This is where I get into the biggest, even me and Jeff argue about lighting to this day because he so, the Monte Clay perfect loop shadow lighting is just part of his DNA. I know I'm not going to change it, right? Just like I can't make the hair grow, I'm not changing that. But as filmmakers we are-- (laughs)
You are just wicked.
You started it.
I'm thinking of a theme tomorrow for you.
Good, that's fine man, that's fine. It's good. You started it in the trailer, you said it first. So what was I saying, I lost my thought. You just ruined the whole show, just kidding.
Lighting, we disagree.
Lighting, yeah, we disagree. So as photographers, here's the idea. How can I light this scene or this subject and make them look as good as possible? And that's your thought, which is exactly what it should be. In film, you are bound by the laws of reality. Remember that as we go forward here.
Remember as a photographer, part of your value add is fantasy lighting, r...
ight. That's why their paying you. But in filmmaking, if fantasy lighting doesn't make sense with what you're seeing in the scene from your wide shots then something's not right. Then it's just kind of out of place.
So let's get into a little bit of settings I want to talk about here. 24 frames a second, this is going to come into play in lighting in a second, so that's why this is here. 24 frames a second, it's actually, 23.976 would be the exact frame rate but 24 for all respective purposes, is what you want to shoot. Okay, why? Because we have been conditioned since the dawn of our existence, to look at a film, see 24 frames a second, and think cinematic. Okay, it's just human conditioning. Now our good friend, Peter Jackson is trying to change that with The Hobbit and he's getting a lot of flack for that, all right. It doesn't, people weren't liking it. Now if James Cameron decides to do it with Avatar we might be having to redo this program but for now, 24 frames per second is the standard and what you want to do. And for your shutter speed, you want that to be double your frame rate. So when we're looking at 24 frames a second and we see cinematic, when we see 29.97, which is 30 frames a second, what do we see there? We see television.
Television is broadcast at 30 frames a second and your brain knows the difference and it feels very different when you're watching 24 and 30. And the whole goal in all of this discussion about gear and story telling is to keep it as cinematic as possible. You want to remind your viewers of the movies and not of TV.
And we're not talking about Breaking Bad, Homeland, Mad Man, we're talking about the news, television. We're talking about broadcast television, not cinematic television because TV has come a very long way in the last 10 years with their shows. And the frame rate, or the shutter speed you want to be double your frame rate so when you go to the 29.97 if you have a client, you're shooting a television commercial and they say we're gonna put this on TV, shoot it at 30 frames a second, you might get that request, make sure you adjust the shutter speed to match that. I want to talk about variable ND filters. Tiffen makes a variable ND filter which gives you one to eight stops and they make one that goes, I always keep it exclusively on my 70 to and the reason why you're gonna want this, here's here's what happens. You get one to eight stops, who remembers the days of stacking ND filter? One on top of the other right and then you get the natural vignette.
Just a reminder, the reason this is important is because you want to keep it at 50th of a second regardless of anything else because that's the look that's most cinematic.
So it's gonna be perfect when you're in broad daylight. It's gonna help you keep the shallow depth of field because you, I say don't shoot wide open just 'cause you can but there are gonna be times where you're gonna want to and it's gonna help you maintain the desired shutter speed, as Jeff just mentioned. Look at this shot here. Okay I'm outside, I'm in the desert, I'm on a wide-angle lens. That is Kevin, he grew his hair out for that shoot. It's easy to keep it properly exposed because I'm not trying to have a shallow depth of field. I'm stopping as far down as I can go to make it as sharp as possible. So I don't have to worry about ND filters here. That I can do in camera but remember shot sequencing. I'm gonna have to go into a close-up at some point. So when I go here, that's a 70 to and that's shot a 2.8 in the middle of the desert, in broad daylight at noon, and I'm drinking hot coffee.
I don't know what that had to do with anything. At ISO 100.
