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New to Super 8 . Over Expose or Under ??


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#1 Eugene Hughes

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 09:27 AM

Hello,
First post here. I am new to Super 8. Just bought a Canon 814 , a Canon 512 XLS and a Sankyo XL-40s along with some exposure meters. Got some Kodak film and starting to formulate some plans for shooting.

I remember being told you can overexpose film and compensate in prosessing if needed and in Digital you should underexpose but never over expose. If I am shooting film which will then be transferred in telecine, how should I shoot to get the best image that I can adjust in post to get the most latitude in picture quality ?

Best,
Eugene
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#2 Andrew Means

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 10:40 AM

Dang, guy, you bought three cameras without even shooting any film? Seems like your prescription is simple: Make no plans, just shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. If you've got money buy three cameras at a time, you've got money to blow through a few rolls to learn first hand about over/underexposing. Other folks here will have more technical answers but man, I say learn by doing, especially if you've got the scratch.
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#3 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 12:02 PM

Dang, guy, you bought three cameras without even shooting any film? Seems like your prescription is simple: Make no plans, just shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. If you've got money buy three cameras at a time, you've got money to blow through a few rolls to learn first hand about over/underexposing. Other folks here will have more technical answers but man, I say learn by doing, especially if you've got the scratch.


Despite Super 8 being an economy film format, the super 8 forum seems to be full of questions from people who haven't dared to film a roll yet. Surely it would be better for people to try things out and then start asking questions. Hey, I shot my first roll when I was ten, completly unaided. Thats the great thing about super 8, its an amateur bridge to the proffesional world of shooting film.


To answer the question: negative stocks always benefit from 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop overexposure, to tighten the film grain. However John Pytlak has recently pointed out the Vision 200T stock will certainly benefit from over a 1 stop overexposure, as exposure at 100 ASA or even 80ASA will do wonders to minimize grain. The exposure can be brought down in Telecine, rather than Pull Processing.

However if shooting Reversal films - Ektachrome 64T, PlusX and TriX, that has far less lattitude and should be exposed spot on, or even slightly under.

Of course you should know all this - your info says you are a Director of Photography right? ;)
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#4 Matt Pacini

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:41 PM

Negative = overexpose.
Positive(reversal) = underexpose.

I've gotten beautiful footage underexposing Kodachrome by 3/4-1 full stop.

MP
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#5 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:49 PM

Modern color negative films like Kodak VISION2 Color Negative Film have tremendous exposure latitude, especially for overexposure. A bit of overexposure generally gives "richer", more detailed shadow areas, and finer grain. Don't overdo, as a negative that is too "heavy" may not print within the normal range of printer or telecine adjustment, and a really dense negative can require added gain in telecine/scanning, adding electronic noise.

Projection-contrast reversal film have much less latitude than color negative films. Best to "nail" the exposure. Err on the side of underexposure, but don't deliberately underexpose.
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#6 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 06:19 PM

Projection-contrast reversal film have much less latitude than color negative films. Best to "nail" the exposure. Err on the side of underexposure, but don't deliberately underexpose.


Yeah, but if you do... and only for the desired look, -1/3rd on films like PlusX and 100D will give you a tad more richness on the blacks. but thats just what I like. -1/3rd is noticable enough, and wouldn't go any further.
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#7 Eugene Hughes

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:18 PM

Dang, guy, you bought three cameras without even shooting any film? Seems like your prescription is simple: Make no plans, just shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. If you've got money buy three cameras at a time, you've got money to blow through a few rolls to learn first hand about over/underexposing. Other folks here will have more technical answers but man, I say learn by doing, especially if you've got the scratch.



Thanks for the reply,
I know what I want to shoot. I am experienced in still film, digital stills and DV.... I wanted to get going on a project I would be happy with DV on. Is not too hard to shoot both DV and super8 on the same shoot. I know what and how I want to shoot. I have a script, storyboards and have spent a good bit of time working on this project. I figure that I can also play w/ super8 along with DV and whatever turns out in super8 will be gravy and a valuable learning experience. I will be very slow and methodical in what I do so I can get up to speed on what I want to do.

Thanks everyone for their kind replies.

best
Eugene
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:58 PM

Thanks for the reply,
I know what I want to shoot. I am experienced in still film, digital stills and DV.... I wanted to get going on a project I would be happy with DV on. Is not too hard to shoot both DV and super8 on the same shoot. I know what and how I want to shoot. I have a script, storyboards and have spent a good bit of time working on this project. I figure that I can also play w/ super8 along with DV and whatever turns out in super8 will be gravy and a valuable learning experience. I will be very slow and methodical in what I do so I can get up to speed on what I want to do.

