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Behind the Lens

Book Description

Filmmaker Jay Holben has been battling in the production trenches for most of his life. For the past 17 years, he’s chronicled his adventures in the pages of American Cinematographer, Digital Video, Videography, and TV Technology. Now, in Behind the Lens: Dispatches from the Cinematic Trenches, he’s compiled nearly 100 of his best articles on everything from camera technology and lenses to tips and techniques for better lighting. Whether you’re making independent films, commercials, music videos, documentaries, television shows, event videos, or industrials, this full color collection provides the tools you need to take your work to the next level and succeed in the world of digital motion imaging.

Featured topics include:

*Tech, including the fundamentals of how digital images are formed and how they evolved to match the look of a film, as well as image compression and control

*Optics, providing a thorough examination of lenses and lens interchangeability, depth of field, filters, flare, quality, MTF, and more

*Cameras, instructing you in using exposure tools, ISO, white balance, infrared, and stabilizers

*Lighting, featuring advice on using lighting sources and fixtures and how to tackle common lighting problems

Additional tips and tricks cover improving audio, celestial photography, deciding if film school is right for you, and much more.

For over a decade Jay Holben has worked as a director of photography in Los Angeles on features, commercials, television shows, and music videos. He is a former technical editor and frequent contributing writer for American Cinematographer, the current technical editor and columnist for Digital Video, and the lighting columnist for TV Technology. The author of A Shot in the Dark: A Creative DIY Guide to Digital Video Lighting on (Almost) No Budget, Holben is also on faculty for the Global Cinematography Institute. He is now an independent producer and director.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Sources and Disclaimers
  8. Author Biography
  9. Foreword
  10. Introduction
  11. 1 TECH
    1. 1.1 How a Digital Image is Born
    2. 1.2 Demystifying Digital: How Digital Cameras Capture a Color Image
    3. 1.3 The Film Look—Aspect Ratio
    4. 1.4 Death of a Standard… Goodbye to 1.85:1?
    5. 1.5 The Film Look—Frame Rates
    6. 1.6 The Film Look—Resolution
    7. 1.7 The Film Look—Sensor Size: Size Matters
    8. 1.8 Bits and Bytes: The Bottleneck of Data Rates
    9. 1.9 The “Raw” Deal: What’s Involved in Recording Raw Imagery?
    10. 1.10 Digital Cameras and Color: The 411 on 4:4:4, 4:2:2, and 4:2:0
    11. 1.11 Maintaining Your Image Integrity: Masterclass on Monitor Calibration
  12. 2 OPTICS
    1. 2.1 Deeper into Depth of Field: Understanding a “Filmic” Depth of Field
      1. Field Notes: Depth of Field Pull in Miracles
    2. 2.2 Optical Illusions: Understanding Interchanging Optics
    3. 2.3 Making the Switch: Lens Mounts and Interchangeability
    4. 2.4 A Closer Look: Diopters
      1. Field Notes: Split-Field Diopters Used In Popular Movies
    5. 2.5 Through the Looking Glass: Lens Adapters
    6. 2.6 Through Colored Glass: Lens Filtration
      1. Field Notes: From the Trenches—Free Enterprise
    7. 2.7 One Plus One Equals Blue: Calculating Camera Filters
    8. 2.8 Light Reading: Learning to Create and Control Lens Flare
      1. Field Notes: Paul Cameron on Total Recall
    9. 2.9 What Makes a Good Lens? Part I: Sizing Up How to Properly Size Up Optics
    10. 2.10 What Makes a Good Lens? Part II: Considering Lens Style and Focus Style
    11. 2.11 Modulation Transfer Function: Understanding Lens Resolution
