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Using Polariods for Exposure/Color Temp Check


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#1 Scott Willis

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 04:15 PM

i've read a lot things that make comments about using polaroid positive film to do a rough check of the exposure levels and the color balance between various lighting sources. etc etc. sounds like a great idea.

but i haven't been able to find anything yet that explains the workflow/process for actually do this.

anyone know where i can find information on this (either in print or online).

any help would be much appreciated.
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#2 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 05:36 PM

I used to do this quite a bit with an old Polaroid 110B converted to pack film-very nice camera by the way.
Couple of problems:
1) The prohibitive cost of Polaroid film roughly 1.25 per shot and it adds up!
2) Since colour stocks are daylight balanced and rated at 80 ASA (more like 64 or 50 depending) with the 80A filter almost 2 stops are lost.
Do the math and you'll see that a tripod is almost always necessary. Especially at light levels necessary for working with todays faster film emulsions. Not to mention the colour shifts from reciprocity at these slow exposures.
3) The sensitometry of these colour films changes depending on production batch and ambient temperature - very fiddly with lots of wasted film.
4) Development takes 2 minutes or more in cold temperatures - lots of time spent there!
5) Newly developed prints have a very fragile surface because before they dry - fiddly on-set maintenance.

But if you can work around these problems they are cool!
DP's are using digital cameras for this purpose these days.

As a final note the 667, 3000 ASA black and white print film is really amazing.
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#3 John Brawley

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 08:06 PM

i've read a lot things that make comments about using polaroid positive film to do a rough check of the exposure levels and the color balance between various lighting sources. etc etc. sounds like a great idea.

but i haven't been able to find anything yet that explains the workflow/process for actually do this.

anyone know where i can find information on this (either in print or online).

any help would be much appreciated.



Hi Scott.

There are a few ways to go about it. I have a Polaroid 600SE. There are also the 110B's which have been mentioned. You want a Polaroid you can control the exposure with and there aren't that many that do.


There are several stocks, but the main problem is that the colour stocks (also available from fuji FYI) are usualy only 80 or 100 speed. The fastest my lens will open up to id 5.6 so it's a bit difficult. Polaroid make a fantastic 3000asa speed film which is great if you're shooting 500, but it's black and white. great for lighting ratios....not for colour temp.

These days though I use a Digital camera, and have a kodak dye sublimation printer that churns out a terrrific photos within a few minutes

I cant tell you how usefull it is to have an ACTUAL print that you hold in your hand. They really help get everyone excited and I'm always having to give them to directors who want to keep them !

Anyone want to buy my Polaroid 600 SE ?

jb
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#4 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 08:24 PM

These days though I use a Digital camera, and have a kodak dye sublimation printer that churns out a terrrific photos within a few minutes


Hi John,

Ive worked with lots of people that are fond of "cheater meters" but I haven't seen this kodak dye printer. Is it like a little portable digital stills printer with some sort of plug in for the kodak look up system? Do you run them through a laptop first? A little off topic but how do you find time on set for this type of thing?

Sasha
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#5 John Brawley

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 08:55 PM

Hi John,

Ive worked with lots of people that are fond of "cheater meters" but I haven't seen this kodak dye printer. Is it like a little portable digital stills printer with some sort of plug in for the kodak look up system? Do you run them through a laptop first? A little off topic but how do you find time on set for this type of thing?

Sasha



Hi Sasha.

This is the printer that I use....

http://www.kodak.com...pq-locale=en_US


What's a cheater meter ? Using a DSLR you mean ?

I find the KLMS software to be pretty much unusable. It runs like a dog on MAC's anyway. I use Adobe Lightroom and have a few templates loaded depending on if I'm shooting daylight or tungsten. It's great too because you can easily batch process the images and apply crops so they pretty closely match the framing. I often batch process some lower res version that I then upload to flickr.

Here's a short that I did recently
http://www.flickr.co...57601697928169/

I usually get a trainee or an intern to process the photos and to draw lighting lots of all my setups. I take a still just before shooting each setup and hand the camera over . I can usually have a print just before I'm rolling for the shot. If I'm really desperate I can just use the screen on the back of the camera.

jb
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#6 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 09:44 PM

Hi John,

No offense intended,"Cheater Meters" are what some dps jokingly call DSLRs in Melbourne; affectionately. Looks like a good system. There's something far more tangible about having prints rather than dealing with the back of the camera. I guess the only problem being that you might have to break for the photo paper. With one of those new wifi sd cards you could send shots directly to the printer and spare the intern. Short looks good by the way.
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#7 John Brawley

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 10:58 PM

Hi John,

No offense intended,"Cheater Meters" are what some dps jokingly call DSLRs in Melbourne; affectionately. Looks like a good system. There's something far more tangible about having prints rather than dealing with the back of the camera. I guess the only problem being that you might have to break for the photo paper. With one of those new wifi sd cards you could send shots directly to the printer and spare the intern. Short looks good by the way.


Hi again Sacha.

I know some DP's who don't even use a lightmeter anymore so it works for some. The printer I linked to you has a bluethooth capability. There aren't many wireless cameras around right now in terms of WiFi, but i would prefer to go through a computer anyway, because I need to tweak the look anyways, rather than simply print what comes out of the camera raw.

And i actually think it's a great role for an intern or volunteer. They get to be hands on and really see the look developing. They all seem to like it so far ! The printer only takes about 60 seconds to print. When i get to a location the intern sets up my laptop and printer and it doesn't take long at all to do.

jb
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#8 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:10 AM

Oh sorry, I was cross referencing without actually posting a link.
http://www.engadget....nally-shipping/
these things and future iterations into compact flash, micro sd etc. Similar intern roles turn up down here from time to time on some of the big american productions as they pass through. Good opportunity to work with the image and dop directly, much better access than working as a loader in some ways, but then I guess a loader isn't really there to learn (and is being paid).
Yeah Ive always thought it was a great tool. The best aspect being its ability to help communicate ideas as words are so often lacking. It almost seems like a standard bit of kit these days but I hadn't seen or thought of having a printer on set aswell. Have you had a look at speedgrade? I must admit I haven't heard of that Adobe software, Ill have a look on their website. Sounds very streamlined and practical. Impressed.
I wonder if some sort of split could be developed with a piggy backed stills camera which compensated for the light loss and effect of the groundglass. Not that cameras aren't heavy enough already.
Thanks for the info.
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