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Please help end the novice confusion. (Bolex)


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#1 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:02 PM

Greetings, (1st post)

I was hoping someone could help me untangle the web of confusion I am stuck in concerning basic use of my Bolex 16mm. I know there are many basic areas I need to learn, and have read a fair amount on the net and in manuals, but feel I would benefit greatly by having someone (Or several) correct my
ill-informed step by step procedure that also has it?s own sub questions unfortunately, so that I can better localize my future questions. I know this is wrong and probably funny, but here is what misinformed instinct suggests I do:

1st-Light scene (set, area) aesthetically
2nd-Select lens (Basically wide, medium or tele) based on desired look of shot.
3rd-Position camera at angle for desired look of shot.
4th-Take meter reading at point of actor (Or from film plane?)

5th-Measure distance from film plane to: (Actor? To point between film plane and actor? From film plane to point behind actor? Can I just move the camera forward or backward until I see the focus I want through the view finder?

6th-Set DOF
7th-Do I ?Fine? tune the position of the light, actor and camera till I have the appropriate light required for proper exposure?

8th-Shoot.

Another thing in the list of many that I am confused about is the F stop/aperture charts shown on film stock data sheets for exposure. If (For example) it states 2.8-64 FC does that mean if using a 2.8 lens you need 64 foot candles or does that mean if 64 FC of light is what is present aesthetically (Or circumstantially) , then adjust ANY lens to 2.8?

Sorry for the long post. I hope my confusion makes sense to someone that can help direct me.

-Thanks-
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#2 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 12:27 PM

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

:unsure:
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 12:44 PM

OK, the bolex is a fun little camera. It's been awhile since I touched one. But here goes
You measure your light form the actor pointed at the lens of the camera if you are using an incident meter (the one with the white half circle.) you'd do the opposite with a reflective meter (without whit circle) pointed at the actor (this would be a spot meter) and adjust it's reading for the skintone (since it makes whatever you point at it mid-grey, you'd open up say 2/3ds of a stop of a caucasion or close down for a dark african Americans etc).
You measure from the focal plane to what you want in focus, normally the main actor; but it depends on what you want in focus or out of focus.
You do not set DoF, it is a result of your lens choice as well as the F stop you're shooting at and the size of the rcording medium *in this case 16mm film) (for more DOf use a wider lens or m ore light to close down, or move the camera back, focusing out further, for less, reverse that).


Moving the camera back and forth will change your shot so you generally don't' want to do that unless you can't get focus for whatever reason (i find focusing easier with the aperture wide open, and then i'll dial it back to whatever F stop it should be).

You would generally fine-tune/tweak the lights to get just the right aesthetic, or if a light is in the shot etc, or the staging doesn't work for whatever reason. Generally you'd've lit the set to your desired exposure well before now (for example if you know you want deep DoF on a telephoto lens you'd have to light the set pretty brightly in order to achieve a higher F stop. You'd first do this, consulting tables for the F stop required to get the distance of focus (say from 1 foot to infinity) desired. From there you'd set the your focus then the aperture, and then you'd tweak if say a shadow is too harsh etc. )


hope this somewhat helped!
and don't worry, i'm sure allof us have been lost at one time or another.
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#4 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 01:08 PM

Adrian,

Thank you very much!
You've taken a nice helpful slice of fight out of the confusion beast and I appreciate it.


If anyone else can throw some additional understanding my way that be great too.

Thanks all
:)
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#5 David E. McMurray

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 03:43 AM

Greetings, (1st post)

I was hoping someone could help me untangle the web of confusion I am stuck in concerning basic use of my Bolex 16mm. I know there are many basic areas I need to learn, and have read a fair amount on the net and in manuals, but feel I would benefit greatly by having someone (Or several) correct my
ill-informed step by step procedure that also has it?s own sub questions unfortunately, so that I can better localize my future questions. I know this is wrong and probably funny, but here is what misinformed instinct suggests I do:

1st-Light scene (set, area) aesthetically
2nd-Select lens (Basically wide, medium or tele) based on desired look of shot.
3rd-Position camera at angle for desired look of shot.
4th-Take meter reading at point of actor (Or from film plane?)

5th-Measure distance from film plane to: (Actor? To point between film plane and actor? From film plane to point behind actor? Can I just move the camera forward or backward until I see the focus I want through the view finder?

6th-Set DOF
7th-Do I ?Fine? tune the position of the light, actor and camera till I have the appropriate light required for proper exposure?

8th-Shoot.

Another thing in the list of many that I am confused about is the F stop/aperture charts shown on film stock data sheets for exposure. If (For example) it states 2.8-64 FC does that mean if using a 2.8 lens you need 64 foot candles or does that mean if 64 FC of light is what is present aesthetically (Or circumstantially) , then adjust ANY lens to 2.8?

Sorry for the long post. I hope my confusion makes sense to someone that can help direct me.

-Thanks-


By the Numbers:

Eventually you will not do it by the numbers. To start, close your eyes and imagine what you want your scene to look like as if budget was not an issue. As you gain experience you will find that you can get a lot closer to what you wanted than you originally thought possible. Do not limit yourself in the starting imagination process.