    12. 2.12 Further into MTF: A Specific Look
  13. 3 CAMERA
    1. 3.1 What’s the Best Camera?
    2. 3.2 ISO, EI, ASA, and YOU
    3. 3.3 How to Determine Your Camera’s ISO
    4. 3.4 The Tools of Digital Exposure, Part I—The Waveform Monitor
    5. 3.5 The Tools of Digital Exposure, Part II—The Histogram
    6. 3.6 When is White Not White? A Look at White Balance
      1. Field Notes: Different Colors in Time
    7. 3.7 Seeing the Invisible, Part I: Dealing with Infrared Contamination (Red Epic Test)
    8. 3.8 Seeing the Invisible, Part II: Dealing with Infrared Contamination (Arri Alexa Test)
    9. 3.9 A Steady Hand: A Look at Camera Stabilizers
  14. 4 LIGHTING
    1. 4.1 Adventures in Lighting: Light Sources 101, Part I—Tungsten
    2. 4.2 Adventures in Lighting: Light Sources 101, Part II—Fluorescents
      1. Field Notes: Fluorescents In-Shot
    3. 4.3 Adventures in Lighting: Light Sources 101, Part III—HMIs
    4. 4.4 Adventures in Lighting: Light Sources 101, Part IV—LEDs
    5. 4.5 Adventures in Lighting: Fixture Types 101, Part I—Through the Eye of the Fresnel
    6. 4.6 Adventures in Lighting: Fixture Types 101, Part II—The Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight
      1. Field Notes: Night For Day
    7. 4.7 Adventures in Lighting: Fixture Types 101, Part III—The PAR
    8. 4.8 Mixology: Additive and Subtractive Color Mixing
    9. 4.9 Color Temperature
    10. 4.10 The Magic of Mireds: To Gel or Not to Gel, That is the Question!
    11. 4.11 White Balance On-the-Fly
    12. 4.12 Inverse Square Dancing: A Practical Look at the Inverse Square Law
    13. 4.13 Adventures in Lighting, Part I—Beauty Lighting
    14. 4.14 Adventures in Lighting, Part II—The Gleaming Specular
    15. 4.15 Adventures in Lighting, Part III—Unwanted Reflections
    16. 4.16 Smoke and Fog
    17. 4.17 Using a Light Meter to Maintain Atmosphere
    18. 4.18 More Adventures in Lighting: When Daylight Fades
    19. 4.19 The Composition of Sunlight
    20. 4.20 Art of Darkness: No Light Lighting
    21. 4.21 Night Lighting
    22. 4.22 Natural Day for Night
    23. 4.23 Ghostly Lighting: Cinematographer Bill Roe, ASC, Discusses Lighting for The X-Files
    24. 4.24 Adventures in Lighting, Part IV—Eternal Flame
    25. 4.25 It Ain’t Easy Being Green: Estimating Green Screen Lighting
    26. 4.26 Adventures in Lighting, Part V—12 Pages, Four Scenes, 12 Hours: An Exercise in Lighting Simplicity and Versatility
    27. 4.27 A Motel-Room Meltdown: Shooting the Dollar Baby Paranoid
    28. 4.28 Dancing in the Dark: Shooting Under UV Light
    29. 4.29 Illuminating Workout: Lighting an Exercise Video Series
    30. 4.30 Keeping the Lights On: Basic Electrical Management
    31. 4.31 The Perfect Travel Companion: Lighting Kits
  15. 5 MISC
    1. 5.1 A Twisty Tale: A Few Key Knots
    2. 5.2 Bring the Noise: Tips for Better Audio Production Recording
    3. 5.3 Sound Advice: Interview with Emmy Award-Winning Post Rerecording Mixer Eric Lalicata
    4. 5.4 Shoot the Moon: Tips for Celestial Cinematography
    5. 5.5 Carnet Chronicles: International Travel with Equipment
    6. 5.6 Understanding Post Color Correction
    7. 5.7 Colorful Communication: Working with a Colorist
    8. 5.8 Raising the Roof: How to Build a Flat
      1. Field Notes: Carpentry Skills Save the Day
    9. 5.9 To Film School or Not to Film School?
    10. 5.10 Learning From Mistakes: Block, Light, Rehearse, Shoot
    11. 5.11 I’m Captain Kirk! Musings on the Role of the Director
    12. 5.12 Great Relationships: Jack Green, ASC, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Surtees, and Joe Dieves
  16. Glossary
  17. Suggested Reading
  18. Index