What we're gonna do is we're gonna start talking about lighting and we're gonna light this set and basically what's gonna happen if you went to CineStories.com/CreativeLive, all the way at the bottom you could download the script we're gonna use in the next two sections and you see that there's three characters in the scene and Kevin is actually playing all three of them. How are we gonna do that? So what's gonna happen is we're gonna flip around this way and there's gonna be, for a two shot, which putting two people in the frame simultaneously which we talked about with the 35 millimeter lens yesterday, we're gonna have Kevin walk into the set here, we're gonna light the shot evenly and we're gonna light it very soft, and we're gonna show you how we do that. The reason why we're gonna do everything we're doing here today, number one we're in a studio, not on location. Me as a filmmaker, I prefer to go on location because you have a lot more eye candy. Obviously we're forced to sort of...
shoot in this direction, so that's the first thing. Second thing is we need the light to be even because when we do the wide shot and Kevin is sitting in one seat here and Kevin is sitting in another seat here, it's two shots combined into one, so we're gonna basically have the shot, Kevin's gonna walk into the shot, sit down, and then do his lines, and someone will be sitting on the opposite side of the table giving him line reads for his other character, okay? Then when he's done, he's gonna get up, he's gonna walk behind camera, he's gonna change his clothes, and then come back around to the other side and do the other character shots and when we edit tomorrow, we're gonna put that together in a seamless two shot conversation. It's gonna look like one shot, but you'll see today that we're gonna make it as two shots, actually three when we get right down to it. If you see, if you have the script and you follow along, you'll see the first person that enters the scene is the chef. The chef is the first line, the first character introduced and he's also the last character in the scene. What's gonna be interesting about that is we're not gonna shoot him until the end. Why? Kevin's a busy guy, he's got a flight to catch, and we can be efficient. Just because it's written this way doesn't mean we shoot it in order. We shoot everything out of order.
Out of order.
No pun intended. Actually, pun intended.
Yeah, absolutely. Out of order, out of order.
That's part of being efficient. The one thing, if you are working, if you're gonna do commercials you're gonna be working with actors or even non actors, people don't like to sit around, so you wanna keep everything moving. You wanna constantly direct. It's just like maybe being in a photo shoot. You would never be in a photo shoot with, you know, doing a senior portrait or a bride or any situation and be taking pictures and not communicating with your subject. You're always constantly communicating, you're always, you know, in there, reassuring them, "Oh you look great, that's awesome," and you'll see that when we actually get into the shoot, after every take I'll make an adjustment or I'll say, "That's perfect, let's do it again," so you'll see that every time, I make an adjustment. Before we light the shot, Jeff's gonna go over a couple of the lighting tools that we are going to incorporate today and that I incorporate all the time although we might not get to use that but we definitely wanna show it.
Yeah, I wanna show a few things that we may not end up using today just because of the confines of the studio environment, but that we use constantly. We went through all of our filmmaking and our audio gear, we haven't really gone through the lighting specifically. I think the first place you wanna start is with this Westcott six in one reflector. It's very large and it's very cheap, it's $99. Why is it six in one? Well it gives you a silver reflector on one side, a gold reflector on the other, this unzips and then gives you a black block, you can reverse this and then put it back on on one side--
It gives you a hybrid silver and gold right here and it gives you a white reflector and it gives you a translucent piece. This translucent piece allows you basically to turn this into a softbox.
Yeah, and honestly if you're on a real film set with me, you're probably not gonna see a shot where this is not used. I use this almost in every shot in some way, shape, or form in whatever the six, you know, reflectors or, you know, the gold reflector I wanna use.
And it collapses down like this. Real simple, real easy to carry, and it gives you all those different things. I believe we have a door prize coming up later in the day where one of these is gonna be given away, so.
Can I win it?
No? Okay now sort of graduating from that, this is, you see this a lot on pretty much every commercial shoot for sure and there's a lot of uses for this. This is a Westcott Scrim Jim.
This is the greatest, this is the greatest photography tool that photographers don't know about but that once filmmaking started, you gotta have this and you can use it in both worlds equally.
Here's the couple of ways that you can use this. This could be a reflector, you saw it yesterday when we were bouncing like seven lights off of it to soften the light. This, what we use ... There's two ways we use this most common. One of the way is like this, we'll put a Lowel DP light behind it which is a thousand watts and then this turns into a softbox that basically will light my entire body evenly from top to bottom. There probably isn't any prettier light in the world unless you're modifying the sun in some way, and you can see, it's just creating a nice, soft light. Obviously that's a softbox as well, so it's double defused, but.
Think about the larger the surface area of your softbox, the softer the light is and the prettier the light is. We had that close up shot of my niece's, uh.
Of my sister-in-law's eyeball, yeah, that was coming from the light on this. You take a couple of pro lights, put it through here, you have the most beautiful light that you can get and the thing is is that you can use that for your photographs too. When you buy a Scrim Jim kit, it comes with clamps that'll allow you to put it on a light stand so it can be free standing. If you're inside, if you're outside and there's any wind, it's a sail. So you're gonna need sandbags or you're gonna need hands to help, but the Scrim Jim, what we haven't shown you is that it collapses.
Don't collapse it yet, don't collapse it yet.
Huh? You wanna talk about that in a second? Okay, go ahead.
Yeah. Another thing that goes on here that we don't actually have with us, but there is a N-D mesh, and basically what the N-D mesh does--
Let me show, so the reason why he says it goes on here, take that down a little bit.
This frame, each piece is this long, from here to here. It collapses down into a very small, portable bag. The bag is obviously this long and then you assemble this on location, but there are three different sizes. There are four by four sizes, there are six by four sizes, there are six by six sizes, sorry there are four, and then there's eight by eight sizes. Depending on what system you get, you can get something that's even this tall and that wide and then it allows you to put on different fabrics for different purposes.
What I was gonna get ready to say about the N-D mesh basically it looks like black net, it looks like a screen almost, and you can get one stop and two stop N-D mesh.
One and a half stop and three quarter stop.
And three quarter stop, okay. So--
Then you can layer those.
