Magazine article American Cinematographer


Magazine article American Cinematographer


Article excerpt

Here in the "Heart of Hollywood," American Cinematographer shares its Orange Drive offices with its publisher and parent organization, the American Society of Cinematographers. On a daily basis, we receive phone calls, letters, FAX messages, and personal visits from people with questions, usually (but not always) about some facet of the film industry.

They range in complexity from the innocent grade schooler wondering "How do they make Roger Rabbit's ears move?" to the seasoned professional trying to solve a dizzying technical puzzle. There are inquiries about cameras, film stock, filters, and lighting, about special effects, acting, directing, producing and editing. Then there was the guy who wanted to know if the magazine would finance his film. (Please, no letters - we don't do that.)

We do our best to answer or refer these questions, and often encourage the uninitiated to discover the wonders of their local library. Unfortunately, no amount of scholarly research can properly answer the question most frequently asked: "How do I get into the film industry?"

In this column, however, we hope to limit the questions to the field of cinematography. We will do our best to track down answers from the members of the ASC and their expert professional associates. A couple questions to get things started:

Q: Regarding the rated color temperature of daylight-in 1966, daylight, as I remember, was always rated at 5800°Kelvin. Nowadays it seems that everybody has standardized on 5500° Kelvin. What brought about this change? Who determines the standards? Has some committee decided that 5500° looks better than 5800° or does it have to do with an actual change in daylight characteristics? Would it possibly have anything to do with the UCLA studies which show that an increase of air pollution distinctly lowers the prevailing color temperature of daylight?

A: Color temperature describes a visual aspect of color - the value given for sunlight is 5400°Kelvin. This is specified as average summer sunlight at noon in Washington, D.C. Daylight is a combination of sunlight plus skylight and, while always higher than sunlight alone, will vary depending on sun angle, the condition of the sky, the amount of clouds, haze, dust particles, etc. …

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