One Simple Trick That Will Improve Your Film Lighting

reverse key banner


“What’s this?!” I hear you cry sceptically,

“Are you going to offer some kind of Holy Grail of lighting that will instantly make my movies look better?!”


Well… actually, yes. Quite simply if you put into practise the information below your movies will almost immediately look more… well movie like. It’s a simple yet incredibly effective lighting technique that should change the way you place your lamps… forever!

So, what is it exactly that I’m eluding to? Why, it’s Reverse Key Lighting of course. Don’t know what that is? You’re in luck, read on.

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The Script-Readthrough

COSMOS Banner Script Readthrough

COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 17:
SCRIPT READ-THROUGH (Table Read)


“If the script is right and the cast is right, there’s not much else that can go wrong.” — William Goldman

The read-through (also known as a table read) is a stage in pre-production when the film’s script is read aloud around a table by the full cast of actors, and is also attended by producers, writers, heads of departments and directors.

That Star Wars Read-Through

That Star Wars Read-Through

The read-through is a major milestone in the production process, giving the core filmmaking team an early insight into the project’s potential and also highlighting any problem areas hidden in the script, such as wooden dialogue or a lack of chemistry between cast members.

As read-throughs normally happen before any rehearsals, actors are not expected to give polished performances but simply to read their dialogue, as written on the page. However this process can be extremely beneficial for an actor, giving them the chance to find their character and begin building relationships with their fellow cast members.

For the writers and directors, the read-through is not only useful but one of the most exciting parts of the filmmaking process — after months, sometimes years of development, it’s exhilarating to finally see a project come to life and the characters burst off the written page into living, breathing people. Read the full post »

“Who Killed British Cinema?” – The Documentary Stirring Up the UK Indie Film Industry


“The documentary they don’t want you to see!”


Who Killed British Cinema? PosterOn Monday 9th March, Zander and I were lucky enough to attend a screening of the feature documentary “Who Killed British Cinema?” 

Using exclusive interviews with Oscar, BAFTA and Palme d’Or winners, up and coming British film makers, film industry insiders, journalists, distributors, the CNC and members of UK Parliament, Robin Dutta and Vinod Mahindru of Quota Films have crafted an entertaining and educational film that challenges your pre-conceptions of the British indie film industry and exposes some very concerning truths about the now closed UK Film Council (UKFC).

The film features contributions from Sir Ben Kingsley (Schindler’s List, Gandhi)Lord David Puttnam (The Killing Fields, The Mission, Chariots of Fire), Sir Alan Parker (Evita, Mississippi Burning), Mike Hodges (Flash Gordon, Get Carter), Ken Loach (Kes), Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons), Iain Smith (The A-Team, Mad Max: Fury Road), Jonathan Gems (Mars Attacks!, 1984) and Michael Kuhn (The Duchess, Last Days on Mars).

“Who Killed British Cinema?” is a raw, no-holds-barred critical inspection of where Britain stands within the global film business, and how UK public funds are used in an industry that was once a jewel in the crown of Britain’s very distinct creative arts culture. This documentary is not for the faint-hearted but it has been made with love and devotion by two filmmakers who clearly care deeply about the past, present and future of the British film industry.

We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see the film and it certainly gave us food for thought so we wanted to share “Who Killed British Cinema?” with the wider filmmaking community.

You can find out more about “Who Killed British Cinema?” at the Quota Films website or via their Facebook and Twitter.


Elliot @EllandZand 

Scene coverage in Road to Perdition

Superb article on the superb cinematography of a superb film. Please enjoy and show your support for Cinema Shock.

CINEMA SHOCK

The main action is happening between Paul Newman and Daniel Craig’s characters, so it kinda makes sense to draw an “action line” between them and cover the scene from one side of the line. This way you’ll avoid problems later in the editing.

Scene coverage in Road to Perdition 01

From the picture above you can see, that most camera setups are located on the right side of the line. This side was probably chosen due to technical considerations (limitations of the location etc.)

The scene starts with a high angle master shot of all characters, this clearly shows where each character is seated. Now, we can freely cut to individual characters without confusing the viewer… unless we cut to the camera placed on the other side of the action line.

Scene coverage in Road to Perdition 02

In the third shot the camera physically jumps to the other side of the line. However, it doesn’t feel wrong. The reason is that you could…

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From Gun Camera to GoPro: A Short History of Small Cameras

Another superb read from THROUGH THE LENS FILM SCHOOL

Through The Lens Film School

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A little while back I bought a GoPro as I thought it would be a great way to add fantastic production value to our productions. I’ve used GoPro’s in the past and the image quality that comes out of that little black box never ceases to amaze me!

