Image 1 of 0

© 2012 Brendan McGinty Contact Me
Site logo

The Mirror and the Lamp

I often use mirrors for my work.
Smaller mirrors for flares and pings and larger 4x4s for focusing the brightest source there is... The Sun.
No HMI can compete with the power of a 4x4 mirror on a bright day.

Mirrors are also great for making the light  'travel' further. 
Increasing the lamp to subject distance by 'bouncing' the lamp into a mirror can offer the most naturalistic fall-off as the light approaches parallel beams over distance. This is a lighting strategy mastered by DP Christian Berger with his advanced system of mirrors and reflectors. One big lamp with multiple reflective relays.

In California I have been shooting at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, an extraordinary mirrored location. 
Its a vaste valley of mirrors, a  staggering 347 000 of them. These mirrors are focused on black towers, the black absorbing the enormous amount of light and heat. These glow like supernatural monoliths, generating 370 megawatts of power.

Visually its remarkable. The glowing towers take on an almost religious appearance in the sea of large focused mirrors.
We employed the rock-steady Cineflex aerial system to do justice to this surreal luminous landscape. 


Brendan Mcginty



The 'mirror' and the 'lamp' were once seen as the two oppositional movements in the arts. 
In the first approach the artist holds a mirror to the world, in the second the work burns lamp-like from 'within' the artist.


Comments

GFM arm


Shooting a promo film for Tigi which needed very considered, yet improvised camera movement. Love the GFM jib arm for this.
Solid, precise, repeatable.






Comments

Small stuff



Shooting macro inserts for a commercial at the 16oz Studio and realising that I often underestimate the amount of light that this takes.
Shooting at 240fps, T8, 320 ISO meant that a hard 4K HMI was placed only a couple of feet away from our small targets. Fill was provided by 3 Cineo HS units, again only a couple of feet away. 




I have had a long fascination with close focus photography and have used macro lenses and dioptres extensively. Here we utilised extension tubes on a set of Ultra Primes and the results at T8 were startlingly sharp and free from distortion. 



When the focus is significantly deep and the images razor sharp I find the macro effect all the more seductive. Our visual cues to miniaturisation are often the shallowness of the focus and the distortion in the glass.


Comments

Cooke 5i beauty

Shooting a beauty commercial at Black Island studios and utilising Cooke's 5i primes for the first time. The look we were after needed the softness and gloss these lenses delivered at T1.4. Whilst perhaps not as sharp wide open as some of the fast glass out there I was impressed by their lack of distortion or fringing at these stops. Lots of the classic Cooke bokeh and great skin tone. The piece needed plenty of lens flare too which these lenses delivered.


Great working with gaffer Martin Smith again. 
Aside from the truck load of Panalux fixtures, we utilised K5600's Alpha 9K for a distinctive sun-shaft.
And for beauty, the Joker 1600 through a 7ft octodome and the Joker 800 through a Litetube. Lensflares were provided by tungsten fresnels and mirrors.




Shooting everything overcranked meant that all of the camera movement was quite gentle. A Ronford slider, some floating Easyrig and a GFM mini jib arm provided for this.
Nifty focus pulling from Charlie Perera... a moving subject and camera, 100mm, T1.4, 5K !

Brendan Mcginty


Brendan Mcginty

A fantastic team delivering great results... effortlessly helmed by maestro Michael Lindsay.
Comments

minus 50

Shooting across the North East of the States and into Canada, working with some extreme winter temperatures.


Up on Mount Washington the temperatures fell below -30C with a wind chill of -50. This combined with winds in excess of 75mph made the shooting challenges fairly substantial.
With your entire skin surface covered, crew communication in this wind becomes a challenge. The large mitts necessary for keeping your hands safe could only be removed for short operating periods and the goggles would steam up and make viewing tricky.








The Red Epic fared remarkably well at these temperatures...aided by a makeshift thermal blanket and several hand warmers. Cables would freeze to near snapping point and the lubricants on the Angenieux lenses stiffened up fairly drastically.








Some beautifully stark images and steely winter light were the rewards of this tough landscape.
Comments

Chasing the Equatorial Sun

Shooting sunrises and sunsets in Tenerife. And in this looking for an establishing shot with the right mix of flare, silhoutte and ambient landscape. 
We took a mixed bag of glass: Zeiss/Arri Ultraprimes and a Duclos 11-16mm... but it was with the Angenieux 45-120 that we best found the look. This zoom rendered strong warm flares with the lenses signature element array streaking across the frame. 
The sun at the Equator has its most accelerated rise and fall... so the zoom had an added advantage in the rapid execution and movement between frames. 






The sun is also at its hardest on the Equator, as in March this latitude traces the Sun's path across the earths surface. So it has the least atmospheric diffusion... the most direct penetration of the Earth's atmosphere. 
The Epics HDR mode was enormously useful in dealing with this impressive burning through the landscape... keeping some level of highlight detail in frame while allowing for a more sympathetic base exposure in the landscape.








Comments

Lighting from Black

My first shoot against black in the 16OZ Studios.
The studio's emphasis on Movement... of grip, of lighting, of everything...paid off in the ease with which we could move. Move the camera, move the lights and move between set ups and looks.

And it is possibly lighting from black that you need the ability to move most. 
Here the nuance in lens perspective or the movement of light- axis takes you fairly rapidly from nothing to Noir.
The Truecolor HS sources, the Joker 7' Octodome and the GFM dolly and jib arm meant no movement of light, lens, grip or flag wasn't achieveable in a moment.




Brendan McGinty


'Sometimes I feel the emotion in my films comes only from the motion' 
Wim Wenders
Comments

Photron SA-X2

Shots on the Photron take the 'frozen' aspect of high speed to a whole other level.
Exploding light bulbs at 10000 fps take on an almost magical aspect.
The bulb peels away from its core in a more organic fashion than you might imagine.
Although the Photrons resolution drops at these fps to 1024 x 1000 pixels... The staggering elongation of a moment is worth the drop.
A bit like macro photography in its making visible the invisible.

Great working alongside the Photron team of Rod Clarke and Mark Johnson.
Comments

Differential focus

Shooting the second half of a white-collar crime drama. The exteriors were shot in LA and the interiors back in the UK. 
The interiors 'look' leaned heavily on differential focus. 
The combination of a large sensor size (36x20.25mm) and large apertures (all examples below at F1.4 and F1.2) whilst bringing certain shooting challenges offers an almost inevitable optical beauty.
The challenge is focus itself. How do you hold the bits that you want in... When there is so little of it about?
 The solution here seems twofold. Both by using very exacting frames, where your subject moves within a thinly defined field of vision.
Or, as we primarily opted for, an aggressive verite style where the cameras movement and focus-finding almost become a character in the story alongside the cast.
Optical affects aside the impact on production design, lighting and shooting speed were marked.

These frames on Cinevised Nikkor 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.2, 85mm F1.4
Comments

Dan Flavin

Mesmerised by Dan Flavin's neon installations at the Tate Modern.
These rooms seem to attract far more attention than much of the 'traditional' art. Crowds drawn into spaces sculpted by the soft coloured lights. Each room and those within it become the glowing subjects of Flavin's 'proposition'.
Its surely not accidental that these environments of light are made from industrial, prefabricated luminaries.

"I like art as thought rather than art as work" Dan Flavin





From bright fluorescent signage to bland industrial fixtures we have grown nostalgic for these soft-light glass tubes. 







Gelled Kino Flo tubes for a Tigi shoot.
Comments