Lights and Rights

February 23, 2014

The Source of Light


It was a good evening of shooting last night with me and my nephew Tony.


There was the problem of lighting up a backyard at night to figure out. Riding that line between what is realistic, as in, "Realistically, where is the light source coming from?" and "How do I get an image on video while keeping a night-time mood?" Basically, without lights, most of the shots would have been too dark. Shooting into the light source was one way to light some of the scenes while maintaining a sense of things happening in the dark. Shooting into the light source, (the source, meaning the lights that are part of the scene naturally - an out door yard light, a flashlight, a street lamp, etc.) With the light source flashing into the camera lens, there are suddenly all sorts of lens flares that become part of the aesthetic and it becomes all about "While you walk, make sure the flashlight shines into the camera a little so that we get that flare."


Working with Tony was great. Though not a trained actor, he had a good sense for what he would like to do with his performance and he had cinematic ideas as well. As he held the red marble, for example, he noticed how it glowed, backlit by the flashlight and we decided to use that for the scene.


There were a few "happy accidents". A happy accident is when something happens by accident but it is not only useful for the scene but it becomes a better idea that was planned for the scene. For example, at one point the bucket that Tony was sitting on dug into a soft part of the ground and when he made a surprise motion with his body he lost balance and fell over. It will work for the scene because he was supposed to be surprise, but with the accidental fall he was genuinely surprised.The scene is almost complete, minus the special effects shots that need to be inserted. Sometimes I do the special effect shots first and have to conform the acted scene to these shots. In this case the acted scene is shot and so I have to conform the special effects to fit the angles and eye lines and lighting to those of the acted shots.



Know Your ©Rights


On another note, the story has been sent to the Library of Congress for copyrights registration.


It's been interesting reading up on copyrights. Basically, anything the artist makes - a story, a photo, a painting, a song, etc., they have the copyrights to, automatically. If there was a case where someone else clearly plagiarizes (out-right steals) the idea or image or song and puts it out to make money etc., the artist of the original work might need to sue in order to have control over the work that they have the rights to. In court, the problem would become - How does one prove they created their work before the other? Registering with the Library of Congress is one way to do it that is officially recognized.


On one website I read that registering a film idea as a literary work sometimes has an advantage over registering it as a screenplay - something about being credited with "Based on a story by...." which makes it clear that the world of the story came from the original author, while screen writing credits sometimes only go to the screenwriter who wrote the final revision.


Either way, this gave me the incentive to write in short story literary form, something I've wanted to develop. Although I don't have ambitions to publish the short story in any publications, (I don't think my writing style is quite up to par yet), there is that option. Besides, in regard to literary form, there is a whole other level of creativity in description, mental dialogue, back story, and even commentary on life that usually has no place in a film.It's a good practice for filmmakers to put a copyright at the end of the credits just as a reminder to others that the maker know their rights.

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