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Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 02:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm going to be helping out a model and her boyfriend with some Pinup style shots (the bf. will be the shooter) and in our email exchanges she'd like to try out some Noire with him as additional model (I'll be primary shooter). I know the style uses dramatic lighting with high contrast (deep shadows and near blow out highlights) but I know I won't have the studio lighting that they used in the days. So any help in emulating would be appreciated.

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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 07:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Not to be argumentative, but "film noir" doesn't invoke thoughts of blown highlights to me. Think Hollywood glamour, but without the emphasis on glamour. Dark, dramatic shadows - yes. But also rich grays and texture, with limited bright highlights.
I seem to recall JimmyD discussing some of his technques for his noir-ish b/w here about a year ago. Or you could visit his "PrettyGirlShooter" blog and get some advice.
Good luck, have fun.
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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 07:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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jford is right, blown highlights isn't really an element. Deep shadows are as is a deep DOF. There are a couple of great books you may want to pick up. The first is The Noir Style, by Alain Silver and the second is Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, also by Alain Silver. Both are available from Amazon, the first is mostly a picture book with frames taken from classic Film Noirs. It is really incredible. You will be using hard lighting with lots of flags, gobos and cookies. I would also watch (or revisit) some of the great noirs for inspiration. Start with Out of the Past, the Asphalt Jungle and Murder My Sweet. They used fresnel lenses to do their lighting and you can still do that, but any lights will work if you control the light properly.

I had to do a short clip tests of some noir style lighting for an upcoming video project. Instead of just lighting random scenes from the film, I combined a few into a pseudo short film. There's no dialog, mostly it's just me walking around and my SO. But it's how I chose to tackle the noir look with some pretty basic tungsten lights. The whole thing is lit with a small (4 light) Lowell kit as that was what I would have available to me when I arrived to gaff the film (student film). I have it on my site but it takes forever and a day to download (sorry but I had to do it this way for the director). If you want to see it, let it load in a new browser and forget about it for a while. The whole 5 minute short will download before it begins playing.

http://www.paramourproductions.com/video/atg1.mov

I made one critical error when doing this test - can you spot it? (And no, it's not the editing, which isn't nearly tight enough but we needed time on the shots to study the lighting, it's a lighting error.)
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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't mean to kidnap the thread, but ...
I should have known you were a fan from your avatar. My personal favorite is "DOA," which I first saw when I was too young to know what it was, but remember being fascinated by the point of view and the dramatic framing/lighting.
Thanks for the book suggestions. Will watch the video a bit later today, must go grade now.
Another thing we agree on. Does this signify the imminent end of the universe?
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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I tried loading your movie and also downloading a copy to my desktop but I keep getting an error that Quicktime is not located even though I did a fresh install. I'll play with this a bit before giving up.

I appreciate your input and given the description of the lighting requirements "...flags, gobos and cookies [Oh My!]" I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew. But I'll see what I can do.

I also wonder if it's not possible to manipulate the images in PS to emulate the darker moodier look? I've seen many tutorials in mags that describe (basically) changing day into night. I know it will take a lot of work but I think the model would be happy with something close in post production and not need the pre production setups.

I've come across those books you mentioned but your idea of watching the movies is a great one for 'getting into the mood'. I wonder if BlockBuster has these for rent. I like the genre but not to the point of actually purchasing my own...unless it's Casablanca or Maltese Falcon (Primo movies in my estimation!).
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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 02:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here are some links to lots of examples of Film Noir photography

http://www.lafterhall.com/filmnoir.html

http://www.alanweissman.com/noir.a.html#

http://www.celtoslavica.de/chiaroscuro/dop/alton.html

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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 02:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh, and here are 2 examples of some that I've tried and a lighting diagram:





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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-10-2007, 09:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jford View Post
Don't mean to kidnap the thread, but ...
I should have known you were a fan from your avatar. My personal favorite is "DOA," which I first saw when I was too young to know what it was, but remember being fascinated by the point of view and the dramatic framing/lighting.
Thanks for the book suggestions. Will watch the video a bit later today, must go grade now.
Another thing we agree on. Does this signify the imminent end of the universe?
Not sure about the end of the universe, but I have put a down payment on the zamboni franchise for hell....
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Re: Anyone here shot "Film Noire" style?
Old 05-12-2007, 11:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcherry View Post
I have put a down payment on the zamboni franchise for hell....
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