Archive for the 'Digital Cinematography' Category

16
Feb
17

Canon 1DX mark 2

canon-1dx-mkii_option-2_2

This is one blog that I’ve not been looking forward to writing. As a proud owner of a 1DX myself I am gutted that the Mk2 has even been produced to be honest. But as I can’t stop progress, I knew it would happen sooner or later. Inevitably, the Mk2 is better than the original as you would expect.

For those of you in the know, Canon name their cameras in the reverse order numerically so the lower the number the better the camera, hence the 1 series denotes this as Canons flagship model. If I am to be honest I believe the 1DX was a photojournalist’s camera, built to be used every day in whatever environment and whatever weather the operator found themselves in, from the touchline of a rugby match to the fence outside Buckingham Palace these cameras are built to work and to work hard.

We’ve received so many enquiries about the Mk2 that we couldn’t disappoint you any longer. I do love this about Pixipixel, we are a rapidly growing company but still listen to you folks, our customers, and respond to your requests, so keep on telling us what you want.

Anyway on with the blog (and remember this is hurting me more to write than it is for you to read). As I said above the 1DX mk 2 is the new Canon DSLR flagship, it may not have the resolution of some of its “lesser” siblings like the 5DS or 5DR but it has (almost) the ability to shoot in the dark and for me that’s more useful than massive files. I’m pleased to say, that although the pixel count has increased significantly (now 20.2mp) this miraculous ability to shoot using higher ISO’s in gloomy, dull or dark situations is as good as ever, in fact its better.

The Mk2 has improved video capabilities too now allowing for 4k 60p capture, making it a genuine option for you moving image folks. 120p can be achieved in full HD for your slow motion creativity and truly amazing AF tracking keeps the subject pin sharp. A new touch screen allows for easy accurate focus and this works seamlessly with all Canon EF lenses.

1dx-mkii_option1

If shooting faster than a Gatling gun is your bag then look no further, the Mk2 can shoot at 14 fps with full AF / AE tracking or up to 16 fps in live view. This is thanks to the new DIGIC 6+ processors and a new mirror drive system. If you use the latest Cfast 2.0 media then a burst of 170 uncompressed 14-bit RAW images can be captured almost before you knew you were trying.

I find it hard to believe that Canon could have improved the auto focus over the Mk1 but they have. Now with 61 selectable AF points (including 41 cross type and 5 dual cross type) and advanced A1 Servo AF III + and improved EOS intelligent tracking you really don’t have much of an excuse to miss that vital sharpness. Even when you choose to shoot at f8 all 61 points are at your disposal including 21 cross type sensors. She really is an impressive focusing beast. I could take my glasses off and still get everything sharp I reckon.

A built in GPS system with automatic time-zone updates is a neat inclusion (should you ever get lost or lose your watch) and lightning fast Superspeed USB 3.0 and Gigabit connectivity via Ethernet or the optional WFT-E8 WiFi adaptor caters to numerous workflow styles.

Brucie coolness rating has to be a well-deserved 10 out of 10 as you would expect from a Canon top of the line body, as much as the little green monster inside me wants to mark it down I really cant. Ok so I’m jealous because its better than my camera but you needn’t be because we got it in for you, yes YOU so pop in and let your inner paparazzi have some fun.

 

Many thanks BB

06
Feb
17

Arri Master Grips

“It’s all in the wrist,” well that’s what I’ve been told anyway.

Many years ago when I decided to learn to play the drums at school I was told it was all in the wrist, I never could get the hang of it but think that was more to do with having no rhythm so I gave up, then my mum told me it was all in the wrist when it comes to whisking so I brought myself a KitchenAid, in fact I’ve only found one pastime that my wrists seem to help with but we won’t go there in this blog.

Still, moving swiftly on from that I would like to tell you all about one new and exciting use for those wrists of yours, the all new Arri Master Grips.

For years the traditional style cine handgrips have helped firmly support and stabilise a camera on the operator’s shoulder and that’s about it. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has wished that I could turn the wheel on the grip to alter focus rather than having to let go with one hand to do so. Well it would seem the good folks at Arri have been thinking the same thing.