I don't believe, I don't believe in iced coffee. So the idea here is the variable ND filter is giving me eight stops back. So I just close that thing up and I get eight stops and that's why I can keep my shutter speed at a 50th of a second. I can shoot it at two eight and then I obviously have the ISO at 100. So that's a really, really powerful tool and they're not that expensive. How much are they?
I don't know specifically but they aren't that expensive. Sub 200 dollars.
Yeah, less than 200 bucks. So you definitely want to get a variable ND filter. It's a really powerful tool and a lot of times I see people keep it on their camera and they don't they might not even use it but it's there and you don't have to use it, just open it up, just like an f stop. And then of course, when I'm doing to my medium shots, I'm still keeping that 50th of a second look. Now, let's talk about breaking the rules. We see a lot of slow motion. I'm seeing a lot of slow motion from DSLR filmmakers. Awesome, I love slow motion, don't get me wrong but you have to do it correctly. You're going to want to do this correctly. So the first thing you wanna do is shoot it on the fastest frame rate possible, which in our case is gonna be 60 frames a second. What happens to the shutter speed? That goes to one to one twentieth of a second or 125th of a second, whatever it is on the DSLR camera. And this is art, not a science project. So when I say keep your shutter speed double your frame rate, that doesn't mean tattoo it on your hand and just follow it to a fault. There's gonna be times you're gonna want to break that rule and I would say the time when you want to break that rule is when you're shooting sports. Basketball, football, anything with fast movement. Boxing right, we're fighting, you want to capture that movement. The faster your shutter speed is, the less motion blur you're gonna have. If you want to make this hit home, go out, shoot a clip of like a dog running or something, at 24 frames a second, try to slow it down and then shoot it at 60 frames a second, try to slow it down and you'll see how much smoother things are when you shoot it at a faster frame rate. Now, when you shoot something faster frame rate and you're gonna double your shutter speed, what are you gonna need more of? Light. You're gonna need more light. So there's a high-speed camera where they'll shoot like 700 frames a second, where they do the old super, super, slow motion. What do you think they have out there? Really powerful lights to just flood that scene with lights. It's almost looks over lit in a lot of situations. So keep that in mind, the more frames your recording, the more light you're gonna need. So let's get into some lighting tools and I want to talk about where my lights are going. So we're gonna set the lights tomorrow and I use everything from a Lowel Pro light, which is how many watts is that? 200 watt light, the Lowel Pro.
250, so 250 watt lights. I use the DP lights which are a thousand watt lights. I use the lights in between which are 500 Watts. the ambis, so we have all sorts of lights and a lot of times I'll put a light on a dimmer so I can dim the light and things like that. Here's the thing about film, that you're gonna want to understand. In photography you're capturing a single frame. In film you're trying to capture a moment across time. So remember the Facebook film when he gave his little speech about, oh and he's addicted and according to Google research, Yadda Yadda. Here's the lighting, this is the first thing we shot because the Sun, that the window is behind him here. So there's a big bay window, the glass window behind him. So here's what we're doing, we're justifying the light. We're establishing what light is here and the reason why is because when you're racing against the Sun, it's slowly moving as you're in between takes, it could take 45 minutes to get this scene correct. That Sun's gonna move and on the back of your LCD screen it's not gonna look like it moved but when you get it in editing, it's going to move and it's gonna move quickly.
This is such an important thing to understand because all we have to do is get that one moment in time, as photographers. But if you're doing any kind of work that requires continuity in your filmmaking, just a small change, and that cabin scene that we showed, that bird's-eye view with Kevin. We shot that thing all day long and we are constantly having to move reflectors, add lights, and add, throughout a 6-hour time period as the Sun was moving, to make it look like that conversation happened within the same twenty minutes.
And a lot of people say, oh it's digital, I don't need a light meter. Yes you do, you want to have a light meter because a light meter can determine what's the exposure of different parts of my scene and you're not gonna see the Sun move with your eyes.
