Productions

Get Cinematic: Add MORE to Your Set

Today we are talking about how you can actually make things look more cinematic by adding some mess to your set.

We’ve been watching the latest season of Stranger Things and we’ve been inspired to create something that gives off a messy, lived-in, retro vibe. Let’s break it down.

We began with the bare essentials of the scene. In the script, it reads:

“Rob is sitting playing video games”.

So we grabbed Rob’s NES, we hooked it up to an old TV, and sat him down on a beanbag.

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But clearly, there is something missing from this scene. The shooting space is just too bare. It doesn’t look real. There’s not enough stuff!

So we grabbed everything we had which looks old, retro, and domestic, and started layering things into the frame, starting with the background.

The bookshelf is a good start already, but we re-arranged the visible shelves, placing a foam finger, a super 8mm camera, and a picture frame from The Breakfast Club, making the shelves look a bit more informal and hitting that 80s vibe.

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Then we needed to put something on the bare wall. We grabbed a poster from one of our films, Backstage, and stuck it up. Thankfully, the poster is already designed to look like it’s from the 1980s, so this was an easy one.

We popped a floor lamp in the background to light up the poster and bookshelf, and it also comes in handy for the lighting setup. 

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More on the lighting setup down below!

Lastly, we needed to hide the door to our editing room. So we wheeled over our costume rail and literally just placed it in front of the door. 

We decided to bring the costume rail into the mid-ground on an angle. This closes the space a bit more, making it feel cosier. 

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We also piled up some plastic crates on the other side of the subject. This fills the space, but it also hides the extension cable and the light stand in the shot.

If you are struggling to keep your equipment out of shot, the next best thing is to hide it with props and set dressings!

We had a pile of magazines laying around so we threw them into the frame (from a distance they look a bit like comic books), and we even topped the stack of magazines with a few old cigarette boxes to make it feel even more lived in.

We placed in the phone, a necessary prop in the script.

The last mid-ground set dressing was a Persian rug. We wanted to give the floor some colour and texture, so this worked really well.

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In the foreground, we had the TV on one side, so we placed in a stack of old suitcases, and an NES box on the other side to give us a natural vignette and a nice frame to shoot through.

We included a pizza box, and we stacked up the NES game boxes and another controller for even more mess.

Obviously, when you dress a set for a film, everything you pick should relate to the character, story, or scene. We have an episode on that:

Next up, we have the lighting.

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Our key light in the scene is from the old TV. In order to manage the exposure levels, we motivated that light with a small LED FX light, set to a slow pulse. We set the exposure levels to the 70 range on the subject’s skin when the light is at its brightest.

That practical floor lamp we placed in the background earlier meant we could add a few extra sneaky productions lights into the scene using the floor lamp as the motivating source. 

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We used an Aputure Mini 20 to give the subject a hair light, and we pointed our Astora LED panel towards the ceiling to bring up the ambient light in the scene.

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Floor lamps are great to place in a scene if you do intend to bounce light off the ceiling because the direction of the light between both sources looks very natural. If you do add light into a scene, it’s always better to accompany it with a practical source to ground it in reality. Think to yourself “Where is this light coming from?”.


This video will show you how adding more mess and clutter into a frame can actually make it look more cinematic. By the end of this video, you will have an understanding of what you will need to dress your sets to gives your movies the film look.

📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

How to use the 30 Degree Rule: https://youtu.be/Sud_wMH7L18

Backstage BTS: https://youtu.be/tSBta8DFwww

Action Hero Entrance: https://youtu.be/5C05jf4VQTU

Get the Film Look with Art Direction: https://youtu.be/6AUmcvAyTKU

How to Use False Colour: https://youtu.be/nncazai0Ei4

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

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Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

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DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

How to Use the 30° Degree Rule

Today we are showing you how to use the 30-degree rule. A fundamental rule of filmmaking used to prevent jarring and jumpy cuts during an edit. Welcome to The Film Look.

If you are new to filmmaking, the 180-degree rule is used to make sure characters in a scene will always face the correct screen direction in relation to each other by drawing an imaginary semi-circle on set and not stepping over the straight line.

A cousin to the 180 is the 30-degree rule. It's there to make sure you don’t have a strange jarring jump when cutting from one shot to another on the same subject in a scene.

30-Degree-Rule.gif

If we shoot a scene from this angle here, then decide to shoot a little bit further along, these two shots will not cut together very well because they are too similar.

Less than 30 degrees

Less than 30 degrees

It causes the cut to jump out on screen. To avoid this, you can make sure you always move the camera 30 degrees, orbiting around the subject.

More than 30 degrees

More than 30 degrees

This rule applies for different shot types too. So when you are cutting from a wide shot to a medium close up, if you keep the camera in the same position it can actually look like a strange zoom effect, rather than a cut.

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Orbit the second angle more than 30 degrees around the subject and it will prevent the weird zoom effect.

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But you can go too far with this as well!

A wide shot from here cutting to a wide shot from here will be very disorientating to the audience. Again, causing a strange jarring effect, and really just unnecessary coverage of the scene.

