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Shutter Speed for Motion Blur? Night Time Photography


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#1 Devon Green

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 06:43 PM

I am going to be shooting some night time scenes with very slow shutter speeds and I need to have a good ahead of time what the affect would be. I will be using Vision 2 500ASA Super16mm film.

The first subject I will be shooting will be night time cityscapes and skyscrapers with available lighting. From researching suggested exposure settings for still photography, seems I should be able to get a correct exposure at about F 1.3 with a Zeiss Superspeed with shooting 5fps.

Here?s the question: if I start panning/tilting around will I get overly noticeable blur? If so, about at what point (FPS) would that blur begin to happen? I want these shots to be solid, so if for instance, I need to shoot at 10fps and push the film 1 stop, I'd do that.

I also wanted to shoot traffic trails which obviously includes motion blur. I?ve seen this a lot in still photography, but cannot remember seeing it does with motion picture film. What shutter speed would give that affect?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 07:16 PM

You'll simply have to test it for yourself. Regardless of shutterspeed, the faster something moves (including the camera), the more it will blur. So it's all relative.

You don't say how you're going to transfer the film -- are you going to transfer or "step-print" at 5fps, or run it at 24? Because at 24fps, the speed change of 5fps will be far more noticeable than the motion blur per frame.

You can preview things like taillight blur by shooting a similar shutterspeed with a still camera.

I suspect you'd have a hard time doing any smooth camera movement at 5 fps without the added steadiness of a geared head.

I don't think you need 5fps at T1.3 with 500 ASA film, though. 12fps should be plenty for a "normal" looking exposure. If you want the 5fps motion blur but normal exposure, you'll probably want to close down a bit from 1.3.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=21258
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#3 Nick Mulder

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 08:50 PM

I also wanted to shoot traffic trails which obviously includes motion blur. I?ve seen this a lot in still photography, but cannot remember seeing it does with motion picture film. What shutter speed would give that affect?


Well, just have a think about it - how long is your shutter open for and how long will a cars headlight travel in the frame for that same period ? -

With a wide lens you need quite long exposures to get a headlight trail - thing is you aren't going to see the car in frame for longer than 1 frame unless the angle of view can hold the car in frame for at least 3 'exposure times' - shutter open, shutter closed, shutter open - (assuming a 180deg shutter angle that is) - and then its only going to be in shot for 2 frames (with a gap in the light when the shutter was closed)...

The only way I've figured around it is to have many cameras shooting through the same lens - each frame offset by the film speed you want, but shooting the long exposure you want ...

The amount of cameras you'll need = the long exposure divided by the short (or two times the short if you dont mind the 'missing' 180deg shutter angle part)

its probably moot as you only have one camera...
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 09:32 PM

I agree with Michael that is all relative and that you'll have to do a test.

JFK shot by Richardson had all sorts of off speed filming for flashback sequences. They experimented with all:35 16 and super 8, black and white, color and various shooting speeds. I believe they step printed for 24 frame projection. Perhaps you can check it out for an idea.

Perhaps someone has an old issue of the American Cinematographer story.
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