Another reason you want a light meter is because often times you'll do a shoot across a couple of days and maybe it's from exactly the same scene and in some cases the same line because you're going back or you're correcting or you want something different. And you'll have clip one from day one and clip two from day two next to clip one, they have to match if they don't match perfectly. Light meter you go there and you light everything, you meter everything. Meter the position of any amount of light on the faces, on the background, on any part of the scene. Record it all and so then when you come back the next day and you're having to set it up from scratch because you tore down your set, you can set it up and know that you have it look the same.
The longest part of a filmmaking production is lighting, lighting a shot, lighting a set. So here, when we're looking at David and the window's behind him, the reason why I did that is because of the time of day, where the Sun was in position to that window. And I wanted to get this shot over with so that when I moved behind him and you can no longer see the windows. I can Cinefoil all the windows and put my own light so that the Sun doesn't move.
What does Cinefoil the windows mean?
Cinefoil is just basically black moldable paper that's really thick tin foil essentially, that's black and you could tape it on the windows and it turns day to night.
It blackens everything out.
It blackens everything, it turns day to night really fast and you can reuse it and you basically use it until it's just so destroyed you got to buy another roll. And it's pretty cheap. But you can see, there's the shot. Look to the window on the left, what you see there is the Sun going down right. So here, day light and then when I go here, the sun's starting to go down so this you can see, there's a light right there, outside that window. That's actually a DP light and then you can see behind that one when I flip to the other side, look at the blue window. You can see the Sun is clearly going down. So my idea is to avoid all the windows so that when I go and I'm actually shooting in this direction, it's almost night time here but the light looks consistent.
There's a 500 watt light outside of the house. Go back please, outside of the house making that look consistent all in to the evening and into the night as they shot. Because when they started out, it was that light at the beginning of the day.
Yeah, so it's kind of a difficult concept to understand when you're doing that because you're, the idea of I want to make this light look as good as possible, falls behind what looks realistic and how I make it consistent across time as well. There might have been a moment in that day where the Sun was beaming through that window and it looked amazing but it's not realistic to recreate that for seven hours. So you have to think about what's realistic. And one thing I want to point out, you see the light bulbs, the actual lights in the shot, that's a big thing in film we call practical lights. The lights you can show a viewer is how you justify where you're lighting comes from, which I'm gonna get into big-time in a second here. The devil angel, when we saw him on his shoulders arguing with each other, we shot the green-screen this is what it looked like. You could see a total Jim there, you can see our lenses, our coffee cup, you could see pictures. We just had him stand in front of there and just do his lines but here's what we had to think about. Lighting, we had to almost light it flatter and bright because we knew we were gonna have those devil angel pop-up in broad daylight. So we had to anticipate the light we were going to create the next day and that's a big deal because if we wanted to really light this perfectly, profile lighting, with the perfect loop shadows that would be. A photographer will walk into this situation and light that with perfect portrait lighting and then we would put him on the shoulders in the real scene and it would look ridiculous and it wouldn't make any sense. And that's where photography and filmmaking, they ride parallel and then when it comes to lighting, they just go off in their separate directions and they go off to their separate corners. It's just a different mindset and then of course, we create that and it looks somewhat natural. And then even having the devil on the highlight side of the face, I'm almost justifying that that fake fire is lighting his face, that's why I put him on that side so just try to emphasize that even a little bit more. What's on these lights here are gels. So a lot of times what you saw in the Facebook thing when we were competing with those windows. Daylight versus tungsten. So all the lights, mostly all the lights I use are tungsten balanced and then the window obviously is day light. So how do you get a tungsten light to match with day light is you put a blue gel on it.