The latest addition to Arri’s ECS (Electronic Control System) are the rather trick Master Grips. They are available in four versions: Right side or Left side and with either a Thumb rocker for super smooth zooming or control wheel for iris and focus adjustment. Our setup allows for the left hand to switch between focus and iris control leaving the right hand to take care of zoom.

image003

We can see this simply as a merging of documentary and cine style equipment allowing for a best of both worlds setup. Particularly when using small cameras like the Alexa mini with its reduced level of user interface, solid cine style grips with documentary style controls are going to be a great improvement in ergonomics.

arri-master-grips-4

When I first looked at these grips it occurred to me that the camera operator would have to become a multi-tasking genius. Not only holding and aiming the camera but zooming, focusing, and adjusting the iris all by themselves, that although possible would be challenging I imagine. I’m happy to say that Arri are one step ahead of me with this. By using the Arri WCU4 controller any or all of the functions can be taken over by the 1st AC so nobody is out of a job just yet.

Built to Arri’s super high standards and based around the proven ergonomics of the much loved Arriflex handgrips the master grips are solid, rugged, and reliable even in harsh shooting environments. Controls are easy to reach yet protected from accidental triggering.

At the moment the Master Grips allow for full control of cine lenses including adjustable motor speed, zoom response and motor limits, they also allow for control of integrated servomotors on ENG and EF lenses.

Featuring easy set up using the integrated touch screens or physical buttons all controls are fully configurable with reassuring status readout on the controls themselves.

arri-master-grips-zoom

I must say the Master Grips are rather impressive.  Arri have done their homework well on these, incorporating everything you would expect and more into a great package, putting you firmly in control whether you are shooting as a single operator or part of a crew. The Master Grips are sure to become a must have addition to your kit list. I’m giving them a full 10 out of 10 for my Brucie Coolness Rating.

So if you want to get you hands on some give us a call at Pixipixel Hoxton and we can arrange for them to be on your next shoot.

Oh and just in case you are wondering what that other use for my wrists is, well fishing, obviously!

Many thanks

BB

arri-master-grips-iris

25
Jan
17

Wind Machines

Well I never for a moment realised how much was involved in a wind machine, or how hard it is to find any information regarding them and their use.

I will provide you all with a simple comparison between a range of the units that we hire. Anyway below is my take on the subject and the technical details.

I guess the most important thing that I have learned regarding wind machines is that it’s not all about power and the amount of air moved.

We need to think about wind machines in terms of spread and power, much like a light.

For example do you want your wind machine to blow the hair of just one model or are you trying to flutter a group? Obviously if you are just aiming at one model then a narrow channel of wind is great but if you are going for a group “blow” then a wider spread would be better.

Power is obvious, the harder it blows the more movement you will get in the subject but control is the key here, what you are looking for is the ability to vary the intensity of the wind from a gentle breeze to a full on hurricane and varying levels in between.

There are other factors to consider such as the method of control; use a DMX or a remote? The size, weight, and the amount of noise it makes during operation need to be thought about in relation to your project.

Also a rapid on or off “bump/gust” feature is useful. For example, in a film scene when a door is opened or closed, a rapid on/off feature would be useful.

And finally, the ability to disperse smoke, fog, fake snow, or dust (normally fullers earth) without destroying the machine is a bonus.

Personally I am a great enthusiast for waving a ½ poly board up and down for most “normal” looking movements in a models hair, its very basic but also very cheap and very effective for a one-off breeze of air. Having said that we are in the business of getting equipment out on hire so lets not recommend that too often and needless to say wind machines are far more consistent and precise and also don’t complain about having aching arms by lunchtime.

Detailed tech specs for our stocked units can be found at the end of this article.

The Bowens units are a “point and shoot”; they are neat and compact and have variable speed but do not allow for adjusting the spread of wind. The basic unit (now discontinued) has a corded remote and its two bigger brothers have wireless remotes.

The Reel EFX Turbo units both have an adjustable spread facility and a burst function, but no remote control.

The Mole Richardson is the big daddy of our range and has a bump function to rapidly increase the power and produce a blast above the set output. A DMX control and an “almost instant-off function” are standard features. It also has an integrated radial-vein collimator that narrows the spread of the wind but can be removed for a wider dispersal. This is the only unit we have that is actually recommended for the dispersal of dust. Exhaust fans from a plant hire store are great for this but are far less controllable.

