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7218. Night Ext's


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#1 Willem

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 06:14 PM

Coming up soon i'll be shooting a 16mm film with quite a lot of night exterior scenes. These are to be low key anyway, but as long as we get the generator the extra lighting will hopefully be available to create that necessary bright reference points.

So, i'm tempted to use the Vision2 7218 500T stock, but i'm also looking for a more saturated image, richer colours and blacks etc. bit worried about the low colour and low contrast properties of the film.

I was thinking of overexposing by 2/3's or one stop, normal processing and using higher printing lights during the telecine (since we won't be projecting), which should also mean even tighter grain.

I had read that for telecine there is less benefit to overexposing other than some grain reduction and improvement in shadow detail. of course i understand the 7218 is still meant to have good grain structure even at 500asa, but I would of thought some improvement is better than none.

the thing is i've seen so much 16mm stuff, particularly night scenes, where the image just starts to fall apart.
obviously lighting is gonna be another crucial factor here so there will be a post in the lighting section soon.

any thoughts, suggestions etc. different stocks whatever you think please let me know. really appreciated.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 06:26 PM

There are no printer lights in a telecine. Color saturation levels can be adjusted in the telecine using color-correction tools.

It's not like film printing, where starting out with a mildly overexposed negative and printing at higher printer light numbers improves the blacks in the print, which in turn improve the appearance of contrast and color saturation.

While some mild overexposure of color negative is good even for a telecine transfer because you're recording more shadow detail and will improve the graininess somewhat, the benefits are not as strong as when you print.

Anyway, you can add more contrast and saturation to 7218 in the telecine transfer. I suggest a 400 ASA rating as a good starting point for 7218 if there will only be a telecine transfer. Now whether you'd be better off using 7217 (200T) and more light is a tough call... for one thing, is that even practical? Secondly, if you are blending your lighting with natural sources that expose better with the 500T stock, then you may get a better look with the faster film.

Generally, a nice contrasty, rich lighting style will help overcome 16mm's lower resolution. You want to avoid overly flat, soft lighting.

Edited by David Mullen, 21 November 2005 - 06:34 PM.

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#3 Willem

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 06:55 PM

what would you suggest then if, as i stupidly did not realise, i do not have the use of printer lights to return the image to 'normal' brightness?

would a one-stop pull-process be any use or would that counter the rich, saturated look i'm going for?

ultimately i'm looking for a dense negative.


and also what exactly do you mean by "rich lighting style"?
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#4 Joseph White

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:54 PM

i'd say if you are looking for richer colors i'd push one stop as opposed to pulling. pulling generally reduces contrast, color, and grain slightly. pushing will add some grain, contrast, and color typically - but not too much more so i wouldn't rely on it to give you the saturation you look for. i'd suggest pushing 7218 one stop and rating at 800asa - this will allow you to work with a slightly smaller lighting package (or not have to necessarily shoot all the way open) and will probably give you the look you're after.

pushing a stop is something i like doing a lot, but by no means is it for everyone. if you're looking for a finer grain image, definitely don't push unless you're shooting 5218 where you can pretty much get away with it. a lot of this will depend on your colorist and your post workflow. in telecine, you can do so much manipulation to contrast, saturation, and noise that you might find that you'll be able to get the rich colors you're after much easier than you think.

not trying to answer your question to mr. mullen, but there's a kind of boring tendency to light night exteriors with big soft sources that throw cool light everywhere, and while it's by no means always a bad thing, you might benefit from using harder light overall. like a nice hard backlight faking a streetlamp, or a hard flickering light from an off-camera store sign or something. i have no idea what you're shooting, but if you want bolder colors and a more stark image, i'd say use harder light and experiment with colored gels to find the right look you're going for - scenes at night don't always have to be lit by this enormous soft "moon" that's hovering a couple feet away from the camera.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 02:41 AM

"Rich lighting" meaning not washed-out and flat. Good colors, blacks, and contrast.

For telecine transfer only, I'm not sure there is much advantage to push or pull-processing to alter the contrast. But you may try pushing 200T stock by one stop for a little more contrast rather than use 500T normally.
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#6 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 03:34 AM

