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Velvia 50 for Super 8 mm: Save me from myself!


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#1 Sarah Naomi Campbell

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 05:22 PM

Greetings,

I just got back 2 rolls of 64t, I shot outside, which were horribly under-exposed. I shot closer to dusk than I wanted to, and as I am shooting on a 514 Canon, I was under the impression that I should stop down by a couple of f-stops to compensate for the over-exposure I've experienced in the past with Ektachrome 64T.

Now, I have decided to re-shoot the outdoor scene with Velvia 50D. I do not have an external filter, nor am I able to get one in the size I need (47). I also do not have a light meter (I'm trying to find one that is less than 100.00) so I will be relying on the internal light meter and adjusting the f-stops.

Does anyone have any recommendations for me?

Is Velvia 50 suited to outdoor shooting on this particular camera? Should I shoot on auto or risk manual?

Thank you for your help,

~Sarah
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#2 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 06:58 PM

Should I shoot on auto or risk manual?


I think most people here would think the exact opposite: "should I risk auto?"
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#3 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 07:52 PM

Whatever camera you are using should read it as 40ASA (you don't need a filter, and disable the internal one) If you have manual exposure, subtract 1/3rd stop from your internal metering. It's not much, but gives a slightly denser picture, the colors pop out more.
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#4 Scott Bullock

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:35 PM

Your camera's internal light meter should only be used as a guide-- presuming it works correctly. By all means, shoot manual exposure all that you can! Buy an incident meter and use as instructed. You can't become a competent cinematographer without putting in the work. If that were possible, the Ivy League Prep Squads could as easily become Navy SEALs.

Learn from your mistakes using the appropriate adjustments, or find a different line of work. Even if you are shooting independently, on your own, using your own money and time, you can't take yourself or your work seriously until you can use a camera as easily as slicing a slab of butter. I'm not trying to discourage you, but this area of expertise can become extremely frustrating if you aren't willing to put in the extra work. And, IF you can cut that mustard (meaning your work will look like it was competently photographed, including lighting), you might stand a shot of being recognized for SOMETHING, no matter how trivial.

Buy a light meter. Forget your camera's auto features. Cinematographers don't need automatic features, that is why they are cinematographers. If you want to be taken seriously as a cinematographer/photographer, as with anything else, KNOW YOUR CRAFT. This isn't an easy task, but nothing in life worth having is.
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 04:47 AM

Greetings,

I just got back 2 rolls of 64t, I shot outside, which were horribly under-exposed. I shot closer to dusk than I wanted to, and as I am shooting on a 514 Canon, I was under the impression that I should stop down by a couple of f-stops to compensate for the over-exposure I've experienced in the past with Ektachrome 64T.

Now, I have decided to re-shoot the outdoor scene with Velvia 50D. I do not have an external filter, nor am I able to get one in the size I need (47). I also do not have a light meter (I'm trying to find one that is less than 100.00) so I will be relying on the internal light meter and adjusting the f-stops.

Does anyone have any recommendations for me?

Is Velvia 50 suited to outdoor shooting on this particular camera? Should I shoot on auto or risk manual?

Thank you for your help,

~Sarah


You probably overexposed the Ektachrome 64T not because the meter misread the film speed, but because you probably shot in very bright daylight and the meter could not stop down enough or accurately enough. That scenario is completely different from shooting at dusk.

I wish you would have mentioned actual f-stop numbers that were involved in the events that you described above.
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#6 Sarah Naomi Campbell

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 01:38 PM

Whatever camera you are using should read it as 40ASA (you don't need a filter, and disable the internal one) If you have manual exposure, subtract 1/3rd stop from your internal metering. It's not much, but gives a slightly denser picture, the colors pop out more.



Thank you for the feedback; part of the learning curve for me is the transition both from 35mm still photography to super 8mm, and from Kodachrome 40 to 64t. When shooting still photography, I've never used a light meter before, but have always shot manually, relying on the internal light meter.

This is an entirely new ballgame, gents!

There are so many variables to consider, not the least of which is the challenge of shooting on a camera which doesn't recognize the ASA of the film!

An aside: why would any camera manufacture create this scenario? A better question would be, why would Kodak create 64T when so many cameras do not recognize the ASA?

I do hope that the Velvia 50D is recognized by the camera, and if not, the difference between 40 and 50 can be compensated for by adjusting the f-stop.

Unfortunately, I do not have a manual for this camera...Anyone out there with one willing to share?

By the way, what would you recommend in this instance? Ie. How should I compensate for the discrepancy between 40, the asa my camera will recognize, and Velvia 50?

Many thanks,

~Sarah
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#7 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 03:12 PM

By the way, what would you recommend in this instance? Ie. How should I compensate for the discrepancy between 40, the asa my camera will recognize, and Velvia 50?


