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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
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.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC)
I watched Harold & Kumar the other day too. The most entertaining part for me was the DVD extra with the sound guy doing field recordings of farts. It was so absurd that it was funny. The movie itself, however, not so much.

What kind if stitch do you need for your industrial machine? I'll keep an eye out for one. I've seen several industrial machines in local flea markets.
Jan. 26th, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
I don't really need anything special in stitchery, just something linear that I can sew hems into the cloth and other materials that I need to reinforce big screens. For instance, I'm getting a big batch of fiberglass window screen that I want to put grommets into without having it rip or tear. I figure that I need to sew a reinforcing strip of some other fabric (or possibly gaffer tape) around the edge to give it something to distribute the stress more evenly. I'll also be doing much the same to other fabrics like organza, polyester, muslin, and possibly the thin fabric-backed foam. The pieces will be pretty large-- maybe 20 feet square maximum.

And my sewing experience is limited. :)
Jan. 26th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
A straight-stitch industrial machine ought to work just fine for you then. You may be able to get away with an older Singer too - they're made of cast iron and are real workhorses. I made this:
on my 1955 Singer. My machine ca even sew through leather.

It's a good idea to use reinforcing fabric for the screen. If you want it to be sheer, organza is a surprisingly strong fabric.
Jan. 26th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
That is a big piece. :)

The only thing I don't like about organza is that I haven't been able to find it wider than 45 inches.

I did find this place:


The Brite Screen sounds ideal for what I want to do with the big pieces (10' x 10'). The bobbinette would be great for a black screen, but it's way more expensive than I was looking for. That's why I want to try the window screen.

If you find something, let me know. Thanks!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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