Week 9 is in the bag! I have to say, this one was actually a little bit tough. The subject was artistic choice with the subject needing to involve shadows. This was just kind of tough because I had a lot of different ideas, but couldn't decide on which one I liked best.
Then I honestly just procrastinated and after everything that I had left to do with my crazy schedule this week, I had to figure out something cool to shoot very much on the spot. That's when it hit me...stair railings!
The stairs outside of my apartment are horrendously designed in regards to moving anything bulky up them, but for creating shadows? Pretty perfect. They have metal a metal handrail with lots of bars to create shadows and the stairs are a square "U" shape.
This allowed me to set up a 500watt work light to blast light through the rails and create shadows on the walls and steps. So that's enough talk, let's watch!
I shot this with the BMPCC in 1080 30P compressed cinemaDNG RAW at f8.0, a shutter angle of 360 degrees, 800ASA, and I used my Sigma 18-50mm lens with the B&L Anamorphic.
The hardest thing about setting up this shot was lighting it. I set up a 500watt work light to have a nice bright warm light source as the light making the shadows. I then set up a continuous 4 bulb fluorescent light with a softbox for a bit of cool light.
This was really just to cool the light on the metal rails closest to the camera so that they wouldn't be as warm. I wanted this look so that the highlights would be relatively cool but maintain the warmth of the shadows as they got darker.
I decided to go handheld for this shot so that I could adjust the camera position in both height and side to side movement.
I didn't want to be limited to rails with panning and tilting. I wanted to be able to compensate for a tilt with the distance between the camera and the ground.
The other reason that I liked this shot was from all of the lines created in the image. There are the bars on the railing, the siding of the building, the stairs, and the shadows all creating different lines in the image.
I shot this at the widest focal length that the lens allows without vignetting which is about 32mm. The other thing that this did that I actually really like is create slight lens distortions that are visible in the different lines.
Since the projector lens is not meant to be used at wider angles it does get noticeable image distortion unlike high end anamorphic cinema lenses.
For the purpose of the shadows I decided to really compress the color of the image to each end of the spectrum making the shadows darker and the highlights brighter.
Since this was shot handheld, I decided to shoot at 30fps to have the extra data to better be able to add some stabilization in post. This gave it just a bit more of a smooth handheld motion rather than jittery/shaky.
Since I shot it exposed more to the left, the color grading led to a slightly noisy image so I also dropped the vibrance down to zero. This takes the color out of the noise which lets the grainy noise of the BMPCC shine.
With all of the color of removed from the noise the BMPCC has a nice grain look rather than the ugly noise seen in DSLRs that commonly have the issue of artifacts.
So like always, if you are participating in a 52 week photography challenge or cinematography challenge, please share you shots in the comments below!
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Alan Meyer is an experienced cinematographer, but is no stranger to writing.