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And cutting from an extreme wide shot to an extreme close up can look strange too! Unless of course you can match the motion of the subject and cut on action. 

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We will do an episode about cutting on action very soon so get subscribed!

But, in all honesty, you could cover the whole scene in this tight close up if you really wanted to. It all depends on the type of project and your filmmaking style.

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So, basically, the general rule of thumb is to just cut to something significantly different. Preferably, something which gives the audience a better view of the action or drama happening on screen. Just make sure that it's more than 30 degrees. 


This video will show you how to use the 30° degree rule when shooting a film. By the end of this video, you will know how to apply this rule to your films so you will have a smooth and good-looking edit.

📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

5 Tips for Nailing the 180° Degree Rule: https://youtu.be/Fs24DBoT-C8

Centre Frame Your Shot for MORE Impact: https://youtu.be/b_913ksaKq8

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

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DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

The Action Hero Entrance | Motivated Camera Moves

Here at the film look, we love motivated camera moves. They look great, they are fun to pull off, and they connect the cinematography to the story. This is why today we are talking about a motivated camera move we like to call “The Action Hero Entrance”.

Action-Hero-Entrance.gif

It’s probably the most bad ass way to introduce a character on screen - but it’s also much more than that.

Let me show you why this camera move is one of the best ways to introduce a character in YOUR film. Welcome to The Film Look.

The camera move itself is actually quite simple. It begins on the floor as the subject arrives in their car. As they exit the car, the camera slowly pedestals up until it finishes on a medium close up on the subject’s face. They deliver their line then exit the frame.

The shot doesn’t need to involve a car or any dialogue as there are many variations to this camera move but we thought we would go full-on action movie style!

What’s so special about this camera move is actually how much information it delivers without ever needing to cut to another shot.

Action Hero Entrance1.jpg

At first, we have a wide establishing shot of the scene. In this case, it is clearly a back alley. And we’ve all seen enough films to know a back alley is a sketchy place to be. It sets the scene. 

A car rolls in. But what type of car? If it was a Lamborghini, you’d guess the character was a bit of a playboy. This car...is a little more modest.

Action Hero Entrance2.jpg

The character steps out and we see a glimpse of their costume - their footwear. In this case, we have a pair of black boots. They mean business. If you replaced the boots with flip flops, it would be a completely different story.

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Then we get a little character detail. A cigarette thrown on the ground. Why is the character smoking? Maybe to calm their nerves? But they also discard it, so whatever they plan on doing next, they need to be 100% focused.

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Then we’ve got a gun and vest - Police. 

We reveal their face. A young cop - detective Rusty Johnson. And he looks nervous!

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So with a single 20 second shot performing a very simple pedestal from feet to face, we give the audience an entire character bio without having to resort to any expositional dialogue, on-the-nose cut aways, or title cards.

We give the audience just enough information to want to know more about the character and the scene. But what if we changed some details?

Let’s make the location sunny this time. We can change the costume a little bit, and alter the character’s attitude. We can keep the main beats of the scene and keep the dialogue.

Let’s see how this changes an audience’s perspective of the character.

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We’ve transformed the scene from something like True Detective to something more like Narcos just by re-working a few things in the frame.

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And this is why this camera move is so powerful: it captures an intriguing character on screen, it grasps the audience’s attention, and sets up their expectations.

The shot literally looks the character up and down.

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The equipment in this shot, we feel, is quite important. You CAN do this shot handheld, but something smooth and steady will raise the production value and won’t distract the audience from what is happening on screen.

We shot both of these scenes using a Sony a7s Mark 1 with a Takumar 35mm vintage prime. The camera was rigged up on a Zhiyun Crane 2 with a set of spring-action handle grips from Digital Foto.

We will be reviewing these spring-action handle grips in a video very soon, so get subscribed if you haven’t already. 

If you are interested in more motivated camera moves, we have a bunch on the channel. Most of which we found from this book called Master Shots by Christopher Kenworthy. It’s a great book for figuring out what types of shots you can implement for moments in your film.

I’ve put links to the book down below - we get a small kick back for every sale on Amazon, so purchasing it will also help support this channel. Thanks for watching, and remember to achieve it one shot at a time.


This video will show you how to pull off the "action hero entrance" motivated camera move for your next short film. By the end of the video, you'll know what the camera move is all about, how and when to use it, and what equipment you will need to execute it.

📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

Slowly Building Tension: https://youtu.be/WCbTHnanYkY

Coming to a Halt: https://youtu.be/dqdxPcSr1V8

Sony a7s Review: https://youtu.be/Zez-mTmtAO8

Takumar 30mm Lens Review: https://youtu.be/YhPgrN5FtCE

Handheld Camera Gimbals Review: https://youtu.be/8O-d8hNOja4

🎥 This episode's kit/gear/equipment:

US links:

Sony a7s: http://amzn.to/2DrEdLb

Zhiyun Crane 2: https://amzn.to/2XLyBYA

Master Shots Volume 1: https://amzn.to/2tcPMlo

UK links:

Sony a7s: http://amzn.to/2DrEdLb

Zhiyun Crane 2: https://amzn.to/2XlGcbX

Master Shots Volume 1: https://amzn.to/2ln4ZMv

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

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DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

How to Use False Colour

False Colour: What is it, how do you use it, and why is it useful?

