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Learning about film with a still cam


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#1 Spencer Stewart

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 01:08 AM

Hi,

I was curious what you all of your opinions are about learning the concepts of film on a still camera. Techniques I would really like to learn off it are the types and thickness of film (ex. ISO #s and etc.), as well maybe using a light meter with it.

Would using a still camera be a valid means of learning the basic concepts of filming motion pictures?

Thanks a lot for your advice,

Spencer Stewart

Edited by Spencer Stewart, 30 July 2007 - 01:09 AM.

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#2 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 02:38 AM

It's a great way of learning composition, exposure, and lighting. Try shooting everything in manual mode with the shutter set at 1/50th of a second (to simulate 24fps at 180° shutter). You might also want to try watching a movie or TV (especially a movie or show you don't know anything about) with the audio turned off and focus on the lighting and composition only. It's also a great way to see if the visuals helped tell the story.
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#3 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 12:19 PM

maybe using a light meter with it.

Would using a still camera be a valid means of learning the basic concepts of filming motion pictures?

Thanks a lot for your advice,

Spencer Stewart



Using a light meter with a still camera (manual mode) could be a good choice. You can learn how react the film to lights (day, tungsten, fluo). Try mixing lights but first learn the basic things...

i don´t think using a still camera could give you all the knowledge about filming motion pictures. I think you can learn/parctice about composition and lighning, but that all you can take advantange...

Good Luck
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#4 Spencer Stewart

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 12:44 PM

Thanks for your replies.

I do understand 3 point lighting, manipulating depth of field, simple composition, and pretty much all the basics I can do with an XL2.
What I really would like to learn about is just film itself. For example there's no white balancing, right? There's no settings for gain, there's the different types of film...

I know that recording a motion picture is a lot different than taking a still picture, but in regards to the film, are the concepts parallel between the two?

Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.

Spencer Stewart
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#5 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 02:29 PM

It will probably be very helpful but you will definitely benefit from sticking to shooting slide (reversal) film first.

This way you won't have your mistakes and experiments corrected by the printing process - what you shoot, will be what you get. Projecting those slides will give you a good grasp of the way light, exposure and latitude works.

Then latter on you can try negative stocks, which will be easier! :)
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#6 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:02 PM

For example there's no white balancing, right? There's no settings for gain, there's the different types of film...

I know that recording a motion picture is a lot different than taking a still picture, but in regards to the film, are the concepts parallel between the two?


True there is no white balance - you'll have to use color balancing filters. And no there is no gain, but there is push and pull processing.

It's all important to learn. Cinematography is like going to school, it'll all be covered in the test. The things you learn in one can in someway always be transfered to the other. I still buy and collect still photography books to see how certain effects are done. Just keep at it and you'll be surprised where it takes you. Good luck.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:40 PM

Stills are great way to learn the technical side of shooting film, and using a light meter. As noted, slides are good. If you're going to shoot negative, have the whole roll contact-printed onto a proof sheet. That way it's the same print exposure for every shot, and you can see what different exposures do. Take detailed notes for each frame you shoot, to compare to your proof sheet later.
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#8 Spencer Stewart

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 11:59 PM

Thanks a lot. I'll keep that all in mind with the camera and film. It's interesting; digital is all about the camera, film is not only about the camera but about the medium itself.
Well, I really appreciate your information. Thanks a lot.
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#9 Jason Reimer

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 01:20 PM

Thanks guys, this is a good thread. I'm going to be doing the same thing as well. One thing I've been wondering (and forgive my ignorance, as all of my experience is with video) is can you do some of the same things processing-wise that you can with motion picture film? I'm thinking of skip-bleach types of things. I guess the question is, would the bleach bypass or skip bleach process be applied to the negative directly? I imagine it's safe to assume that this would be the case with slide film. Also, do most labs that specialize in still photography even offer this? I'm not talking about Wal-Mart and drug-store labs, but labs that cater more to experienced amateurs and pros.

It seems like one of the things about still photography that would be fun is being able to be really experimental with the kinds of looks you can test, without wasting a ton of footage.
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#10 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 01:38 PM

RGB was a lab in Hollywood that would cut motion picture film stock, put it in a still photography roll and when you returned it, they'd develop it in a C-41 bath. They closed shop a few years before the digital camera onslaught. Don't know who's doing that anymore.

As far as, bleach bypass, it would be too long to write here, but you can check out this article from American Cinematographer:

http://www.theasc.co...pdujour/pg1.htm
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#11 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 01:34 AM

"Try shooting everything in manual mode with the shutter set at 1/50th of a second (to simulate 24fps at 180° shutter)."

Very good point! Though I would also recommend trying out other shutter speeds also so that you can see the varying effects on motion (fast and slow shutter speeds on moving subjects) - as there may be times with a movie camera when you are closing or opening the shutter angle. This will also help you further understand the relationship between the shutter and the aperture.

There are some good old manual 35mm SLRs on the second hand market such as the Canon AE1, Pentax K1000, Olympus Om2, Nikon FM series etc.

Edited by Patrick Cooper, 04 August 2007 - 01:36 AM.

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