all in. Motion pictures were born. Their specialty is capturing the news and sports.
When I look at their images they don't look cinematic. I feel that the HD platform has now come from the right source, still photography.
Up to this point, the HD video camera chip technology just doesn't quite do it for Hurlbut because the video looks overly sharp and has way too much depth of field. You need to think much more out of the box, stop looking at all the numbers and drink the DSLR Kool-Aid, along with its limited color space and digital compression.
This is what makes it look cinematic and organic, I call it digital film. He often gets some strange looks when pulling out his 5D, especially when he hands it to the Technocrane technicians.
But despite its alien look in the film world, Hurlbut tries to keep shooting simple. It is intimate and my portal to view the light and composition. By embracing the simplicity of the Canon technology, he was able to keep the production simple, small, and intimate with the director and the actors, not a big circus.
The camera becomes the DIT as well as the video playback technician. Note the red tape on the monitor setting the aspect ratio; the 5D Mark II does not output HD when shooting in live mode, but standard definition.
Photo by Kurt Lancaster Figure I. And I think out of all this it's going to start a massive revolution. A few years ago, he started and today still runs an all-digital postproduction house, Hdi RAWworks hdirawworks. He used Smith's posthouse for the postproduction work. Charters needed to get shots of the White House, Smith explains. Charters, Smith continues, took the stealth approach. He pretended to be a museum tourist.
Would it be cinematic or look as though it painfully stood out with a video aesthetic? We understand all about color space and resolution. But in the right hands, the ugly duckling can shine. Smith asked Charters to do the ultimate test. However, 4K resolution is an entirely different story. For now, though, Smith is pushing the HDSLR cinema revolution, and he feels that Canon will beat out the other dedicated video cameras due to Moore's Law—faster, better, cheaper—the HDSLR cameras can only get better, plus Canon has the sales distribution and mass market on its side.
It gave a new level of being able to pull the actors out of the background and pull them … right to your face, and give an intimacy that I haven't seen in digital or film.
There is something in the sensor design, something in the spirit of the machine, the soul of the machine that is very organic. There is something that Canon engineers do with these sensors and their color science that produces a very film-like aesthetic.
Independent filmmaker Philip Bloom, who, like Smith, dismissed the value of the Canon 5D Mark II, bought one and tossed it aside because he couldn't control some of the features manually. As a professional DP, he wanted that control. But late in the spring of , he saw the potential. He started shooting some projects with it.Laforet made a pitch.
At the same time, the importance of basic cinematography will not be assumed, and even if you already have this knowledge, the review may be beneficial because the examples draw from a DSLR perspective.
How does color temperature convey the look and feel of your film? It reveals Philip Bloom's signature style with close-ups of faces in and around horse stables and a racetrack. We married in the fall of , and I have been blessed with the most amazing soulmate in history. Chapters 1 through 5 include either a checklist or a set of steps, so you can plan each element as you begin to master it, or use each checklist as a helpful reminder.
Side lighting will increase texture. Pitfalls of Presets and Creating Custom Styles. If you can become a good editor first, it is easy to become a good shooter.
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