But how did we achieve those otherwise ‘inaccessible shots’ that gave an audience a radically different perspective before the GoPro arrived on the scene? In other words, how did we go from this:

to this:

The Lipstick Camera, a ground breaking piece of kit in its time.

The Lipstick Camera

I think it was back in the  the 1980’s when we used a tiny little video camera for these kinds of shots, this camera was nicknamed a ‘Lipstick Camera’ because of its shape and size. They produced rather fuzzy images but at the time they were pretty groundbreaking. (No HD in those…

View original post 612 more words

Listening To Space (Sound Designing)

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 16:
LISTENING TO SPACE (Sound Designing)


A great film once taught us that out there, in the cold vastness of space – no one can hear you scream… Why?

Sound waves (as we perceive them) need a medium like air to travel through, and in the vacuum of space there is no such medium. So to the human ear at least – space is silent.

However, this is not the whole truth.

On August 16th 1977, a radio telescope in Ohio picked up a steady source of radio waves that became known as the “Wow!” signal…

Wow_signal

There is much speculation as to the origin of the “Wow!” signal and perhaps we will never know for sure if it was of extra-terrestrial design. But it certainly makes you wonder.

The field of Radio Astronomy observes astronomical objects by studying their radio wave emissions. These astronomical objects, such as stars and galaxies, naturally emit radio waves which travel across the vast ocean of space at the speed of light – an astounding 186,282 MILES PER SECOND! (The equivalent of flying around planet Earth 4.6 times in a single second!) Read the full post »

What Directors NEED to know about DP’s & what DP’s NEED to know about Directors !

More fantastic insights from THROUGH THE LENS FILM SCHOOL – a must read for any aspiring Directors and Cinematographers – enjoy!

Through The Lens Film School

DPs and Directors Header

Whether you’re working on a big budget movie, a TV documentary or a low budget independent film, one thing is for sure – everyone on the crew will be giving 100 percent to make that production as outstanding as it can be… so guys, good is NOT good enough! Working towards that common cause is a keystone value of every single crew member from Runners to Directors and Producers. It’s a pride thing!

Often striving for that elusive level of perfection can create a lot of friction between people, especially when the pressure’s on.

Over the years I’ve seen many conflicts between crew members, especially when an individual’s professionalism is criticized or threatened… it’s not an ego thing, it’s just pride in doing what you do.

It’s a funny thing though, one minute we’re happily working to the best of our ability, producing work we’re proud of, then all of…

View original post 1,447 more words

Creating Fantasy User Interfaces (FUIs)

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 15:
CREATING FANTASY USER INTERFACES (FUIs)


You’ve probably never heard the term ‘Fantasy User Interface’ but I can guarantee, you know exactly what one is.

An FUI is the super cool and futuristic computer display system found in movies, TV shows and computer games. Obviously these FUIs are not real computer programs but bespoke animations created with the purpose of helping tell the story. In modern filmmaking, most of these FUIs are added in post production but some films still feature on-set displays that the actors can interact with.

For COSMOS we need to create several FUIs of our own, and in researching the topic we found ourselves entering a vibrant sub-culture of FUI designers and admirers. If you’re interested in learning more about the cool user interfaces in your favourite movie, please check out Kit FUI which is basically an IMDb-like database for anything and everything FUI. You can also lose hours marvelling at the intricacy of these designs and enjoy the talents of their creators such as Jayse Hansen, OOOii and Mark Coleran.


 

green screenMoving onto COSMOS we need three different displays for the three main characters to work from. As discussed in a previous post about Building the Goodman Satellite in Blender, we’re big fans of practical and physical effects (for both photographic and budgetary reasons!). Read the full post »

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5 Top Tips for Filming on Location

5 Location tips


“By failing to prepare… you are preparing to fail” — Benjamin Franklin

Shooting out on location can be one of the most exciting, rewarding but testing aspects of filmmaking. Working outside the comfortable studio environment inevitably brings with it many challenges – juggling time pressures and permissions of locations, working with the available light and around the changing weather all while lugging your gear from here to there.

But thankfully, the very nature of this high stress environment breeds highly capable and efficiency filmmakers. You learn how to control what seems uncontrollable, how to make the most of the time available and how to creatively solve the never-ending challenges.

Zander grass

One man and his camera

The most extreme form of this filmmaking is found in the world of documentaries, where you’re tasked with capturing real life as it happens, no rehearsals, no retakes, no second chances!

I can personally vouch that for the budding filmmakers, there is NO better training in the world than working on documentaries. And even if you’re planning a career in shooting drama, I’d recommend a ‘stint’ on docs to put you ahead of the crowd in no time.

So, here are our Top 5 Documentary Tips for Filming on Location

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