So basically what would happen is instead of putting it and bouncing light off it, we would put this behind, so here, Jeff, stand in front of it. So I would put this behind him and it would be in the shot visible because the lens is not gonna pick up the N-D mesh and basically that stops the light down that's behind him. If you're under a porch, which is a very common place to shoot because you're taking cover, you have directional light that's coming into the porch, it's gonna be darker under that overhang and then when you see out into the, you know, the light, obviously the exposure is gonna be very, very different. Normally as a photographer, what would you do? You'd introduce flash into the scene to bring the exposure to make the match. Obviously you can't do that in film so what we would do is we would put this N-D mesh on, put it behind the character and use it in the shot and it would stop the light down that is off in the distance.
We didn't bring it, we forgot to pack it. I wish we had just so you could see it. It's literally a mesh fabric and the camera doesn't see the individual dots. Your eye sees it, but the camera doesn't. The camera just sees that light has been cut out from whatever is behind it and we use this in How to Photoshop Everyone in several scenes--
Bunch of times.
When, when the actress is entering Kevin's studio through the door, without this, the street is white, right? It's completely white, she's not entering from heaven, she's entering from somewhere so we put this behind her, layered the one and a half and the three quarters and then she walks in, you can see detail on the street. It's a really, really fantastic tool.
If you're gonna find yourself shooting outside, see a lot of people think that shooting outside's the easiest thing to do because it's lit, but it's actually the hardest thing to do because there's no direction of light, so light's coming from everywhere. A lot of times if you actually, you'll see this in the filmmaking for photographers DVD because we reference the How to Photoshop Everyone a lot, pick this up, there's actually, you can put like black fabric on this and block light completely or use the reflector and I'll put it, I'll have two assistants hold it over a character if I'm doing a close up and sorta force light in, like make my own porch, make my own overhang. There's a lot of ways you can do this. When you're outside, the name of the game isn't adding light, it's subtracting light, trying to find a way to directionalize the light onto your subject and this is huge for that.
The get in motion on CreativeLive trailer, the one where the actor is one the phone saying, "Oh you want video? Of course I can do video." That thing was shot in my backyard.
Entirely with this.
Entirely with this. We had somebody holding this over his head. You know, it's a sunny day. We had somebody holding this over his head the entire time because otherwise, what would you get?
And we didn't want that, we wanted nice, soft pretty light. It makes all the difference in the world. Go back and review the get in motion on CreativeLive trailer and you'll just see what the lighting looks like on him. That's all made possible because of this, and you need a larger surface area. You can obviously do that with the six in one, but you only have something about this big and when you're trying to film and get the surrounding environment, you're gonna need something a little bit larger. I'm telling you, for anything outside, this is like super fantastic. It also, you got that?
Like we talked about, it has the neutral density mesh fabric. You can come in here with a silver fabric and velcro that on. The other side of the silver is a white reflector fabric. They have a green screen fabric which is how you ended up doing the Facebook movie. We put the green screen fabric, velcroed that on. There's about, I don't know, you know, eight to a dozen different fabrics that you can get and in all different sizes. It's a super fantastic tool and for every use that it has in filmmaking, it applies equally to your photography.
Yeah. Moral of the story, get one.
So, Westcott Scrim Jim.
All right, let's pull it out. All right so let's talk about the scene we're about to conduct here.
Hold on one more. Get that umbrella please.
No? One more? I'm sorry?
Right there, the umbrella.
The umbrella? Oh, ah.
If you're in a pinch and you can't carry a lot of gear and you don't have a lot of money, the Scrim Jims kits start around $ and they go up from there to about a thousand, depending on how many fabrics you're getting. This translucent umbrella can save your life and you can buy a little clamp that goes on a light stand, again if it's not a windy day or if you have some sandbags, you just set this over your subject. Just like this, if the sun above me and we were doing this, we'd have that nice soft light, exactly the way the Scrim Jim does but in a package that's a lot easier to carry around. It's quick to assemble and to disassemble and I don't remember the price of these, but I think they're about $100. They're not very expensive.
And they're very worth it. I always try to steal Jeff's and he always catches me.
He always does try to steal mine. Westcott translucent seven foot umbrella.
Okay, now. We're ready to go here?
Okay so let's pull these chairs out of the way here. All right, no more sitting, sitting is for babies. I'm just kidding. Okay so what we're gonna do is we're gonna move this table here to the center. The reason why we're gonna move this table to the center is because the plant setup is our background here, our real background. Let's move these chairs here. You'll notice obviously, well I don't know if you can see but this wall--
This is blocking right?
No, no, this is set design. We're just tweaking it a little bit. We don't wanna shoot in this direction here and we don't wanna shoot in that direction there because obviously we have equipment off set here and we have a brick wall there. We may, if we wanna do one close-up straight on, we'll shoot in this direction so the background is nondescript. Let's see if we can move this without breaking any glass. Awesome, now spin it around. Boom, now bring the chair in. Okay so basically what we're gonna--
Thank you. Our two shot is gonna be set up literally right here and Kevin will be on that side, and Kevin will be on that side. There's a book actually that I read, it's the only filmmaking book I've ever read, it's called How to Make a Movie Under $10,000 Without Going to Jail. It's actually a really, really funny book and one of the things they always say is have your actors or your subjects walk into every shot and out of every shot because it always gives you some sort of exit when you're in editing. Whereas if you have trouble sort of ending a scene, like how, you don't wanna end a scene with someone just sitting there looking off into space unless that's the design, so they always say that and you can always cut it out later. Just because they do it doesn't mean you have to use it, so just keep that in mind. Everything that happens doesn't always have to be used. We're gonna light this shot, let's bring the softbox over here, we're gonna put this right in front of you guys.
Now, what, what, do you wanna describe this lighting setup and these lights?
The idea with this is normally what I would do is I would fill this scene in with the Westcott, the Scrim Jim, and shoot a DP light through it to just really just fill the entire scene and really just give it soft, even light. I am gonna be using some of the CreativeLive studio lights as fill here because they're here, so we're gonna have to utilize them and join in somehow and then this will fill our scene a little bit more. The idea, normally I would have a little more three dimensional light on a scene but because we're in a set and because of the nature of the shot being cropped down the center, so essentially when we look at this two shot, if you look at the table, in editing, we're gonna cut the shot right down the center of the table and you're not gonna see the line of the cut. We're just basically putting two shots on top of each other, but if anything moves, literally if a light moves, if the sun changes, if this bottle moves in this direction a little bit, we're done, it's not gonna work. You'll see tomorrow, we'll actually mess something up on purpose and I'll show you what happens when, you know, a little bit of color difference, anything could happen and screw this up. It's very difficult to do. I'm actually kinda crazy for trying this live, I could really embarrass myself but hey, A for effort right? We're gonna use this as our fill light, we're gonna bring the two omnis here to try to put light basically on Kevin from the back here and it's gonna light his face over here, so this light's gonna have two purposes. One over there, one over there and it's gonna be very, very even.
