Congratulations Jordan Fountain!

•April 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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The 10th annual Omaha Film Festival was in March and it was the best year yet! I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate filmmaker Jordan Fountain for winning Best Cinematography in a Nebraska Short this year. Jordan shot the film “Just Another Tuesday”. As one of the more prolific filmmakers in Nebraska, Jordan has worked very hard over the last couple of years to always bring great work to the festival. As part of his prize package, Jordan won up to three free days of grip and lighting from Death Grip Electric. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

New Lighting Workshop July 27th & 28th, 2012!

•June 24, 2013 • 1 Comment

Whether you’re working in fine art painting, still photography or cinematography there is one discipline that unites all of the great art throughout history: Lighting. You can’t create an image without it. This two day workshop is for filmmakers, cinematographers, still photographers, VFX artists, gaffers, grips, electricians and anyone involved in moving images who wishes to understand the fundamentals of lighting.

This class will give you the confidence to work on real world sets by covering all of the most widely used grip and lighting equipment as well as delving into the philosophy and psychology of the art and craft of lighting.

Friday July 26th we will start by having a 2 hour orientation from 7pm to 9pm. After class introductions we will discuss our goals for the weekend.

On Saturday morning at 9am we will start by covering the names of all of the most widely used grip and lighting gear.Then we will cover safety procedures when working with electricity and grip equipment. After that the class will go hands-on and allow you to learn the finer points of setting stands, shaping light and working with HMI, tungsten, fluorescent and LED lighting instruments.

Day 1 will also include a camera demo with an HDDSLR. Topics discussed will include t-stops, exposure, footcandles, color and lenses. We will also talk about getting the most out of your images in post-production. Time and availability permitting the class may include a demo with the RED Epic.

Day 2 will be almost entirely devoted to lighting exercises. We will be both in and out of the studio, lighting car interiors, interviews, a beauty light, day exteriors and dramatic interiors.

Plan on spending (2) 8 hour days receiving intensive lighting instruction.

Tuition for the workshop is just $40.00. Due to the generosity of our sponsor, the “Nebraska Independent Film Projects” we are able to offer a $400 class at a huge discount.  The price of tuition gets you a catered lunch on Saturday and Sunday, drinks and snacks throughout the workshop, a free Death Grip t-shirt and 50% off your next Death Grip equipment rental.

To save yourself a spot for the workshop you must fill out a registration form and pay for the class in advance. Checks can be made out to “Death Grip Electric, Inc.” Contact michael@deathgripelectric.com to register or call his cell (818) 536 – 9728

Michael Lang of Death Grip Electric will be the lead instructor. Space is limited. Reserve your spot today.

DG GripLightingPoster-Web

Intermediate Location Lighting Workshop Nov 30 – Dec 2!

•October 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Based on the success of our first lighting workshop in March 2012 Death Grip Electric is proud to announce the next chapter in its educational lighting workshops: INTERMEDIATE LOCATION LIGHTING

This is for the person who has a basic understanding of G&E equipment and is looking to begin focusing on lighting as an art form. It is highly recommended that you already take Basic Grip and Lighting or have similar experience prior to taking this workshop.

By traveling to different locations students will learn how to overcome the challenges of location lighting. Working with a script, actors, a director and cinematographer, students will face the responsibility of working as a crew and successfully setting the tone of the scene and executing the vision of the director. Students will learn how to use and shape existing light to their advantage, deal with the power requirements of location lighting as well as making creative choices with their lighting based on the story and production design.

Friday November 30th the class will have an orientation from 7pm to 9pm. After introductions we will discuss our goals for the weekend.

On Saturday Morning at 9am we will work in the Studio spending the morning working with bigger lighting instruments. First we will use a 5k Tungsten Fresnel to create soft beautiful light. Then we will move outside and use a 12k HMI. Discussion will include using the light in full sun as a fill light or using it as a key light on an overcast day. After Lunch we will travel to our first location and begin lighting a scene.

The rest of the weekend will be spent lighting on location.

Plan on spending (2) 10+ hour days receiving intensive lighting instruction.

Tuition for the workshop is $225+ tax. However if you have already completed my previous workshop you will be given a discounted rate of $199 + tax. This includes a catered lunch on Saturday and Sunday, drinks and snacks throughout the workshop and 25% off your next Death Grip equipment rental.

