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fractions of a stop


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#1 Don Bachmeier

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 08:52 AM

Having started with still and motion film and now primarily digital video and still:

I remember when setting an f or T stop within a half stop (5.6/8 split, etc.) or even calling for a 1/3 rd over or under a stop was considered persnickety. A few DPs would ask for 'a needle' over or under. (We would tease them if they were including the shadow from the needle.)

With the digital light meters now routinely giving readings in 1/10ths, does anybody really call for it that specifically or do you just use it as a reference to decide which way to fudge within a half or third stop? Do you vary your method between film and digital?

A related can-o-worms- I haven't used the latest round of HD cameras (the last was 1st gen. F900). Beside most of the range being in the shadows, has the dynamic range come any closer to negative film? Do you tend to shoot HD with a meter or are the zebras enough for you?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 02:54 AM

Having started with still and motion film and now primarily digital video and still:

I remember when setting an f or T stop within a half stop (5.6/8 split, etc.) or even calling for a 1/3 rd over or under a stop was considered persnickety. A few DPs would ask for 'a needle' over or under. (We would tease them if they were including the shadow from the needle.)

With the digital light meters now routinely giving readings in 1/10ths, does anybody really call for it that specifically or do you just use it as a reference to decide which way to fudge within a half or third stop? Do you vary your method between film and digital?

A related can-o-worms- I haven't used the latest round of HD cameras (the last was 1st gen. F900). Beside most of the range being in the shadows, has the dynamic range come any closer to negative film? Do you tend to shoot HD with a meter or are the zebras enough for you?


Hi,

I knew a famous DoP who did not use a light meter, he gave T stop settings in tenths of s stop!

Stephen
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 03:43 AM

I knew a famous DoP who did not use a light meter, he gave T stop settings in tenths of s stop!

Wait - you mean he'd measure it by eye?? That's uncanny.
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 04:39 AM

Wait - you mean he'd measure it by eye?? That's uncanny.


Hi,

Yes knew what stop he wanted, if he used a meter he would angle it until the needle hit the stop he wanted! He was nominated for an Oscar more than once (not sure if he won)

Stephen
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#5 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 06:04 AM

Hi,

Yes knew what stop he wanted, if he used a meter he would angle it until the needle hit the stop he wanted! He was nominated for an Oscar more than once (not sure if he won)

Stephen



who was this?
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#6 EricUlbrich

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 06:07 AM

interesting lighting by eye huh? I can guarantee you that there was a gaffer in the background with a light meter.
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 07:45 AM

interesting lighting by eye huh? I can guarantee you that there was a gaffer in the background with a light meter.


Hi,

I guarantee there was not!

You have to remember when he started in the 1930's meters were not that advanced. I can usually guess the exposure within 1/2 stop.

Stephen
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#8 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 07:49 AM

I know more than one DP that can tell the exact stop by eye. One sent me off to take readings so the director and producer would stay calm but he told me what the stop would be before i had the reading and it always matched.
I worked on a show where the director took my DP aside and asked him if i knew what i was doing cause in his eyes i used my tapemeasure far too little. My DP told me and i then started taking psychological focus readings.

There's no business like showbusiness.
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:07 AM

Hi,

I guarantee there was not!

You have to remember when he started in the 1930's meters were not that advanced. I can usually guess the exposure within 1/2 stop.

Stephen

Me to Stephen , use light meter just to check hot areas . john .
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:26 AM

who was this?


Hi,

Douglas Slocombe

http://imdb.com/name/nm0005878/

Stephen
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#11 Dominic Case

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 06:20 PM

On the subject of using your eyes, there's a nice story about the early Australian cinematographer Frank Hurley. (He goes from Antarctic exploration in the 1910s to features in the 1930s and 40s.)

One time, he had a new assistant. While setting up for a wide shot on location, he told the lad "just stand here by the camera and stare out there at the view. Whatever you do, don't turn away." After a couple of minutes, he said "OK, now look straight at me". He looked at the boy's eyes, checked out how wide his pupils were, and set the aperture on the lens.

Or so the story goes.
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#12 timHealy

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 07:09 PM

Hi,

Douglas Slocombe

http://imdb.com/name/nm0005878/

Stephen



I sort of have two comments about this topic.

One is that after shooting for the amount of time someone like Slocombe has been shooting, it is in the realm of possibilty he would completely be experienced with whatever ASA he was working with and how much light was on a subject no matter if it was from a 1k baby or direct sun.

