Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mark Sawicki On Visual Effects and Lighting

Mark Sawicki - Visual Effects
We recently teamed up Masters POV at the Cinematography Conference 2012. Mark Sawicki was one of the special guest speaker/instructor at the event.

Mark covered several topics from the event, and he also touched up on lighting. Before his transition into digital, Visual Effects cameraman Mark Sawicki documented the old style craftsmanship of the traditional optical cameraman. This program pays homage to an exciting craft that was handed down from one camera person to another in the last age of apprenticeship.

In the workshop “Stop Motion” Mark Sawicki demonstrated the cinematography considerations for two stop motion commercials including Green screen set up and exposure, creating synthetic shadows, front light back light and crowd replication.

After the event, we asked Mark a few questions:

With new technology constantly changing, especially, how we acquire images, how important is it to light your projects?

Proper lighting is the most important aspect in the creation of the image.  It creates the master template onto which we hang all the rest of the elements that make up the visual aspects of storytelling.  Lighting is so much more than merely obtaining an exposure.  New camera products touting the ability to shoot in extremely low light conditions gives the false impression that the use of lights is unnecessary.   Nothing could be farther from the truth or more damaging to the art form.

What’s your thoughts on story-telling with lighting?

We are surrounded by light every waking moment of our lives.  It effects us in so many subtle and invisible ways by creating impressions, moods and feelings that touch us time and again in our adventure through life.  The cinematographer orchestrates the music of light to tell stories with pictures that help define and focus the triumphs and tragedies of the human condition.

What would you say to new up-and-coming filmmakers about lighting and story-telling?

Young filmmakers today get very focused on narrow aspects of the movie making process.  Many times it is all about directing the actors and and other aspects of the process seem to get short shrift.  "Everything" in movie making needs attention starting with the story. Hair and makeup, costumes, set design, acting and camera are all vitally important and it is the lighting that brings all those visual elements together to make an effective photoplay.

Photo by: Russo Mutuc

Mark has over 30 years in the industry. He is an accomplished visual effects artists, actor, and writer. Here are some of Marks work. IMDB

Mark Sawicki documented the old style craftsmanship of the traditional optical cameraman. DVD.
Marks first feature film, called, "The Strangeness"

See full details from the Masters POV event.

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