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What you need to know to pass the Final for Cinematography and Lighting course at the New School, taught by John Budde.
The circular rotating shutters spins open and closed one time per each frame of film. Each frame is pulled into position (along the raceway behind the camera aperture) by the pull-down claw while the shutter is closed. Then a registration pin engages a perforation in the film to hold the film in place while the shutter spins open to make the exposure. This sequence is repeated for each frame of film.
The amount of exposure time for each frame is a consequence of both the frame rate (frames per second or f.p.s.) and the angle of the shutter opening. With a normal opening of 180 degrees, and a normal frame rate of 24 f.p.s., our shutter speed is 1/48 second per frame, according to the following equation.
Please check the Handouts category in the upper left window for this week’s handout, Safety Procedures. Check the Lecture Notes category for my most recent addition on LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD. In the Film/Video category, view the clips from LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD and contribute your thoughts to the discussion group on that subject.
The convention is to have all similar items arranged, like military columns in rows extending from a wall out onto the floor. These usually include Century Stands, light standes with lamps heads attached (separate rows for each instrument type), and other items necessary.
Barn doors should be attached to the fron of the lamp heads. Scrims should be placed in pouches which are hung from a wing-nut on each instrument.
The purpose of this procedure is for reasons of efficiency, so that specific items can be accessed instantly as needed and so they are generally prepared and readied for application.
All lamphead power cables should be coiled and attached to the lamphead to the lamphead yolks until the lights are placed for lighting specific scenes.
All Stands should have their telescoping sections fully collapsed and locked until they are set up for shooting. This helps prevent the stand sections from slipping while being handled. the purpose is to prevent serious hand injuries.
Electrical cables, by their nature, have a tendency to coil. As lights are placed for actual shooting, the lamphead power cables should be uncoiled in such a way as to keep them as flat to the floor as possible. Extensions cables should also be treated. This is to prevent accidental tripping on unflattened coils.
Once a light is decidedly placed for the shot, the telescoping stand sections may be raised and locked into place by tightening the wing nuts on the stand sections. A sandbag should then be hung or placed on the stand near the bottom to prevent the stand from being accidentally knowcked over by a bump or by someone catching a foot or some hardware item in an un-flattened coil. Lamphead power cables should never be allowed to hang diagonally downward from an extended light stand. they should, rather, be hanging straight down to the floor. This prevents accidental tripping of snagging and consequential overturning of lights.
Leather work gloves prevent serious burns, and hand injuries (severe pinching and tearing of the skin) from a slipping stand section which is carrying the weight of a lamphead. They also help keep the hands clean,which can be so some importance when handling props, costumes, and other items which may be placed within the scenes.
Century Stands should be handled in the same manner, with one very serious addition consideration. Because Century Stands are used for holding mental-framed flags, nets, silks, cuckalorises, and open frames, oftentimes extended an an outward angle from the vertical stand, the potential for an upset is greatly increased.
It is therefore essential that C stands be properly sandbagged and …most importantly..that wing nuts on the knuckles of the head and gobo arms be orientated in such a way that they will only tighten if the extended weight they hold should cause the knuckles to begin slipping.
If this is done incorrectly, they extended weight can cause the knuckles to open, in which case the item being held, along with the extended gobo arm may come crashing down. Because these stands and arms are made of steel, there is a potential for serious or even fatal injury.
The correct procedure is to place your body behind the stand and to adjust all wing nuts on the head and knuckles so that they are on your right side (from you perspective as you are working with the stand). This will insure they are holding, that same weight will serve to tighten the knuckles rather then lossen them. This is a most serious safety issue and one which must be understood and implemented for the well-being of all.
Application of Instruments
Whichever lights one chooses to use, the will each serve one of only four functions:
- Key Light: the principle creative light. Creates from, texture, shaping, sculpting.
- Fill Light: Serves a purely technical purpose: to control contrast. Usually placed close to and above the lens (on the opposite side of the lens from the Key) so as not to throw its own distinct shadow.
- Back Light: Placed at an angel behind the subject so as to help seperate the subject from the background. It is especially useful when motivated by a lamp or window in the background.
- Background Light: Usually placed in such a way that it spills light across the surfaces of the background, providing an interplay of light and shadow which defines the surfaces and textures behind the subject.
- High Key Lighting: (High Fill) Low Contrast (1:1 or 2:1 ratio)
- Low Key Lighting: (Low Fill) High Contrast (4:1 and beyond)
Formula Lighting Patterns
Side Lighting: Key light at eye level at approximately 90 degrees to head and neck axis of subject. Half the face in light. Half in shadow.
3/4 Front (45 degree) Lighting: Key light placed at 45 degrees to head and neck axis of subject. Half the face in light. Half the face in shadow.
Loop Lighting: Key light placed at approximately 22 degrees to head and neck axis and at approx the same height as the 3/4 Front Lighting. Creates a characteristic loop of shadow at a slight downward angle from the nose. (should not intersect with the upper lip).
Paramount (butterfly) lighting: Key Light placed very high and directly on line with the head and neck axis. The pattern rakes steeply down the front surface of the face, creating shading on the upper eyelids, a catchlight in each eye, accentuation of lashes creating their own shadows, highlights on the upper cheekbones and a gradated shading under the cheekbones, a shadow on the upper lip, a highlight on the lower lip and a shadow under the lower lip. This pattern is typically used as a beauty lighting for women.
Rim Lighting:With the face in profile to the camera, the key light is placed on the opposite side of the subject and at an angle so that it creates a rim of highlight around the features of the face, like a line drawing effect in reverse.
Lighting Pattern Modifications
- Broad Modification: The camera is placed favoring the key-lit side of the face. This gives roundness and weight to a slender face.
- Short Modification: The camera is placed favoring the shadow side of the face. This gives a more slender look to a rounder face.