Thursday, October 21, 2010

SKILLZ: Learning From the Masters - Julio Macat, A.S.C.

Hosted a great private workshop for students at NYU last night with previous Double Down Film Show guest, D.P. Julio Macat, A.S.C. (Home Alone, The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura, Wedding Crashers, etc.)

Julio was very generous with his knowledge. He talked alot about the conventions of lighting and shooting comedy and gave a nice demo of some effective and simple lighting set-ups. Here are some of the hilight tips of his presentation:

  • You can shoot with a lighter in front of the lens to create a heatwave effect.

  • If some big name actresses like the way you make them look, they may start to request you to the director on their future projects.

  • Always do the ordinary first, then ask yourself, "How can I make this extraordinary?"

  • Julio often goes by himself top "pre-film" a location by shooting various angles and lighting conditions on his own pre-production film camera test.

  • Alot of comedy comes from the audience knowing something the characters don't, so a lot of comedy is best played out in wider shots to better establish the comedic situation.

...There was much more, but those were just some of my take-away notes. His whole presentation just reinforced one of the messages I already preach to my students and audience plain and simple...

It ain't about the toolz. It's about the skillz.

Using the simplest of tools (chinaball, 1 open-faced light and some bounce material), Julio lit a model and made her look great. Plus showed the subtle, but powerful differences that little things like direction of the light, netting off light on clothing, and double diffusing can have on the quality of the image.

Even on the biggest budgets, the core of what the cinematographers do, still comes down to having great knowledge and skills.

Thank you Julio for driving the point home.

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