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Lighting in HD


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#1 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 11:26 PM

...this is an open ended question as I am about to write an article on lighting for HD.

The general topic is: Where did the myth that less light is needed on a HD production (compared to film) arise?
If HD cameras possess a higher sensitivity to light, could this be the reason why it is believed?

I want to then discuss how this myth is insanity. How HD doesn't have the latitude (akin to transparency) so it really does comes down to the craft, the lighting, the contrast ratio, the gradient filters, paying attn to bright sources etc...

By no means does HD equate to "less lighting", or "less attn to lighting is required" - one actually needs to pay more attn to lighting and light in a different way for a different format because of the added detail, depth of field issues etc...

Excuse the cursory description here as I am looking for your thoughts on lighting in HD. Thanks in advance for any nuggets of information, general comments and experiences on this subject...

Edited by Simon Wakelin, 14 March 2007 - 11:27 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 04:04 AM

You can read the silly arguments I get into with the anti-film types here regarding the issue of sensitivity:

http://www.dv-forums...hread.php?t=544

One person can't separate the issues of depth of field versus sensitivity, nor the difference between grain versus noise.

On a personal note, on average I use lower levels when shooting in HD versus 35mm simply because of the f-stop I feel comfortable shooting at. Generally with HD, I try and shot near wide-open on the lenses, which is around T/2.1 or some of the zooms, to reduce depth of field. With 35mm, I've been aiming for T/4 in anamorphic and T/2.8 in spherical. Obviously with a 35mm-sized sensor digital camera, I'd be aiming for a similar f-stop / depth-of-field range as with 35mm. Conversely, if I were shooting in Super-16, I may be aiming for similar f-stop / depth-of-field range as with 2/3" HD.

But for day interiors, I actually try and keep the level higher because I don't want to have to cover the windows with ND gel unless I have to, so lighting a location to a higher level keeps it balanced more with the exterior. Then with HD, I use ND filters to be able to shoot at a wider-open stop.

In terms of care of lighting, time to light, HD doesn't take less time or care. And yes, you may occasionally spend more time balancing to something bright in the frame, or knocking down that bright thing. On the other hand, occasionally you see something on an HD monitor and think "it looks perfect, let's shoot" because you've gained some confidence by seeing the image -- sometimes with film, you take the time to light areas in the background "just in case" it will go too dark, playing it safe. But that says more about my lack of confidence than any difference between film and digital.
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#3 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 06:19 PM

thanks David - just got off the phone with Paul Cameron who came up with some interesting stuff. He's totally down with the Genesis. I'll update you on the article, if interested, when I'm done...
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 06:34 PM

thanks David - just got off the phone with Paul Cameron who came up with some interesting stuff. He's totally down with the Genesis. I'll update you on the article, if interested, when I'm done...


What do you mean by "down with the Genesis"?
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#5 Lance Flores

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 11:23 PM

What do you mean by "down with the Genesis"?


Maybe it's kinda like being down with the flu, buy another 10TB of storage and call me in the morning, thing.

Sorry, I'm tired gotta be up late with E.P. in London and another in L.A., London' about to get for a meeting in an hour or so. :wacko:
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#6 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:49 PM

What do you mean by "down with the Genesis"?


...essentially slang David, sorry if I was not clear. Basically he is extremely happy with the Genesis system after using other cameras... thus "down" with it... he sees it as the best option currently out there. Of course it's all subjective, especially as each camera records the exact scene in its own unique way... also with The Red threatening to shake up the whole industry it's interesting. People I have spoken to say it's the real deal. Hopefully there will be a unit at NAB. Of course there is the Arri D20 with a CMOS sensor which is interesting to me, while the Red people built their own sensor ?!?! (which is amazing/insane to me!)

Any thoughts on the future David? ...we're certainly in a confusing era with the general consensus being we're moving away from video as a capture medium to other forms of capture (such as the Panasonic P2 HD system that just documented the Iditarod race in the Arctic, handling temperatures and wind chill below minus 40 with no loss of data... tape would just get stuck to the heads in previous years using BetaSP... and the raw capture of Zodiac at 4:4:4 etc...)

know of any other solid forms of capture?

Cheers
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 04:17 PM

You can read the silly arguments I get into with the anti-film types here regarding the issue of sensitivity:

http://www.dv-forums...hread.php?t=544


Ha, I read the thread and that Limo guy was a bit like a 'Digital Santo.'
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 06:10 PM

Any thoughts on the future David? ...we're certainly in a confusing era with the general consensus being we're moving away from video as a capture medium to other forms of capture (such as the Panasonic P2 HD system that just documented the Iditarod race in the Arctic, handling temperatures and wind chill below minus 40 with no loss of data... tape would just get stuck to the heads in previous years using BetaSP... and the raw capture of Zodiac at 4:4:4 etc...)

know of any other solid forms of capture?


Besides film? ;)

What I'm hoping for is larger-capacity (but physically small) flash memory type units like the new P2 cards, the Venom, etc. -- or better RAM's -- to free digital cameras of being tied to external data recorders, but something with an hour capacity at 2K (which unfortunately would only be 15 minutes at 4K) let's say, in order to keep people happy who are just now getting used to HDCAM tape recording lengths. Even though in film we're used to 10 minute film loads, I don't think we need to keep that standard if at all possible to improve recording times.

Otherwise, I suppose a 4K camera with no noise at 1000 ASA and a wide exposure latitude and rich colors would be a good starting point. That can go at least up to 100 fps.

As far as the Genesis / F23 cameras, I wish Sony had made a half-sized HDCAM-SR cassette and portable deck attachment for when you want to make the camera smaller physically. Or a flash memory attachment that is smaller than the SR deck.
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#9 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:05 PM

Besides film? ;)

What I'm hoping for is larger-capacity (but physically small) flash memory type units like the new P2 cards, the Venom, etc. --


Hmmm, what is the Venom?
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:08 PM

http://www.thomsongr.../cameras/venom/
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#11 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 07:12 PM

http://www.thomsongr.../cameras/venom/


Thx Michael - do you, per chance, have any links to the topic of shading? I am scribing about lens design in HD cameras, MTF, floating elements etc... and from my basic understanding of shading I think I'll need to cover it... any thoughts on this? Sorry to be vague, out the door and hoping to r/s this tomorrow... cheers
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#12 Mark Henderson

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 09:59 PM

I find that HD might take slightly less footcandles than film, but I usually use more instruments to light HD. I have to make sure the subtle tones in the blacks and/or dark areas are brought out and that the white and/or light areas aren't washed out.
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