Today we are running you through the basics. Welcome to the film look!

So what is false colour? To put it plain and simple, it’s a feature usually found on field monitors which helps you read the exposure value of an image, very similar to Zebras or a histogram.

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So every pixel on a screen will have an exposure value from 0-100. 0 being black, 100 being white, and everything in between being shades of grey.

The field monitor will read the exposure values in every pixel and transform them into distinct bands of colour. So how do you use it?

False colour will give you a chart of the colour bands, usually on the side of the monitor, providing you with chunks of different exposure values which are easy to distinguish from each other.

False Colour.jpg

So just like how Zebras is commonly used to indicate when you’ve over-exposed to 100, or completely white, false colour gives you a whole range of indicators.

You can use this information when setting exposure during a shot. For instance! You’ve setup a scene, brought in your talent, and have started setting up lights.

The first thing you might want to do is make sure the subject has enough light on their face. It’s common to set the exposure value of people with light skin to 70 IRE. On the false colour feature we can see the 70 range shows as this light grey colour. So we can adjust the light and the settings on the camera until the majority of the subject’s face is in this colour band.

False Colour2.jpg

But it doesn’t end there! Once we’ve adjusted and are happy with the exposure on skin, we can now adjust and customise the rest of the lighting in the scene.

We might want to make the rim light on the subject a highlighted spot, say around 80 IRE, so we can adjust the brightness of the rim light until it touches on yellow. 

False Colour3.jpg

You can also do this with the background. In this case, false colour is telling us that the background is sitting very close to zero, so we’ve actually lost almost all the information in the background. We can fix that by lifting the brightness of the background using a light until it appears in the desired colour band. In this case, we want it to hit the 20-30 range, which is blue to grey.

False Colour4.jpg

This technique is great for keeping the lighting in the scene consistent.

Once you have one shot setup, you can make a note of the colour band values for each element in the scene; skin tone at 70, highlight at 80, background light at 30, and make sure each shot in the scene uses these values.

This also means you can create different looks just by how you exposure the elements in the scene.

False-Colour1.gif

If you wanted something super contrasty, like an interrogation scene, you might want to bring up the exposure on skin to the 90 range with a close hard light, drop the rim light to 30, and widen the background light.

False Colour6.jpg

The interrogation scene in The Dark Knight, for example, actually over-exposes the skin on the joker, giving off this overwhelmingly blinding top light just as Batman smashes the Joker’s head against the table.

False Colour5.jpg

We used a false colour plugin to read the exposure values from the scene in The Dark Knight and tried to re-create it ourselves.

False-Colour2.gif

So next time you want to replicate the tone of a film; get a screenshot, throw it into your editor, pop on this plugin, and match the values. 

https://timeinpixels.com/false-color-plugin/

We’ve been using false colour for a year or two now, and we wouldn’t purchase a monitor if it didn’t have it. It’s so useful and easy to use once you wrap your head around the colour band system. 

The monitor we used in this episode, the FeelWorldMA7, is a great budget monitor with False Colour included. 

We did a review on it:

Just a quick note. Because false color uses IRE to read the exposure values, it does mean that a dark t-shirt and a light t-shirt lit with the same light will read differently. False Color is not measuring the amount of light hitting an object, it measures how bright it is on screen. So if you are matching exposure of two different subjects, make sure to read something similar such as skin tone and not a dark t-shirt against a light t-shirt.


This video will teach you the basics of using the false color feature found on field monitors for filmmakers. By the end of this video, you will have an understanding of how to apply false color to your images and videos in order to correctly expose each element in the scene.

📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

False Color Plugin: https://timeinpixels.com/false-color-plugin/

FeelWorld MA7 Review: https://youtu.be/TEjwlnNKE4U

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

Website: http://thefilmlook.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefilmlook


DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Learn to Light like the Pros: Short Side Lighting

Today I want to share with you ONE absolutely class lighting trick that will give you the film look by simply moving your lights around. Welcome to The Film Look.

We’ve shot a lot of sit down interviews for client jobs in the past. The basic setup for a video production client interview looks like this:

Short Side Lighting.jpg
  • sit them down with some distance from the background so you can get it nice and blurry

  • Place in a key light to brighten up their face

  • Place in a fill light on the other side to reduce the shadows

  • While we are at it, we will pop in a hair light to make them pop off the background

  • And a final background bounce light to brighten UP the background

This looks great for bright, positive messages in videos from a business point of view. But it doesn’t look like a film!

So take all of your video production lighting knowledge and throw it out of the window! We’re starting from scratch and this time we are going to make it look like a movie!

So before we start changing the lighting, we will bring in some set dressing, props, and Rob is going to dress as Bobby Carrot, a criminal accountant from the victorian era.

Short-Side-Lighting.gif

Now let's set up the lights again!

  • Sit your subject down with some distance from the background

  • Frame up your shot

  • ...and place in a key light to brighten up their face…

Short Side Lighting 2.jpg

This is the first thing we can change!

