Testing lightning

Unfortunately my memory card failed thus I couldn’t record anything. But I did check though the screen of my camera and it is suiting my purpose and location seems to fit what my story requires. I used dedo kit for lightning but I guess it would only fit for my final scene of the film. My 90% of the shoot requires natural light source and house lightning. But then again, I would see what deems fit and if any extra lightning is required, I will use Dedo kit as a fill light for my actors.

I’m really excited with my project, I just hope it goes well. I’m nervous as well but what I’m really looking forward to is does my story engage with audience.


Lightning is an important element in cinema’s visual aesthetics. It creates an emotional impact. Contrast of light and dark influences the ways audience responses to the narrative. With deep shadows, it means that scene may reflect horror or some confusion in character’s personality whereas bright lighting may mean assurity in character’s personality and creates an impression that this subject can be trusted in the film.

Careful considerations should be made before shooting by cinematographers as to what kind of lightning equipment should be used. Black-white and color cinematographer each has its own perks but each of them uses different lighting techniques. One thing is for sure with black and white cinematography, the cinematographer only focuses on the brightness and shadows of subjects, whereas with colors, extra push is required with the white balance if the scene requires to be warm or a bit colder image. The angle of light is another aspect, by using mix of light sources in a scene also creates a dramatic effect to it.

In yesterday’s class we also learned some important terms regarding lightning. Back lightning, which means a light source coming from behind the character and its purpose it make a mysterious appearance of character. Key and fill lightning, which is the main light in a particular scene, while fill lightning is used to soften the harsh shadow effect.

While writing about the lightning, I’m thinking of creative ways to use what I learnt in class exercise for my film. Instead of using a huge tungsten light, I’ll be using dedo lightning. I have a small space so tungsten light won’t be useful. Although we didn’t experience dedo lighting, I think I can be expressive with these small equipments for my film project.


Ex 9A

This is the edit of the exercise we did yesterday. I think although it took us a lot of time but regardless how it may be for some people, I really like how Farina is lit in the frame. Soft light just embraces on her personality. However 180* rule is broken by using the wide shot for the scene, it just feels awkward and breaks the motion of the film. I should have taken it out, but I added for the experiment whether it works for the audience and I think it doesn’t.

Here is the edit :


Sound, Camera, Action

Today when I entered the class, I saw something new on the trolley, Lights. I always wanted to learn how lightning works in filmmaking and today I got the chance to see that. Besides that, each one one of us were given roles and I was given the role of assistant director for today’s class exercise. Being the boss of the exercise for a 1 minute scene took us at least 2 hours to shoot the whole thing. I thought this could be done easily in less than 30 minutes but I was wrong. It took us massive time to understand the concept of lightning, it is really important to know how to light your subject so that your audience can understand the mise en scène.

Time is another aspect that we must focus on, you just never know what might pop up. The actor may have given time to someone else, weather might change (but it is okay if shooting indoors), equipment may not be ready yet and other things that I can’t remember right at this moment.

Teamwork is important, trust is one part of it, you have to rely on your crew members to do their best and encourage them as they go along the way. Being the assistant director is a hard job, it is big responsibility, if something is not going where it is suppose to be going and the producer shows up, you ought to know you are dead that moment. But along with the role, I understood the importance of sound people, they truly are the unsung heroes of filmmaking as they quietly observe what is going on and they place the equipment where it works best.

Pyassa (Thirst)

The other day I was looking at the spectacular piece of work by the legendary Guru Dutt who was a filmmaker from India. Here is my review:


What a movie it was. A neglected poet that struggled so much and was bashed everywhere for his poetry and in the end the same people used his name and made fame, thus the name “Pyaasa” thirst symbolizes the materialistic world and their limit crossing for fame. The establishing shot when the bee was squashed by a human reflects that the world takes advantage and will destroy anyone to get the fame and money, which is later shown in the movie. All did Vijay wanted was an inner peace. When vijay was working as servant for Mr Ghosh, he began reciting a poem at a gathering which reflected his loneliness and a journey to find the happiness. And the scene when Vijay receives a counterfeit coin justifies that people just want to satisfy their own needs rather than thinking about other’s position of his/her well-being.