So this entire lighting setup comes from a kit called the Lowel's Super Ambi, is that correct?
Super Ambi kit. It comes with two of these omni lights which are 500 watt lights. When you turn them on, you can bounce them into the umbrella and the way you control, this is 500 watts on or zero watts off, you can't dim it.
Actually that's not true. You can buy--
You can dim it.
You can buy a dimmer for like $25. I actually recommend buying dimmers, they're very cheap. This is actually something I just started using recently. My gaffer on the pilot that I shot two weeks ago had a bunch of dimmers and I said, "What's that?" He's like, "I'm gonna dim these lights," and I didn't know you actually could put these on dimmers so you definitely wanna get dimmers because you can control how much power they have which is really useful.
When you buy them, you can't dim them though, but they are focusable. There's a little handle here that will move the light in and out within the lens and focus them and give you more or less intensity that way.
Yeah one would be flood, one would be sort of spotting.
So you want one right about here?
Just bring it out a little bit more. Is Kevin handy? We can start weaseling him in onto the set here.
Talk about the umbrellas.
I am. The umbrellas, the reason why we're doing this from umbrellas is we're bouncing the light off of the umbrella to soften it coming back. If we were to turn this around and actually not use the umbrella, it would be a lot harsh. It'd be really harsh.
It'd be like a spotlight.
Yeah it would be a spotlight. Number one, it would make Kevin uncomfortable, it would make him hot, these are very hot. Boom, I told you that would happen.
You did say it.
I said it would happen. We're gonna have to switch a light out because we just popped on, no worries, no worries. These bulbs, you can buy a bunch of refills from B&H. They're pretty cheap, they're like $ and you wanna have backups in the event that happens which it does happen, uh, it happens. When you're preparing for a shoot, the idea, you wanna, before you actually start shooting, you wanna, when you're gonna start shooting, which we're not gonna start shooting until the next section, you wanna be prepared. Everybody wants to know, you need everyone knowing what's going on. Somebody asked yesterday about script format on my Facebook and I told them to send you the question and tell you to tell me to ask that question live here. I don't remember the verbatim wording of this question, but it--
If you remember the summary, that's probably the best--
The summary of the question was if I'm shooting a script for a commercial or a short film, basically a script format, you guys at home probably have this already, it looks like this and for intercutting for example, if we're gonna do an intercutting script, I as the writer would write, I would visualize it that way, and I'd probably write it that way so it would say ... You can see at the bottom of the first page, this is cut two all the way on the right, that's a transition that I've written into the script. When I would make the shooting script so that we would follow it on set, I would print the scenes out separately and I would put them together and it wouldn't be intercutting on the script because it'd be a nightmare for the actor to follow along, for the cinematographers to follow along, so I would make what's called a shooting script and I would completely change it, but I would leave transitions in because sometimes you wanna film your own transitions like I said when I was doing camera movement about like dallying to black or dallying onto a wall or you know something like that. You wanna know that in advance so that you have that later in editing. That doesn't mean you're committed to using it but, like I said, you wanna have it. You guys can pass this around if you want to. How we with the lights?
I think we're good.
They're flat just the way you want it.
Flat just the way I want it. Now normally I wouldn't do flat but like I said, we're in a little bit of a--
You may wanna move this behind the--
Yeah move it behind the, that's fine. Then we're gonna bring, here, Kevin why don't you come on? Everyone, I wanna introduce Kevin Coboda, my buddy.
Give him a round of applause) (applause) (cheering)
You got a microphone. Beyonce!
I'm ready to sing my solo.
Are you gonna sing to me?
Not to you (mumbles)
Oh, okay. All right so Kevin's gonna be our actor. For those of you who don't know what any of this stuff is with Kevin being an actor, he just won a Golden Globe the other night, congratulations.
(laughs) Yeah right.
Just kidding. We did the How to Photoshop Everyone project with him and he allowed us to do our storytelling filmmaking idea with his education, which was very thoughtful. When he agreed to it, I was thinking I was gonna be working with another photographer trying to act, but lo and behold, Kevin's actually pretty good at acting it was actually really--
Don't build me up too much because then I gotta.
Yeah I guess I should lower the expectations.
I'm not an actor.
He's terrible, actually. No, I'm just kidding, he's actually really good. We have the six characters that were created for him in the Photoshop DVD and one of the characters was called Action Man, and he taught everyone actions which is all about automation and making everything automatic. The character lived in a cabin in the middle of the woods in isolation and hasn't seen civilization in forever, everything is automated in his cabin and once he realizes, you saw in the trailer how he smashed the girl's cell phone because it had a you know, you could be a spy, well he ends up exploding his cabin at the end of the scene and blowing up all the woods around him. I have a raw file of that entire movie with me so when we go into editing tomorrow when he actually, there's a line where he says, "You know I blew my cabin up, right?" I'll show that clip later. For those of you who haven't seen this, I will make it in editing so that you understand what exactly he's talking about. So Action Man is gonna be sitting right here. Kevin Coboda, the actual Kevin, will be sitting right here because he played the last character, and then the chef, there's a chef that will come in and out of the scene. Now you notice on the script in the first part, the first thing that happens is the chef lights the candle on the scene. When we start our scene we're gonna have the candles lit already and we're not gonna shoot the shot of them being lit until the end and we're not gonna shoot the shot of Kevin as the chef walking into the beginning of the scene until the end because that would mean he has to change outfits multiple times in the scene which would take up time and then you guys would be really upset. So how are we on your rehearsal?
I might need a little help.
Okay, well that's cool. What's gonna happen in this scene, so Kevin do you wanna have a seat at the table here? We can just have a nice-- (Kevin mumbles) Action Man. Since we're cropping the scene, and I explained how we're gonna crop down the center, Kevin will act as Action Man and then I'll have somebody sit in here with the script and read Kevin's line for him so he knows the timing of it, and he'll stay in character, and this person will read and then also give him a line read if he forgets a line so very good, very good point here. If he forgets a line, I don't stop the take, you're not gonna hear cut, you're not gonna hear nay of that, I'll just say "Keep going, keep going, get the line," because we can chop out the mistakes in editing, so keep that in mind. Just keep the flow going. Now if he makes like seven mistakes in a row or can't get it, then we stop, we reset, we make an adjustment and then we go back and do something fresh, but if it's one mistake, he stuttered on a word or repeats a word, just give a nice pause, we call that a beat in film, that's all a beat is is a pause, and then he keeps going with the script.