1. Bowens Jet stream

Power Requirements 120V, 50/60 Hz, 2.5 Amps
Maximum Power 2,500 RPM, 940 CFM

 

1

2. Bowens Jetstream 250

Output at 1 m 8MPS
Max Power 240V
Control Cable Length Wireless Remote
Length 315mm
Width 260mm
Height 260mm
Weight 9.6kg

2

3. Bowens Jetstream 350

Output at 1 m 7MPS
Max Power 240V
Control Cable Length Wireless Remote
Length 390mm
Width 365mm
Height 365mm
Weight 13.3kg

3

4. Reel EFX Turbo 2

Motor: Brushless, AC, Ball bearing

Power: 110 – 125v/4 amp or 220v/2 amp (50 – 60) cycle.  RPM 3450  CFM 2000

Controls: Solid state speed control, one touch blast

Weight: 20lbs

Mounting: Floor stand with adjustable tilt and universal mount, C stand, Junior stand

Dimensions: 14″L x 19″W x 22″H

Peak Velocity: (Focused Beam): 20mph at 10ft

Focused Beam: 10 degrees (3.5foot diameter beam at 10ft)

Flood: 45 degrees (8ft beam at 10ft)

 

5

5. Reel EFX Turbo 4

 

Motor: 2 HP Baldor® Premium Efficient 3-Phase

Power: 110 – 125v/4 amp or 220v/2 amp (50 – 60) cycle.  RPM 3450  CFM 2000

Speed Control: Solid-state variable-frequency drive with active silent smart-switching & active power-factor correction

DMX Control: USITT-compliant DMX 512 w/5-pin XLR

Weight: 54 lbs

Mounting: steel floor stand with spud mount

Dimensions: 22″ x 24″

 

7

 

6. Mole Richardson

Construction Sheet, Tubular Steel, 3 Blade Fan, 15′ power cable

Removable 1-1/8″ yoke pin

Rating 110-240VAC or DC, 3.25 Amps, on-off toggle switch on housing side

6″ Rheostat fan speed control switch

Rectifier with capacitor for AC or DC operation

Dimensions Housing: 26.25″ Diameter x 20″ Long (66.6 x 50.8 cm)
  Weight 88 lbs (40 kg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

18
Jan
17

Source Four LED Series 2 Daylight HD

To some of us 1992 doesn’t sound all that long ago but then again I studied George Orwell’s 1984 in 1984 so I guess that makes me very nearly antique (I prefer retro I think). But 1992 is now 25 years ago believe it or not, those of us that can remember back that far may recall the debut of the Source Four ellipsoidal spotlight. It took the lighting world by storm offering 1000watt of power from a 575watt fixture and in doing so earned itself the best lighting product of the year award from Lighting Dimensions International. Over the past quarter of a century the Source Four lights have undergone various upgrades and improvements with the introduction of zoom and par options and so on, but we are now seeing a radical re design featuring LED technology and all the benefits that brings to the game.

So that brings me to the light that is happily sat beside my desk at the moment.

The Source Four LED series 2 Daylight HD, ok so not the most catchy of names but at least it tells you what you are getting. So it’s an LED equipped light with a daylight output and a Source Four Style.

2.png

The advantages of LED lights are now all too familiar, dim ability, long life and cool running being the most notable attributes and this light is no exception.

In addition, the Daylight HD version that we carry operates completely flicker free so it’s perfect for those slow motion shots. Power and DMX (in and through) connections are incorporated allowing for daisy chaining of up to 10 units and a multitude of control options including console free master/slave mode.

Nicely not everything from the last 25 years has been changed. The series 2 lights feature the same size, look, optics and beam angles as conventional Source Four lights. This means that they use the same barrel so all existing accessories can be easily retro fitted.

This is a dedicated daylight light not a Bi colour and as such can deliver colour temperatures from 4000-6500K (daylight).

