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class="style10">Eyeline

>Published : 27th Aug. 2006

>When you are having 'talent' look at the viewer, do you usually have them look right down the barrel? Into the centre of the glass and thru the gate? Or do you have them look 'just' off centre or maybe even at the outer edge of the barrel of the lens? Say the 'talent' is to flirt with the audience in a Commercial application....what do you think?

>Obviously distance from lens has a great effect. Wider shots can have an eyeline that is the outer corner of the matte box and appear as if they are looking directly into the lens but what do you do in tighter work?

>I appreciate any thoughts on this.

>David Rakoczy
Dir/DP
LA/ Florida


>If you want it to look like they are looking straight at the viewer, then they should look right down the center of the lens.

>Looking off to the side even by an inch can be a world of difference. This is a pretty easy one - just go try it out.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


class="style11">>When you are having 'talent' look at the viewer, do you usually have >them look right down the barrel? Into the center of the glass and thru the >gate?

>Always important to ask the producer or client as I've had different producers on the same show do it differently. Most of the time though you put the off camera interviewers head as close to the camera lens as possible, and the subject should look at the interviewer.

>This is the easiest and most comfortable for the subject. If you have them look at the lens , non-professional talent will often shift back and forth between the lenes and the interviewer which looks really bad.

Mik Cribben -

Steadicam operator -
NYC/Miami 800-235-2713


class="style11">>This is a pretty easy one; just go try it out.

>This is.. but there are nuances to the simplest of things that can make it actually quite complicated. I have rolled gobs of Dialogue scenarios and am quite familiar with eyelines but was curious what you thought when having talent close to lens and flirting with the lens/ viewer. e.g. the LensCrafters Commercials (USA).

>David Rakoczy
Dir/DP


class="style11">>>interviewers head as close to the camera lens as possible, and the >>subject should look at the interviewer

>Use a teleprompter set up and have your interviewer shot with a video camera that is fed to the prompter thereby achieving direct into the lens eyeline for your interview subject, a little bit of extra set up but it works very well.

>Cheers Dean Brousseau
Halifax, Nova Scotia


class="style11">>>This is a pretty easy one; just go try it out.

>Personally, I find interviews in which the subject looks directly at camera VERY off-putting (but perhaps this is deliberate). It's also very, very difficult to make love to a piece of glass.

I seem to remember when I was an AC, that the camera operator (it was a long time ago!) would put a piece of camera tape on the edge of the matte box for the talent's eyeline. This was generally for tight over shoulders or POV's.

As has been suggested, try it out but bear in mind that there are still a few people left alive who are aware of continuity when shooting reverses.

Cheers

Brian Rose


class="style11">>Use a teleprompter set up and have your interviewer shot with a video >camera that is fed to the prompter thereby achieving direct into the lens >eyeline for your interview subject, a little bit of extra set up but it works >very well.

>Yes, this works (although, as was suggested, in an interview situation, the interviewee is likely to look towards the sound of the interviewer). Another favoured method is to use a semi-silvered mirror.

But was the original question about interviews? Unless the subject is very, very powerful, to me it looks rather artificial. I was taught that when shooting a PTC by politician who you didn't like or trust (that's just about all of them!) to make sure their eyeline kept moving away from camera, making them look very shifty eyed. Trouble is that these days, they all go on media training courses so they know all the tricks.

Cheers

Brian Rose


>Sometimes I like just a little off in a CU but have no idea how to describe it, I know it when I see it.

>True as you say if they are small in the frame - typically WA lens then it can mismatch if you try to get clever.

>(I confess I like it when attractive female subjects eyes 'graze' a bit, so sue me already)

>Sam Wells
film/../nj


>"Sometimes I like just a little off in a CU but have no idea how to describe it, I know it when I see it." Sam Wells

>You nailed it Sam. I am just curious what you all think. Remember, it is about talent (thankfully a woman) in close up work flirting with the lens. Some may be long lens and some wide in a commercial spot application.

>Rule #1 NO TELEPROMPTERS... EVER!

>Rule #2 NO INTERVIEWS

>I may be shooting for TV but I take a film approach. I rarely use Location Sound .

>David Rakoczy
Dir/DP
USA


>What is / are the reverse / counter shot (s) ?

>It can be one thing in the abstract, another if it's the classic
Kuleshov example.

>One thing good actors (and other camera talent) know how to do is lead with their eyes. So they'll delay other body movement at let the eyes do it first. If the are good they can 'command' attention, own the screen space even. I think this is why otherwise attractive, handsome blah blah folks - who may be charismatic otherwise but who are not experienced with this can come off as vague onscreen.

>Sam Wells
film/.../nj


>Looking directly into the lens can be a very powerful thing. I did a shoot with a certain supermodel years back and she would naturally latch her eyes onto something just to have an object to focus on for a moment before moving to the next subject.

>When she looked at me it was, well, I'm bringing it up a decade later, right? Guess that's what made her a supermodel as opposed to a regular model.

>Mitch "happily married now" Gross
NYC DP


>I own one of these : http://mceyeliner.com

>It's much less cumbersome than the teleprompter-with-a-camera setup and it's very effective.

>Pat Blackard
DP/Gaffer
Austin/Dallas


>Mik Cribben wrote :

class="style11">>...Most of the time though you put the off camera interviewers head as >close to the camera lens as possible. and the subject should look at >the interviewer....