Thanks everyone for their kind replies.

best
Eugene


Many times I've wanted to shoot super-8 as a second format. Usuall I find the task of getting ready to shoot video to be enough of a challenge without bringing Super-8 into the mix. If you can shoot both, be aware that the sound of the super-8 camera will probably be picked up by the video camera microphone.


Negative = overexpose.
Positive(reversal) = underexpose.

I've gotten beautiful footage underexposing Kodachrome by 3/4-1 full stop.

MP


The problem is overexpose or underexpose based on what? What is the criteria being used to determine what is over and under exposure AND how contrasty is the scene?
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#9 Matthew Buick

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 04:33 PM

the super 8 forum seems to be full of questions from people who haven't dared to film a roll yet.


I would just like to point out I've shot a roll. :)
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 04:44 PM

Negative = overexpose.
Positive(reversal) = underexpose.

I've gotten beautiful footage underexposing Kodachrome by 3/4-1 full stop.

MP


Underexposing what, the overlit face of a blond actress? In that case that is good advice, but that is only one of several dozen scenarios we could encounter.

Always pick what matters most in the scene as your initial exposure starting point. Next, decide if you want to overexpose that starting point a bit, or underexpose it a bit. NO matter what the result you end up with, you will LEARN because you created an agenda, a reason why you choose the f-stop you did and even if the developed film does not give you the result you wanted, you will then have enough information to know how to modify the result for future shoots.

Another good reason to do at least two test shoots before shooting something that really matters, first test shoot, view results, then modify your second shoot based on the results of the first test shoot, then review that footage to make sure it's exactly what you want.
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#11 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:28 AM

I would never personally recommend underexposing reversal. I think you should nail it if at all possible. I metered and thought I nailed it last roll and I was slightly underexposed. If I had intentionally underexposed, my roll would have been garbage. Try to nail it.
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#12 David W Scott

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 09:32 AM

I would never personally recommend underexposing reversal. I think you should nail it if at all possible. I metered and thought I nailed it last roll and I was slightly underexposed. If I had intentionally underexposed, my roll would have been garbage. Try to nail it.


My first rolls shot with an external meter were also slightly underexposed.

Did you compensate for the light loss of the reflex prism?

I find I need a good 1/3 to 1/2 stop more than metered.
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#13 Sam Wells

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 10:04 AM

The problem is overexpose or underexpose based on what? What is the criteria being used to determine what is over and under exposure AND how contrasty is the scene?


That's essentially what I was going to say as a reply until I scrolled down and read this !

-Sam
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#14 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:03 PM

My first rolls shot with an external meter were also slightly underexposed.

Did you compensate for the light loss of the reflex prism?

I find I need a good 1/3 to 1/2 stop more than metered.


Thanks for the tip.
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#15 ryan_bennett

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:19 PM

The other poster is correct, your super 8 cam's will be picked up by your DV cam's mic. What you should do is just plan for exactly just one format or record a few takes on DV then just do one for Super 8. Regardless just shoot, shoot and shoot and figure it out. You'll never know what you can pull out from a scene but really reversal I would be spot on on the exposure.
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#16 Michael Collier

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:08 PM

I would recomend dropping the plan to shoot in two formats. You should commit. If you want it on film, shoot it on film. The worst thing that could happen is you look at the DV monitor and decide the ratios are not right, or something needs tweeking to make it look good for DV. At that point you have stopped shooting film, your just rolling on a DV scene. If you commit to one format, psycologically, you may have feel a bit less comfortable and thereby learn more (since even simple things on DV would seem like a step on a ledge. It may make you more attentive to what your doing) Its a minor psycological point, but at no time will you think 'if this shot doesnt work, we can just intercut mini-DV.' and since it seems like a personal project (meaning nobody is paying for your work) you don't have to worry about a furious producer seeing a mistake.
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#17 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:17 PM

I would recomend dropping the plan to shoot in two formats. You should commit. If you want it on film, shoot it on film. The worst thing that could happen is you look at the DV monitor and decide the ratios are not right, or something needs tweeking to make it look good for DV. At that point you have stopped shooting film, your just rolling on a DV scene. If you commit to one format, psycologically, you may have feel a bit less comfortable and thereby learn more (since even simple things on DV would seem like a step on a ledge. It may make you more attentive to what your doing) Its a minor psycological point, but at no time will you think 'if this shot doesnt work, we can just intercut mini-DV.' and since it seems like a personal project (meaning nobody is paying for your work) you don't have to worry about a furious producer seeing a mistake.



But now this brings up a new concern. How much dialogue is in the piece? The more dialogue there is, the more DV can save you money. Yet if the intercutting of DV and Black and White Super-8 film can be successfully interwined, than consider doing both.
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