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16x9 Question for Tim Carroll


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#1 Shane Bartlett

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:05 AM

I've posted this here, rather than privately, for archival purposes: surely, one day someone will be in my situation and need an answer.

Tim, you gave me very helpful info some time ago about taping off the ground glass in order to shoot 16x9. I would like to ask a few more questions.

I am DoP for a student film next month. It is a long, long, frustrating story, but suffice to say that I have to shoot the bulk of the project with an HVX and redrock kit with nikon lenses at 16x9. However, we also have to shoot one standalone scene on 16mm, with an Arri SRII, at 4:3 (I know, I know--it wasn't my decision; we were supposed to shoot entirely on film). I am very clear regarding your instructions for taping the glass. However, not so clear on the scanning to a final 16x9. Is this something that can be done at telecine?

I also read on your site that, because of grain, one should shoot the slowest stock possible. Makes sense. The scene I am shooting is a very dark club scene, with mirrorballs and a good many little lights with various colored gels (director wants to preserve the natural look of the location). I had planned to shoot Expression 500T (7229), which I've heard is a little softer and might cut a little better with the redrocked HVX footage. But if going to 16x9 will effectively make that look like an ASA 1000 stock, would I be better off with the Vision2 500T 7218? Or will a 500 just look too terrible for our mixed situation? How bad is the grain after going to 16x9? Do you have any motion clips?

It seems that I am much better off going with 200T, but I don't know if that is fast enough . I'll be going back to the location tonight to take footcandle readings, etc, to determine if I can get by with 200T, but for now it looks like 500T (unless we can find a few rolls of 320).

Thanks for any advice you can give.

Suffering headaches. . . .(and I STILL don't know how we'll fare with pulling focus on the redrock: director wants a constantly moving camera)

--Shane
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:59 AM

Shane,

In your position I would Test, Test, Test. I am not sure how any of the film footage is going to cut with the HVX. You need to shoot and test that. Naturally 500 speed Kodak is going to be grainier than 200 speed. But again, I am not sure how any of it is going to cut with an HVX. The film has so much more latitude and the HVX is naturally not going to have any grain at all. Not sure they are going to work well together.

Where are you getting the SRII from? If it is a rental, could you just as easily rent a Super 16 SRII? Shooting Super 16 and outputting to 16x9 with 500T is going to give you similar grain as shooting Regular 16 and outputting to 16x9 with 200T.

As far as the telecine, you have them output the footage as 16x9 squeezed anamorphic.

Hope that helps,
-Tim
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#3 Shane Bartlett

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 02:41 PM

Yeah, I was afraid of how well the two would cut together, for sure. I have already scheduled a test for next weekend, so we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for the telecine info--exactly what I needed.

The SRII is a freebie. Director doesn't have the budget for a rental, unfortunately. Sigh.

Thanks!

--S
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#4 Robert Hughes

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 04:20 PM

Recently I've seen films and videos where the frame dimensions are intentionally changed as part of the aesthetic structure of the work. Nothing says you have to stay in 4:3 or 16:9 through the whole film if you pay attention to it.
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#5 Toby Orzano

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 12:41 PM

Just out of curiosity, is there a good reason why this one scene has to be shot on film rather than staying with the HVX? If it is for aesthetic reasons, does the footage really have to match? If it's not for aesthetic reasons I don't see why it can't just be shot with the HVX.

I have one experience with shooting vision2 500T for HD transfer and the results were very grainy. It definitely wouldn't match with HVX footage. There may have been some variables that exaggerated the grain, but I still don't think in most cases it will work. As stated, testing under your specific conditions is the only way to tell.

Also, could you forward the information Tim gave you on masking the glass for framing for widescreen with an SR2. I am going to do this for a short I'm shooting and I'd like to hear what he says.

Thanks and best wishes on this project.

Edited by Toby Orzano, 16 September 2007 - 12:42 PM.

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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 01:44 PM

Toby,

You do it similar to the way you tape off the ground glass for the Arriflex 16S or 16M.

http://www.arri16s.com/Shoot169.htm

With the SR2, you frame a 16:9 image, remove the fibre optics screen, carefully tape the top and bottom edges with the Scotch magic tape, and re-insert the fibre optics screen and check your frame lines. If it is not good, you repeat the process. Be careful as the fibre optics screens are very fragile. When you are done with the shoot, remove the tape, and if there is any residue on the fibre optics screen, use a fresh piece of tape to remove it.

Hope that helps,
-Tim
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#7 Shane Bartlett

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 04:39 PM

Thanks for answering that one again, Tim.

Toby: It's a student project. When I signed on to DoP, it was supposed to be shot entirely on film for the director's production class. Director decided he didn't want to sink that much money into the script, and pushed to shoot on HDV, which in his situation is ridiculously affordable. The production instructor said that he could shoot HDV, but that since it was a film class, he should shoot at least one scene on film and experience the workflow. And so it is. We both felt that the scene in question would be the best bet, as it is a standalone scene at a different time of day, and with a completely different look.

Robert: Given that it is a new scene, I thought about shooting it 4:3, but could find nothing in the story that would support a change in the frame size. So it has to be 16x9 all the way.

However, after taking some readings and making some calculations, I was happy to discover that I can get by with 100T (any slower is pushing it; this is a very dark club scene). So, on Thursday I'll be shooting a test with 7212. I will try overexposing to further tighten the grain of an already fine-grained stock. I also plan to make it appear sharper through contrasty lighting. I can only hope to get it to match reasonably well with the HVX/Redrock footage. We'll see next week at telecine.

--S
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#8 Toby Orzano

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:21 PM

Tim, thanks alot for the information on masking the glass.

Shane, I feared that would be the case, but being a student myself I understand completely. I'm just thinking that if you have to shoot film just to learn the workflow, then it might be best for the movie in question to shoot it all on HD and then just do a completely seperate exercise on a roll of film. If well-planned and rehearsed, it's not inconceivable to get a tight 3-4 minute short out of one 400' roll of 16. But alas, you'll have to do what you must to satisfy the class requirements.
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