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Australian Image (Ray)

How good does a light have to be?

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This video from the same source tells another story of how a DoP 'minimises', yet isn't constrained (I like the Australian connection): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8SJvQhvRsQ.

And to add, what these videos depict aren't just for major film productions, but can be equally applied to any type of work. That's why I really like these videos, because they break down how film makers think and go about their work, and it breaks a lot of memes that imply you have to follow a particular methodology to achieve excellent results.

Edited by Australian Image (Ray)

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Perhaps a bit of my background might help you understand where I'm coming from and why I'm posing these seemingly novice questions/issues. I was a news and sports photographer for quite some years, starting quite late in life and coming from a completely different photography background (technical in nature). I was given no more than maybe two days with an existing experienced newspaper photographer to learn the ropes and then I was set on my own.

Each day I was given a task sheet that merely told me who I was photographing (individual or team), the name/s, place to go and to get a shot/s to tell a story, then write a short background on the shot/s. I had to wing it every time, not knowing what the location was going to be like, who else was there or even how much time I had to get the shots (sometimes no more than five minutes). I had to direct the subjects, work out the best location and lighting and get the subjects to look good for the camera.

I had to effectively problem solve for every single job and try and turn a sow's ear into a silk purse most of the time. I've been shooting outdoor events for a while and my previous news and sports experience has helped me approach subjects, bring them to ease and get what I think are reasonable results with accompanying stories that I've been writing. I've now started doing the same with video, and that's given me an entirely different set of challenges.

One of the greatest pleasures that I've found in life is being able to not only learn from others, but to also pass on to others things that I've learned (on different subjects obviously). Never do I respond to what some might think a stupid question or statement with a 'nudge nudge, wink, wink' suggesting that the person knows nothing. Unless you know the person, you can't judge them.

 

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20 hours ago, Australian Image (Ray) said:

Perhaps a bit of my background might help you understand where I'm coming from and why I'm posing these seemingly novice questions/issues. I was a news and sports photographer for quite some years, starting quite late in life and coming from a completely different photography background (technical in nature). I was given no more than maybe two days with an existing experienced newspaper photographer to learn the ropes and then I was set on my own.

Each day I was given a task sheet that merely told me who I was photographing (individual or team), the name/s, place to go and to get a shot/s to tell a story, then write a short background on the shot/s. I had to wing it every time, not knowing what the location was going to be like, who else was there or even how much time I had to get the shots (sometimes no more than five minutes). I had to direct the subjects, work out the best location and lighting and get the subjects to look good for the camera.

I had to effectively problem solve for every single job and try and turn a sow's ear into a silk purse most of the time. I've been shooting outdoor events for a while and my previous news and sports experience has helped me approach subjects, bring them to ease and get what I think are reasonable results with accompanying stories that I've been writing. I've now started doing the same with video, and that's given me an entirely different set of challenges.

One of the greatest pleasures that I've found in life is being able to not only learn from others, but to also pass on to others things that I've learned (on different subjects obviously). Never do I respond to what some might think a stupid question or statement with a 'nudge nudge, wink, wink' suggesting that the person knows nothing. Unless you know the person, you can't judge them.

 

I was just telling you how it is in the real work of freelancing .. as you seemed to be asking .. sorry if you didn't like what you heard ..  don't shoot the messenger 🙂 ..   go forth and prosper.. all power to you sir ..

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13 minutes ago, Robin Probyn said:

I was just telling you how it is in the real work of freelancing .. as you seemed to be asking .. sorry if you didn't like what you heard ..  don't shoot the messenger 🙂 ..   go forth and prosper.. all power to you sir ..

Actually, you didn't initially explain anything at all, just nudge, nudge, wink, wink, 'still wearing rose tinted glasses'. In your later posts, to be brutally honest, I had to skim through your posts because they were pretty much unreadable, virtually one long sentence (this isn't the medium for long takes). So if they explained things, they were lost.

You work in an environment that is ostensibly predictable, from implying initially that you go into a job completely cold, to then admitting that you know exactly what's expected of you and pretty much the entire layout. I've been going into completely unknown situations for nearly the last 20 years, having to engage with complete strangers, making them comfortable with me and camera and for me to get usable results.

How many times have you had to go completely cold into a job, not know what to expect, under all weather conditions and come home with the goods? And I don't know anything about freelancing? I may not have freelanced in film making, but I most certainly have when it comes to stills media.

You may have knowledge and skills, but a messenger you are not.