It feels natural to place the light so it points in the same direction that the camera is pointing. This means the light will never end up in the shot. This is a habit grown from videography shoots, but it doesn’t look very film-like.

Short Side Lighting 3.jpg

Instead of lighting the broadside (the side where you see most of their face), we are going to move the light 180 degrees around the subject and light up the short side.

Short-Side-Lighting-2.gif

So instead of the light sitting at the 8 o’clock position to the subject, we will move it to the 2 o’clock position.

This small lighting change transforms the shot into something a lot more dark and sophisticated.

Short Side Lighting 4.jpg

It’s called short side lighting because the key light is pointing to the short side of the subject (the side where you can see less of the face).

Short-Side-Lighting-3.gif

As well as getting something which looks instantly more film-like, you also have the benefit of very little light hitting the background because the key light is facing the opposite direction. So the background stays nice and dark.

Now you know about short side lighting, you’ll notice pretty much every film or TV drama will use this type of lighting in most of their scenes.

You can achieve short side lighting with window light as well. The window doesn’t have to be in the frame, you can always frame it out, but you still achieve something with great contrast and shadows.

Let’s carry on with our setup!

  • So they are framed up

  • Lit on the short side this time

  • ...and now we can place in a fill light to reduce those shadows...

Except we aren’t going to do that!

If you asked Roger Deakins about fill light he’d probably say “Phil who!?”.

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Instead, we are going to embrace these deep shadows in the shot. Filling in those shadows can spoil the film look and make it look more like a rom-com.

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If you need to create more shadow, you can add some negative fill by placing something like a blackout curtain or 5-in-1 reflector on the subject’s broadside.

We have an episode talking about blackout curtains if you want to find out all the different uses for them!

And if you want to add more light to the broadside of the subject, you can always position the light down the clock: so instead of 1 or 2 o’clock, put it at 3 or 4 o’clock. This will let more light cast on their broadside but will still produce a dramatic, contrasty shot without having to resort to fill lighting.

Short-Side-Lighting6.gif

Lastly, we ARE going to add an edge light in order to bring the shape of the subject back into the shot and give them some contrast from the background.

Basically, we want to create an outline using light. Otherwise, the back of the head will meld into the background because they are both very dark.

Short-Side-Lighting7.gif

Alternatively, you can light up the background, so it's brighter than the back of their head and then you can forget about the hair light. We are just looking to retain the shape of the subject.

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“But now we have lights in front of the camera, won’t they get in the shot when the camera moves around?” Well, this is where you can employ some movie magic.

Start with a practical light, like a desk lamp, to act as a physical light source which is in the shot. Then you can add in a sneaky key light out of frame to boost up the lamp, also known as motivating the light. This will work just as long as the colour temperature and quality of light is the same as the practical.

Short Side Lighting 6.jpg
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In this case, we have a tungsten bulb and it’s diffused so we matched it with our production light by matching the colour temp and diffusing with a show curtain.

We have an episode of DIY diffusion:

On wider shots, the production lights can sit further back, out of frame. It’s wider, so we won’t need perfect detail on faces because we are shooting the bigger picture. In close-ups, you can bring them closer and get perfect exposure on the subject’s face.

Short-Side-Lighting9.gif

This is something which I wish my University taught me. Sadly, I had to learn this through my own trial and error. Next time you watch a film or TV show, have a look at which side the lighting is positioned. You might be surprised how often short side lighting is used!


📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

10 Ways to use Blackout Curtains for Filmmaking - https://youtu.be/nf2Cxz8H4CU

DIY Light Diffusion: https://youtu.be/zFqAo7Ic538

How to Shoot an Interview: https://youtu.be/8TRdmj0Ao4k

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

Website: http://thefilmlook.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefilmlook


DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Centre Frame Your Shot for MORE Impact

A few videos back we spoke about the things you need to know when you are making your first short film.

If you haven’t seen it you can find it here.

For that video, we had to look through some of our past films and took clips from them. I watched them back to back, which is something I’ve never done before, and it made me realise something...

In every film, we have a shot which is centre framed which always happens at a dramatic or key moment.

The masters of centred framing are directors like Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick.

So if you want to see some great examples of centre framing go watch and analysis their films instead of this YouTube video, but we are going to talk about it.

Welcome to The Film Look.

For our short film Road, we filmed this shot.

Centre Framing In Film 1

The inspiration for this shot was taken from the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Which is really strange because I don’t really like that film. Hate mail in the comments below.

In our short film Road, our character wakes up in the middle of the road and throughout the film, he finds a pair of shoes, a key, and a telephone. The final thing he finds is a door which stands in the middle of the Road.

Since the road was long and straight when we see the door in the wide shot for the first time, all of the lines of the road lead to a single point, which is the door. Our character has nowhere else to go but through the door.

Cut to the next scene and all of the leading lines are gone and it is a wide open space. Now our character has no path.

I think this is where centre framing works best when you have lines in your set design that lead to a single point. The Shining from Stanley Kubrick, which I do like by the way, is all centre framed. It gives the audience a sense that something isn’t right and to make them feel uneasy.