Why don't you explain, when we were coming up with this idea of doing a live shoot, we talked about whether or not a scripted thing would be applicable. Remember we had that discussion we had with the CreativeLive team and we ultimately decided yes, this is applicable. What was the rationale behind that?
Okay, very good question. A lot of you out at home, we just got a lot of wedding questions, we're teaching about birth announcements, we're teaching about a lot of the live events and commercials. I did not take a class on making wedding films or anything, it was, Jeff was getting married, he handed me some gear and said "You're making my wedding film." I had no training whatsoever but I had made three movies up until that time so the whole idea of a narrative, which is somebody talking, which there is a story being spoken through in the film, all of it leads back to the principle of a conversation between two people, that's it. If you can edit a conversation between two people and paste it properly, and when we get into editing tomorrow, I'll show you how to properly paste a conversation, when to cut to reactions, when to use the wide shots, when to use the medium shots, when to use the close ups. If you can understand that concept, then you're gonna be successful in any film you make no matter what because what are wedding vows? They're a conversation between two people, that's it. When you strip away all the brides, the wedding gowns, and the tuxedos, and all the jazz,
All the circumstance.
It's a conversation between two people and there is certain rules that you wanna follow when it comes to conversations with pasting and things like that. What we would do is we'll film the two shot, which will take us the longest. Once we get past that, it's very easy. Then we'll do a medium shot of Kevin as the Action Man, then we'll do a close up shot of Kevin as the Action Man. He'll go change, then we'll do the medium shot of him as Kevin, the close up of Kevin, and then we'll switch to the chef outfit and then we'll get all our B roll afterwards. The opening shot you can see, here's another, if you don't cheat you don't try. Remember cheating, right? For example, let's say Kevin's flight's at five o' clock. Would I waste time getting a macro shot of him lighting this candle? No. Do you think someone's gonna look at his hand and be like "That's not Kevin Coboda's hand." I could get Jeff to come in here and light that candle and nobody would ever know who it is.
The rationale behind this, for those of you who are at home who are like "Wait a minute, I'm never going to do this."
You're gonna do this every time.
You're gonna do it every time. Maybe in a less controlled environment but Ross's experience and my experience with him is if you can do something staged like this, then you can do it live. There's really no way to practice live instead of practicing on your subjects, and if doctors did that we'd all be dead, so let's--
Well they do call it a practice for a reason.
Let's not practice on our clients and charge them money for it. If you will do this and learn how to do this, then you'll know how to do the events. And you gotta have that mindset when approaching this instead of being like, ah, tuning out, "This isn't something I'm gonna do." It's very important, sets the foundation.
I made this reference yesterday, I like to make a lot of basketball references because I'm a fan, but like a really good quarterback on a football team or a really good point guard in a basketball game, they see the game in slow motion. If you are a good narrative filmmaker which comes from like movies and conversations, you're gonna see these things in slow motion, you're gonna see it happen. So when I go to a wedding, it wasn't like I'm just naturally, I can do weddings. I haven't done that many to be honest with you. It's just that when I look at it, what I see is a series of conversations and narrative and then I just dress it up in my own way and I understand that continuity doesn't matter as much in weddings as it would in this situation where every little thing matters and like the hand has to be in the right spot and--
Why don't you explain what continuity is?
So continuity, for example, so Kevin put your hand on the table, this hand right there. If he were talking, and actors are so, a really good actor or even not a good actor will be, try to let the moment take over, and if he was talking to me and had his hand on the table and just naturally went like this in the other take with the other hand, when I started to edit, you would see the change in where the hand placement is. There's usually on a film set something called a script supervisor, and a script supervisor is usually like the most annoying person on set. They're the ones walking around being like, "Your cigarette's too long, your cigarette's too short. "Here's one that's the same length. "You missed this line. "There was a beat there." They're reminding everybody, you know, it's like a gnat at a barbecue, just there all the time explaining like, "The spoon is this way." Now here's something else about continuity. The guy you see in the trailer of the Happy Ending movie trailer with the long hair and the glasses, we came up and filmed together as well, he's like a continuity psychopath, right? There was times where we'd be editing scenes and he'll see continuity things that I don't even see. You as a filmmaker, you're gonna see every continuity flaw that you make, your audience will not see most of them. Go watch Forrest Gump and watch the scene where the iron is up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down. That's Forrest Gump, one of the greatest movies of all time has that. There's continuity flaws--
In every movie.
In every movie and it's really fun to actually go through and start to recognize them. Like the scene in Goodfellas where they're all at the table in the first time and Joe Pesci says, "What am I, a clown? I'm here to amuse you?" Ray Liotta's cigarette just goes like this between every take. It's long, it's short, it's long, it's short. It took probably five hours to shoot that scene so he's smoking cigarettes for five hours, right? They're probably not real. Just imagine how hard it is to keep the length correctly. Again, just like the exit sign with the light, viewers are not gonna know that much detail, you just gotta get it in the neighborhood and try to get it as perfect as possible.
Especially if the story's good. If the story's really good, they're not gonna have time to notice continuity because they're gonna be so engrossed in the story. If the story's bad, those things will stand out a little bit.
With body movement, with body movement continuity becomes very important because then it gives you the ability to cut on the action when it comes to editing, and you'll see this tomorrow. For example, if I were, you know, to, If me and Kevin were in an argument and I were to take a class of champagne and throw it in his face right here, my proper cut point for that would probably be when my hand is right here, so I would be shooting, I would show me lining up the movement and then when I got to here, I would show Kevin and the champagne splashing in his face and it would be very important that my hand is going on the same plane and that everything matches because where does your eye go when you're looking at video?
To the movement.
To the movement, right? So they're gonna be looking right here. They're not gonna be looking here. I could take my glasses off and you probably wouldn't even notice and it's, it's just all about the movement so when it comes to continuity and body movement, that's very important because those are usually your most common cut points in editing so as a film maker, you need to be looking at all the movement. There's video, like if you go watch Jeff's wedding video, he's buying jewelry at a jewelry store, he's at five different jewelry stores and I make it look like it's one and I have seven cameras because of his body movement.