But the best bit, well in my opinion anyway, is that the cool running LED’s allow for some fun and games. A quick Google image search of the Batman symbol, a printer, and a pair of scissors is all you need to summon your very own caped crusader! Well to make a bat signal anyway, I did it about a week ago and am still waiting for his arrival. Seriously though the ability to insert a home made paper “gobo” without causing a fire opens up many possibilities some of which may even be useful.

Source Fours are available in black, silver, or white. Ours comes in black, naturally.

Source-Four-LED.jpg

For the Bat signal alone I would award this light a high Brucie Coolness Rating but the fact that it’s designed with its predecessors in mind thus allowing for the continued use of existing accessories has to be recognized so lets go with a 9 out of 10 BCR from me.

Now if they launch a BI colour version we are talking a solid 10.

 

 

 

22
Nov
16

KOTM – Matte Boxes

Matte Boxesmattbox

 

Hi, folks, today I want to talk about Matt Boxes and before I get started I must admit that they are something that falls right into a gap in my knowledge. Being a stills kind of guy I am used to using lens hoods to avoid lens flare and apart from using the correct one for the lens there really is nothing much to learn about them, however, as normal the moving image world is somewhat more complicated. Luckily I have an entire department of camera wizards to help me out so I thought it was about time I got myself educated in this important accessory.

 

So firstly a Matte box is used for much the same reason as a lens hood, and that is to stop unwanted light from hitting the front of the lens and causing issues such as lens flare, they differ from photographic lens hoods but essentially do the same job. Matte boxes tend to be more generic than lens hoods that are generally lens specific. This is an advantage as you only need to lug around one matte box for all the lenses on a job as opposed to carrying a different lens hood for each and every lens that may be used (I always seem to forget the lens hoods when I pack my equipment and then need to find room for them which is a pain as they are bulky, fragile and certainly not cheap for a plastic tube.

 

The first thing I notice is that matte boxes are not circular as lens hoods are but are oblong (my mission to revive the word oblong as it’s so much better than a rectangle). This is due to the matte box being a generic hood designed to fit a multitude of lenses as compared to a lens hood that can be manufactured to an exact field of view for the lens in question.

They also tend to have adjustable flaps on the front edge just like a set of barn doors on a light. These are known as French Flags or occasionally French Flaps (I prefer flaps as I think it’s an Australian expression). Now don’t start, French flaps is actually a bookbinding term originally and not rude at all. They allow for more flexibility to block light than the fixed form of a lens hood, this is necessary when the one box is to be used with many different lenses.

 

The other main difference between hoods and boxes is that matte boxes are designed to hold filters. Us stills guys tend to screw our filters directly onto the front of the lens and if we need more than one we stack them together sometimes causing vignetting, Cinematographic filters tend to be larger and square or oblong in shape allowing for multiple amounts to be used without this problem arising, they are inserted into slots or trays in the matte box itself.

 

Now we can separate matte boxes into a couple of types, clip on being ones that attach directly to the front of the lens and others that attach to a rod system. For those uninitiated in the cinematographic world, a rod system is literally two metal rods that attach under the camera and offer support for accessories such as batteries and of course matte boxes. The clip on matte boxes are light in weight and normally have fewer filter slots than the rail system equivalents that are generally larger and heavier. We need to use the rail system with these larger matte boxes due to their weight that lenses are not designed to support.

 

Now remember that rod systems come in two main diameters 15 and 19 mm and needless to say some matte boxes will fit on both but some will only fit on one or the other so this is something we need to check before selecting a particular unit.

 

Another thing to think about is how many filters you are going to need to use at any one time and ensure that the matte box you select has enough slots.

 

Various adaptor rings are available to fit between the front of the lens and the matte box or a flexible fabric alternative can be used, these are known humorously as nun’s knickers! (I could not possibly do a blog about matte boxes and not mention these).

For obvious reasons, the lighter smaller clip on units is recommended for hand-held work and the larger heavier ones for when the camera is on a tripod etc.

 

One thing I have learnt is that most matte boxes come with a set of mattes, these are thin black plates with various sized holes cut into them (letterbox style) and they can be fitted to the matte box to help adapt it to the particular lenses field of view, bigger hole for a wider angle and Visa-versa, this is so simple that I think it’s clever, as a firm believer of the KISS principle that is.

