A Cinematographer’s question: Whichformat will you shoot in?• Considerations:• Budget (although this seems to becoming less of anissue)• Look• Method of Delivery• How is your audience going to see it?
Shooting with FilmDefinition of MediumLight coming through camera lens interacts with chemicals on film stock to produce imagesrecorded in quick successionDifferent formats inmedium• 35mm: most common for Hollywood movies• 70mm or IMAX: Used for large scale or science documentary films• 16mm: Used for television, lower budget student films• Super 8mm: format of most old home moviesAdvantages toshooting with Medium• Still the most common exhibition format (most theaters have 35mm projectors) – This ischanging rapidly• Near infinite resolution (is not a digital format)• Has a filmic look; Most people find the format to be comforting and familiar• Greater ability to use Depth of Field; latitude on ExposureDisadvantages• Expensive format to shoot in (film stock is expensive, especially when you are burningthrough at lot of it)• Required that you make prints for each theater that you are showing the film in• Larger cameras; less portable• Film is incredibly sensitive to light, requires more light than video to properly exposeimageFilm Examples• 35mm: Most Hollywood films• 70mm• 2001: A Space Odyssey• Far and Away• 16mm• Primer (Winner of 2004 Sundance Grand Prize)• Best in Show (has a documentary feel)
Shooting with VideoDefinition of MediumLight comes through camera and is processed on a chip. Information is then either recordedmagnetically or digitally onto a tape or other storage mediumDifferent formats inmedium• Digital Files (Red Camera, DSLR, Arri Alexa)• MiniDV• HDV• Digital 8• Hard DiskAdvantages toshooting with Medium• Is a cheaper option that shooting on film (storage medium is typically cheaper)• Fully digital workflow: Can go digital into edit and then output to digital for a digitalexhibition• Smaller digital formats are more portable and thus easier to shoot in a variety oflocations• Digital format is more readily able to shoot in low-light situations• Great for direct to DVD releasesDisadvantages• Digital does not have as much latitude when it comes to light levels• If you shoot digital, you may still have to make film prints• Motion is off-putting for many audiences; has a different look than movies shot on film(this is getting better however)Motion PictureExamplesRed One• Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides• The HobbitArri Alexa• Hugo• In TimeCanon DSLR• 127 Hours• Like Crazy
Camera Consideration: Screen format• Throughout film history, filmmakers have developed a variety of formatsin which to view films. They developed these new formats in order tokeep audiences interested in going to the movies, especially whentelevision was introduced• Academy Ratio (1.33:1): Closest to a square; Used in early films; Aspect ratioof SD television• Widescreen (1.85:1 or 1.66:1): Used in most Hollywood films; Comedies;Widescreen television• Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1): Filmed using a special lens which squishesthe image down. When the film is projected a similar lens is used to stretch theimage back. Used for action films / Epics
Camera Considerations: Lenses andExposure• Lenses• Shorter lenses (typically those less than 35mm) are called wide angle lenses. These givedepth to the images and are often referred to as wide angle lenses• Longer Lenses (75mm to 250mm) are called telephoto lenses. These flatten the imageand are use to photograph subjects from a great distance• Zoom Lenses are lenses with the ability to switch between different focal lengths• Exposure• Exposure is determined by the f-stop of the lens. The f-stop is a measure of how muchlight is coming through the iris of the lens• Like an eye, the iris of the lens opens and closes to allow or limit the amount of light thatthe recording medium is being expose to• If the light source is bright (such as shooting outside), you will need to close the iris to restrict theamount of light coming in• If the light source is dim (such as shooting inside), you will need to open the iris to allow light tocome in
Camera Considerations: Depth of Field• Lenses, Film Stock, and Exposure all have an effect ondepth of field• Depth of filed is the range of distances before the lenswithin which object can be photographed in sharp focus• Often times directors will want to see everything in theframe at focus at once, regardless of distance. This isreferred to as deep focus• If a shot has a narrow depth of field, the cameramancan move between what is in focus in the frame byperforming a rack focus
Lighting the Scene• As film language developed, so did a system of lighting for film. The mostcommon system is known as three point lighting, which consists of• Key Light: The main light source, usually comes from one side• Fill Light: a light used to reduce any harshness created by the key light, on the oppositeside of the key. Less intensity than the key light• Backlight: Used to differentiate the subject from their background• By changing the variables on these three lights you can change the way thataudiences perceive the tone of your film• High Key Lighting: Bright lights and few shadows; typically used for comedies• High Contrast: Big drops between the spots of light and darkness; makes the filmdramatic; used in tragedies and melodramas• Low Key: Lots of shadows and pools of light; used in mysteries and thrillers• Some films prefer to use natural and available sources for their films with littleadded light• We are also able to give quality to the light• Hard lighting: clearly defined shadows, crisp textures, and sharp edges• Soft Lighting: diffused illumination
How can we evaluateCinematographers?• The quality of the image:• Does the quality of the image fit with the story and world of the film? Whatis the quality of the image telling us about how we should view this world• Does the color appropriately depict the world of the story?• The quality of the light:• Does the lighting look natural? Are we able to tell that the scene hasartificial lighting?• The Lens• What kind of depth of field is the camera giving us? Why is thecinematographer choosing to use a shallow focus as opposed to a deepfocus?