I don't think we actually have told you this but we have a YouTube page. All the films that we've made are on there and several more that we haven't shown for various reasons, music reasons or whatever. You can go to YouTube.com/CineStoriesMPF, that MPF stands for Moving Photography Forward. It's CineStoriesMPF, YouTube.com/CineStoriesMPF, that's our channel, you'll be able to see a lot of the movies here that you've seen and many more.
One thing I'm gonna do when I set the scene is we talked about cropping the shot, I'm gonna try to move everything off the center so that there's like a very nondescript line down the center of this table and it might change the decor, I apologize for whoever designed the set, I apologize, I'm undoing your hard work but it's gotta happen. I'm gonna almost make like a pathway for my crop line because the more objects you're cropping, the more chances for mistakes there are. Now if you make a mistake, there's ways to fix it which if you're tuning into editing tomorrow, you'll see how that happens. Our scene is, let me just look at Kevin's light here and then can you sit here really quick so I can look it and make sure the lighting's even there.
Do you want a hair light?
Yes, oh please.
No, I don't want a hair light.
I want hair.
(chuckles) You want hair? If we can get rid of the omni light there. Okay so I'm happy with the light. I'm happy in a sense of, for what my restrictions are. You have a question, yes.
Would this be the moment, if you were using your light meter, where you would check everything?
Yes, absolutely. Great question. Even more important for this is I would walk around and I would meter the scene and make sure that everything is even and let's say I had to do this crop over the course of two sessions, I would definitely be metering to make sure that each shot matched and what's interesting about this is normally what I would do is when I would go into the conversation, I'll probably have the camera here over the shoulder but since we don't have a shoulder to go over because it's gonna be empty, and the background's not really special, I'm gonna do all profiles for the most part except for a couple key lines. Now here's something that is very important that will probably take the rest of this session to understand but it's so important to conversations, it's actually the rule and foundation of conversation. It's called the 180 rule and if you don't know what the 180 rule is, perk up and pay attention because this is very, very, important and it could destroy your conversation. Film is all about perspective and you as a story teller are telling the viewer A, how to view a scene and where to look at, where to view the scene from, and B, where the characters are placed in the scene so those establishing shots, they establish light, they establish characters, they establish the ambience of the room, the light, all those things, and then where our characters are positioned. Let's say this scene is Jeff and Kevin right now, okay? And I put a camera right here and I have a 35 millimeter lens on the camera. Kevin is on the right side of the frame looking left and Jeff is on the left side of the frame looking right. That's it. They can never be on different positions ever again no matter where you move, they have to be there. If I wanna go to a medium shot of Jeff, guess what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna put the camera here, I'm gonna shoot over Kevin's shoulder. Kevin's shoulder is gonna be my foreground in the right of the frame. Where's Kevin? On the right looking left. Where's Jeff? On the left side of my frame looking right. Same thing if I come over here, it's the exact opposite. Kevin's on the right looking left and if I were not to have the foreground, so Jeff just lean this way and let's say I just have a shot of Kevin and there is no foreground, he's still on the right and there's just negative space in the left, and what does the negative space represent? It represents Jeff, the other character. This is where I can go, and you see, it's called the 180 rule because there's a line down the center of them and if I go over here and I cross the axis, where's Kevin? On the left looking right. This is very, very jarring when you actually, when you cross the axis in film that it's used to sort of create, it's designed to draw attention to itself. So if there's a very crazy, intense moment and you wanna cross the line, you do it for a purpose, to jar people.
It's called, have a seat Ross.
It's called the 180 rule because, we're bringing it back to trigonometry, remember a circle is 360 degrees which means if I start here and I draw a circle around Kevin and Ross we have 360 degrees. Your camera must stay within the 180 degree half of that circle where it started. So in the case where Ross was saying that would be right here and all the way over to here. If your camera stays within that 180 degree space, then you've followed the rule. You go over here, you've broken it.
Now let's add to the rule. Bring your chair here. Kevin put your chair right next to here. Let's say they're having the conversation like this. Kevin's on the right looking left again Jeff's on the left looking right again. Now you can do this one of two ways. I can come over here and I can do the same, you know I would come right here to get Kevin looking at Jeff, Jeff turn your head to Kevin, make eye contact, give him a little respect, and I would use Jeff as the foreground. Kevin would be on the right side of the frame looking left. Now let's say ... Here's the psychological analysis of this. They're sitting at the table before, what's between them? The table, the table's between them. So when Kevin is on a side of a frame looking across the negative space, there's a table between them. Here, they're very close together. Now when I get close up and I start to shoot close up shots or even medium shots of people, I can make them feel closer together and I would get a close up of Kevin and I would actually put him on the wrong side of the frame, on the left side, have the negative space on the right, but where's he looking? He's still looking left. He's not looking at the wrong side. So then when I'm cutting shots of Kevin this way and he's got the negative space on the right, and I do the same thing for Jeff, there's no negative space between them and it makes their bodies feel closer together if that makes sense. It's not necessarily about where people are as much as it is the direction they're facing. Let's say you screw up because in a wedding, when you're doing this live, and this is where it comes so naturally to me and it should, if you understand this rule, it'll come naturally to you. You know, bride and groom are getting married, right? Who's the bride?
Okay so bride and groom are getting married, whatever, maybe it's a sitting wedding, I don't know maybe it's weird. I'm shooting, I get the two shot of them. I come over here, I know, it's just ingrained into my DNA to do the 180 rule, let's say I screw up. You saw, I'll show you--
Show an example of a screw up.
Show an example of a screw up?
Like you would come.
Yeah, I would come over here.
You cross the.
Let's say it's not a screw up, let's say you're an artist, don't box you in, right? Fine, I won't box you in, okay?
I love you honey.
I'm an artist, I can screw up--
You can flop this shot in editing and save it by, basically with a flop shot, it would just turn it to this and if there's no background, like if there's no descriptive background, no one's ever gonna know and you've seen it happen a couple times because we all make mistakes.
If both sides of their face, like one isn't like sliding off and you know, otherwise.
Exactly. For example, when would be a good time to cross the line? I do, right? I do would call, you know, to make them, to jar you, to sort of bring you into the intensity of the moment, I might cross the line. I'm not saying I would do it all the time, but--
I do meaning when we're saying "I do."
Okay, it took me a minute. All right.