 

So that’s about it I will put a list together of what matte boxes we carry and how many and what size filters they can hold and so on for all our reference.

Clip On 15mm Rods 19mm rods Filter size Number of trays Other
Chrosziel MB 450

 

NO YES NO 4 X 5.46 2
Arri LMB 25

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 ONLY HAS TOP FLAG
Arri LMB 15

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3
Arri LMB 6

 

YES NO NO 6 X 6 2 OR 3 HAS STEP DOWN FRAME TO PV SIZE

GOOD FOR WIDER LENSES

Arri MB 29

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 AND 138 MM CIRCULAR
Arri MB 20

 

YES YES YES 5.65 x 5.65 1, 2, OR 3 GOOD FOR WIDER HD LENSES
Arri MB 19

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 AND 138 MM CIRCULAR
Arri MB 18

 

YES YES YES 4 x 4 , 4 x 5.65 AND 4.5 ROUND 2, 3, or 4

 

AND 138 MM

Arri MB 16

 

NO YES NO 4 X 5.46 3
Arri MMB 2

 

NO YES YES 4 X 5.46 MORE FOR STILLS
Arri SMB 2

 

NO YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3
Arri SMB 1

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3
VIV 3 stage

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3

AND 138 MM

Missfit Clip on 3 stage

 

Backlight 6

 

YES NO NO 6 X 6 3 GOOD FOR WIDER LENSES
4 x 4 Van Dieman Mosquito

 

4 X 4 1 or 2
Bright Tangerine Atom

 

YES YES 4 X 5.46 2 GOOD FOR MOVI / RONIN, OUR LIGHTEST WEIGHT MATTE BOX

 

Now remember this pearl of wisdom I found online “While nobody will notice that you’ve used a matte box, the important thing is that nobody will notice that you didn’t use one but should have”, wise words indeed.

 

Now Matte boxes don’t really warrant a BCR collectively but I feel that French Flaps and Nuns knickers deserve some score in their own right so let’s rename the BCR from Brucie Coolness Rating to Brilliant Crude or Rude and give them 5 points each making the score a maximum 10.

 

Cheers guys merry shooting BB.

 

04
Jul
16

Introducing Genevieve

Now it’s quite an unusual name Genevieve especially in the present day, I don’t think I have ever met one to be honest. I recall an old film about a car race back from Brighton and I happen to know Sainte Genevieve (Saint Geneviève de Loqueffret )is the patron saint of Paris. I didn’t know that she is said to have saved the city from Attila the Hun and an outbreak of ergot poisoning (very nasty) not to mention being appointed as the guardian of the “consecrated virgins of Paris” so the name has some interesting and amusing history but it is still very unusual.

So having said that, I would like to introduce you to the newest Genevieve in London, She hails from Belgium which is very nearly Paris in my book, so it will suffice as a introduction and she is most definitely without any doubt whatsoever UNUSUAL.

 

Now Genevieve is a big girl she is quite heavy, but tall with it and she is delightfully quiet so you can take her home to meet the folks and she won’t embarrass you, but none of that is what makes her unusual. She is unusual, because of her power and she has heaps of it, she puts a 1970’s female Soviet Block weightlifter to shame and without the steroids!

 

Ok, I’ve had my fun and before I put you off Genevive all together, I should point out that she is a truck, a 4 x 4 wheel drive truck and she carries with her a 100kva generator!

 

Yes, Genevieve is our shiny new Mitsubishi Canter generator truck and you won’t find another lady like her in London.

genevieve 1

So lets start with Geneviève’s body, as I said she is a Mitsubishi Canter truck so has constant four wheel drive, high ground clearance, locking hubs, heavy duty axles and off road tires in fact many councils use the Canter as a base for their snow ploughs so she is a tough go anywhere kind of girl. She weighs in at about 6.5 tones so she’s not exactly anorexic and requires a taco (no not as in like a burrito) as in a tachograph! But don’t let that put you off, we can always find a driver if required and a spark (electrician) for that matter.

