Movies have a tremendous amount of planning and execution behind the scenes. Often the scenes which appear simple can have tremendous amounts of production behind it. There is often more than meets the eye. My team & I, went ahead to recreate one movie still from “Wake Up Sid”.
The above was the original shot from the movie which we set on to recreate. Following is what we accomplished.
The lighting for the shot was a strip & a grid from male’s actor shoulder and couple of cutters to avoid spillage. The grid illuminated the female’s face too along with providing a slight edge light to the male actor. Behind the female was a light on grid pointed at male actor’s face and another light with a snoot for hair light on female. Editing was to crop in a similar aspect ratio along-with basic adjustments. The scene was shot at f/8, 1/50th at ISO 100.
I can see a room from improvement but this exercise taught me a lot. It requires proper planning and execution even for light which feels simple. Kudos to the film production, lighting, art direction, DOP & various other team which work in cooperation to produce such good to watch films. Even if you are a photographer, it pays to watch films. You can learn a great deal about lighting from movies. At the end of the day, they are simply 24 stills(fps) encompassed in a second.
Being a photographer, you might be used to watching photographs from various photographers. You might have been addicted to seeing pictures published in newspapers, magazines, brochure etc. This is a good habit since it lets you study how the photographer made the photograph. It introduces you to viewpoint & thinking process of other photographer. Overtime, this will lead to a gradual growth in your photography skills. However, have you spared a thought of doing the same thing with video?
Photographers often perceive, video to be a totally different field & don’t seem to pay any attention to it. However if one looks closely, both photography & video share the same roots. Video shooters even abide by the rule of thirds, use a similar lighting setup while shooting video. If you observe movies closely, you’ll notice how the camera glides through the shot & at any point of time, the frame is perfectly framed. The lighting looks great, the composition is immaculate & so is a great deal of attention given to keeping the frames uncluttered. In movie’s, often DOF is managed perfectly & its an area where photographers can learn a lot from. Then there are framing techniques, like framing from within something, framing besides something & framing in such a way which might give photographers a new way to compose.
It has become an unconscious exercise for me, to pay attention to the cinematography whenever I’m watching any TV Show or a movie. I’m always thinking of the light, the composition technique, the camera movement etc. This has helped me immensely in improving my photography skills. Similarly, for cinematographers doing the reverse will also hold good. Next time, while watching a movie try this & you’ll appreciate how it helps to raise the bar of your photography. However, don’t complain to me if you miss the story-line doing so. It has happened with me on a few occasions . 😉