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Using a Still Camera to Learn Cine Theory


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#1 David Sweetman

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 09:41 PM

I have recently been interested in picking up a 35mm slr still camera for practice with shooting film. Full-manual cameras go on ebay for fairly cheap, and it seems like it might use many similar theories, plus it would be fun. Have any of you tried this method, and do you think it would be useful?
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#2 David Silverstein

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 10:39 PM

Its a little different. I bought an old AE-1 off a pawn shop for 40 bucks when it was 600 when my dad bought one in college. It helps with focusing and learning shutter speed and aperature but its kinda different. It is fun though.
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#3 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 11:05 PM

Several of the cinematography courses at my school do this, and it's very helpful. The only real difference (aside from film stock) is the fact that you can't capture motion, but as far as framing, composition, color, lighting, etc, you can really learn a lot from it, and it's relatively cheap.

What we do is shoot on reversal film and get it mounted as slides. It's a bit more expensive, but you can see it projected really big, which is way better than critiquing it on a monitor or 4x6 print.
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 11:22 PM

What is the difference in the film stock? It recently occoured to me that it must be different, since the color temperature betwen tungsten and daylight is not an issue.
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#5 Ry Kawanaka

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 12:07 AM

They do have daylight balanced and tungsten balanced films for still. Most of consumer film stocks are daylight balanced though. It is just not explicitely stated on the consumer film rolls. You can find various types of film stocks in professional photo store.

If you shoot the negative, most labs usually correct the brightness and color without being asked. They just try to give you as decent photo as possible. That is probably why you think color balance in still is not an issue. For learning purpose, you can also request them not to do any brightness or color correction. I often do.

As for the differences in stock, still photography has various different film stocks just as cinematography film has a lot of different kinds. They are just not sold in 100ft or 400ft rolls.

It is absolutely different from cinematography in a lot ways, but at the same time it is same in a lot of ways. You can definitely learn whole a lot from it.
My MFA program requires a couple of graduate level photography courses.

Ry K

Edited by Ry K, 07 December 2005 - 12:11 AM.

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#6 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 02:42 AM

What is the difference in the film stock? It recently occoured to me that it must be different, since the color temperature betwen tungsten and daylight is not an issue.

Take a look at Kodak's website for instance. They sell completely different stocks for still photography than for cinema. The difference will be in color balance and sensitivity, as well as general image differences in how they reproduce colors. The pictures you take won't look exactly the same, but it will be close enough.

If you're using reversal film, the difference will be greater in color reproduction and in lattitude.
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#7 Nick Mulder

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 06:37 AM

Still stock is developed C-41 or E6 - Cine film is EC-N2 - I think it has a lubrication layer also...

Fuji's 64T in reversal stock is an example of a color corrected still stock ...
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#8 Erdwolf_TVL

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 03:29 PM

With a still camera you are spoilt with a large number of shutter speeds.

This is one of the hardest things to get used to imho.

With Cine, you are lucky if you get two on an entry-level camera.
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#9 sritharan

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 06:09 AM

It is a good idea to learn the basics of exposure through a still photography camera.
the different shutter speeds available in a still camera really helps in understanding the
nuances of latitude.
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#10 Filip Plesha

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 08:11 AM

The difference is minumum when each of these film type is presented in its own natural medium. So when you compare still film on photo paper, and MP film on a print, it should look the same to the eye, aside from minor estethic differences between different still film stocks, but its the same "type" of image look.

It would be best if you could find a place that makes slides out of negative stock, the use some low con film stock that would look more like MP stocks. I don't think many labs do that anymore, and I think there is no more print film material for making slides, and I don't know how good is ECP for printing from still negatives, but it might work if someone still does that. You get the extra latitude when shooting, and same some highlights information.

But if you insist on reversal. The closes thing to negative film is Ektachrome 100 (EPN), which is the most natural reversal film in existence today, has pretty low contrast and more pastel, natural colors. It sort of looks like a pro negative would look like on normal contrast paper.
Of course you still can't count ot much overexposure latitude, but if you expose it right it might look like
a motion picture print.

While reversal does have zero latitude, and a pretty short range of exposure. It's subjective contrast is not always high, nor is saturation, as many people would believe having experiences with films like Velvia or E100VS (motion picture 100D). Velvia is pretty much "guilty" for spreading that idea.
The truth is, when you look at slides projected, a lot of E6 emulsions feel "normal" and some even pastel, while others appear with high contrast and saturation.
High subjective contrast and saturation is not something inherent in reversal film, it is just that the most celebrated E6 films did have high contrast and saturation, so many people believe all E6 films look like that.

The only difference is when you expose reversal under some challanging light conditions then it blows out quickly. It sort of acts like video does. There is nothing contrasty about the video image when it is properly exposed, yet when you bombard it with higher ratios of light, it falls appart. Same with reversal.
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