Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Japanese Water Colors

A hearty welcome to the new editorial team. Your first issue (July '82) was dynamite. As a producer who sometimes has to transcribe tape-recorded interviews into written form, I had to laugh at something on page 718, part of the excellent interview with Syd Mead about BLADE RUNNER. Syd is quoted as saying that a teacher he had in art school could do "quick tempura sketches." Immediately I saw this talented lady holding a long fork stuck into a fried shrimp. The word should be "tempera," no?

Hal Whipple

Portland, OR

George Turner, our artist-in-residence, has offered to do some illustrations in batter which we could then fry onto a page of Mr. Whipple's copy of the next issue, but for the time being we stand corrected. If you think that was bad see this month's editorial.

Exposing for Rear Projection

I recently had problems trying to shoot titles. The titles were lettered on glass and placed about two feet in front of a frosted acetate rear screen. The title glasses were lit and flagged so none of the light hit the screen. To set exposure, incident readings were taken at the glass and reflected readings at lens to measure the light from the rear screen. Although I checked the readings ten times, all the film (7247) was badly overexposed. The rear screen had a 35mm projector with well exposed location stills. Do you have any idea what might have happened?

Kevin C. Brechner

Pasadena, CA

Howard Anderson, ASC, replies that the background is probably overexposing the image because of the metering technique. It is very difficult to get an accurate exposure reading on a rear projection screen unless you use a spot meter which is right on line with the camera lens. The amount of light transmitted by the screen varies dramatically with the angle from which it is viewed, and an overall reflected light reading of the screen will result in overexposure. The problem is even more critical with front projection and as a result the tendency among professionals is to use an incident reading on the foreground and balance the background and foreground by eye.

The Old Mashed Potato Trick

In the near future I will be shooting several TV spots for a local dairy company. Using HMI is cost-prohibitive at this time, and I've already considered the old mashed potato trick. What other techniques can you recommend for making their products look smooth, rich and creamy without melting the ice cream?

David M. Waterman

Grand Forks, ND

We consulted with Jim Gillie who is a specialist in product cinematography and has encountered the same problem. He has several recommendations and as a result of our conversation agreed to furnish an article on product photography. For the time being, however, if your ice cream hasn't already melted he suggests the following:

1. Shoot in a meat locker or freezer. He reckons you could probably get the same result in North Dakota by waiting a few months and shooting outside.

2. Have plenty of ice cream ready. Use mashed potatoes for the stand-in to set the shot and have the ice cream ready in the freezer. Unfortunately as soon as you take the ice cream out of the freezer it is going to start to melt, but with good timing and a little luck you can get that to work for you. There is a moment when the ice cream just starts to melt where the texture of the surface is ideal for photographing it.

3. Use a fan to keep the heat of the lights away from the ice cream. You can also try spraying the air above the ice cream with freon to keep it cool. …

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