1st-Light scene (set, area) aesthetically

Light your master "wide shot", then shoot mediums and close-ups, Then light the Reverse Master Angle and repeat the process. That's the mechanical answer.

Aesthetically.... You have to go with what you like, that's why you start with the imagination process where you pre-visualize what you want to see. Most of us have Cinematography styles we try to emulate when we first start that inspire us. If you have the equipment, go for it. If not, pool your light with snooted light bulbs and use work lights to throw dramatic wide splashes of light when proper. Create depth in your image. Nobody seems to do that anymore, its a lost art, it died with B&W. I would suggest trying to emulate old black and white films, lit so well as to create a 3D effect. I guess my bias is coming out now.


2nd-Select lens (Basically wide, medium or tele) based on desired look of shot.

Do not put anything is the frame that does not belong in the frame. I don't care if you use wide, medium or tele. That one you need to use your gut, your going to anyway. But don't be sloppy with your framing! If it doesn't help the story, it shouldn't be in the frame, shoot tight.

3rd-Position camera at angle for desired look of shot.

This question is way too wide open. This is an, ask 50 people get 50 answers kind of question.

4th-Take meter reading at point of actor (Or from film plane?)

Again, my personal bias on how to meter.

Meter from where you want your exposure to be over the range of the entire image. Usually I walk around in the scene with my meter to see what the light levels are doing. Meter with a flat disk, not a globe, but if you do, point it directly at the camera AND shade it from any light that will not also hit your actors eyes. It is critical that we see your actors eyes, unless you are intentionally hiding them for effect.


5th-Measure distance from film plane to: (Actor? To point between film plane and actor? From film plane to point behind actor? Can I just move the camera forward or backward until I see the focus I want through the view finder?

Focus is from the film plane to the actors eyes.

6th-Set DOF

Depth of Field will be decided for you by how much light you have available when you set your exposure. Ideally shoot 1 stop down from wide open for the cleanest image from the lens. So if your lens opens to T 2.0, shoot at T 2.8.

7th-Do I ?Fine? tune the position of the light, actor and camera till I have the appropriate light required for proper exposure?

Answer One. Yes.
Answer Two. You do it all at the same time.


8th-Shoot.

Another thing in the list of many that I am confused about is the F stop/aperture charts shown on film stock data sheets for exposure. If (For example) it states 2.8-64 FC does that mean if using a 2.8 lens you need 64 foot candles or does that mean if 64 FC of light is what is present aesthetically (Or circumstantially) , then adjust ANY lens to 2.8?

If the subject is lit with 64 foot candles...

Aperture = 2.8
Shutter = 180 degrees (usually)
Tachometer = 24 frames per second

Yes, any lens at 2.8. Pretty cool huh?

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#6 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 11:34 PM

WOW!!!! I was and am very greatful for Adrian's help, but WOW!

You communicated exactaly what I needed to know in my own way of thinking and I am just... WOW!!!!
Sounds cornball as heck, but I just inherited the world with your help.

Thank you so much David, and may the very best karma rain on you and all you do!

-Buddy-

Edited by Buddy Greenfield, 27 November 2007 - 11:35 PM.

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#7 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:00 AM

What does '64 foot candles' mean? Except '64 foot candles'.
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#8 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 07:13 PM

Ed,

As easy as the question seems, I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
I was refering to an amount of light as measured in units called footcandles...
Maybe they call it something else now adays, don't know.

-Sorry-
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#9 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 09:13 AM

Yeah, I ment, what exactly 'foot candles' are?

A foot-candle is defined as the amount of illumination the inside surface an imaginary 1-foot radius sphere would be receiving if there were a uniform point source of one candela in the exact center of the sphere. The foot-candle is equal to one lumen per square foot.


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#10 Matt Kelly

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 01:55 AM

I have yet to meet a gaffer or DP to actually care about footcandles.  Everyone I've met just gets a certain film speed in their head at the beginning and lights for a certain stop, with however many stops over/under they want for detail, like +/-2 or +/-3.
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#11 David E. McMurray

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 03:06 AM

I have yet to meet a gaffer or DP to actually care about footcandles.  Everyone I've met just gets a certain film speed in their head at the beginning and lights for a certain stop, with however many stops over/under they want for detail, like +/-2 or +/-3.


The reason for thinking in foot candles is for choosing which light to work with on a shoot.

One lights maximum is 250 f.c. while another lights may be 320 f.c.

How far is the throw of the light from the source measured in foot candles? If I use this light AND I know how many foot candles I need for my exposure, I can decide what kind of light to use. If 64 f.c. is my exposure, and this light will give me 64 f.c. at 30 feet with full flood. Then I know I can or can not use it in my shot. I can also look at a specification sheet to tell me how wide the beam is at 30 feet.

Knowing the foot candle information about a light tells me how I can use it.

Foot Candles are a constant measurement with a light, T stops are a variable depending upon film speed and shutter speed.

Once you start shooting it is a matter of preference. I prefer to shoot at the same T stop and light accordingly T2 in 16mm and T2.8 35mm. I feel the same aperture helps to provide for a more consistent look and uses the best part of the lens.
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Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

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