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1 hour ago, Australian Image (Ray) said:

Actually, you didn't initially explain anything at all, just nudge, nudge, wink, wink, 'still wearing rose tinted glasses'. In your later posts, to be brutally honest, I had to skim through your posts because they were pretty much unreadable, virtually one long sentence (this isn't the medium for long takes). So if they explained things, they were lost.

You work in an environment that is ostensibly predictable, from implying initially that you go into a job completely cold, to then admitting that you know exactly what's expected of you and pretty much the entire layout. I've been going into completely unknown situations for nearly the last 20 years, having to engage with complete strangers, making them comfortable with me and camera and for me to get usable results.

How many times have you had to go completely cold into a job, not know what to expect, under all weather conditions and come home with the goods? And I don't know anything about freelancing? I may not have freelanced in film making, but I most certainly have when it comes to stills media.

You may have knowledge and skills, but a messenger you are not.

 apologies .. I have obviously hurt your feelings .. not intended .. maybe its a cultural difference between the UK "banter" and Australia ..  Im sure you are a very good photographer ..I don't think I ever remotely questioned that .. as I said before.. good luck for the future sir..  lets leave it at that shall we.. 

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3 minutes ago, Robin Probyn said:

 apologies .. I have obviously hurt your feelings .. not intended .. maybe its a cultural difference between the UK "banter" and Australia ..  Im sure you are a very good photographer ..I don't think I ever remotely questioned that .. as I said before.. good luck for the future sir..  lets leave it at that shall we.. 

You haven't hurt my feelings at all, in fact it's very hard to hurt my feelings if it's at all possible (just ask my wife). I'm simply pointing out that I'm on a learning curve and while I may have come down in the last shower, I've dried out since then. One of the reasons I'm on this forum is for education, but unfortunately experts are often the worst of educators and often too set in their ways.

I'm debating with you to challenge you to be more informative, given that you've been in the industry for some time and done varied work (I checked your IMDB listing). And I assume that there are also many 'silent' readers who are looking at this dialogue and perhaps hoping to garner valuable information as well. I'm not trying to force you into to anything, but your approach is quite antagonistic.

As I said, it's not easy for some to pass on knowledge and some don't even wish to do that, fearing some loss of advantage. Then there are others, like ANDBERY, who goes out of his way to inform his viewers. Another channel that provides valuable insight is this one and his latest provides some valuable insight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWDIyQPWtXs

But the disadvantage of YouTube is that it's very difficult to chew the fat about an issue. It's not like sitting around a camp fire with a bunch of drunken mates telling pork pies.

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Australian Image (Ray) said:

You haven't hurt my feelings at all, in fact it's very hard to hurt my feelings if it's at all possible (just ask my wife). I'm simply pointing out that I'm on a learning curve and while I may have come down in the last shower, I've dried out since then. One of the reasons I'm on this forum is for education, but unfortunately experts are often the worst of educators and often too set in their ways.

I'm debating with you to challenge you to be more informative, given that you've been in the industry for some time and done varied work (I checked your IMDB listing). And I assume that there are also many 'silent' readers who are looking at this dialogue and perhaps hoping to garner valuable information as well. I'm not trying to force you into to anything, but your approach is quite antagonistic.

As I said, it's not easy for some to pass on knowledge and some don't even wish to do that, fearing some loss of advantage. Then there are others, like ANDBERY, who goes out of his way to inform his viewers. Another channel that provides valuable insight is this one and his latest provides some valuable insight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWDIyQPWtXs

But the disadvantage of YouTube is that it's very difficult to chew the fat about an issue. It's not like sitting around a camp fire with a bunch of drunken mates telling pork pies.

 

 

 

Well I didn't mean to be aggressive ,sorry if it came over that way ..guess I would be the horrible grumpy teacher ! I did try to pass on information about corp/ doc shoots .. basically yes you never go in totally blind .. but there are varying degrees ..some shoots I really don't have alot of information ..some there are a million emails ..   but deeper aspects like the clients goals , sales strategy, some big concept they are trying out  etc..all that sort of stuff.. the crew is not part of.. expect the director and producer .. and there are very few times you are going to have any sort of face to face meetings and long discussions with clients .. as a freelance DP in the corp /doc world..you have contact with the producers of the production company .. but they will keep their clients at arms length from you.. they very rarely encourage alot of direct contact..  it seemed to me  you were thinking that would happen and if not, should happen .. but if you are just the "camera guy".. it doesn't happen 

And there will be times when you might not have met any other crew member .. and its hard to even get the frame rate out of production ,let alone anything else 🙂 .. 