Yeah, let me talk a little bit about this. We're used to simply changing white balance in a RAW file as photographers, it's pretty simple. We can kind of have like an atrocious lighting situation out here but because Photoshop gives us so much power and a RAW file gives us so much flexibility, we can go and make something look the way that we want to. Let me tell you, when you're shooting at 24 frames a second, you're shooting at 24 JPEGs a second. That's essentially what an H.264 codec is. It's 24 very compressed individual photos per second and as photographers know you can't go out there and work with the same latitude with the JPEG as you can't a RAW file. So you're not going to have the ability to change white balance with hardly any degree of sophistication at all, which is why you have to make the light sources match when you're filming. So in the case right here, the main kind of light in the scene was coming from some windows.
A lot of windows.
Back behind to the left. That's in the scene but on their faces, we had to create all of that light and the only way to make blue light of the scene with all the windows match the inside was to put these blue gels on them. And you can see right here, we're actually shooting into a Westcott Scrim Jim Reflector with a very bright light to cast the main light back onto our subjects but we've got a blue gel on there so that everything matches because otherwise, if you don't take the time to do that it's gonna be very awkward looking. In our wedding film, we talked a lot about this the Shannon and Amy one from earlier. Unfortunately inside we had windows all behind us, it was all day light, and then all of our lights to kind of light the scene and the lights from the venue we're all tungsten. And we just had to deal with the clash because obviously it was an event but if you're in control you want to go ahead and you want to reduce that.
And a question that might come from the Internet or you guys is if you're in a situation where you have mixed light sources, what do you balance for? Balance for the skin of the subject. That would say, that would be your rule nine times out of ten is you don't want people looking orange or blue unless there's some sort of psychological reason you want them to look that way, which we will get into in a second. And this light here, look how many lights are pointing into that reflector to create that and even still, the window is blown out.
And notice that the light here and the light coming from the window all match. They're all perfectly white because of those blue gels.
So again, we're here, we're putting blue gels on to try to compete with the windows. And when we got up into this office, this is Kevin Kubota studio in case you haven't seen it, basically what we did here is we had a very long shoot. We had a shoot that started at 10 a.m. and was probably gonna go to 1 a.m. so we had lots of lighting situations to control. So what we did is out in the lobby, which is these two images, we shot a conversation that happened and the whole entire studio is surrounded by windows, the whole thing. There isn't one part of that room that isn't surrounded by windows except for that doorway, which I'm in front of. Wow, my hair is a lot shorter. And you can see that every single light we have some sort of modifier. We have a gel with an umbrella, we don't use harsh direct light on people rarely ever, unless there's a psychological reason for it. So what we wanted to do is create this scene and then go into that office right there and keep it day time. That that was our whole thought process on that day.
Even though we were gonna have to shoot in the office in the evening, as far as the film was concerned they were walking from a day lit entryway into that conference room and it was still day light outside.
It wasn't five minutes later, it was them walking into the room so the light had to be the same. It's not gonna change while you're stepping. And here's what it looked like. On the left is what we shot in the office outside and on the right is night time. That's probably midnight and what's behind them, it's literally a bald DP light. There's no diffusion on it, there's nothing, it's just blasted through the door, which is acting as our diffusion. And the whole idea there was we were setting ourselves up so at the end of the scene when Kevin opened the door and we were exposed properly for that room on the right. When he opened that door, when the camera was facing that light it would just look like an all-white room. He would just walk in and disappear into an all-white room. We're using these at weddings, the Lowel Pro lights. We didn't, if you watched the first like four or five wedding films I did, the reception sort of doesn't really make the cut and the reason is because I'm biased towards the image quality. I don't have control over the lighting, it's usually dark so people can dance and they don't want you messing with their lighting and it's a whole thing. So reception footage doesn't always come out the way you want it to. So what we started doing, Jeff came up with an idea to put pro lights in the corners. Put them up as high as possible and then just angle them down on the dance floor. It doesn't really affect the lighting setup from the reception of what they wanted but it gives us just a little bit of kiss of light. So when you're shooting towards the light you see that the guy on the right giving the speech, he got he has a kicker light on each side to give that shot a little depth there. You can see the lights in the bottom of the shot, the bottom one and then when I'm on the other side of course, it just gives a nice fill light to the dance floor without really affecting the integrity of their lighting.
