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#1 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:03 AM

In about 6 months, I am going to be shooting a short film on Super 16mm. The film takes place in one location outside during the night, in forest-like setting next to a cottage. The cinematographer and I have been discussing what film stock to use, and he is preferring a medium speed negative stock like Vision2 200T 7217 (or possibly 7274) because he doesn't like the grain of 500T 7218 at night. Right now, our lighting budget allows us to have two 1200w HMI fresnels and a 400w joker as a kicker. Additionally, I personally own 2 650w redheads that could be used to exaggerate practicals, however, the majority of the light in the scene will be motivated by moonlight. Because of our current light arsenal (or lack of), I am skeptical to believe that shooting 200 ISO at night will be feasible, especially for those difficult to light wide-shots.

I suggested the idea of mixing stocks, 7218 and 7217 (using 500T for wide shots, and 200T for closer shots, because we could move the lights closer), but I'm not sure if that could be possible (or pleasing). I would really appreciate any suggestions as to what film stock(s) would be suitable for this project with the lights we will potentially have. Thank you!

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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:38 AM

My suggestion and decision if I were in this situation (I have been) would be to shoot 7218 and even push it 1 stop to 1000 and rate it at 640. Trust me, if you have any real wide shots, you won?t have the stop.

I just shot 200 speed film (5217) in a light colored hotel room and even had trouble getting a decent stop at times.

A lot will depend on your shots though. If you only have a close up with a few trees in the background you could get away with more.

But as I said, I have done wide stuff in forests at night with a bigger package than you have (12ks and large tungsten units) and even at 640 I sometimes had trouble covering a large area because the forest tends to suck up light.

Because you only have 1200s, you may have trouble getting the spread you need. If you can get some 2k mightys, that would be a good idea also because they have a large amount of spread. But if you need to gel them blue, than you will lose a lot.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 12:10 PM

To use those 1200w PAR's realistically, they can't be too close to the building in a wide shot. I'd say that 500T is a must. Sure, you can relight the close-ups for 200T, the Vision-2 stocks all look similar, but I'm not sure it will be worth it.

Grain is most visible in flat areas of midtones, which is why fast film doesn't look as grainy in high-contrast night scenes with large areas of darkness.

If in the wide shot, nothing is moving, you can get more exposure by undercranking.
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#4 Dan Goulder

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 12:39 PM

Is your cinematographer speaking from experience or speculation regarding the grain level of 7218? You may be making a lot of extra and cumbersome work by trying to light for 7217 under the conditions you describe. The grain levels between these two stocks are actually much closer than you might think.
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#5 Richard Vialet

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:34 PM

**"The grain levels between these two stocks are actually much closer than you might think."


Very True. I shot 7217 and 7218 and the grain structure seemed practically the same to me...save yourself the headache and go with the '18
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:39 PM

**"The grain levels between these two stocks are actually much closer than you might think."
Very True. I shot 7217 and 7218 and the grain structure seemed practically the same to me...save yourself the headache and go with the '18


Hi,

From my tests 5218 has far more grain than 5217 which has more grain than than 5212. However I don't think you have any choice but to shoot with 5218 on this project, unless you undercrank the wide shots as David said.

Stephen
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#7 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 02:12 PM

Basically my cinematographer likes the cleaner look of 7217 over 7218, I just learned that he has not shot with 7218 at night, only during the day.
I?m personally concerned that the blacks will turn out muddy and grainy. Are there better lighting/contrast ratios to use for night scenes like this? 3:1? or higher?

Undercranking is definitely a possibility, and as for the forest sucking up the light, we are going to counter that with small amounts of fog in certain areas. I guess we will most likely be shooting 7218 and not correcting the tungsten film or the HMIs because we need all the light we can get.
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#8 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 02:25 PM

You could always shoot on the Fuji 800T film and really help yourself.

In my opinion, your DP is repeating a lot of the stuff that he hears around town, without being 100% sure about it.
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#9 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 02:45 PM

yeah, we thought about that fuji stock, but we'd like to stick to kodak for it's greater sharpness in 16mm
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 05:00 PM

Muddy blacks are not the result of using a fast film versus a slow film, but one of exposure.

Assuming you expose for enough density, the blacks in all the Vision-2 stocks are the same. It's only when underexposing and lifting the image in post to compensate that the blacks get muddy, and because high speed film is grainier (although 7218 is not significantly grainier than 7217, but obviously there has to be a difference), the underexposure looks worse with higher speed stocks. But assuming you plan on exposing correctly, there is no reason for 7217 to have better blacks than 7218.

Sure, IF you can light for 200 ASA, 7217 will give you a slightly finer-grained image over 7218. But if by using 200 ASA film you end up accidentally underexposing, then the grain will be no better but the blacks will be worse than normally exposed 7218.

There is no Fuji 800T. There used to be a Kodak 800T but it was discontinued because 18 pushed one stop looked better than 800T normal. Fuji's Eterna 500T is similar to Kodak's 18, slightly less contrasty, closer to Expression 29 in that way -- grain is similar to 18, but it's not quite as sharp looking, just like with any lower-contrast stock.

I suppose you could try the new Fuji Eterna 250T as a compromise in speed between Kodak 200T and 500T, but 250 is only 1/3 of a stop faster than 200.
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#11 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:16 PM

The density and shadow detail of the blacks is directly proportional to the exposure. "Normal" exposure gives very good shadow detail and black levels, but a bit of overexposure increases detail and gives "richer" blacks.

For optimum grain and shadow detail, it's usually better to use a faster stock, than to underexpose or push process a slower stock. But when you have the light, use a slower stock.
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