Edit .. Feature films /big budget drama ,commercials .. of course its very different , they have alot of prep and meetings and go over the tiniest details ..  as we can see in the video,s .. but I believe that is a very different job from us mere mortals on these forums .. although of course we get inspiration and learn from these guys.. the Roger Deakins pod casts "team Deakins" and guests .. are very interesting ..

Edited by Robin Probyn

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I'm going to be pedantic on one point. You have to write in a more clear manner. There are such things as sentences, paragraphs and punctuation that separate concepts and ideas. You have to use full stops and start new sentences with capitals. As Mark Twain apparently once wrote, 'I would have written a shorter letter if I'd had more time'.

I guess that you are saying that you're like a builder; you don't know all the details of the client or the property, but you've been given the plans for a veranda and it's your job to build it. The permits etc have been submitted by the owner and the roofing and painting will be done by someone else. You simply make the structure happen.

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2 hours ago, Australian Image (Ray) said:

I'm going to be pedantic on one point. You have to write in a more clear manner. There are such things as sentences, paragraphs and punctuation that separate concepts and ideas. You have to use full stops and start new sentences with capitals. As Mark Twain apparently once wrote, 'I would have written a shorter letter if I'd had more time'.

I guess that you are saying that you're like a builder; you don't know all the details of the client or the property, but you've been given the plans for a veranda and it's your job to build it. The permits etc have been submitted by the owner and the roofing and painting will be done by someone else. You simply make the structure happen.

Yes writing is not my strong point .. I have dyslexia .. (I needed spell check to write that !)..  I have no idea about grammar .. and that stuff.. I just tap away with alot of spell check .. probably why I became a cameraman ..  yes I think thats a good analogy.. the architect is the producer / or the director .. and the crew are building the thing from the information thats given to them..  I guess we have more freedom than a builder ..buildings cant collapse ! and there are laws for construction .. we are the ones framing the shots and deciding the exposure .. movement of the camera..  these days you nearly always have to give the director a wireless monitor .. its a double edged sword .. if they just say ok great after the first hour, they tends to put it down , if they dont like what they see you have a problem .. come to some compromise.. or have a big row .. Ive only had that once in 25 years + of shooting ..

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It’s remarkable common that people in our line of work are dyslexic.... sometimes seriously so. This came up the other day on a professional WhatsApp group I’m in and several members put their hands up saying “me too”. We may be technicians... but we’re often creative technicians - and perhaps oddities like dyslexia add something to that creativity? Certainly often does in other creative arts. On the flip side, traits like OCD, mild autistic type behaviour, etc can often add to the technical side! We’re imperfect humans!

Which leads me to a summary of what you guys are babbling on about. There’s a lot of cross-purpose talk going on, it seems to me.

Draw a line: technician at one end, creative artist at the other end. Take every type of filmmaking, and every type of camera work. They will all fall somewhere in that scale. But they’re all different.

Comparing as you are, you may as well be comparing a Sports OB operator with an Art House filmmaker, or a News Camera Operator with a TV drama DoP!

Ultimately pointless: they’re too different.

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58 minutes ago, Nezih said:

It’s remarkable common that people in our line of work are dyslexic.... sometimes seriously so. This came up the other day on a professional WhatsApp group I’m in and several members put their hands up saying “me too”. We may be technicians... but we’re often creative technicians - and perhaps oddities like dyslexia add something to that creativity? Certainly often does in other creative arts. On the flip side, traits like OCD, mild autistic type behaviour, etc can often add to the technical side! We’re imperfect humans!

Which leads me to a summary of what you guys are babbling on about. There’s a lot of cross-purpose talk going on, it seems to me.

Draw a line: technician at one end, creative artist at the other end. Take every type of filmmaking, and every type of camera work. They will all fall somewhere in that scale. But they’re all different.

Comparing as you are, you may as well be comparing a Sports OB operator with an Art House filmmaker, or a News Camera Operator with a TV drama DoP!

Ultimately pointless: they’re too different.

thats what Ive been saying all along .. I just wanted Ray not to get his hopes up ,as far as being in the big discussion mix with the clients ..and being able the mould the look like a feature film .. we don't get that .. often its PTI .. pan ,tilt and invoice .. still its not a bad job to have ..