Hi,
I think using 7218 sounds like the stock you want, if you are shooting night exteriors on a student budget you will want the highest speed and greatest lattitude (as you will not have the amount lighting to light wide expanses to high light levels for a lower speed stock). Since you are shooting 16mm you also want the least grain! I shot 7218 for night exteriors on 35mm, I pushed one stop (more for light/exposure reasons rather than enhanced contrast/saturation- although the result was really nice and I'm glad I did) and the grain was still really tight (actaully it was inconspicuous even on a cinema screen), I also overexposed the negative slightly we did telecine to HDCAM. I suggest using 7218 for your purposes and if you have the budget do tests, however even with a low grain stock like 7218, if you are shooting regular 16mm I would avoid pushing! I pushed some 7279 (much grainier than 7218 but also 500T Kodak) one stop on regular 16mm and it was really grainy!!! (some people liked the grain but I thought it was distracting when projected on a big screen).
As usual the best thing to do is to do tests!!
Good Luck.
P.S. is anyone else unable to do attachments to their posts recently??
Cheers.
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#7 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 11:18 AM

I suggest using 7218. Err on the side of overexposure to get rich blacks and good shadow detail. As others mentioned, push processing will increase contrast, along with an increase in graininess.
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#8 Willem

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 02:51 PM

thanks for all the help guys.

By the sounds of it then I'm gonna stick with the 7218, overexpose and neither push nor pull. I always wanted to stay clear of pushing in the first place because I want as sharp an image as possible.

I'll just wait till the grading to make the necessary contrast, colour and brightness adjustments.


one other thing though - Tomas you mention overexposing by one stop and pushing by one stop - i couldn't quite work out at what point you were choosing to overexpose the negative (when shooting i imagine?)

In this case how would the two combined types of overexposure (ie. pushing and under-rating stock) affect the image overall?
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#9 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 11:03 PM

thanks for all the help guys.

By the sounds of it then I'm gonna stick with the 7218, overexpose and neither push nor pull. I always wanted to stay clear of pushing in the first place because I want as sharp an image as possible.

I'll just wait till the grading to make the necessary contrast, colour and brightness adjustments.
one other thing though - Tomas you mention overexposing by one stop and pushing by one stop - i couldn't quite work out at what point you were choosing to overexpose the negative (when shooting i imagine?)

In this case how would the two combined types of overexposure (ie. pushing and under-rating stock) affect the image overall?


Hi,
I didn't over expose a full stop, I can't remember exactly how much but I think I rated the film at 800 (1/3 stop overexposure). The results were really nice (it was on 35mm). The grain was almost invisible even on a cinema projection on HDCAM with an HD projector (we did Telecine to HDCAM). The colours were really nice and the contrast was really good, crisp blacks and good highlights. Very nice overall. I would love to post some stills but for some reason I have been unable to attach files to my posts for a couple of weeks.
I will do so when the problem is resolved.
Cheers.
Tomas.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 12:41 AM

800 ASA would be one-stop UNDER-exposure of 500T stock. 400 ASA is one-stop overexposure.

Personally, I don't think any stock is grainless, but definitely 7218 isn't! I'm always amazed when people say that it is. Even Kodak's demo of the new 35mm 50D stock shows grain.

'18 has a graininess similar to '74 (Vision 200T), which is impressive, but it's hardly grainless.
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#11 Joseph White

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 03:00 AM

although i'm often an advocate for pushing, there's definitely something to be said for the fact that 500 asa is pretty darn fast to begin with. especially if you're working with somewhat faster lenses. i think one of the most frequent problems with night exterior photography is that there's usually too much light as opposed to to little. like we've been saying more or less, if you aren't trying to get a big soft blanket of exposure and you selectively use harder light (getting the most out of your units as well by not cutting their strength with lots of diffusion) i think you'll find that getting a t2.0 or so isn't really all that hard. again of course it depends a lot on what kind of space you're lighting, but 7218 rated normally at 500 asa, coupled with decent lenses (not shooting all the way open if you can avoid it) and lights in the right places will eliminate the NEED to push, although you might like the aesthetic qualities of such a move.
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#12 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 03:06 AM

800 ASA would be one-stop UNDER-exposure of 500T stock. 400 ASA is one-stop overexposure.

Personally, I don't think any stock is grainless, but definitely 7218 isn't! I'm always amazed when people say that it is. Even Kodak's demo of the new 35mm 50D stock shows grain.

'18 has a graininess similar to '74 (Vision 200T), which is impressive, but it's hardly grainless.


David,
forgive me but if you are pushing 500 speed film 1 stop it would be 1000 ASA, therefor to rate 500 pushed one stop at 800 you would be over exposing it by a third of a stop right?? Please tell me if this is incorrect!
Also, of course no stock is ever grainless, they all have grain! but what I meant was that it wasn't noticeable at all, even when on the big-screen.
Cheers.

Edited by Tomas Haas, 23 November 2005 - 03:10 AM.

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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 10:10 AM

Well, it is incorrect to call that overexposing. You are still underexposing by rating a 500 ASA film at 800 ASA.