50asa is 10 more than 40asa so this would a 1/4 stop, as mentioned by anthony around 1/3 stop might give denser colors, but I'd rather underexpose even a little more, I saw some velvia footage with blown out highlights and anyway I like the look of underexposed colorreversal...

If you use a external lightmeter be aware of the shutterangle of your camera; XL-Cameras have usualy around 220 degrees, and the lightloss by the prismesystem for reflexviewfinder... usualy 1/4 stop

But in the end shooting tests is the best thing to know how to expose a specific stock...

cheers bernhard
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#8 Sean McHenry

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 10:24 PM

Somnething I have always wondered is this, If i drop in a cart of ASA 50 film but my camera doesn't recognize the nothcehs as 50, how do I know it won't read it as ASA 250? Just because 50 is just bit over 40 doesn't mean it's actually being recognized as the nearest ASA does it?

Not knowing how the notches work, I am unsure.

Sean
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#9 Scott Bullock

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 11:42 PM

Sarah, Sean:

Check out this site: Super 8 Wiki. It is filled with a ton of good information.

As for camera manuals, check out this site: Craig Camera. This site has literally thousands of camera manuals and they ship super fast.

Good luck, and have fun with all of your cinematic endeavors.
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#10 Fernando Morales

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 05:54 AM

Hi, Sarah and welcome aboard

You said that E64T was UNDEREXPOSED in your Canon 514 (sound or non sound?, I have the non sound one), that's why this camera particularly takes this film as if it was 160 ASA, thus you would have to open the diaphragm 1 and 2/3 stops in order to get the right exposure. Results may vary. Here's an interesting article regarding this matter:

http://super8wiki.co..._in_old_cameras

Never tried velvia 50d, some cinematographers swear it's better to overexpose it a little bit taking advantadge of that most cameras read it as 40ASA.

As for the lightmeter, go for and external incident. You can find cheap sekonic L28C or similiar on ebay. I use this one and I bought it for $25 including shipping. Great for learning calculating shutter speeds.

Best regards,

Morales
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#11 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:03 AM

Never tried velvia 50d, some cinematographers swear it's better to overexpose it a little bit taking advantadge of that most cameras read it as 40ASA.

I've heard rumors that it's actually a 40ASA film, but rating it at 50ASA gives better density. Anyway, I have made shots where I forgot to compensate (over 1/3rd) and they looked fine, but going -1/3rd gives a richer image. With reversal, slight underexposure is what you want... to increase density and make the colors pop more. As far as the 50D cartridge notch, I believe it's notched for 40ASA (there is no S8 camera that meters 50ASA)
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#12 Sarah Naomi Campbell

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:59 AM

[quote name='Fernando Morales' date='Oct 22 2006, 03:54 AM' post='133952']
Hi, Sarah and welcome aboard

You said that E64T was UNDEREXPOSED in your Canon 514 (sound or non sound?, I have the non sound one), that's why this camera particularly takes this film as if it was 160 ASA, thus you would have to open the diaphragm 1 and 2/3 stops in order to get the right exposure. Results may vary. Here's an interesting article regarding this matter:

http://super8wiki.co..._in_old_cameras

Never tried velvia 50d, some cinematographers swear it's better to overexpose it a little bit taking advantadge of that most cameras read it as 40ASA."


Thanks for the feedback..

According to a few websites, my camera (Canon 518 SV Auto Zoom) can indeed register the ASA of 64T correctly. Looking back, the issue was that I shot closer to dusk than I wanted to outside, and thought I should close down the f-stop by 2 in order to compensate for 64t. This is advice I'd been given by other forums..

In any event, I now realize that it is much easier to adjust an over-exposed image in post-production than an under-exposed one..

Still learning on this camera! Just bought it a few weeks ago and have shot 2 rolls of the 64T, 2 rolls of velvia and 2 rolls of Tri-X. Waiting to get the Velvia and Tri-X back..

I thank each one of you for your thoughtful replies...

Cheerio and good luck with your projects!

I will let you know how the Velvia turns out..

~Sarah
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#13 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 01:56 PM

I'm disappointed at the way the originator of this topic is phrasing not only their questions, but then when they think they have solved their own problem they've actually put forth new, incorrect information.

I doubt you correctly comprehended whatever advice you claim was incorrectly given to you from "another forum".
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#14 Sarah Naomi Campbell

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 05:22 PM

I'm disappointed at the way the originator of this topic is phrasing not only their questions, but then when they think they have solved their own problem they've actually put forth new, incorrect information.

I doubt you correctly comprehended whatever advice you claim was incorrectly given to you from "another forum".


Thank you for the feedback. It can be difficult for a beginner when conflicting advice is given. Actually, the best advice I would give anyone including myself is simply this:

Use a light meter. Know your camera. Experiment.