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9 hours ago, Nezih said:

Draw a line: technician at one end, creative artist at the other end. Take every type of filmmaking, and every type of camera work. They will all fall somewhere in that scale. But they’re all different.

That's more or less what I'm gathering from the various good videos that I've been watching. There is a vast array of 'roles' that camera operators undertake.

By no means am I attempting, or wanting, to become a feature or even Indi film maker. I just want to be able to effectively produce the local, often documentary, stuff that I've been doing so far. I want these to flow into a story and be visually interesting.

My photographic background was never in the 'arts' or creative side, but technical. Much later I had to learn that 'creative' side and it's been difficult as well as enjoyable. Video has increased the level of difficulty considerably.

I still don't consider myself anywhere near a 'creative'. Some can pick up a camera and make a brick look interesting, I can't.

As I think I've noted, all of the stuff that I write in my blog about events etc in my region goes into our national archives as a historical record. I want the video that I do to be no worse than what I write and photograph.

At least that's my plan if we ever get out of house arrest.

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I thought I'd give an update on my Sokani X60 v2 LED, it finally arrived (or the second one did). My first order disappeared in the mail and, after the requisite time period, Amazon refunded me the purchase price and then I ordered another. This also looked like it was going to go missing in action, as tracking indicated that it had arrived in my state from interstate the day after ordering to the postal sorting centre that was two hours drive away from where I live.

After no change in the tracking for several days, I contacted Amazon help desk and outlined the issue. I was also awaiting a slider motor ordered from the US that had arrived in Australia and I was getting daily messages that it would be delivered 'today', but nothing appeared. So after explaining my concerns, Amazon got on the case and surprisingly, the motor arrived a few days later, then the LED light.

I haven't been able to do much testing of the Sokani, but it's really a very tidy little light with a pretty impressive output for the very small physical size (80W). After unpacking, the first thing I did was measure the output using an app I have for my phone and it registered a Lux reading of 17,500 average at 1 metre (from 252 sample readings). There were variations due to the phone not being locked in place, but it's certainly close enough to the advertised rating (16,000), even if the app isn't fully accurate. And the fan is pretty much inaudible.

Now as all the YouTube unboxings show, it comes in a case with various bits and pieces. Mine even came with a pack of Pergear coloured socks (red, green, blue, yellow and white) that stretch over the reflector. Now I doubt that these 'socks' are anything more than decorative, but the white sock provides a surprisingly soft and broader spread than without. The Lux reading at 1 metre drops to 4,200, which gives some indication of the spread. The coloured socks could be useful for decorative effects.

The light itself is mono-colour, not bi-colour, which is fine by me at this time. The effects aren't anything to write home about and it's doubtful that I'll ever use them. One minor issue is that the power brick has a very short cord while the mains cord is very long. With my light stand set at its lowest height, the power brick just reaches the floor. I would have preferred things the other way around or if the power brick had a V-lock dovetail attached.

I've ordered a D-tap to 5.5mm x 2.5mm power cable (not 5.5mm x 2.1mm as noted on one site) and a V-lock plate that attaches to a light stand, so that I can make use of my V-lock battery as well. I've also ordered a V-lock dovetail so that I can attach it to the power brick and use it with the V-lock mounting plate so that it doesn't just dangle from the light. I don't think many lighting manufacturers really consider their cable systems all that thoroughly, as it seems that this is a common problem.

The remote that comes with the light isn't anything fancy, but it works like it should. The case is also pretty good, but could have been just a tad longer, as it's a tight fit when the reflector is attached to the light. I couldn't get the light back in with the reflector separated, no matter what I tried, so I've left it on when packing it away.

All I can say is that this is a great value for money light. Given what it costs and, as I noted at the beginning, you can buy a truck load of these for the price of one high-end light. Would you use these on a major production? Unlikely. But for anyone starting out or a cash strapped Indi film maker, lights like these are well worth considering. Even on a larger film set, if there's a likelihood that lighting is going to get damaged, then consider these as the crash cams of the lighting world.

 

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On 8/30/2020 at 9:25 PM, Australian Image (Ray) said:

But if you deal with clients that judge you by the gear that you bring along, rather than what you produce, then you're dealing with very fickle clients and who'd likely drop you on a whim. I don't judge plumbers, electricians, builders by the tools that they use, word of mouth about their quality and integrity is far more informative.

Several years ago, a friend in Boston told me he actually did most of his editing in iMovie but opened up FCP for clients to see when they came to his home office. 🤣

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