We put them up as high as they'll go and then angle them down 45 degrees into each other.
And no diffusion, just so we don't lose any power because there are only 250 watts so we don't want to take over and put thousand watt lights but we don't want to diffuse our 250.
Gives a nice nice cinematic look.
This is a shot from the birth announcement where we're doing the body parts here and this is why you need a macro lens, just for the record. There's a macro shot and the 180 is a three-five lens so you're gonna need a little bit of light and sometimes I want to shoot those shots at a higher frame rate, 60 frames a second so that if I do need to slow them down to really stop on the eye, then I can do that. And you're gonna need more light. So what Jeff likes to do is take the Westcott Scrim Jim with the white diffusion, which is behind you.
We're going break this out tomorrow and show you specifically.
Put a DP light right on the outside of it and then the the Scrim Jim turns into just a massive like, body length softbox and there is no sweeter light than that. And that's probably, you can almost see it in the reflection of her pupil there where it is and it's literally right there. And you know you can't shoot a DP light into someones eyeball, it's just cruel and unusual so you know you got a soften it somehow and you can see it's really even and soft. Now, which comes to my favorite part of lighting. Justifying light. Okay so justifying light is the theory of lighting in film that you need to understand because light has to make sense. So if I'm in a dark field somewhere and I want to make a film of somebody in a dark field chopping wood, right? And it's 10 o'clock at night, where's the light coming from?
The moon, exactly, the moon. And that's it and that's it. So if I want to light that scene, if I want to light that shot, guess what I have to do with my lights? I can't have all I come from over here and a kick of light put the perfect shadows and that just doesn't make any sense. That's gonna pull you out of the story. Okay, you don't want to do anything to pull someone out of the story. So what I have to do is I want to set up lights, I have to make every light that I set up look like it's coming from the moon. And if I want to add another light into that scene, guess what I have to do as a filmmaker? Well, guess what buddy? You're gonna be lighting some of that wood on the fire because I want some yellow light to come from underneath. So I'll start making him put light into the scene. So you see that, the moon is part of the scene, part of the light. The fire will be part of the scene, part of the light. Those are practical lights. Lights that I as the viewer can see which will justify the existence, the color, the direction of light. Looking at this shot here, if Jeff were looking at this from his portrait eye and judging the light, he'd probably slap me silly because there's nothing special about it. But in this situation it makes sense. What I want to do, color of light and film has psychological meaning. Red tends to be associated with evil. So what I want to do is make this character seem very evil in the scene. So I have to, as the director, put red light on him, that's what I want. But some filmmakers will go artsy and abstract and say we're gonna light him red and that's it. I can't do that, I have a psychological block to doing that so what I have to do is say how can we get red light in the scene and justify the existence of the light. So I look for locations with an exit sign because that has a red light. Now, let me ask you something. Do you think that exit sign above his head is actually casting that light? No way, it's not even coming from the same direction but what happens? I give my establishing shot, I establish the scene. You as the viewer see the exit sign and as the scene plays out, that red light starts to move wherever I want it to and the viewer just always associates it back with the exit sign and never asks the question. Here's what's happening. The exit sign tells the viewer there's a red light in the scene. You can see it's in a bunch of different directions. Do you think people are watching this scene and saying hey wait a minute, that exit sign, there's no way it's casting that red light. No, you're gonna get away with it because if not, your story sucks because they're looking at the wrong thing. Your story's good, you can get away with things like this. So when I say justify light, I don't mean it literally, use the light from the exit sign. I mean give us some sort of justification for it and then you can start to set up lights in places and then it starts to make sense. So that's why the photographer and the filmmaker don't necessarily get along in filmmaking because there's a million ways you can make this look better. There's a million ways, I know that but it's not realistic and it always has to be realistic. Remember this