Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cinematography = Calculus

I'm a filmmaker and I don't know how to light a scene. There, I said it. Cinematography is equivalent to Calculus in my book.

I got to Pre-Cal in tenth grade and just eked by. It was like speaking Latin. Algebra was a breeze. It was finite. X always equaled something. But Calculus, oh Calculus, there were theories and hypotheses, X might equal something but might equal something else. X HAS TO EQUAL SOMETHING. How difficult is that? Needless to say, I never made it past Pre-Calculus. I went on to take Finite Math and some other IB course that was the alternative to Calculus.

My point being that lighting a scene is like speaking a different language. I struggle. I'm the kind of director where I'll bring a painting, photograph, movie clips to my Director of Photography and say "Make it look like this!". I can't really say "Use an amber gel and the full scrims and then maybe a little diffusion to soften that shadow. Oh and definitely use the ND filter at a 5.6 F-Stop." Huh? Yeah, no I don't know.

PJ Raval came to class tonight to teach our advanced class about lighting. It's becoming a bit clearer. It was fun watching the students mimic the light in a photograph into a scene. I think they had a really good time. It was a cool assignment. PJ's a great teacher. Patient, smart, captivating. He's a major talent in this town. Yep, he's pretty great.

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