I didn't wanna make it too graphic for you guys. Now you guys can put the chairs back.
Yes sir. Don't cross the line, Ross.
I won't cross the line. There's another thing you can do to save yourself on crossing the line. Now there's this thing we call cat in the window and essentially what it is is it's a cat in the window. Let's say I establish my scene, Kevin's on the right, Jeff's on the left, and they're looking in the opposite directions and I shoot, you know, my medium shot of him and I come around here and I shoot the medium shot of Kevin.
And I'm 180 degrees and I say you know what? I'm an artist, don't box me in, right? So I'm going over here. I can use this shot, I can. I have to cut to the cat in the window. Let's say I wanted to show the label on the wine bottle or I wanted to cut to a time lapse of the clouds outside to show the weather change or a clock or someone lighting this. What I would do is I would be on the proper sign of the frame in editing, I would be here, I would cut to my cat in the window, right here.
Which is essentially B roll.
Which is essentially, it's something where it's not a human being, it's something else. Or even another character, right, somebody else looking at the scene. I would come back out on the other side and then I would stay here and I would, basically I'd just switch sides on you. The answer is you can shoot from all directions, but you need to have some sort of cat in the window to cross and I saw you have a question.
Yeah, could the movement of a character like a turn or a pivot function to switch that perspective?
Great question, so this leads me into the next situation. Another way you can cross the camera is let's say I have a slider here. I can slide across the line, and because you're watching me cross the line, once I get, and Jeff is properly framed on the other side, then I just go back into editing as if I was here and a third person, adding a third person in complicates the whole thing entirely because then there's two circles. There's three circles, I'm sorry, there's three circles. Let's say I'm the third person. There's a circle with me, there's a circle with us, and then there's a circle with them and you just slow it down in your mind and just keep--
Keep that path.
Keep thinking about each person's conversation together and your three shot, three shot is just wide of any side. Okay now another way you can cross the line. Let's say I have my two shot of them on here, if I'm going from a two shot to a two shot to the other side, that's okay. The reason why that's okay is because you see the character's position in relation to where they are opposite each other. The reason why it doesn't work in one, for one person, is because you get confused as to where the other character is placed. It's all about perspective and it's sort of tough to grasp without actually seeing shots and it the wrong way and the right way, but just turn on the television right now to any television show and you'll see that they're following the rule for the most part and if they cross it there is a reason for that.
To keep things simple for people who are just being introduced to this concept, without breaking it, you wanna stay within that 180 degree where you first established them, on that side. If you're gonna go ahead and break it because you feel like you need to, cut to B roll as a way of changing the perspective so to speak.
Then when you're doing a live event you wanna try to stay within that 180 degree space so you're not even having to worry about that later on.
Absolutely, or that's why the cat in the window becomes so important because the live event is so out of your control, you can't really tell people where to face, how to look, what to do, so if you have enough B roll and cat in the windows, you can navigate your way through those in editing.
If you were doing a wedding with an assistant and you had one camera operator behind the bride and groom, over towards the altar like you were in that Monaco video and you had an assistant with another camera out in the audience, then you'd have to use that B roll when switching between, correct? Because you're crossing the axis at that point.
Exactly, great point. Or I would have a two shot, so I would go from a two shot to a two shot. So I'd be facing the bride and groom from the front on their faces, have them both in the shot, and then I would cut to the back, and just as long as they're both in the shot, we're A okay. Any question? I'm sure we have a boatload of questions coming in from the internet and I'm gonna be ready to shoot in the next section so I'm cool to take questions now so let's.
It's gonna be hard to answer questions during the next two sections because we really have to get the shots right, so let's pile them in now.
Fantastic, all right. One question we have from Wes is with the 180 degree rule, does the rule apply for shooting under, from the bottom or overhead? So basically if you're switching up the angles, does it apply?
Okay so I think what he's asking is if I had an overshot, overhead shot looking at the top of people's heads, that's what Scott would say, "What do you look at, the top of people's heads?" I can hear him in the back of my head. Yes it does. As long as you can see where people are and where they're facing, the 180 rule always applies to every shot. Even hands. Like if Kevin was established here on the right, I would never show his hand, and you can almost see how it can be confusing. If I show him on the right side looking this way and his hand lifted up this way and I captured it from this side, it would be weird because he's been looking, he's been looking this way the whole time and then all of a sudden his hand comes from the opposite side. Because it's a camera and it's flat and you're not there, it can mess up the perspective, especially of it being close.
So if it's not two people actually physically looking at each other, like a ring exchange for example, you would want that to be consistent with where you had established the 180 rule for that portion of the wedding film.
Absolutely. Hands, body parts, anything part of a human. Spit flying, it's all gotta come from the same direction.
All right so we have a question going back to lighting and this was from Johnathon Cha-koo in Malaysia who said, "When you light, do you light for the camera "or the subject's eyes, or your light meter?"
Do I light for the camera, the subject, the subject's eyes, or the light meter?
Actually it says on your eyes or your light meter.
Oh, no I light for the camera. I bring the lights in with my eyes, of course, and then I look through the camera and make all my adjustments there.
Now there's lots of ways to go about lighting. Super professional, high budget films will go and meter everything first, but the quick and dirty way to do it which is totally effective, light for the camera, you won't necessarily need a light meter for a situation like that unless you're going to be trying to recreate the scene later on like we did in Kevin's kitchen when we did the chef scene over two days. We had to go and light it, then meter it to record the values. We got the lighting looking the way we wanted it to. Then we went ahead, recorded all the values, tore down the set so that he could cook that night and have dinner with his family and then recreated the set the next morning and then had to go back in and make sure all the values were consistent.
A great example, just going back to sound. Right now someone's mowing the lawn outside, okay? If that's gonna happen, if that's gonna happen during our scene, we're gonna hear it in the boom mic. It'll sound like a race car instead of a lawn mower. Just keep that in mind. Even outside elements can change how you film.
That's a great point, I don't know if you can hear that at all on our live mics and if so, it's probably very, very faint but if it were a boom mic, it would be super noticeable.
It would sound like you had a microphone on the lawn mower.
On the lawn mower, yeah.
People could hear some static, so there you go.
I would love to ask the studio audience if you have any, any questions or thoughts related to this segment?
I was gonna ask the same thing about the slider transition. Do you have any other transitions? I was thinking like an overhead that's looking straight down at the table or do you have any other tricks at how you--
To cross it?