 

One quick glance inside her shapely rear end reveals the mother of all generators producing 100 Kva at your demand for anything from charging your IPhone to bringing Frankenstein’s monster back to life. With more outlets than Costa Coffee you won’t be short of places to plug into whatever you are using in fact she has:

One each of 125 and 63 amp single phase outlets and a brace of 32 and 16 Amp ones too. If you are after 3 Phase then she is equipped with a power lock and a 125 amp socket. Ok so no USB port but you can plug your phone into the cigarette lighter like everyone else.

genevivepower.jpg

 

A modest amount of storage is available for kit at the very back but if you need 100Kva then I don’t think this will be enough room for everything you are running still it’s better than a poke in the eye!

genevieve load.jpg

But by far the most impressive thing about this lady is how quiet she is, I had Toby start her up for me yesterday and even with the rear service hatch wide open I swear she made less noise than a little Honda 2Kva generator and they are renowned for being quiet.

 

So if you like your women tall well built, adventurous, powerful and silent then Genevieve is the girl for you. Why not give us a call and arrange a date?

genevieve2

The only improvement I would make is a huge set of bull bars and a winch but I’ve spent too long down under so ignore me, she is a perfect 10 as Kevin Bloody Wilson would say (those easily offended should not look up Kevin or his music)

26
Apr
16

Something a little different again -Chroma-keying

Chroma-keying

chroma1.jpg

Chroma-Keying is the technical term for what most of us refer to as Green Screen shooting and for some of you that is probably the only thing I can teach you on the subject, however for the rest of the world here is my take on this popular and great fun technique.

Firstly the term “green screen” is confusing as the process of Chroma-keying can be done with various colours other than green, but more on this later.

So before I get too into it, let’s just have a quick think about what the process of Chroma-keying actually is and why we use it so often. The Chroma-keying process basically allows you as an image or filmmaker to remove a specific chosen colour in the image and replace it with another colour or background. Probably the most often seen use of this is the weather person and his or her map at the end of the news. Chroma-keying has allowed the weather forecast to be a far more immersive and polished presentation but I must admit to missing the likes of Michael Fish struggling with magnetic cloud and rain icons, obviously this keying technique is not limited to the daily precipitation forecast and is in fact used far more often than you might expect.

 

fish1

       BBC prior to chroma keying, lots has changed except the weather it seems

 

It may be obvious when you see a flying superhero at the movies that some trickery has taken place and this would often be done using chroma-keying but how often do we see a car scene with dialogue in a TV show? Well take it from me a very high percentage of those car scenes will have been shot against a green screen. This is down to the sound created by a moving car, even one on a trailer, this sound can interfere or drown out the actors lines causing the need for separately recording the dialogue and syncing it back to the film later with all the expense incurred. By filming in a stationary car in a nice quiet film studio and then chroma-keying in the background a lot of time and expense can be saved.

 

Right, I think we all know what chroma-keying is now so how do we do it? Well firstly get yourself a good digital operator as I wont be going through the computer side of things on this occasion. I’m going to concentrate on backgrounds and lighting for chroma-keying as that’s what we hire out. Having said that you can get the digital operator from us along with all the computer hardware and software required oh and the camera too….. needless to say.

 

To set up a Chroma-keying shot you first need to set up a background in whatever colour you are choosing to use, be it chroma green, chroma blue or something else. This can be as simple as hanging the appropriate colour background paper roll up or slopping some paint onto a cyc (someone else’s cyc preferably). But take care at this stage, ensure that the background has no nasty marks or scuffs, no wrinkles or creases and so on. Any imperfections in the background can have a negative effect on the keying process.

 

Background options are numerous ranging from that pot of paint to colorama paper rolls or fabrics, we carry various size fabrics from 6 x 6 ft up to 20 x 20 ft in chroma green and up to 12 x 12 ft in chroma blue. Appropriate goal post systems, frames and stands are here in abundance too so hanging the background is no problem at all.

 

One word of warning in regards to using a painted background and that is to be mindful of reflections, a painted surface is far more prone to this than a paper or fabric backdrop. In fact to make your life easier one of our fabric backdrops made from Rosco Digital Cloth is the ideal solution, it gives no bounce back and the perfect key when lit with green.