And two, film is so good, or perhaps more accurately has such a great range, that one would have to practically leave a lens cap on to screw it up (from an exposure point of view anyway. However, there are many other ways one can screw up hahaha).

Just my 2 cents

Best

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 23 August 2006 - 07:10 PM.

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#13 Stephen Williams

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 01:49 AM

I sort of have two comments about this topic.

One is that after shooting for the amount of time someone like Slocombe has been shooting, it is in the realm of possibilty he would completely be experienced with whatever ASA he was working with and how much light was on a subject no matter if it was from a 1k baby or direct sun.


Best

Tim


Hi,

For most of his working life he did not have a choice of filmstocks with different ASA's!

Stephen
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#14 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 05:03 AM

Hi,

Douglas Slocombe

http://imdb.com/name/nm0005878/

Stephen

Oh come on! How about someone with some experience!
On a serious note....I've worked with DP's that called stops in tenths. I don't blame them for being specific, but I also don't have any problem with the folks who only work in halves. I guess it depends on what you're style is and what you're shooting.
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#15 Stephen Williams

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 06:56 AM

Oh come on! How about someone with some experience!
On a serious note....I've worked with DP's that called stops in tenths. I don't blame them for being specific, but I also don't have any problem with the folks who only work in halves. I guess it depends on what you're style is and what you're shooting.


Hi,

He was over 75 the first time I had the privilege to work with him, I was a motion control operator at the time. He lit the scene without a gaffer. I wanted to take a light meter reading, but did not dare!

Stephen
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#16 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 01:02 PM

interesting lighting by eye huh? I can guarantee you that there was a gaffer in the background with a light meter.


---I worked with someone who was an army combat photographer in VietNam.
He said that in training they were told that the first item that will break in the field is one's light meter,
thus they had to learn to judge exposure by eye.

As for different speed stocks, one judges the base exposure and adjust from that.

& when I began shooting 8mm, I didn't have a meter and used the suggested exposure dial on the side of the camera quite successfully.
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#17 timHealy

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 09:05 PM

Hi,

For most of his working life he did not have a choice of filmstocks with different ASA's!

Stephen


Sorry, I wasn't clear. I wasn't thinking that they had the options we do today. I was referring to the years men like him were using something like 12 ASA and that's it. I would assume he got use to what 12 ASA film could and could not do. And then one day 25 ASA film came out and they used that for years too. But that was way before my time.

Best

Tim
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#18 Jason Maeda

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 11:48 AM

In still photography 1st assistants routinely judge natural light exposures by eye...usually with negative film but also with chrome...although that can get pretty hairy. I can usually get a pretty good exposure that way. The real trick is to guess exposures for a photographer who is running in and out of shade and pointing the lens in all directions, with moving clouds in the sky, and different film speeds, lenses and cameras around his neck...plus you are trying to turn the aperture ring while he's doing all this and he doesn't want to be touched...oh yeah and occasionally you are the only available assistant so you are loading the cameras on the fly and shading the lens from the sun at the same time.

With strobes it gets a little tricky but you learn to remember what a certain power setting, from a certain distance with a certain modifier will read.

I guess the point is that with lots and lots of practice anything is possible.

As far as the original question goes, we read out readings like so "five six eight" means f5.6 and 8/10ths. "eleven three" means f11 3/10ths and so on. In other words, tenths matter.

jk :ph34r:
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#19 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 12:16 PM

I remember when setting an f or T stop within a half stop (5.6/8 split, etc.) or even calling for a 1/3 rd over or under a stop was considered persnickety. A few DPs would ask for 'a needle' over or under. (We would tease them if they were including the shadow from the needle.)



There really are proper numbers for those 1/2 and 1/3 stop intervals.
Where do you think those f/1.7s, f/2.5s and f3.2s come from?

The 1/3 intervals between 4 and 5.6 are 4.5 and 5. the 1/2 stop is 4.7.
Between 5.6 and 8, it's 6.3 and 7 for the 1/3s and 6.6 for the half.
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#20 John Holland

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 12:38 PM

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I wasn't thinking that they had the options we do today. I was referring to the years men like him were using something like 12 ASA and that's it. I would assume he got use to what 12 ASA film could and could not do. And then one day 25 ASA film came out and they used that for years too. But that was way before my time.

Best

Tim

When Douglas Slocombe shot the 3 Indiana Jones film , he was using the first high speed Kodak stocks for studio sets . 5293, 320 asa , for Raiders. and then what ever replaced that for the other 2. and 50 and 100asa for exteriors . still no meter ! john .
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