Hey everyone. I was shooting a student film this weekend, on the arrisr2, super 16, 1.85:1 ground glass, Zeiss primes T1.3. We were shooting outside on Sunday and it was a very cloudy day. The sun was setting at 4:30 and we had about 3 shots left at 3:30. At that time we had to load another roll of film, but our mag was having a bunch of complications, which we assumed was due to the cold weather it was under. We spent the next hour trying to fix the problem, and by the time we got to shooting, I was reading nothing on my light meter. I was shooting Kodak Vision 2 250D. By eye, there was still light, so I shot it open and have asked to push it 2 stops. My question is how considerable the grain will be after doing that. We are doing a supervised transfer and hoping to match it with the shots prior to the incident. Will it be possible to accomplish this or will the grain be too considerable. Thank you beforehand.
16mm film that's gone through a 2 stop push will show increased grain, but it's how much further underexposed the image may be that will determine your final results. If you were guessing at exposure, there's really know way to know what density and grain you'll end up with until you see it.
Since you got no reading on your meter, we don't know how many stops under you actually were. But on your report, it was after sunset on a cloudy day, so I guess it was fairly dark.
So it's impossible to say how grainy and flat your images will be.
You will be the best person to answer that when you go into your supervised transfer. As you've already shot it and ordered a 2-stop push, here isn't much you can do until then anyway.
But I doubt if you will be able to get a perfect match with the correctly exposed material. You'll see more grain if you lift the mid-tones to match the other shots - and you'll find the shadows have nothing in them.
The more you push it, the more you "bake in" or develop the grain. A one stop push would reduce that. But since the image is underexposed, you'll still see added grain when you bring it up in transfer. It's hard to say what balance of pushing and transfer-gain will give you the best results, since you don't really know how much the image is underexposed.
If you're finishing on video only, then you can use grain reduction in the telecine for the pushed footage to better match the normally processed stuff. So perhaps its better then to err on the side of a denser neg, pushing two stops instead of one, since then you won't have to lift the mids as much to match. I wouldn't count on it matching perfectly, though. You don't really want to be more than one stop underexposed density-wise if you want things to match. So if you were three stops under, it's better to push two stops and be one under going into telecine.
For next time, if you have a newer digital incident meter, you can usually trick the meter into giving you a reading by increasing the ASA. For example, if you're getting an "E.U." at 250 ASA, set the meter to 1000 ASA, or two stops faster. If it reads, say, "f/1", then you count down two stops to "f/0.5". That's your normal exposure. So if you're shooting wide open at T1.3, then you know you're three stops under.
It is important to remember that pushing film technically does not make the film faster. It just increases the contrast which can make the image appear brighter, but it does very little to the toe of the curve. Pushing two stops will change the look of your image and probably make it hard to match. Since you are not sure how underexposed the image is, it seams risky to apply such a drastic post process. It could be too much or not enough or just right, but who knows.
One thing you might want to try if you have time before development is if you can go to the location and take another reading at the same time you did while shooting. Hopefully the weather conditions are the same. If the light meter gives you an error message, keep doubling your ASA until you get a reading like Satsuki said. If your lightmeter can read footcandles, use those for low light and in really low light, if your meter has it, on the rare occasion you might want to use lux (approx. 1/10 of a footcandle). With 250D you need 10 footcandles to get a 1.4. A stop less would be 5 footcandles and so on. Anyway this reading that you get at the location could give you a very loose approximation for how you did with exposure.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do and how it turns out.
in my experience with underexposed 16mm (beyond f-stop capabilities of the camera or light readings in the dark) 9 times out of 10 you're crushing the
curve so bad that even if you did push it up to a workable level...you've already lost all color and clarity in your image that you will be
disappointed and will find it really hard to match the other footage regardless...because like the previous post said...and I agree with:
it does more to it than just less light...it actually gives you a different looking image too.
what I would have done in your situation (right when you noticed that your meter wasn't reading) is shoot that scene the next day when you're
ready and you KNOW what the result will be.
also, the fact that you mentioned 250D even tells me that you're bottom end with that (especially at sundown, with no meter reading) will be
beyond what 250D can even handle...I'm guessing you were right about 2 stops short if your camera was at 2.2. And....being 2 stops short when
it dark is totally different than being 2 stops short in bright daylight.
maybe with 500 speed you could've had a chance, but I personally think it's pretty bleek to expect
happy results. But you never know...I could be wrong. good luck! :-)
So at the very end, I decided to push it only one stop. And after doing the supervised transfer was very happy with the results. The colors matched very nicely, we were able to boost light into the sky a bit to match, and overall its almost seamless matching wise. The Vision TWO stock has fantastic latitude, and was pleasantly suprised by the small amount of grain that was present in final image after pushing it. Can't wait to try out the Vision 3 that just came out. Thanks for all the suggestions again guys.