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which film for specific types of scenes?

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#1 David Scott

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:07 PM

Per my other post, it's been around 20 years since I've really shot much film, maybe 15 for 35mm, but 20 for super 8. I've tested a few rolls recently, but not super specific to lighting and whatnot, just checking cameras.

So, my question- I am going all in to shoot a straight 8 one cartridge short film. It will be on vision3, but I'm not sure which ASA/ISO I should use for a scene looking out from a dark room onto a bright scene with a figure silhouetted. I want the inner doorway as dark as possible, black would be nice, and the scene outside totally washed out, white would be great. I thought about using a sheer curtain to wash the scene out a little more, but not sure. I also thought about opening the aperture all the way, but then I'll get some shadow detail and I'm hoping not to. However, since this is a single cartridge short film whichever speed I choose needs to be compatible with the rest of the scenes as well, which will range from dark alleys to evening sunlight to lit city streets, a few well lit indoor shots and a few barely lit indoor scenes or single light source indoor shots.

Any suggestions will be appreciated, thanks in advance.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 12:06 AM

If you want to be precise, you need to take a meter out to your locations and discover if you need 500T versus 200T, etc.  

 

Exposing for a silhouette isn't hard if the scene is lit for one, but as to what ASA stock you need, it depends on how much light there is, hence the need to meter.

 

Otherwise, you could get 200T instead of 500T for the slightly finer grain and then just commit to lighting up a shot when needed.


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#3 Samuel Berger

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:25 AM

If you want to be precise, you need to take a meter out to your locations and discover if you need 500T versus 200T, etc.  

 

Exposing for a silhouette isn't hard if the scene is lit for one, but as to what ASA stock you need, it depends on how much light there is, hence the need to meter.

 

Otherwise, you could get 200T instead of 500T for the slightly finer grain and then just commit to lighting up a shot when needed.

 

David, this reminds of a question I had thought of posting last week. How would you expose for a silhouette on Tri-X, at night, against a city lights background? I've seen this effect done with 500T 35mm and really liked the look.

 

It's at 1:45 here:

 

 

Thank you


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:39 AM

A silhouette is when you frame a black shape against something lighter, so youd frame something for that effect and expose more for the lit background rather than the darker foreground. For a really strong silhouette, youd have a black shape against a white background for maximum contrast so sometimes you want to expose your background to be a little hotter as long as your foreground is dark enough. You really have to design a silhouette shot by looking for a good background to frame against.
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#5 David Scott

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:10 AM

Thanks for the responses, and now another question, how many stops are there between almost black and almost white? I know the stops on my camera, but basically, I'm asking, if I shoot it in the middle of the meter readings, with bright Texas Sun coming in the doorway, but falling just in font of the lens, not into it, will I get almost black and white on color negative film? Or will it come out only SLIGHTLY higher contrast than a scene lit more "properly" for capturing all the detail? What I've read about vision 3 film is that it will still pick up a lot of detail in highlights and shadows, but the rules are to use a color negative film. Now I'm going to watch that video and see if it might help answer my question.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:26 AM

On the negative you have 14 stops of range, on the positive print or a normal monitor display gamma, about 10 of those appear but you can use color-correction tools to pull up detail from the negative that our outside that range.

But what you expose for depends on the subject and its brightness, you can’t make some blanket statement about where to set the stop. Plus a black object hardly needs to be underexposed to go black whereas a pure white object is very hard to underexpose enough to go black.

Maybe you should take some digital stills with the ASA and shutter speed set to what you’d use in film to get a ballpark idea of how bright or dark things will go.
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#7 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:07 PM

Everybody brought up some great points.  I would consider them, especially shooting some test shots as David mentions.  If this were my project for Straight 8 on one cartridge, once I got enough exposure facts together and notes for various scenes, I would shoot a cartridge of similar locations, have it processed and transferred and see how it looks.  This I would do BEFORE committing myself to the critical limitations of trying to do this all on one cartridge of film for a short.  That way, you'll have a great idea of how it will look ahead of time and what adjustments to make; as well as being able to bracket shots in various situations.  This test roll before the shoot, will help you plan out your One Cartridge Short BEFORE you begin, since as you know, there's no redos on that type of project.  Good luck!


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#8 David Scott

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 10:56 PM

Thanks again for the suggestions, I think I will do all of them, taking some stills with set ISO's and shooting a roll to test for exposures in my scenes. Unfortunately, I don't have a light meter, I was referring to my auto exposure meter in the camera earlier. I will probably end up getting one soon, though.
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#9 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 09:10 PM

If you have a smart phone, you can download a free App which converts it to a light meter.  I downloaded one that offers both reflected and incident readings, and it's quite accurate.  The App uses the built in camera feature and its own algorithym software to measure the light.


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 09:20 PM

My Super-8 camera had a built-in exposure meter so I basically used the zoom lens on the camera as a spot meter -- I'd zoom in on the area I wanted the camera to expose for and then lock the f-stop there, then zoom out and reframe.  So for a silhouette shot, you'd point the lens and fill the frame with the area you want to be normal exposure -- i.e. the background -- as a starting point for setting the stop, that way you won't be compensating for the dark foreground, it will stay dark.


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#11 David Scott

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 09:40 PM

Ok great, thanks for both suggestions!
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