Having said that, the mercurial aspect of super 8 filmmaking is part of its charm, wouldn't you agree?

Good luck with your future projects, and again, thanks for taking the time to add your comments.
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#15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:11 PM

Thank you for the feedback. It can be difficult for a beginner when conflicting advice is given. Actually, the best advice I would give anyone including myself is simply this:

Use a light meter. Know your camera. Experiment.

Having said that, the mercurial aspect of super 8 filmmaking is part of its charm, wouldn't you agree?

Good luck with your future projects, and again, thanks for taking the time to add your comments.



There's nothing wrong with using the automatic camera light meter as long as... one logs what f-stop the super-8 camera selected for each shot and then one evaluates the results after the film has been processed.

By incorrectly overriding the automatic meter you underexposed the film and you didn't learn what the camera metering system is capable of metering correctly and what situations it won't meter correctly in.
The reason this is useful to know is because if you ever get into a run and gun situation with your Super-8 camera you can do quick exposure checks by first metering with the internal meter than adjusting from that adjustment based on the type of lighting conditions that you are filming in and your experiences from prior shoots.
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#16 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 11:14 PM

There's nothing wrong with using the automatic camera light meter as long as... one logs what f-stop the super-8 camera selected for each shot and then one evaluates the results after the film has been processed.

By incorrectly overriding the automatic meter you underexposed the film and you didn't learn what the camera metering system is capable of metering correctly and what situations it won't meter correctly in.



Not trying to be a pain in your ass, Alessandro but not everyone would agree with this way of thinking about exposure. One of the aspects of my education in cinematography that I value the most today, was the repeated emphasis on the idea that there is no such thing as a "correct" exposure. What matters is that the exposure meets your aesthetic goals for the shot.

Granted for a new filmmaker that goal may very well be to get an image on the film at what would be considered a "normal" exposure, but I think a new shooter can get past that phase in a few rolls. How we choose to represent the tonal range of the image is such an important tool that I hope that everyone who chooses to expose film would want to explore this tool to the fullest extent they can, take the bull by the horns and do some learning, expose the same shot different ways, light the same subject different ways and discover their own prefrences, what has aesthetic impact and what doesn't it. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
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#17 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 03:40 AM

Not trying to be a pain in your ass, Alessandro but not everyone would agree with this way of thinking about exposure. One of the aspects of my education in cinematography that I value the most today, was the repeated emphasis on the idea that there is no such thing as a "correct" exposure. What matters is that the exposure meets your aesthetic goals for the shot.

Granted for a new filmmaker that goal may very well be to get an image on the film at what would be considered a "normal" exposure, but I think a new shooter can get past that phase in a few rolls. How we choose to represent the tonal range of the image is such an important tool that I hope that everyone who chooses to expose film would want to explore this tool to the fullest extent they can, take the bull by the horns and do some learning, expose the same shot different ways, light the same subject different ways and discover their own prefrences, what has aesthetic impact and what doesn't it. Anyway, just my 2 cents.



My previous comment was based on Sarah stating it was one of the first times shooting super-8 and she underexposed. I don't see the value in making wild guesses so early on before first learning what the camera's automatic meter has to offer. Once one knows how much the camera's auto exposure can assist one towards a "normal exposure" in varying situations, then one can begin to stray from this starting point in whatever direction they deem necessary.
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#18 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 06:06 AM

Maybe this is a little off-topic but I like to share this experience:

Going for telecine I found that colorreversal tends to be better a little underexposed to be save from blown out highlights. For B/W (reversal) it seemed to be the opositte, Tri-X had way less grain and looked sharper overexposed, even if the highlights looked blown out at first view I was still able to get detail in highlights and good blacks in telecine and colorcorrection...

cheers, bernhard
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#19 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 02:36 PM

I don't see the value in making wild guesses so early


no one is advocating for guessing.

. . . first learning what the camera's automatic meter has to offer. Once one knows how much the camera's auto exposure can assist one towards a "normal exposure" in varying situations, then one can begin to stray from this starting point in whatever direction they deem necessary.


But this is exactly why I posted what I did. Sara should not think that its a given that using the camera's auto exposure is the best starting point. That is a matter of personal opinion. Its one way to start but not the only way, or necessairly the best way.
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#20 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 11:12 AM

Sara should not think that its a given that using the camera's auto exposure is the best starting point.


Using the cameras lightmeter, but NOT in auto-mode can be a good solution. Once you know how the light-meter in your camera reacts(if it does only center, average etc..), you can start using it quiet precise, NOT in auto-mode but as some kind of spot-meter, if you know what the camera suggests and you see what's in the frame (even light, strong backlight, white shiny objects etc..) you'll be able find your F-stop without external light-meter...after a few rolls I was able to use my S8 in a intuitive way and had very predictable results using the cameras light-meter...
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