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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

••◊ ...more thoughts on following personality

Just about every month I attend the San Diego filmmaker's meetings. This month they had a Hollywood actor named Doug Jones. Never heard of him? Well that's because he is often a "costumed" actor playing parts such as Abe Sapien in Hellboy or The Fawn and Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth. Most recently he played the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four. Still don't know what I'm talking about? You must be over 35 (he, he).

I took my camera to the meeting just for the heck of it. Unfortunately the large cyc (pronounced "sike" like "bike" and short for cyclorama) room at Groovy Like a Movie is not well lit for our meeting because it doesn't really need to be for the meeting itself. It's a nice production facility with a lighting grid and what-not, but the organization is run by volunteers and they are busy enough getting chairs, projectors, and a microphone for the guest speaker. What this means to me is typically shooting ISO800 at f/4 or wider to get a decent shutter speed. With my camera that also means low saturation, CMOS noise, and poor contrast. What's the answer to this problematic combination(?) - monochrome and a tweak of the contrast during RAW conversion. Just call the noise "film grain" and everybody thinks it's suddenly retro and cool. I know what you are thinking, but they recently banned flash photography at the meetings...so no, I can't just bounce a strobe into the cyc.

Doug is a great speaker, but a bare cyc room doesn't provide a whole lot of personality. The meeting starts and Doug starts talking about how he is a 'recovering' mime who was initially typecast by his past managers. The great thing is that he has retained a lot of the grand gestures of being a silent actor and I realized that this could provide interesting pictures. So I start popping off some shots of his animated looks. I mean there's a reason this guy works a steady gig in Hollywood.

When I started downloading the pictures there were about 60-ish shots, but who is going to want to look at these without context (yawn)? Since Doug was in a few well known movies based on comic books I thought I would turn some of these individual gestures into a set of comic strip. For the most part I think it worked and gives a subject without context and without a real backdrop, context and personality. Turns out that Doug liked the pictures too and added them to his web page. The entire set can be seen here.

To quote Space Quest, "never give up, never surrender!"

1 comment:

Veronica said...

Fabulous framing device! It looks great with the black and white and stark background. Very professional, Annie Leibovitz quality. Thanks for quoting from Galaxy Quest, not Space Quest. Sorry-I know this for sure as I just watched it last weekend...a most excellent film.

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