To save yourself a spot for the workshop you must fill out a registration form and give a $35 non-refundable deposit. The remaining balance is due by orientation. Contact michael@deathgripelectric.com to register or call his cell (818) 536 – 9728

Michael Lang of Death Grip Electric will be the lead instructor. Space is limited. Reserve your spot today.

Basic Grip & Lighting Workshop Nov. 23rd – 25th

•October 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Whether you’re working in fine art painting, still photography or cinematography there is one discipline that unites all of the great art throughout history: Lighting. You can’t create an image without it. This two day workshop is for filmmakers, cinematographers, still photographers, VFX artists, gaffers, grips, electricians and anyone involved in moving images who wishes to understand the fundamentals of lighting.

This class will give you the confidence to work on real world sets by covering all of the most widely used grip and lighting equipment as well as delving into the philosophy and psychology of the art and craft of lighting.

Friday November 23rd we will start by having a 2 hour orientation from 7pm to 9pm. After class introductions we will discuss our goals for the weekend.

On Saturday morning at 9am we will start by covering the names of all of the most widely used grip and lighting gear.Then we will cover safety procedures when working with electricity and grip equipment. After that the class will go hands-on and allow you to learn the finer points of setting stands, shaping light and working with HMI, tungsten, fluorescent and LED lighting instruments.

Day 1 will also include a camera demo with an HDDSLR. Topics discussed will include t-stops, exposure, footcandles, color and lenses. We will also talk about getting the most out of your images in post-production. Time and availability permitting the class may include a demo with the RED Epic.

Day 2 will be almost entirely devoted to lighting exercises. We will be both in and out of the studio, lighting car interiors, interviews, a beauty light, day exteriors and dramatic interiors.

Plan on spending (2) 10+ hour days receiving intensive lighting instruction.

Tuition for the workshop is $199 + tax. This includes a catered lunch on Saturday and Sunday, drinks and snacks throughout the workshop, a free Death Grip t-shirt and 25% off your next Death Grip equipment rental.

To save yourself a spot for the workshop you must fill out a registration form and give a $35 non-refundable deposit. The remaining balance is due by orientation. Contact michael@deathgripelectric.com to register or call his cell (818) 536 – 9728

Michael Lang of Death Grip Electric will be the lead instructor. Space is limited. Reserve your spot today.

Stacking Kino’s

•June 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

As we all know Kino Flo’s are great when you need beautiful soft light in close quarters. From car and house interiors to everything in between. Another great advantage to Kino’s is the fact that they operate so much cooler and draw much less amperage than tungsten and HMI units. They are simply perfect for conducting interviews on location. How many times do you find yourself in an office the size of a sardine can where all the plugs in the room are on the same circuit? Using bigger tungsten units will most likely monopolize the 20 amp circuits and would raise the temperature into the 90’s. Not to mention the fact that you would crowd the room further by having to use more grip to try and soften up the light. This is where Kino’s really shine!

I recently gaffed some healthcare tv commercials and as usual we needed to conduct both patient and doctor interviews. I decided to stack (2) 4×4 Kino’s and then put them through a 4×4 frame of 250 diffusion. This gave me a bigger, softer source in a relatively small space. Matthews sells whats called a K-stacker for stacking Kino’s but I came up with a way to do it on the cheap by using a c-stand and an extra grip head. This allowed me to forgo using several stands and keep things compact in the small shooting environment.

By stacking (2) 4×4’s I’m able to have essentially a 2K softlight which gives me an extra stop or two depending on what ISO we’re shooting at. In this particular case we were shooting with the EPIC at ISO 800.

2 Kino’s on a c-stand. The bottom kino has a 1/2 grid flozier or what some refer to as a “bra”.

By putting an extra grip head on the arm you can fully adjust where you want your bottom kino to be…

Grip head used to secure the bottom kino.

Here is an example of one of our interviews using the stacked kino’s as a key light:

(2) 4×4 Kino’s stacked and put through 250 diffusion from camera left.

As with any situation in lighting there are infinite ways to create different looks and configure your lights. The next time you need soft light try thinking of different ways you could configure kino’s to achieve your desired effect. The sky’s the limit!

Michael Lang

 

Scrim Teacher

•May 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

On April 27, 28, 29th DGE held it’s first Grip & Lighting workshop for eleven students. It was a fantastic weekend that started with a solid foundation of craft and then moved on to the art and philosophy of lighting.