For Road, I was hoping the audience would feel the same way because a door in the middle of a Road shouldn't be there. The tension in the film is at one of its highest peaks and centering the door right in the middle means the audience has no other distractions.

Next, for our shot film Corpse we filmed this shot.

Centre Framing In Film 2

When we were shooting the scene our actor Dan jumped off a wall, into the sea, which we weren't ready for and had to run to keep up. Since it was an action scene, we just went with it to keep the pace high, and we captured this shot.

This is the opening shot of the film, and it definitely helps to set the tone right away. I don’t think you would get if it wasn’t framed in the centre.

For the last few shots in our short film the Asylum Groove we filmed this.

Center-Framing.gif

At this point in the film, we wanted to bring back some order as our character had just been dancing around the room. Centring our character in the frame contributed to bringing back that order, along with the music, and the fact he is now strapped to an electric chair.

The centred frame also allowed us to cut on action and keep the audience's eyes on our character. They have nowhere else to look but at him.

In Mad Max Fury Road, DOP John Seale said “whatever was the centre point of that shot”, in terms of the action happening in the frame, “had to be in the centre of the frame.”

This allowed them to cut faster between each shot because the audience’s eyes don't have to shift around to follow what is happening in each frame.

I would definitely like to film an action scene in this way to see how fast you can cut between the action. So if you want to see us try and experiment doing this hit that like button.

In every film we’ve made there is always a shot or two which is centre framed. I think a few stand out shots is just enough. Centre framing at a significant moment in your film can show a character has more power than before, it can create order with leading lines, helps with fast action cutting, it can deliver impact and most of all, it tells the audience it's the most important thing in the frame by simply placing it dead centre.

There’s loads more resources online about centre framing. In the comments below I’ve added a list of other videos and articles I’ve been looking at.


📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

Aputure Mini-20 Light Review - https://youtu.be/Pa58MhaeLlo

Power Junkie Review - https://youtu.be/UZZ-UA4r3js

How to Light an Exterior Night Scene - https://youtu.be/foEV4YGXqGU

Get the FILM LOOK with the Aputure 300d - https://youtu.be/FWThzBtyvsA

🎥 This episode's kit/gear/equipment:

🇺🇸 US links:

Ikea Jansjo USB Light - http://bit.ly/2YG2NRB

Amazon Ikea Jansjo USB Light - https://amzn.to/2YOw5hh

Blind Spot Power Junkie - https://amzn.to/2UdIVre

Sony a7s Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2UdwEmN

Canon 5D Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2HWI0oP

GH4/GH5 Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2uHQeZh

BMPCC4K Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2HWI0oP

15mm Rode Cheese Plate - https://amzn.to/2uPZQkt

🇬🇧 UK links:

Ikea Jansjo USB Light - http://bit.ly/2wf4JVe

Amazon Ikea Jansjo USB Light - https://amzn.to/2QjKQWi

Blind Spot Power Junkie - https://bit.ly/2G1uBti

Sony a7s Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2CTqwW4

Canon 5D Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2UfT0Ec

GH4/GH5 Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2UlX2uY

BMPCC4K Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2UfT0Ec

15mm Rode Cheese Plate - https://amzn.to/2CVEyqn

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefilmlook

(#filmmaking #tutorials #lighting #Ikeahack)


DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Can You Use This $6 Light For Filmmaking

We’ve been busy working on our new YouTube studio space recently, so I do apologise that this episode is a bit simple. We were at IKEA the other day looking for furniture and I spotted this: they call it the Jansjo. It’s a USB powered LED light on a gooseneck and it’s only £2! So I thought I would see just how many ways we can use this for filmmaking.

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-1.gif

These types of lights are meant for lighting up a laptop keyboard if you are typing away at night. Can we class this as filmmaking? Writing, maybe? There’s use number one!

POWER JUNKIE

The Power Junkie is a battery solution we use for powering the Sony a7s because the standard battery only lasts 40 minutes at best. The Power Junkie converts your battery into an NPF solution, giving you more battery life for a longer shoot.

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-2.gif

We did a review of the Power Junkie here if you want to know more!

The Power Junkie includes USB ports as well, which means you can plug in the Jansjo light at the same time the NPF battery is powering the camera, and use it to light up hard to find microphone and headphone ports as well as rigging up a follow focus when you are working in the dark. It saves another person having to hold a light or ✔ jamming one in your mouth.

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-3.gif

USB POWER BANK

If you don’t have a power junkie, you can always use something like a USB power bank and secure it to your camera, preferably onto a cage. It will do a similar job in terms of instant plug-in power for a work light.

But is it useful as an actual production light?

KEY LIGHT

It’s a bit of a ridiculously test, but we thought we may as well try to see if you can use this as any sort of key light on a subject.

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-4.jpg

The Jansjo light is 10 lumens at 0.3 watts so it’s not very bright.

But we tested it in a very dark room and it didn’t do too bad! Obviously we are shooting on the Sony a7s which is known for being a beasty low light camera, but the settings were certainly not out of the realm of shooting.

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-5.jpg

Surprisingly, it could work as a key.