Yeah, to cross that line.
If you can move across the line in the shot, then it's, no matter what. I mean you obviously can't pan across or tilt across because that's a stationary movement but like if I had a steady cam, you see a lot of Tarantino scenes where it's just steady camming a circle around the entire scene for the whole time and it never cuts. The 180 rule doesn't apply there because he's, it's one shot just going around and around and around and around, but if he were to ever stop at some point, wherever he stopped, that would be the side of the frame he's on to go into close ups and medium shots.
For this afternoon, to keep things simple, are you gonna just follow the 180 rule the whole time?
Absolutely, yeah I'm not gonna, I'll cross for one shot just to show in editing how you can do it, but for the beginning of it, I'm, yeah, we're gonna, basically once we get the, the whole next section will be about getting the wide shot. Once we get the wide shot, it's a cake walk from there. So many Kevins.
Since we're not gonna have, go on.
Assuming Kevin's Daniel Day-Lewis.
Since we're not gonna have a lot of time for questions while we're shooting live because we have to make sure we get the shots. Why don't you talk about, you know, what gear you're gonna use, what lenses, what cameras. Are we introducing camera movement? What's the plan here?
For this specific situation, we're going to mostly be on a tripod because that camera can't move. We can bring the tripod in during the break. Probably just from my eye here, it'll probably be a 35 millimeter lens, it could be a 50, don't quote me on that, to get the two shot. I don't want a 14 or anything wider than this, a 21 which I have, because I don't wanna get, I basically want their backs to almost come up to the end of the frame with a little bit of space. Then when I get into the shot, I'll show you about head space for medium shots and close ups once we get into that. And that I can talk about during editing as well. When I get into the medium shots, which I'm gonna do profile and then I'm gonna do close up profiles as well, I'll probably get on a monopod to keep it still but add movement a little bit because Kevin's altar ego, Action Man, is a little nervous all the time, he's crazy, so I want the camera to sort of mimic him a little bit and then Kevin is a lot smoother, obviously you can tell he's cool. So I want the camera to be cool like him. The character will dictate my camera movement.
That's one of the reasons why we love the monopod so much. When Ross talked about following action in the section earlier, he was talking about doing it on a shoulder mount, right? But the monopod, because it has 180 degree range of motion because of that pivoting foot, really allows you to kind of mimic the same types of movements. It gives you every movement that all the other ones give you in some form or fashion combined which is why it's such a great tool.
Yeah and then there is a couple of, DVD? We have the DVD?
Awesome. So there is a shot of a DVD where, there's one part where Kevin, you guys can see in the script, where Kevin holds up his DVD to him and says, "See, that's me." I'll shoot this way for that, and the reason I'm putting Kevin Coboda, the person, on this side of the frame is so that when I do shoot that way, I don't get all of this in the background. I will block the scene, and blocking, what the word blocking means, I don't know if I defined that in the beginning, is all the movement that happens in the scene. An actor will say, walk up to you on your first commercial shoot, if you've ever shot a commercial, your actors are gonna walk up to you and say "Can we go over the blocking?" Don't look at them like this because I've been there. (laughs) I didn't know what blocking was. How you block the scene is you will walk, here can I have the script? Awesome. I would walk, and how I'd block the scene with Kevin, I would say all right Kevin, here's what we're gonna do. You're gonna be Action Man at first, you're gonna come into the shot, here Jeff can you get up for a second? I'll do it as the director. I'll say you're gonna come into the scene, the chair is gonna be set out for you, you're gonna sit down and then you're gonna act out the scene and he's, normally he's acting off of another person but in this situation he's doing it off of himself and then he's gonna get up, and I'll explain that he has a DVD that he has to slide across the table which is gonna be very tricky because we have a crop line going down the center of the table, so when we're in editing later, we're obviously not gonna use the two shot for him passing it, so the thing he has to keep in mind, number one, is when he slides that DVD across the table, he needs to know where the line is so that he can put it across the line. That's very important because if he puts it in the center, we're gonna have big problems. The second thing is when he gets up, he can't move the table or shake the table, he has to get up and be smooth about it and exit and then he needs to know where to exit. So you always tell them, "Here's where you exit." I'm gonna have everyone cross frame this way, walk across the camera. Action Man will exit this way, Kevin will exit that way.
Everyone's gonna exit and enter from this side of the camera. Now what we're gonna do in editing is Kevin, as you can see in the script, is telling Action Man, so I said the same person, "You don't need my permission to do this," and you'll see it when we get to the thing, "Is that I am you," and we'll make it seem like a little Fight Club moment, all right? We'll make it seem like one of them is a figment of the other one's imagination and I actually can get him to fade out of the scene in real time while we're looking at him and make him actually disappear which is gonna be really cool, no CGI required but if we need it, we're calling you. (laughs)
I'm actually, now that you're mentioning all of this, I'm actually, this table cloth drapes down a bit. Is that gonna end up being an issue?
Nope. It's not gonna be an issue.
Yeah, no. The two shot, and this is a great question because Jeff's basically saying how are we gonna keep all this stuff still during this entire shoot and expect no one to move anything? It's not possible, it's true, but we need it to happen for the beginning of the scene--
On a wide shot.
At the beginning of the scene and the end of the scene.
And then on a medium shot, you're gonna be shooting above that.
The medium shot I'm gonna be shooting a profile and he's not gonna be in it so the position of everything doesn't matter anymore. A lot of times you'll see, I forget what color, is that gonna be your outfit for Kevin?
Okay, so maybe what I could do if, when there's the one shot where Kevin is actually holding the DVD up to his face and I wanna shoot this way, I might take that shirt, Kevin's Action Man shirt and put it on Jeff. If you don't cheat, you don't try, and just use the pattern of that shirt as my foreground and no one will ever know that it's Jeff here. Well now everyone knows, I just gave away my best secret. But you'll see the idea. As long as I don't show the back of his head we're good.
Or my stomach, or my stomach.
Nah, it's just your shoulder. And a lot of times you'll see me say this. If I have my camera framed here and this is how he's been sitting for six hours he can be sitting in this position and I could say, "Jeff cheat your chair this way a little bit" to fill my frame properly. Is anyone gonna know he moved in the shot? No. And that's a lot of times I'll cheat. I might say, "Jeff cheat this light closer to Kevin "so we just get a little more light on him." No one's gonna know it changed a little bit. The pattern's the same, the exposure will just be a little bit different. Those are those little tweaks I can make.