scene, right? The hardest thing to do in filmmaking is light a dark shot, light night okay, light night. It's a tongue twister, say that three times fast. Light night, light night, light night. It's hard because what's the first thing that happens when you put light on something? It becomes bright, you don't want that, you need to have moods. So what I used here is there's, we have Lowel blenders actually that I used for this and they're a daylight balance or a tungsten balance. You can just dial it in to be either temperature. They're not super powerful, they're very soft, you can dim them, they can become battery-operated. There's just one right above his head, bouncing on his shoulder, nothing on his face. I don't want anything on his face, I almost want to light his shape so you see him there. I put the hair light on his head and then I have a light on her back that's blue. So there's a tungsten light on his head and a day light on her back. I'm balanced for tungsten so that that shows up as blue and how am I justifying that blue light? By the computer screen. So the computer screen and the Lowel light are working together and then I'm actually, I have a light up these stairs here, shining on that wall to just have a little bit of depth and shadow. So, you see the theme here? Every time I light something, there's always something in the shot, a practical light that creates the light for me, that justifies it for me. So when I walk into a set and I say, how are we gonna light this? Tyler is my lighting guy, my lighting extraordinaire. He'll be climbing on ladders hanging things from ceilings and we always have a conversation. Okay, how we joining in? How are we gonna join in with what's happening in the scene? We don't shoot natural light, we join in with natural light. And here's the pilot we shot two weeks ago and this is a speakeasy. If you guys don't know what a speakeasy is it's from prohibition days. We have a speakeasy where I live, I don't know why they have a speakeasy because alcohol is perfectly legal but you know. I guess it's a style thing, marketing. But we like the two-shot of them and this is a very big location so what's so challenging about shooting things like this is like Jeff mentioned, it has to be perfect. Each shot, you go from wide, you go to close, it all has to match. It all has to look like it fits together in the same lighting. So the first thing you do when you walk into a set like that, is you look at it and you say, how am I gonna light this for a wide shot? Then you light the wide shot, you shoot the wide shot, you look at the exposure of something like this, and then you can subtly modify it to be what you want but it can't be that different. So when I go into a close-up of him right here, look at how even the light is. Look how it doesn't change at all and practical lights, here's what's happening. All these lights over his shoulder, all that bokeh, you know what that is, those are bare bulb Lowel Pro lights behind me, behind camera. In the reflection, it looks like street lights outside, and then right here this blue light above his head right there, that's like a little micro light. That's just a little micro light, just put up in the bar to create depth and layers. Every scene should have a foreground, a subject, and a background. So I try to create depth with layers of light, that's like my thing. And then there's a wider shot of the bar and you could see all those lights and the reason why they're exposed relatively well is because we go in and we replace every light bulb in the scene with a 20 watt light or 25 watt light. Hundred watt lights gonna blow out and you're not gonna be able to see it. It's gonna look crazy but if you replace them with very low wattage bulbs, you can use them to justify and you can see we have lights hanging from the ceiling, we caught one here. So we hung all of our lights from the ceiling. You can get scissor clamps, they're really cheap from B&H. And if you have a drop ceiling, you can scissor clamp a light on a drop ceiling and then you just run the cord through the drop ceiling and then you eliminate light stands all together, which is what makes lighting a wide shot so challenging. So here, one new thing I'm doing is I'm trying to create patterns on the wall. So I use a venetian blind light diffusion. I'm not actually creating it with the blinds, I have to get Cinefoil and just cut lines in it and then it has to be a certain perfect distance from the light. And I actually have a light off camera just splashing at the wall creating that lighting pattern but I justify it with the, again, I'm justifying the lighting pattern with a practical venetian blind that's behind her, if that makes sense, and then I'm doing one on the couch over here and justifying it by that window. And then this is really important, the fish tank because I end up using the fish tank when we go night time as a light itself. So