EYE LIGHT

Next, we tested to see if you could use this as a makeshift eye light when the subject’s eyes have no natural eye light. From these results, it didn’t work very well!

The Jansjo is only 10 lumens so it just doesn’t pump out enough light to catch an eye...at least, not from the length of the gooseneck.

BACKGROUND BOKEH

We’ve had projects in the past when we just need a tiny little light source in the background to generate some bokeh balls. Really, just to give the background some life. With USB power like the Power Junkie, we were able to pop the light in the background and give it a bit more energy.

With some coloured gels, it's easy enough to change the colour of the background bokeh.

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-6.gif

If you wanted to do something like this, it’s probably worth looking into the Jansjo light which comes with a clamp. It’s a lot brighter, and it much easier to rig up into a shot!

PROP

It could come in handy as a bomb defusal light or a bank heist pock picking light. Get imaginative!

$6-Light-For-Filmmaking-7.gif

BACK OF PC

What it’s actually perfect for is plugging into the back of your PC when you are swapping out ports and plugging things in. As it’s only £2, I would plug this into a spare USB socket and just leave it there.

The biggest let down of this light is the lack of on/off switch. I’d have it on a camera rig all the time if you could switch it off while keeping it plugged in. So while we carry on renovating the new Film Look studio, there’s some food for thought on a bargain product. Let us know how you’d use something like this for filmmaking, or if you think it’s an absolute waste of time!


📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

Aputure Mini-20 Light Review - https://youtu.be/Pa58MhaeLlo

Power Junkie Review - https://youtu.be/UZZ-UA4r3js

How to Light an Exterior Night Scene - https://youtu.be/foEV4YGXqGU

Get the FILM LOOK with the Aputure 300d - https://youtu.be/FWThzBtyvsA

🎥 This episode's kit/gear/equipment:

🇺🇸 US links:

Ikea Jansjo USB Light - http://bit.ly/2YG2NRB

Amazon Ikea Jansjo USB Light - https://amzn.to/2YOw5hh

Blind Spot Power Junkie - https://amzn.to/2UdIVre

Sony a7s Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2UdwEmN

Canon 5D Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2HWI0oP

GH4/GH5 Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2uHQeZh

BMPCC4K Dummy Battery - https://amzn.to/2HWI0oP

15mm Rode Cheese Plate - https://amzn.to/2uPZQkt

🇬🇧 UK links:

Ikea Jansjo USB Light - http://bit.ly/2wf4JVe

Amazon Ikea Jansjo USB Light - https://amzn.to/2QjKQWi

Blind Spot Power Junkie - https://bit.ly/2G1uBti

Sony a7s Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2CTqwW4

Canon 5D Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2UfT0Ec

GH4/GH5 Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2UlX2uY

BMPCC4K Dummy Battery - https://bit.ly/2UfT0Ec

15mm Rode Cheese Plate - https://amzn.to/2CVEyqn

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefilmlook

(#filmmaking #tutorials #lighting #Ikeahack)


DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Are small LED panels good for filmmaking? | NiceFoto SL-120A Review

LED video lights have come a long way in the past five or so years. We’ve been looking for a replacement to our old 160 LED lights for a while. They aren’t very bright, they are made out of flimsy plastic, and they lack color accuracy.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review.jpg

Thankfully guys over at NiceFoto sent us their SL-120A just in time to try out. Let me show you some of the features of this bad boy and how we’ve been using it so far! Welcome to The Film Look.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review1.jpg

These LED video lights from NiceFoto are going for about $90. Let me show you what you get in the box.

Firstly, a bi-colour LED light panel, ranging from 3200K to 6500K in 100K steps. It has a CRI rating of 96+ so it's got a clean looking white light. You can change the power 5% at a time so it has lots of room to dial in brightness. And it emits 1300 lumens of light.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review2.jpg

It features a backlit screen on the rear so you can see your settings, buttons on the side for adjusting up and down, a button for switching between power and colour temp, and a power button which also puts the light to sleep at a click which is really handy if you want to do a quick on/off check on a monitor. Holding the power button down will switch it off altogether.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review3.jpg

It has three ports on the bottom; two for charging, a micro USB and a USB type-C, and a mini USB to plug in the provided output cable if you want to use it as a USB power bank.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review4.jpg

Unfortunately, you can’t use it as a power bank and a light at the same time. And the power bank can only charge 1000mAh. For context, my Samsung s8 has a battery of 3000mAh, so it won’t fully charge a phone...so really this feature is useless.


It’s got two ¼ 20 threads on the back and bottom to attach it to light stands or the provided ball head mount. In all honesty, the ballhead it comes with is very flimsy. This...is probably go in the bin.

NiceFoto-SL-210A-Review.gif

It's charged via USB. It takes about 4 hours to fully charge and lasts for 1.5 hours on full power.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review5.jpg

We’ve been using it mostly in dark scenes so we haven’t felt like it's running out of juice really quickly. Sadly, the charge cable provided doesn’t turn the light into a wired device. It will continue to lose power from the battery.