In this movie two major people understood the conditions of Vijay’s life, Sattar and Gulabo. Because both of them know how the life is difficult on the streets. Whereas Meena betrayed his love and went on to marry a rich guy Mr Ghosh for the sake of her comfortable life. Again this continues on with the sub conflict of the movie and how similar the materialistic world is and the betrayal he got from Meena.

Also Guru Dutt remarkably used symbols to justify the essence of the film. Especially the way he compared the crucifixion of Christ (a picture of cross when Meena read news about vijay’s death) with Vijay and his resurrection in the movie to prove the masses that he is really alive and not killed. Plus how opposite the characters showed of Meena and Gulabo. One who sold love for respect in society and the other sells her respect to live in society. Their differences showed a different light on the film and the respect to be given to these types of women. Meena when she was caught with Vijay, Ghosh punished her and compared her with a cruel woman and when Gulabo was being chased by a police officer was caught by Vijay in his arms and told the officer that she is my wife, this tells that she is worthy for a compassion. One thing can be learned from this scenario is that the way man looks at a woman and her role in a society, and his behavior of women, are fair indicators of a man’s personality.

The performances were flawless by everyone. Each had its own magic on screen. Johnny Walker not to forget even a supporting role played greatly of a common man and his comic timings were great. Guru Dutt, Rehman, Mala and Waheeda all performed extremely well. No words can describe the level of their performance. Their dialogues and gestures each gave away its own presence on the screen.

The ending justified the movie title and the story as well and adding song “Yeh Dunya” added another meaning to the end. The world is full of hypocrites is what Vijay realized in the end. And that this world does not know the real Vijay who struggled so much to get recognition of his poems. Thus decided to leave that world and continue a life with a person (Gulabo) who understands the life of a street that vijay has gone through to finally get the inner pleasure of living in this doggy dog world.


Murthy sir’s cinematography is marvelous. Great use of light and camera work which added to the personality of each character. Two sequences the one I would praise. First tone the railway track scene. It reminded of a Hollywood’s horror films. That something bad is about to happen and that scene was a turning point of the movie. The light source of train and the expression on Vijay and the beggar both added to the essence of the scene which turned out that Vijay is dead. And other scene when Vijay enters the hall where his death anniversary is celebrated, the light from his back shows and symbolizes the resurrection of Vijay and his stance of like Jesus Christ shows that Jesus also left the world because of hypocrisy and the same Vijay is going through.

Editing and Sound:

Editing is great. I failed to notice any major jumps probably because the lighting and performance outshined any mistakes that one could find. But yes little jumps I noticed like on the train scene, when Vijay jumped on a platform he put his hands on his pant pockets, but the very next scene his hand are not in pant pockets. But the rest of the sequences ran smoothly.

Music by S.D Burman is spotless. Sound a very important element reflected in this movie. The ambience, background score and the songs in this movie assisted along to give away the unfolding of the plot.  Probably the only reason why a viewer is stacked to his seat from the very first frame to the last frame is because of the sound and the dialogues.

Interesting scenes:

Prostitute dancing and Vijay singing a poem “Kahan hain” reflects the materialistic world for not carrying its own species.

The bee squashed at the starting of the movie.

Man giving a counterfeit coin to Vijay.

Ghosh beating Meena and Vijay saving Gulabo.

Vijay expressing his feelings to Gulabo about world rejecting his poems and Meena

Vijay denying to the people he is not “The” Vijay they thought of.