right there. That's a night shot in the same location. It's actually day time. All we did was Cinefoil the window so behind those blinds, there's a bunch of Cinefoil on the windows. So it's completely black. We light the scene and do you think a fish tank would create a perfect loop shadow on her nose? Absolutely not. We turned the fish tank off and then we put a micro light. There's someone holding it right there like this, just putting it on her face and it's the same color as the fish tank light. That's how we justify it, we showed the fish tank and then when we show her, we put our own lighting in place. Rule of thirds, you guys understand this, you're photographers. Nothing changes in film when you want to frame a subject, you can see I'm using the rule of thirds. The eyes are on the top and I try to keep things in the frame, sort of like photography would be with the the exception that the camera moves. So we want to do things like that. Sensor scope. (laughs)
Yeah so, one thing you realize when you take a photograph, that shutter opens and closes in a thousandth of a second, you know, you take a thousand pictures, it does that a thousand times. But the amount of time that the shutter is exposed, where the sensor is exposed to the real world is very, very, very small. Thousand pictures at a thousandth of a second, that's gonna be like one second, right? Obviously that sensor exposed the entire time that you're doing filmmaking and what it tends to do is attract dust, big time. Our favorite way to clean that off is with a Delkin sensor scope and look what happens if you don't clean your sensor and you go out on the job. Ross went on a--
That's a bird right there. (laughs)
Yeah, that's a bird. We're on the way to France and forgot to clean the sensor. What's so great about the sensor scope is it has a built-in LED flashlight so you actually set it on top of the camera, it's a magnifying glass with a flashlight. So you can see all the dust on there, there's not guesswork. It includes wands and it includes some solution to clean everything off. It includes an electric suction brush that will actually suck the dust out of the chamber and then there's no guesswork, there's no doing test shots later on to find out because the magnifying glass and the LED light allows you to see all the dust and get it off the first time. So a very, very, useful tool. I think they're like 75 or 80 dollars. They're pretty cheap and worth every penny.
Yeah, you don't want to have that. I didn't see that on the back of the LCD screen and you really can't get that off. Maybe you you probably could but--
It would take a long time.
It's not worth it. Yeah it's better than us do in real time. Oh, my favorite part of the program, cheating. And this is my favorite quote, this is like the quote of the day. If you don't cheat, you don't try.
So let's talk a little bit about cheating, okay. This is from the first birth and that's what we showed today and I want to set the scene up for you. We walked into the room, here's the desk, it's against the window. We knew we are gonna make the slider shot and I'm like well, let's take a look at this. Here's what we're seeing as Shannon sits down, the desk is clearly up against the window and yet we're gonna have to somehow make this slider shot of Shannon. So I said to Ross, I'm like what are we gonna do? And I'm like wait a minute, I know. I'm gonna go outside, I'm gonna find a ladder, I'm gonna climb up to the second story, and we're gonna put the slider outside on the ledge of the windowsill and then we're gonna go ahead and we're gonna get this slider shot.
And then I said okay, that sounds like a great idea and I love your ambition, so while you're doing that I'm gonna just pull the desk away from the wall. I'm gonna make the shot and you just let me know how the window thing works out for you, if you're not dead by the end of it then great.
So does the audience know that we've moved the desk three feet closer in the room to make this? No, they don't have any idea and that's the whole point of cheating. Let's take a look at this great example. (birds tweeting)
And you saw this from the--
Now if you recall in the original film, he's on the ground.
Three, two, one, and action. (upbeat music)
He's on the ground there and you don't know the difference as the viewer but it makes your filming a lot easier. So what Ross likes to say is if you don't cheat, you don't try. Think about cheating as much as you possibly can 'cause it'll make your film better and it'll make the process of filmmaking easier for you.
You're gonna see it tomorrow when we film, I'll say Kevin, cheat your head this way. Cheat your body this way, scoot your chair this way, and the audience never knows in the position of where they are but I'll move them. I'll cheat the light this way a little bit, cheat the camera down a little bit. I say the word cheat on the set like a hundred times.