NiceFoto-SL-210A-Review2.gif

It does come with 2 modifiers; a diffuser plate and a grid, both of which don’t do their job well enough to use, to be honest. I would just chuck these straight in the bin.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review6.jpg

Finally, you get a neoprene pouch so you can carry your light with you on a shoot and look cool doing it. With most budget LED lights, you don’t get a carry case, so this is a good addition for the price.

NiceFoto-SL-210A-Review3.gif

So what is this light good for? Well, because its so small, it’s ideal for placing in low profile spots, such as:

Hanging from a ceiling as a hair light or top light. It only weighs 525g so you CAN hold it up with some tape!

Hanging from a ceiling as a hair light or top light. It only weighs 525g so you CAN hold it up with some tape!

NiceFoto SL-210A Review8.jpg
Using it to motivate a small practical light in a scene

Using it to motivate a small practical light in a scene

Or using it as an emergency light in your camera bag if you are trying to find something in the dark!

Or using it as an emergency light in your camera bag if you are trying to find something in the dark!

There are many different versions of a light like this on the market right now. We’ve also been testing out the Moman LED video light, which is a limited bi-colour light that’s a bit smaller.

What i’d say is, buy the light based on the size you are after. If you need something really small to use for placing in difficult spots, you might want to go for something super small.

NiceFoto SL-210A Review10.jpg

Personally, I really like the NiceFoto light. Without the useless modifiers, it does the job you’d expect. I won’t be using it as a key light any time soon, but it is a good addition to our lighting kit and we will continue to use it on YouTube stuff as well as films in the future.


📺 How to support the channel

🚀 bit.ly/artlistfilmlook - The music you heard in this episode is from Artlist. Click the link to receive 2 extra free months on when you purchase an Artlist subscription!

🎵 https://www.joelfamularo.com/colour - Use discount code "TFL" at checkout to get 20% off your LUTs purchase!

🎬 In case you missed it

Aputure Mini-20 Light Review: https://youtu.be/Pa58MhaeLlo

LEDGO G260 Light Review: https://youtu.be/_ML9dFIoKEU

AL-360RGB Light Review: https://youtu.be/iUBJc4qeI98

Pre-Lighting and Test Shooting: https://youtu.be/ExnH2KJSJoo

🎥 This episode's kit/gear/equipment:

🇺🇸 US links:

NiceFoto SL-120A: https://amzn.to/2HcSlLt

Moman LED: https://amzn.to/30alcHY

🇬🇧 UK links:

NiceFoto SL-120A: https://amzn.to/2Jfwtlc

Moman LED: https://amzn.to/2JdFN9a

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefilmlook

(#filmmaking #tutorials #lighting #NiceFoto)


DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!

How to Shoot a Moody Computer Scene at Night

Today I’ll show you how we setup a scene like this: a moody, high contrast night time scene in front of a computer screen with two subjects. I’ll show you the coverage, composition, lighting setup, and the tools and techniques we used to get each shot consistent in the scene.

Welcome to The Film Look.

We shot this short scene for an ad spot recently and you guys seemed to like the look of it, so we thought we would show you our approach to creating it, breaking down every step along the way.

Let’s re-create the scene!

Location

The first thing you need is a location. We will be using our studio.

There are two subjects in the scene, and each of them will be sitting at their computer desks for the majority with a short movement from each subject.

Computer-Screen-at-Night.gif

180

Because the computers desks are against the wall, we are limited to shooting on just one side, so the 180 degree line is drawn between each character, using the open space of the room as our shooting space.

Coverage

The script for this scene has the following beats:

  • Subject A on their computer, frustrated by a problem they can’t solve.

  • Subject B offers a suggestion, so subject A turns around and listens for a moment.

  • Subject A then turns back to their computer as subject B runs them through the solution.

  • Subject B approaches the computer and the scene ends when they execute that solution

This is bread and butter stuff. This scene can be applied to a lot of scenarios for your films, so just take what you need and adjust it to suit your movie. Next, let’s cover the shots.

First, we have a Wide Shot in Profile of the whole scene. We need enough room for the subjects to stand without cutting their heads off so we can position the camera quite low angled slightly up. This shot will establish the location and the distance between the two characters.

Next we have a Medium Close Up of Subject A, lacking nose room, fitting subject B in the space behind. This shot will put Subject A in a tight box around the frame, emphasising his frustrated situation.

This shot also doubles as a 2-shot at the end of the scene as they both look into the same screen. This shot will finish the scene, so shooting a 2-shot means we can receive both of their reactions to the success or failure at the same time without having to cut between single close ups. It also puts both characters on par with each other.

Then we have a Close Up of Subject A when they turn around to face subject B. This shot also includes a short camera pan to compliment the chair spin, giving it a overly-dramatic/comic feel.

We have Close Ups of each subject at their computers. These are your standard rule of thirds close ups with plenty of nose room in front of the characters.

And to finish it off we have an overhead angle of typing on the keyboard.

Overall, this gives us 7 different shots from 5 main angles, so the lighting setup alters only slightly between each angle, which we’re going to cover now!

Lighting

We are shooting this night time scene during the day, so we blocked out the sunlight by fixing a blackout curtain against the window.