Sorry, just, for when you're thinking about editing, especially for something like this where you're crossing a very defined center line, do you think about editing a movement shot into a movement shot or a stopping of motion into stopping motion? Is that something that you try and plan for during the shoot or some--
Yes, great question. I think what you're asking is if I'm going to put two shots of movement together. Let's say I wanted to do, let's say we set the slider up here and I just do a little slider shot on profile of Jeff, I would probably cut to the same shot of him going this way.
Keep the movement going.
As an editor, what I would try to do is get the camera to be moving in the same direction, so if the camera was dallying this way, I wouldn't cut to a shot of Kevin where the camera was dallying this way. It would look,
It wouldn't be bad, but it would be a lot smoother if it was going the same direction.
I just wanna use the opportunity this helicopter gave us to talk a little bit about what we do during shoots. Frequently we'll be shooting outside and there'll be airplanes.
That's if Jeff didn't call for the no fly zone. He usually does.
Yeah, that's right. Things like that will happen and what you have to do is you have to have whoever's in charge of audio, whether that's you or an assistant, listening for things like that and if you start to hear any little bit, you have to be like "Cut." You have to wait for the noise to pass and then you pick up again if you're doing anything that's you know, not a live event. Getting your audio right, as Ross said, is very important because they won't forgive you.
Write these down, I'm gonna give you a little terminology discussion here and then I'll take two questions and then we can go eat. Obviously action, okay, means exactly what it means. When you hear the words action called, if you're not the director, don't say the word, don't even know what it means because it's like, no, that's like not proper etiquette. One time Jeff called action on a set and then we had a nice conversation. We had a conflict that night. But he didn't know because he was never on a set before.
At least the conflict was that night and not on the set.
Yeah, and don't have conflict on a set, that's really bad etiquette. Speed, the word speed is called by your audio guy. Director will say, "Is everybody ready? Are we ready to go?" Audio guy will yell, "Speed." If you don't hear the word speed, audio's not recording.
Speed means audio has just started to record. And action is never called until speed is called.
And action's never called until rolling is called. That's your, whoever your camera operator is, if you're operating the camera and calling action, say it anyway so everybody knows you're gearing up for it. Rolling is camera is rolling, and then action. Before action, sometimes you might have, let's say I want the beginning of the shot, I want Jeff to walk by the scene here, just to give my scene a little movement, you would say, "Speed, rolling," and then somebody would yell, "Background!" Background means anything that's happening in the background extras moving or something that's happening, then it's action. So you always cue the background movement before you cue the main action in the scene. You'll hear that all day for the rest of the day and you'll hear some other terminology as well. I think we can take two questions and then we are gonna be taking a break.
Great. The first question we have is from Jap Lin-app and he's asking, excuse me, "How do you track or ensure "you are getting all the shots you need for the edit?"
Great question. Normally I would have a shot list. The only reason I don't have a shot list right this second is because I wanted to stick with our original discussion of shot sequencing, wide, medium, close, B roll, and I'm not gonna deviate from that at all just so that you can see that on the simplest form, you can get it. Basically my shot list is my safety list. I get these shots and it usually, a shot list will be, I'll have the line, I'll basically, I'll take a shot list and I'll number it one shot, two shot, so medium of Kevin, one, and then I'll take a script, print it out, and then I'll draw a number one where I want the shot to start and I'll just draw a line down for how far it goes into the script, and that's my shot list. It's usually very basic and then I have what's called the artsy shots. Once I get everything I know I need for editing, that's when I start getting creative and start trying crazy stuff. But you make sure you get what you need first, then you be crazy.
Great and a follow up on that from Mark is, "Are you doing storyboards as well?" Like maybe not in this scenario, but in general.
Absolutely. I do do a storyboard if it's a movie or a television show or something, short film on that sense--
Yeah, commercial. If I have all the control, I always do a storyboard. I can't draw, but I do draw stick figures and (chuckles) so you can do this and it's not necessarily to show you what it should look like. If you have a storyboard artist and they can draw it really well, that's more power to you, but a lot of times it's just so the director and the director of photography can communicate with each other and say, "This is how I want the shot to be framed," and then he'll see that and that's how you communicate because without some sort of tangible object to reference, you guys are both talking about something abstract in your mind.
Ross we never do storyboards for our live events obviously.
But you do do them for anything that's planned. Anything that has a script, anything that involves.
I think that was a good point about working with an actor or non actor, because I'm not an actor by trade, you know, it's just I'm faking it really well, but working with non actors versus trained actors is a very different--
Experience and maybe you can share what you're sharing with me, like tips for how to coach non actors to do the right thing.
Yeah and I was actually just talking about this with Jeff last night over dinner is the biggest different between working with a non actor and a professional actor is a professional actor is somebody's who's really good, actually some professional actors aren't so good, they're gonna give you consistent takes. So when you're in editing, you'll be looking for the best one and you'll be saying, "Oh I really like the way he said it here, "but man I really love the way he made "that facial expression here and I can't use both," and then it's that's the conversation. When you're working with a non actor, you need to have a clear vision on how you want each line delivered so that you make sure, you know, he may do a take and it might be 15 lines and only three of them are said the way I want so in my mind I'm sort of like checking them off, I'm like all right I got that, and the next take I'm looking for these lines to be said, and I won't even talk about those lines that he said correctly, I'll talk about the ones he didn't. I'll say, "Say it this way," or "Say it that way," or "Put a little stank on this word there," so it's all about, and I always say this, I said it yesterday, it's not about what you film, it's how you film it. The biggest thing I say to an actor, it's not about what you say, it's how you say it that makes it effective and come across correctly so the inflections of words are the most important thing when it comes to acting.
And you'll see this tomorrow. Frequently an actor will say a complete sentence and maybe only the first half of the sentence is the way that we like it and then the last half of the sentence is the way that we like it in another take. And by take meaning we simply have them do three or four or five times the exact same thing. Ross will use the audio from both and then cut to B roll to then seam the two together, and that's why it's really important for the continuity to match and for your lighting to match and things like that. Sometimes that'll even happen on different days where in the same sentence, it's come from two completely different time periods.
There's a lot of actors will say they believe that a performance is put together on the editing board. I personally don't believe that, I give the actors credit for what they do but you know, they still have to provide it for you, but editor has a lot of power over how acting is perceived because they have the choice on what they're gonna use.