And it's a term, it's a term that filmmakers use. Cheating position of lights or people or things means to purposely move them a little bit from where they were in the wide shot and the establishing shot so that you're getting a better angle or having an easier time when you're shooting from different locations but because this the audience member is not there in the whole context to see that, they wouldn't know the difference. We were gonna show a SmugMug video that a good friend of ours named Anton Lorimer shot and he's a fantastic filmmaker. I'm not gonna show you the long version or the short version but what we did was, SmugMug was his client and they said we want a three-minute video. We want a three-minute video so he gave him a three-minute video and as awesome as Anton is, it just kind of was dragging. It was kind of dragging and when SmugMug, as a sponsor of our tour came to us and said, we want you to put this video in. I called Ross and I was so excited because what we had planned to do is to shoot a long version of something and then cut it down in editing to show how much more effective something could be if it's less time. And that seems counterintuitive because like more is more, right? No, less is more in filmmaking and if you don't need a shot in there to tell the story then take it out. We're constantly analyzing every single clip on the editing board. Hey Ross, does our story makes sense without this clip? Is it more effective without this? Can we shorten the amount of time and still give the exact same message? And when you do that, you compress time, you require less of your viewer because then they're not having to sit through things that are boring them and the pace of your film feels quicker. You keep them interested and it's a much better experience for everybody. So what we say is let's say, when in doubt cut, yeah.
Really the quote is, your film should be as long as it is good.
Your film should be as long as it is good and that's important for a couple of reasons. The first is don't go out there and charge by the finished minute. Don't tell your client, I'm gonna give you a three-minute film because you might be boxing yourself into a corner where you have to produce three minutes of mediocrity when a one and a half minute film may actually be more effective for the task that they've hired you for. Longer is not better, a properly paced film is better. It should be as long as it is good. I think we're gonna end this day with a discussion of justifying sound in just the same way that we talked about justifying the light. When you're out in the world, the real world, there's all kinds of sounds that happen all around you and sometimes those can prove to be pretty distracting if you're doing some filmmaking. But you can often remove those sounds as a source of distraction, if you justify the sound first. Let's show you this.
Well that does smell good.
Mm, that's the smell of fresh basil desperately trying to camouflage the fact that I need more rosemary. (fire crackling) Basil, basil, touche basil.
Does everybody hear the crackling of the fire? How we justify the sound is we show the fire and once we show you the fire, it justifies the existence of that crackling. We don't ever have to show it again but you always associate that image with that sound because if we don't show it, here's what it is. I'm gonna piss the audio guys off. (scratching) It's that.
Yeah, it sounds like--
It's just a scratchy microphone.
A scratchy lavalier microphone that somebody's clothes are rubbing up against. So if there's a sound in there, justify it so that when it recurs throughout the scene people understand why it's there and here's another thing, since we're on the subject of cheating. Do you really think that during the entire two days we shot Kevin in that kitchen scene, that we had a fire going the whole time and a pan sizzling there so that we could get the sound? No, we shot the scene and the very last thing that we did is we started to bring the sizzle up. I put a microphone next to it, I recorded it for three minutes, and then during the entire 20 minutes scene we just took that three minutes worth of sizzle and added it in underneath to give it a little bit of that ambient sound and that's called Foley. That's where you go and you either buy a sound because you can download sounds from Soundware, it has free ones, you can download things you pay for. Or you go and you just make it yourself to be added back in later. So the process of storytelling through shot sequencing and enhancing reality doesn't just apply to the visuals. It applies every much as bit to the sound. That's how we're gonna start off our day tomorrow is on audio.
So the chess thing, all the clanking of the pieces, so when I was done and I didn't record sound, I took those chess pieces out and I took a Zoom and I just recorded them all separately.
A Zoom is a portable recorder, just record all those separately.