Monday, January 18, 2010

Cine/Grading Test

I guess I really am addicted to filmmaking. When I don't have the opportunity to film for a week or two, I feel this slowly building angst that eventually results in me finding an excuse to go out and take some shots. I guess it's because when I'm shooting, it's like a meditation. A chance to be outside of my head and channel all of my focus into one thing. It's very freeing.

Enough of this new age hippie talk! Time for some dark and brooding cinematography inspired by Apocalypse Now. One of my favorite scenes of Apocalypse Now is the scene in the jungle where the tiger jumps out. I love it because of it's color pallet. Notice how extremely GREEN the greens are, and how everything else is a shade of blue. It's got a very cool neonish look that I wanted to replicate.

In doing some preparation for the Staff Blaster Orgins film, I wanted to achieve this look for Jack Shrapnel's opening sequence. Here is my test footage in which I combine in camera color processing with digital color grading.

Now the cinematography style is very different, but looking at the color, I think I did a pretty good job of isolating those greens and making them pop. I'm curious to know about how Vittorio Storaro accomplished this look in Apocalypse Now. I can't imagine he JUST used tungsten film outdoors. As far as this being a test video, here is what I learned.

Lessons Learned
1. Don't Shoot the Sky - The sky is impossible to get colored right. If shooting a jungle scene, avoid shooting anything upwards.
2. Expose properly instead of trying to crush the blacks in camera. Also, do not use highlight bias setting when shooting in a darkened environment such as a forest.
3. Bring more than one Powerbar when carrying a tripod, glidetrack, and camera kit through a forest. All that lifting = hungry tummies.

-Jesse Tarnoff

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