Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam
magicmarmot

Movie Magic


Watched Harold and Kumar go to White Castle last night. Nothing
of note from a filmmaker perspective other than perhaps the use of
poor man's process for the in-vehicle shots. I also noticed how
brightly lit the vehicle interiors were for the night shots-- cripes
they were *bright*.
This is not a highly technically proficient movie. I suppose it wasn't
meant to be, though I wonder how much the budget was. House of the
Dead
was more technically proficient, though not a more watchable
movie, and it makes me wonder whether I'd rather be involved with a more
technically proficient movie or a more entertaining movie.

On one hand, I think that my skills as a craftsman would be better
reflected by the more technically proficient movie. I can point to the
lighting and say "I did that" and be happy with it, even though the
movie itself is crap.

On the other, being involved with a crap movie doesn't exactly do well
for your career.

Then again, I think that if I was doing the lighting for H&K, I would
have toned down some things-- but its hard to say just how much time
they had to shoot some of these scenes. It may have been very much run &
gun shooting, which I really hate: if you don't have the time to do it
right, when will you have time to do it over?

I go back and I look at Pray for Daylight, and there are a couple
of scenes in there that I'm really happy with the lighting. The basement
was nearly a thing of beauty, with only two exceptions: the fight scene
where a light was in frame (to be fair, I wasn't shooting on that day),
and the freaking magenta gel that I put on the furnace, which would have
been much better served by a flame or CTO. The magenta is just a freaky
unnatural color, and it bugs me whenever I see it. But the creepy
underlight was seriously pretty, and the scene where Cassie is first
walking into the room and walks through these little spots of accent
light is a thing of beauty.
The second scene that I really like is outside of the house at night
where Rick and Trey are having a discussion in front of the car. The
lighting for this was hugely simple but effective as hell, basically
shooting a light through a big-ass silk. I gelled it differently for
Rick because I was playing with color just a bit to help define the
characters-- some subtle things, like the vampires had a reddish tinge
to them, and when Cassie first appears and shoots Kristianne, She starts
off blue and ends up orange.
And then there's the nighttime shot of Cassie in bed. Single light
through the window, with a bunch of *stuff* hanging from the curtain
rod. Pretty.

Not everything was as nice. There's a scene where Trey turns around in
the dining room and a shadow crosses over his face. To me, it's way too
obvious, enough to be distracting. I wanted a more subtle color change
rather than a darkening, and had I been thinking I probably would have
added a small dedo off axis so that the lighting on him would change but
the overall illumination would stay about the same level.

I suppose you can chalk it up to learning.

Thinking about Bagdude-- it's not exactly a movie with heavy content.
It's really pretty silly, and needs a visual design to reflect that.
Most of it takes place outside where lighting is more difficult, and
needs to be handled with reflectors, diffusers, and shading. And oddly,
those are the pieces of equipment that I don't have as much of.

You know, I'm going to need a sewing machine. Probably something
industrial strength.
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