 

The next stage would be to light this background and the thing to look out for here is to light it evenly with no hot spots, shadows or fall off. You are looking to light the background about 1-2 stops less than your subject will be. Keep it soft and try not to blast the hell out of it as you may end up reflecting the background colour onto the rear of your subject causing fringing around the edges (not what you are after)

 

In practice the easiest way to get a consistent light across your green screen is to light it from both the left and right hand sides using matching lights, this way the lights will overlap each other creating a uniform brightness across the entire backdrop.

lightgreen

Again we have lots of options for lighting the background and many of you will have your own preferences but a couple of good options include Kino Flow lights with 2 x 4ft 4 bank units sufficient to light a 12 x 12 ft screen or for larger arrears our 8 x 4 light flo units are great. However if you want to really spoil yourself then try our very sexy new Cineo HS mk2 led panels (just back from some Wonder Woman chroma keying). All of these lights can all be provided in chroma green output specifically for green screens or in daylight or tungsten for lighting other colour backgrounds. If none of these tickle your fancy give us a call and we can work through your requirements with numerous other lighting options available.

 

kino

Kino 4ft 4 bank

kino2

Light flo 4 x 8

 

 

 

 

 

cineo hs2

Next light your subject, but just have a think at this point as you need to emulate the lighting required in the finished shot, so don’t do a 3 point daylight set up if the end result is someone driving a car at night and so on. Remember direction, quality, colour and power of light here and try to pre-visualize the finished shot.

 

Where possible and appropriate some kind of hair or rear light is great to separate your subject from the background. Positioning your subject at a distance to the background will help with this separation and also reduce the possibility of shadows on the background cast by the subject. If you have to have the subject close to the background you can try to light from a higher angle thus putting those shadows onto the floor and hopefully out of shot but this will only work if the end result calls for the light coming from that same high angle (getting the idea?)

 

As far as what lights to use for your subject its really down to the “look” you are after but whatever that is we have what you need to achieve it so just touch base and we can recommend some options.

 

This one may be obvious but I had better mention it, your subject needs to be a different colour to the background, so don’t shoot a Smurf against chroma blue or a bottle of Grolsch against chroma green ok.

 

smurf

Why not to shoot a Smurf against a Blue Screen?

Whilst shooting be mindful of reflections from the background in jewelry, watches and glasses etc these can spoil your day if you fail to notice them so take care.

Also consider shooting with a large aperture if possible as this will throw the background out of focus and that helps keep it a uniform colour and brightness whilst hiding any imperfections thus aiding with the keying process.

 

Now just before I go and let you all get on with some serious keying, I did mention using different colours to chroma green earlier and said I would expand on that. The go to colour for chroma keying is green but blue, yellow or red can be used instead, care must be taken with red and yellow as these can cause issues with skin tones. Chroma blue works extremely well but lots of people like to wear blue so this can cause you grief too. Back in the days of Mary Poppins and Ray Harryhausen, subjects were shot against WHITE but sodium vapor lights were used due to them having a narrow colour spectrum, this was part of a photochemical process and won an Academy Award back in 1965 so we aren’t doing anything new really are we, they used to call it yellow screen shooting.

marypoppins

Not bad keying for 1964 eh? I am particularly impressed with the shadow!! No wonder they won a Oscar!!!

 

The most convincing reason for using a “GREEN” green screen that I know of is to do with resolution, many cameras use a CMOS sensor topped with a bayer filter and this contains twice as many green sites as it does red or blue ones thus a 4k single chip camera recording at say 4:2:0 would record green at 2k and red and blue at 1k. So green is popular due to it capturing the highest resolution. Back in the film days blue was the go to colour for the same reason, as the blue layer in film stock had the finest grain. Remember with keying it’s the edge detail that makes or breaks the effect so the better resolution the better and more convincing the end result will be.

bayerpattern

 

Green screens also require less light than the blue ones to illuminate and this can be a bonus but on some occasions however the use of a blue screen may still be preferable, for example if the end result is a night time scene then any excess green will stand out against the blue hue that these scenes often have but any excess blue light will blend in nicely.

 

Ok, so I hope to see some amazing stuff from you all, why not let us know if you do anything fun or exciting as we are always on the look-out for something cool to blog about.

 

Cheers folks and happy shooting

 

BB

 

 

 




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