Outline of my story

Scene 1: INT

Guy is sleeping on bed, flashbacks of pasts appears in his dream and shows signs of fear in his sleep.

scene 2: INT

Guy wakes up from his sleep, reflects upon what he saw in his dream. Exits the frame/stays in shot.

scene 3: INT

Guy washes dishes when accidently turns on hot tap water, he sees the fumes and stares at it for a while, the flashbacks starts again and the whole scenario runs back and forth. Guy comes back to his senses and turns off the tap water.

scene 4: INT

Guy warms himself nearby heater, thinking about what is happening to him recently, as his eyes struck the flames of the heater, he again revisits his vision from past and after the same voice “You failed”, he comes back to his present state and loses his mind.

Scene 5: EXT

He comes out to his backyard and sits on the ground, asks himself why is it happening.

Scene 6: EXT

That same voice appears in a figure form. Starts to speak his dialogue.

scene 7: EXT

The figure will continue his dialogue and will go back forth with the guy’s expression, the figure slowly appears close to the guy and speaks his final words.

Scene 8: INT

Guy wakes up and indicates that it was just a dream, but that figure appears in the far back alley way.


Plan for week 8

Well the week is almost over, today each of us had a discussion with Robin regarding our projects. So after going through storyboarding and the dialogue that I wrote, Robin and I discussed the final approach that I’m taking on. So unlike the conventional method and the business practice of filmmaking where shooting is not in chronological order, well I’m taking that approach, the only reason is because I want my actor to go through the journey of the character and to connect more with it as story evolves.

The Camera equipment that I’ll use is my own DSLR. I mentioned in my previous post about technological advancement of DSLR but I have to be careful regarding sound as sync is an issue in DSLR, but then again, I don’t have much dialogues so I think I’ll be alright with it.

Now I just have to test my DSLR  in the environment where I will be shooting just to see if the lightning is enough. I’m hopeful that it would work out well. I’ll put some test shoots in coming days.

Interview Excercise

Today we looked at one of the key aspects in documentary filmmaking (well not really) and in tv production, interviewing. Robin mentioned that mostly student tend to do interview in their documentary projects. That being said, He showed us different filmmakers approaches in interviewing, from formal style of interviewing, where camera remains still with two or three camera setup and either with one more take to it. The second style is informal where the camera is not still mostly and keeps on moving and follows the interviewee. All of the approaches had different aspect to it according to what the director or producer wanted it. Both have its own perks. I really like the informal way as the whole process is unscheduled and comes out naturally on screen. It feels more ‘real’ in terms of actuality of the situation.

When I watched Errol Morris’s clip, I was really intrigued of his approach, the key element of his approach was that his subject or interviewee was looking straight at the camera. It seemed powerful and convincing. Also to add on was Morris’s voice when he questions the statement of his subject and to which the subject conforms. It felt so convincing.

After that we did a small class exercise of doing a interview practice, I took responsibility of camera operation. Again I say, sound mixer is always a struggle, too many wires and consumes time, I wonder how the professionals on field cope with this struggle. Anyways, so with this exercise, I experimented with different camera angle and positions for this interview with extreme closeups to mid shots. I think over the shoulder shot seemed appealing to me, maybe because of the depth and both of the participants involved within the same frame. I personally wouldn’t go with interview in documentary filmmaking, I’m more towards the observational mode (Term coined by Bill Nichols) of documentary filmmaking.

The most important dialogue

This the dialogue that I want form the being to narrate when he faces the man who is having troubles of bad memories:

She told me that you would wear the mask of deception. She said that every word that would fly out of your mouth would be yet another empty promise. She said that you would ride in on your white horse and that you would shout down from the mountain tops about how you were going to save us all. 

I remember everything about you. I remember how you said that you would always be there for them. I remember how you said that you’ll  go and save us all. I see right through you, man. You’re a liar. You’re the biggest hypocrite of them all and you deserve everything that is coming for you. We’ve gone too far, there is no turning back now.

How can you forget what is already burned in your memory? What will be left of you? What am I? Well I’m the nightmare at the end of your dream. Beyond time I stand, Run!