E-_Work_Projects_The-Film-Look_YouTube_Tuesday-Show_One-off-Episodes_Computer-Screen-at-Night_Export_GIFs-and-JPEGS_MCU11.gif

We have a video about all the many different uses of blackout curtains here:

Key Light

Next is the key light on each subject. We are going for a dark and dramatic look so we lit only the short side of the subjects to add dark shadows to their faces. We used the available light from the computer monitors and loaded up a blank word doc to make it as white as possible. The white balance of the camera is set to daylight to make the light from the monitors appear more blue.

E-_Work_Projects_The-Film-Look_YouTube_Tuesday-Show_One-off-Episodes_Computer-Screen-at-Night_Export_GIFs-and-JPEGS_MCU_monitor_light.gif

With the monitors that are in shot, we pulled up a Photoshop window, which is dark grey, to prevent overexposure. We didn’t want a big block of white in the shots. This is something we couldn’t avoid in the wide but we fixed in the close ups.

Using photoshop in window.jpg

Hair Light

To add some colour contrast to the scene we added a warm hairlight using an Aputure Mini 20 set to 3200K shared by both subjects as they are facing the same direction for the majority of the scene.

Aputure.jpg

The only time we moved the hair light was for this shot here when Subject A turns around. We simply positioned it on the opposite side, behind subject A.

We closed the barn doors to create a long, sharp stream of light to cut the light from spilling onto the wall.

E-_Work_Projects_The-Film-Look_YouTube_Tuesday-Show_One-off-Episodes_Computer-Screen-at-Night_Export_GIFs-and-JPEGS_MCU_Barn_doors.gif

Background Light

To prevent the background from looking like a black void we clamped a small LED light to the lighting fixture, this one is from NiceFoto; its called the SL-120A. It was set to 3200K to match the hair light and bring up the background. The light it provides in the background also serves as physical motivation for the hairlight on the subjects, so it doesn’t seem like a random light coming from nowhere.

NiceFoto light.jpg

Exposure

To set exposure and keep it consistent between the shots, we firstly matched the exposure of the skintones for each subject. We used the false color function on our FeelWorld Master MA7 [we did a review here] to place the subject’s faces at approximately 70 IRE, which is a good exposure level for skin on pale faces. Using false colour, we were able to adjust the exposure settings until the subject’s skin showed this grey colour, representing 70 on the scale.

70 IRE.jpg

Using the same method, we could make sure the highlight from the hairlight wasn’t too hot, sitting at around 20.

E-_Work_Projects_The-Film-Look_YouTube_Tuesday-Show_One-off-Episodes_Computer-Screen-at-Night_Export_GIFs-and-JPEGS_MCU_false_color.gif

And the exposure of the background light was so low it didn’t even read on the false colour function. So we just eyeballed it, lighting it just enough to make a difference to the background.

Inserts

To light the inserts, we angled the computer monitor down towards the keyboard, and lit it from one side only, giving us some contrast and preventing it from looking completely flat.

Keyboard.jpg

Camera & Lenses

We shot this scene on the Sony a7s with a standard picture profile. We used a couple of vintage prime photo lenses; the Helios 44-2 which is a 58mm, a Takumar 35mm, as well as a Canon 24-105mm for the wide establishing shot.

24-105.jpg
Takumar.jpg
Helios.jpg

https://www.storyblocks.com/TheFilmLook - In this video, we show how to use a computer screen as a key light to help light a nighttime bedroom or studio scene. We talk through the process of setting up each shot, how we established the 180-degree line, and show all of the other lighting equipment we used to light the scene. We used an Aputure Mini 20c, Aputure Mini 20d, and also a small USB LED light from NiceFoto.

🎥 This episode's kit/gear/equipment:

🇺🇸 US links:

Aputure LS-mini Kit - https://amzn.to/2XCcujw

Aputure LS-mini 20D - https://amzn.to/2UJkjCo

NiceFoto SL-120A LED - https://amzn.to/2GxDwBK

FEELWORLD Master MA7 Monitor - https://amzn.to/2GxebIi

🇬🇧 UK links:

Aputure LS-mini Kit - https://amzn.to/2UGbIAe

Aputure LS-mini 20D - https://amzn.to/2UJkjCo

NiceFoto SL-120A LED - https://amzn.to/2IWk7gw

FEELWORLD Master MA7 Monitor - https://amzn.to/2XIGWZo

🎬 In case you missed it

5 Tips for Nailing the 180° Degree Rule! - https://youtu.be/Fs24DBoT-C8

Pre-Lighting & Test Shooting - https://youtu.be/ExnH2KJSJoo

10 Ways to use Blackout Curtains for Filmmaking - https://youtu.be/nf2Cxz8H4CU

Our YouTube Presenting Setup - https://youtu.be/hEjDyw_aimw

🎧 Listen to our Podcast!

iTunes: https://goo.gl/hikhGF

Android: https://goo.gl/fmsp4s

📞 The Socials

Website: http://thefilmlook.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFilmLook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefilmlook

(#filmmaking #tutorials #lighting)


DISCLAIMERS:

Some of these links are affiliate links, if you purchase gear via these links The Film Look will receive a small commission, but there will be no additional cost to you. Thank you!