Yes, if you push 500 ASA by one stop (to 1000 ASA) but rate it at 800 ASA, you end up (maybe) with 1/3 of a stop of extra density, but the sad truth is that one-stop push does not give you quite one-stop more density, so for all we know, a 800 ASA rating may just get you normal density after the one-stop push.

And my first post was wrong, of course -- 800 ASA is 2/3's of a stop underexposure of 500 ASA stock; 400 ASA would be 1/3 of a stop overexposure.
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#14 dbledwn11

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 04:08 PM

And my first post was wrong, of course -- 800 ASA is 2/3's of a stop underexposure of 500 ASA stock; 400 ASA would be 1/3 of a stop overexposure.


thank god, i was seriously doubting myself for a second there!
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#15 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 04:09 PM

Well, it is incorrect to call that overexposing. You are still underexposing by rating a 500 ASA film at 800 ASA.

Yes, if you push 500 ASA by one stop (to 1000 ASA) but rate it at 800 ASA, you end up (maybe) with 1/3 of a stop of extra density, but the sad truth is that one-stop push does not give you quite one-stop more density, so for all we know, a 800 ASA rating may just get you normal density after the one-stop push.

And my first post was wrong, of course -- 800 ASA is 2/3's of a stop underexposure of 500 ASA stock; 400 ASA would be 1/3 of a stop overexposure.


Wow,
Thanks David, you really blew my mind! I have always been told that pushing does exactly increase the density by one stop and so one should rate 500 pushed a stop at 1000 to get correct exposure/density. I was even told this was correct in film school by cinematography professors! I was even told this by people I consulted with at a Lab! and I remeber one time a director I was working for went to Kodak to purchase stock and he was told exactly that (500T + 1stop push= 1000 ASA for normal exposure/density)!!!!
Strangely when I saw the footage I rated at 800 (500T pushed a stop) it did look a bit over exposed- maybe I just got lucky and somehow the pushing did end up adding nearly a whole stop of density, I also rated 7279 pushed one stop at 1000 on another project and the result seemed to be spot-on (exposure wise).
I am glad to have been enlightened to this! It may be one of those wierd myths that seem to persist in film circles! next time someone tells me that I will challenge them and direct them to this site!!
Thanks David!
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 07:25 PM

You may or may not end up with exactly one stop more density when asking for a one-stop push, that's all.

It's not an exact science, hence why you're safer rating 500 ASA at 800 ASA when asking for a one-stop push. Better to end up with a little extra density than a little less density than planned.
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#17 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 09:07 PM

You may or may not end up with exactly one stop more density when asking for a one-stop push, that's all.

It's not an exact science, hence why you're safer rating 500 ASA at 800 ASA when asking for a one-stop push. Better to end up with a little extra density than a little less density than planned.


Hi,
I agree completely! from now on I will rate 500 at 800 for a one stop push! or even 640 if I want a little extra density! Thanks David, as usual I am sure you have opened a few people's eyes with this!
Cheers.
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#18 James Brown

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 09:45 PM

400 ASA would be 1/3 of a stop overexposure.


H,

I'm shooting my first 16mm film on tuesday and the night scenes we are using the '18, from previous reading i though a safe rating would be 320, overexposing by 2/3's, do you think thats a little too much and maybe rate it at 400...This is for a telecine transfer.

Thanks, James.
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#19 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 11:54 PM

H,

I'm shooting my first 16mm film on tuesday and the night scenes we are using the '18, from previous reading i though a safe rating would be 320, overexposing by 2/3's, do you think thats a little too much and maybe rate it at 400...This is for a telecine transfer.

Thanks, James.


Whether you rate it EI 500, EI 400, or EI 320, you will get a good exposure. Slight overexposure will give you more shadow detail, "richer" blacks, and tighten up the grain a bit. It's a matter of what stop you need to use for the light you have.

Do avoid underexposure, especially for 16mm, as the grain will start to be more noticeable in the lower density shadows.
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:27 AM

Either a 320 or 400 ASA rating would work for 500 ASA film; since these are night shots, you would tend to leave them a little "down" in screen brightness so you would probably be fine with 400 ASA, especially since this is for telecine transfer only. Assuming you expose correctly and consistently, and not all over the map. Two-thirds of a stop overexposure is more for material to be printed where you want a snappier contrast with stronger blacks from printing down using higher printer light numbers.

In a telecine transfer, you can set the black level to what you want, so overexposing is not necessary for getting good blacks (the problem with underexposing is just when you try and brighten the footage; if you underexpose and leave it looking darker than normal, then it is not accidental underexposure... but exposing correctly for the look you want.)

Edited by David Mullen, 26 November 2005 - 12:27 AM.

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