>IMHO, it is disturbing to the viewer to be looking at a subject whose eyes are just barely off lens. Are they looking directly at you or not?

If you don't believe it, talk to a friend while staring at his/her ear and see how they react!

>I think the interviewer should be a comfortable distance from the lens, say 12 inches or so. The interviewee's eyes will be in the direction of the viewer but obviously off lens.

>Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614


>Hi,

>David Rakoczy wrote :

>>Rule #1 NO TELEPROMPTERS... EVER!

Why is that?

>Regards
Emmanuel, Munich

>Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Mobil# Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443 (please use German number)
cml-listmum


>I think the original question was about a woman looking strait at the viewer- perhaps a love scene etc (remember those Captain Kirk love scenes, they always lit and diffused the leading lady in whichever planet or ship they were- and as I seem to recall always a deliberate light on the face especially on the eyes, almost too much

>As for interviews, look at stuff like "American Experience" and "Nova" -talent/interviewees(is that a word?) generally don't look at lens directly, and when you shoot different subjects you can alternate which side they look at for variety

>John Babl
Miami US


>I think the original question was about a woman looking strait at the viewer- perhaps a love scene etc (remember those Captain Kirk love scenes, they always lit and diffused the leading lady in whichever planet or ship they were- and as I seem to recall always a deliberate light on the face especially on the eyes, almost too much

>As for interviews, look at stuff like "American Experience" and "Nova" -talent/interviewees(is that a word?) generally don't look at lens directly, and when you shoot different subjects you can alternate which side they look at for variety

>Exactly, if the interviewer or viewee are doing 'Noddies' to camera its always slightly off centre to the view of that person (crossing the line) but as a direct down the lens choice I say do what feels right.

>I've shot stacks of down the lens stuff and ,depending on subject matter, winking, holding the product (winking again) and so on the talent can move fairly freely so long as EYE contact is made, at some point, straight down the bottle.

>My two pennies

>Dan


>An example of the dramatic power of having someone look right into the lens, or nearly so, is "Silence of the Lambs". You'll notice that in most of the scenes between Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins, there are practically staring right down the barrel of the lens at each other, which is very disconcerting.

>It doesn't really bother me that Errol Morris has his subjects talking to the lens in his documentaries, just a little odd since it's not the norm for documentaries.

>David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


>Emmanuel, Munich

class="style11">>>"Why is that?"

>Emmanuel,

>For the health and well-being of the Film Camera, Tele-Prompters need to be as far away from Film Cameras as possible.

>I was joking (seriously). Teleprompters have their place. It is not on my Set.

>No Offense Meant and I hope none taken.

>David Rakoczy
Dir/DP
www.EmeraldCoastFilmworks.com


>In dramatic work there is a very noticeable difference between objective and subjective points of view. If one were to photograph a character speaking directly into the lens in a narrative scene (subjective) it's practically like an aside in live theatre or a solo moment in a concerto. We tend to shoot stories with objective angles so we can observe the story from a safe distance.

>A commercial using a subjective angle or point of view might be very effective because of the way it involves the audience.

>Traditionally documentaries shoot interviews with objective angles i.e. the subject looks off camera at the unseen interviewer. The angle says, this person is answering questions for an unseen interviewer or the filmmaker. Some have used a subjective angle with people looking at the lens. Errol Morris' interviews being a good example. There seems to be an even subtler difference between a person speaking to the lens ('down the barrel') and a person or persons speaking to the image of the interviewer, on a tele-prompter, in front of the lens. In the second example they tend to look slightly more relaxed and conversational rather than interogational (word?).

>We used Errol's technique on the documentary "The Lifestyle", often interviewing two people speaking directly to the camera or rather, the image of the director in front of the lens. The two person interviews especially seem comfortable and relaxed.

>P Hawkins

>Los Angeles


>Amazing how these things fly off topic.

>The original question didn't ask about interviews, it was specifically about talent talking to audience, so why the interview replies?

>Oh and straight down the bottle anything else tends to look shifty.

>Cheers

>Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


>Geoff Boyle wrote

class="style11">> straight down the bottle anything else tends to look shifty.

>If this is for a commercial then try this: ask the artist to turn their head slightly into the camera, and then look "straight down the bottle" it appears more "direct"-IMHO.

>Ed Mash
DoP
London


>Regarding the eyeline question, I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned, but there's a handy little gadget I've seen called the Eyeliner. It's basically a Teleprompter that need no electricity.

>A person (interviewer) sits next to the camera (on the dumb side), and looks into a mirror which is reflecting the subject (interviewee). The Subject sees the interviewers reflection on the angled glass over the lens, and can carry on a "face to face" conversation while looking perfectly dead center into the lens.

>Very elegant in it's simplicity.

>Bob Donnelly
President, North American Camera, LLC
338 N. Milwaukee St. Suite 307
Milwaukee, WI 53202 414.765.1111
www.nacamera.com


>Hi all...

>See :

>http://mceyeliner.com/103/

>For further details on that "eyeliner" gadget.. and please download the VERY funny "how-to-use" QuickTime ... no comment on that

>cheers

>lutz hattenhauer, BVK
director of photography | steadicam operator
Hamburg | Germany
cell: +49 (172) 8000 707
www.lutzhattenhauer.com


>"Regarding the eyeline question, I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned, but there's a handy little gadget I've seen called the Eyeliner." Bob Donnely

>It was mentioned in the Eyeline as well as the Teleprompter threads. It is cool.

>David Rakoczy
Dp/USA