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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Male 1: So Rich, we're back from the field here in the studio and we've used some small lights in a car situation. Rich: Yep. Male 1: We've used some wide angle lenses. Rich: Yep. Male 1: Let's take a look at what we've got. Rich: So, I've opened up some of the shots and most of these were shot by DP Kevin Bradley and as you see in the field, we've got a wide range. So, here we are in the car, which is normally sort of a cavernous place, and we're shooting from the back seat. Male 1: Mm-hm. Rich: Well, we placed a soft, compact fluorescent light off to the side on the passenger seat to illuminate. And this made it look like, not just like his face was hitting the daylight, but all that stuff on the interior.
It was like we ripped the door off of the car and let light in without having to destroy the very nice car. Male 1: Yeah, and on, on this particular shot, where Jason's writing some song lyrics on this pad, what I really like about it that it's almost like a, a technique that I would do in color correction. Like putting a window around the pad, like a vignette or something, and brighten up that center. Because what would happen without this light, is that everything would be kind of, just kind of dark and kind of monotone, and this extra little splash of light right on the pad of paper really kind of helps sort of develop the whole look for the scene.
Rich: Yeah, and what we also had were some of those smaller battery lights just placed into the dash to hit his hands here so that you can see it coming across the top of the hands there. There's a little tiny light and that's actually working. Really well. Now, as we take a look from the side here, you see that that's filling in. You know, I think that shot's a tad dark but there's enough detail in his hair that we can look out. Male 1: Yeah, we can, we can pull that back out for him in color correction for sure. Rich: And in here, we're just sort of seeing what that situation looks like in compact settings. Now, that's it from the side angle there. Male 1: Mm-hm.
Rich: If you've ever, you know, tried to put a camera in a car, there's a great amount of dynamic range there. I'm really happy with that. Male 1: Yeah, I mean, this is the thing is that just a little bit of light goes a long way. And as we talked about earlier this week, things like using your iPhone or your, an iPad and using those flashlight, you know, apps. Just a little touch of light can really help illuminate a scene and get much better results like we have here. Rich: And this is one of those situations where we're dealing with a backlit subject. We talked about backlighting on some of our previous shows. The idea here is that, it would be really difficult.
Because while this is the forest and the trees, I love how we're getting the Bocha in the really bright highlights. But it's not just gone to pure white. Even the brightest area back there, is not too intense. Let's take a look at the reference monitor for a second. And, you know, that's looking pretty good right? The highlights are just barely kissing Male 1: Yeah, they're not, they're not clipped out at all. I mean we could maybe argue that the hair on the back of his neck is a little crushed. But again, it's not as crushed as it possible could be if we didn't have that little bit of feel. And I think that for sure, you know, his hair and some of the darker portions there are recoverable because we have that fill light going on in the space.
Rich: And it's kind of motivated. I mean he's still supposed to feel like he's in a car. Male 1: Yeah. Rich: Which doesn't feel like a bright lit scene, but what we have here is, this is how I think the human eye would see it, not how the camera would have seen it without the light. Male 1: And that's an important thing, too, to also keep in mind when lighting a scene. And we talked a lot with DP Kevin Bradley about this on location. And that's that, you want things to feel natural. You want the lights to go invisible in the scene. And Jason was here inside of a car. And a car, you know, kind of in a forest in the woods. Rich: Yeah. Male 1: And so we wanted things to kind of seem moody, kind of seem dark.
So we didn't want to over light it. And I think that's one thing that people getting into DSLR video production tend to do. With small lights or lights in general, is they tend to over light the scene and have no shadows. And my personal opinion, let those shadows and that nuance of the light work for you to set the mood of the scene. Rich: And that's what we're seeing right here. This is an extremely tight shot on the lyrics or the lighting and you know what we're doing here is we're going right in and those lights are being positioned. You could see we're finding the right spot where okay too much light is looking artificial.
We just have to position those. But this is awesome. This is one of those cases where shooting at maybe one eighth was motivated here where we have the center of the lyrics in focus. We can see the title of the song, and the edges are falling out. because we don't actually want them to read every single lyric here, but we've played with the aperture. We've got some different settings. The shallow depth of field is really working to our advantage here. And obviously, that lets a lot of light in, but it seems to really be working in those situations. And I like that, particularly, and it's difficult here to pull off some of those bright highlights behind him.
That seems to really be working nicely. And here, we're actually sort of modeling the light as a character. This is a difficult chop, but we're playing at finding the angle here. Male 1: Yeah. What I like about this one is that as you play through it, it almost is like, is he out there in the woods, out there in the forest sitting in his car. That, it's sort of the natural breeze of the trees bending that light, when in fact, this is really just a grip on set, moving that light around a little bit to emulate that effect. Rich: Yeah. We're getting just that natural sort of environment. And then, you know, as we move around the situation, you know, some of these angles are working.
There's enough light. They don't tell the story for me. Male 1: Right. Rich: But I, you know, it's good to always have coverage from the different angles. I like being in the car here. Male 1: Yep. Rich: But you can sort of see some of the environment, and what we're dealing with shooting through windows. We did roll the side windows down rather than trying to. Male 1: Deal with the reflections and all that stuff, yeah? Rich: Yeah, and that's one of those difficult things. And then you can see the environment that we're with. You know? On some of these wider shots here. Same thing there, you know? As the camera moves, we reveal him. And obviously, we're going through some foilage there. Let's just get a clean frame.
We didn't want a total silhouette sitting in the car. Male 1: Right. Rich: So, having more base light in the car really lifts him up. Male 1: Yeah, absolutely. And the thing about this whole scene is that having nice compac lights, having nice wide angle, wide angle lenses, really allowed us to pull this off without being sort of invasive in the car itself. Instead of having to set up big you know you know, practical instruments around the car itself, you know, huge HMIs and hot lights and that kind of stuff. And I think it worked pretty well for the sort of the budget we're going with for the video.
Rich: Yeah. Male 1: And for the look that we're trying to get. Rich: And the producer would absolutely killed us if we started mounting things on her car or hanging things. This is one of those instances we're like. Could we use your car? Yeah. And then it's like wait, what did I just say? Male 1: Yeah exactly. Rich: So, you want to minimize impact and that's the good news, is this compact lighting and shooting in a small space here absolutely worked. Hopefully you guys got some good ideas from this week. Just build out your kit, think about lens choice, think about lighting choices. The more power you can use, inverters, all these things are going to come in handy.
But it's amazing what we could do these days, as opposed to the old style of having to completely fake everything and get on a set. Male 1: Absolutely. And just keep in mind as well that, you know, when it comes to sort of the economics of getting these small lights and these wide angle lenses, don't feel compelled that you always have to buy, especially on the lighting side of things. Check with your local your local grip house and see if they rent some of these smaller instruments, because these are the type of instruments that you're not going to, to be honest with you're, not going to use every single day. So sometimes it's a little more economic to go ahead and rent them. But I think you can see we got some good results with just a few practical small lights and some wide angle lenses.
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