I’m surrounded by incredibly talented people. Through this Blog I have introduced you to a couple of them but there are many more among those I call my friends.
I told you about Bulent Hasan, an incredibly talented storyboard artist who “draws monsters for a living” in my Blog Post Career In Crisis?
He and I spent 7 hours together recently while I recorded and interviewed him while he drew a Rosie The Riveter inspired characterization of his friend Kathrin, albeit as a Rocket Age Rosie. Besides the general questions I needed answered for the mini-doc I’m preparing on the project, we just chatted.
Now let me be straight with you – If we are friends, chances are excellent I’m absolutely inspired by at least one thing you do, either professionally or as a hobby. I can’t think of a single friend of mine who isn’t exceptional at at least one thing.
For example, I argue lighting with my friend photographer Wendy D – studio photography is typically done with strobe lights (or “flash”) while most video is done with “hot lights” that remain at a constant output. Despite the obvious differences of a “momentary” light source like a strobe versus a “sustained” light source such as a tungsten or LED light, there are other significant differences as well. For example, strobe light “wraps” differently than hot lights do. We compare photos and videos and discuss how WE think they were lit and we almost always differ in our opinions.
Wendy is a master of available- and strobe-light photography. I routinely look at her stuff and go “no… you couldn’t have done that with only one light…” and she shakes her head at me.
I consider myself a Lighting Videographer while some prefer the term Director of Photography – I utilize various light sources to make, not take, images. I pre-visualize what I want the end result to look like and (in the immortal words of Mister Miyagi of Karate Kid fame) “Make like picture”.
In the film, young Daniel Larusso (played by Ralph Macchio) learns karate through unconventional means from an aging Okiniwan Renaissance Man Mister Miyagi (played by Noriyuki “Pat” Morita”).
Initially, Daniel dismisses Mister Miyagi as a crazy old man. As it turns out, there is far more to this kindly old man than is first apparent. Daniel benefits heavily from his patient, albeit unorthodox, training.
Mister Miyagi teaches Daniel to care for a bonsai tree by imagining the finished tree in every detail.
“Close eye. Trust. Concentrate. Think only ‘tree’. Make a perfect picture, down to last pine needle. Wipe mind clean, everything but tree. Nothing exist whole world – only tree. You got it? Open eye. Remember picture? Make like picture.”
I quote that a lot. Well… the “make like picture” part anyway.
I had my Mister Miyagi – several of them in fact. In media college, my instructor Paul Reichardt taught me how to use hot lights, scrims, bounce boards, soft boxes and gels to achieve an Inspired Light Plot – every light in the “scene” should be motivated: you should be able to “defend” where that light is ostensibly coming from and why. If it looks lit to the audience, you’ve failed. If they are paying attention to the lighting, they aren’t listening to the message.
Wendy “makes like picture”. So does Bulent. So do I.
So how do you “MAKE like picture”?
In August 2010 a meme started circulating that made me chuckle. Bulent and I referenced it during the Rocket Rosie the Riveter session. I’ve sanitized it below by removing an F-Bomb from the original as I try to maintain a PG Blog. Be aware that if you follow the link below the picture, it isn’t sanitized and contains the original text including the F-Bomb.
I’ve been at this for 15 years as a student and working pro. Before that, I took pictures and developed and printed them myself.
Video, like photography, is an interesting pursuit in that we don’t create from nothing – we work with a subject (or several…), make technical and aesthetic choices at acquisition and then manipulate further until we get an end result.
The true wisdom and talent comes from putting down the text book and the YouTube tutorials and creating a vision for yourself, given the subjects and tools at hand.
Then “make like picture”.
Thanks for reading!