Camerawork and Lighting: Exterior Shooting

Essay by grapey666University, Bachelor'sA, April 2004

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1) Introduction:

For every aspiring filmmaker, the choice of shooting a motion picture in an outdoor location offers many challenges and benefits. Choosing an exterior setting marks a departure from the controlled environment of the studio or any other indoor location, which, through the use of gels, lighting techniques, props and other paraphernalia, can be adjusted to suit almost any need. Dealing with the exterior environment means facing the fickle nature of the elements as well as human interference. While the pros and cons of the exterior shoot are broad and somewhat ambiguous, I have decided to concentrate on four main areas of concern: issues of Direction, Support, and, most importantly, Lighting and Camera.

2) Exterior Location Shooting:

Direction and Support

When going out to scout for an exterior location, several main factors must be taken into account: Is the site chosen for the shoot accessible? Is there an adequate infrastructure in the area to accommodate the vast needs of a modern movie shoot? These issues fall under the purview of direction and support.

It is important that all such issues unrelated to the actual shooting process be identified and dealt with long before the camera's start rolling, otherwise nothing will ever get done.

The crew will be required, for instance, to appoint an assortment of personnel for "lock-up duty". This entails positioning crew members around the perimeter of the film set to direct civilians away from the location, so as to avoid any unnecessary interruptions from the public. This can be a tricky prospect, as some people will resent the interference in their daily schedule.

The presence of non-crew members leads into the next major support problem: the issue of safety. A film set has a number of dangerous obstacles and equipment that, through recklessness and negligence, can...