Students learn how to put a silk on a 6×6 frame.

Guest Instructor Ben Drickey was a welcome addition to the class. Ben brought with him a wealth of experience and even loaned his RED EPIC as a teaching tool. The students received a primer on the camera and also were able to shoot 2 scenes to get a sense of what the camera is capable of.

Ben Drickey’s enthusiasm was palpable as he discussed using the EPIC while lighting a daytime car interior.

I learned a great deal from the students and was excited at their enthusiasm and curiosity. Tons of great questions were asked and everyone was fully engaged. One of the most exciting moments for me was when we broke the class into 2 teams and they went off and lit their own interviews. Both teams delivered excellent results and I could see that they were taking what they were learning in the class and applying it immediately to what they were doing. Not only that but they had reasons for the choices they were making and that’s such a crucial part of what we do as gaffers and cinematographers.

Student Mike Machian contemplates the effect of bouncing a 1K fresnel off bead board to introduce a little fill light.

One of the more advanced setups the class did was a beauty light with a model. As a class we wrote up a quick diagram and then students got to work acting as the crew. Everything was meant to be as hands on as possible and this particular exercise was great because we used several lights and lots of grip equipment. Thank you to our model Liz Hunt for her patience and great attitude. It’s not an easy thing to sit for 2 hours while a bunch of crew people are constantly staring at your face to see what the lighting is doing!

The class studies the subject in our beauty lighting exercise.

The results of a beauty setup with Liz Hunt.

The final exercise of the weekend was a class favorite. We called in director Jonathan Tvrdik to come up with a quick scene for the class to shoot. He took things a step further by producing storyboards on the spot to further communicate his vision. Then we assigned crew positions to all of the students. The scene was a night car interior/exterior. Jon worked with the student cinematographer who in turn worked with the crew to create a mood for the piece. The team used the EPIC to shoot the scene and myself and Ben Drickey guided the students with their choices so they could get the most out of the exercise. It was a great way to end the weekend. There was a ton of excitement and it felt just like being on a real set because we had time constraints and weather to deal with!

Director Jonathan Tvrdik and student Dave Weiss discuss the details of the final class exercise.

From running distro to setting stands to skinning frames and creating soft, beautiful light the Death Grip Electric Basic Grip & Lighting Workshop was an informative and fun way to spend the weekend. If you are interested in learning how to light please email me: michael@deathgripelectric.com. Death Grip is already planning it’s next workshop.

Thanks to the students and everyone who participated!

Michael Lang

PS – All photo’s courtesy of Marc Longbrake Photography.

 

 

2012 Cinematography Demo Reel

•May 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Click on the link at the bottom to view my 2012 Cinematography Demo Reel.

It’s that time again. Time for a new demo reel.

Creating a new reel for yourself is something I’ve always found a little daunting. First there is the task of just tracking down all of your projects that you’ve shot over the last year. That can be difficult in itself. Sometimes the projects you’ve worked on aren’t finished or maybe it’s simply hard to get in touch with people.

Once you get the footage then you have to sift through it and actually decide what will make it into your demo reel. Some of the shots are a no-brainer. Those aren’t the ones I’m concerned with. It’s the ones that you watch over and over and start to wonder if they are any good at all or have any business being in your reel in the first place. It’s very easy to become “too close” to the material and stop seeing the forrest for the trees as they say.

When I finally get a cut of my reel done I like to show it to a few people to get some feedback. This part of the process is where things really get a little tricky… because EVERYONE tends to have a different opinion. So which one is right? Well, that’s where you really have to rely on your instincts. If you show it to enough people and enough people comment on something then I usually start to listen.

The most terrifying part of he process however, which conversely is the most beneficial… is simply confronting the reality of your own work. There it is. That’s your work. There is no way around it. The quality of your own work is there for the entire world to see and you can’t talk your way out of it. It is what it is.

The important thing is to learn from it. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You’ve accomplished something. Then start to ask yourself “What can I improve upon and how can I improve upon it?” What’s missing? What are more experienced colleagues in my field doing that I’m not?

The whole process is a great leveler and can be a great teacher if you let it be. Hopefully, the process of creating a new reel can actually be the catalyst to growing as an artist and doing what it’s actually for in the first place… getting more work.

Here is my 2012 Cinematography Demo Reel.

Thanks!

 
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