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am I ok?


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#1 ross e lea

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 06:00 PM

been making a short this week...all with 7218 16mm inside a
pet store where all the lighting I used was mostly the natural
flourescent lights in the store, thus, no matter where I went
to take meter readings....the character's face (using incident)
always read 4....occasionally 2.8 if we were in a corner or
something.

because of the even readings I got everywhere....I just
decided to leave my camera on 2.2 the entire way just to
give myself headroom...because I've learned that overexposing
is ALWAYS better than underexposing.

so in most cases I've been shooting 2.2 in readings of 4.
am I ok?
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#2 ross e lea

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 06:24 PM

however, my edit will be going for a slightly grunge/contrasty look. so thats why
I wasnt afraid of pushing it like I did. its just that film always kinda makes ya
a little nervous becasue of the money put into the process.

Edited by ross e lea, 30 November 2007 - 06:25 PM.

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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 07:52 PM

2/3 stop overexposure is usually plenty for a margin of safety; 2 stops over goes beyond being "safe" and can actually start to cause you problems.

If this is to be transferred to video you should be able to pull it down in telecine without too much trouble. But in general, two stops of overexposure is quite a bit if you want to retain "normal" looking characteristics throughout the tonal range. The more you overexpose the film the more the highlights might start to look flattened or washed out as you bring the image back down to normal. Also a negative that's too dense can accumulate video noise during the transfer.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 07:59 PM

It might look OK though -- sometimes I expose overheads one-stop over as the basic look, so it may not be necessary to correct all of the overexposure out.

However, it would have probably been better to just expose the overheads one-stop over, so f/2.8 if your meter said f/4 -- because your lens is probably sharper at f/2.8 or f/4 than it is at f/2.2.
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#5 ross e lea

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:45 PM

for example...many shots the persons face is looking down while the camera is pointing up at them. now even though my "overall" readings were
f4....their face (in this instance) would be 2.2 at times.

so what you're saying is maybe the up above lights and stuff might be blown out a little?

I guess this whole scenario is a good learning experience to winning the battle of trying to figure out how to judge the headroom on each side of
your key(middle) f-stop. like if a face is what you're going for is metered at lets say f5.6 and your lights above are a much brighter f22, then
your shadow points in low areas are only reading at f4......I used to figure..."oh, I'll just even it out in the middle-which would be f8 1/2 or so.." then
come to find out after processing that your face is too dark!

I notice when you look at Kodak's example images where they show all the light readings, etc. that there's like 3 stops or so OVER and UNDER the
middle f-stop they're going for.....is this kinda of place to start? 3stops over and under?

I know a lot of it is just HOW you want your picture to look and feel...but I'm just speaking in context of how to just get a better handle on response
of lighting.

Also, thanks Mr. Nash and Mullen...you guys are usually the greatest help I've seen in responses of the forums. :-)
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#6 Valerio Sacchetto

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:53 PM

Remember that the readings in the kodak brochures are reflected readings thus you end up with a huge range of stops in a place where the incident reading is just one. That's because not everything is middle gray.
Let's say you have a white sheet of paper and a gray card, then you'll have a single incident reading and two reflected readings ranging, for the sake of discussion, 4 stops. But that's not your exposure that's just what they are (one lighter the other darker) and that's why you put lights (or reflectors): to control contrast and keep everything you want to show up in the film range and vice versa.
I hope i wrote everything right, i already apologize for my mistakes. Since english is not my native language is quite endemic to me to say something wrong. :)
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#7 ross e lea

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:59 PM

fair enough. ok lets say I'm asking this then:

the hardest part I'm finding with lighting is how bright is too bright and how dark is too dark?

is there a rule of thumb where you want to try and get your overhead and underhead limited from middle gray?

and just knowing how far those readings will look on film just takes practice I suppose.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 10:54 PM

As a rule of thumb I try to keep it within 2 stops over and 2/3-1 stop under. That's just me, though, and Hell I could be wrong, but thusly I've been pretty pleased with that.
It does depend a lot on the scene context (what shades are in the room, for example) and the particular look.
For me, I try to expose for what is most important in the scene, and often will just let the shadows/highlights fall where they may.
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#9 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:02 PM

fair enough. ok lets say I'm asking this then:

the hardest part I'm finding with lighting is how bright is too bright and how dark is too dark?

is there a rule of thumb where you want to try and get your overhead and underhead limited from middle gray?

and just knowing how far those readings will look on film just takes practice I suppose.



What I think a DP needs to do is know what part of the picture he or she wants to be at middle gray and judge the rest from there.
If your overall reading says f4 but the subjects face reads at 2.2 and you want the face to be normally exposed then that is what you do: go from the reading on the face and if the rest is overexposed then you live with it or you even out your background lighting levels to compensate before you call it a day.
If you want to underexpose the face then you expose your film accordingly, etc, etc.

In other words, there is no "correct exposure" necessarily, it just depends what you are going for. Now, knowing what you are going for and taking the steps to get there is the hard part. But you have to experiment and learn from the mistakes that inevitably will happen.

Normally, and as far as I am concerned, most modern negative film stocks will handle 10 stops of light detail. 5 stops between the middle gray and pure black and 5 stops between middle gray and pure white. Technically though, 3 1/2 steps under and the roll off toe is pretty steep. 4 1/2 over and the shoulder gets steep too. So you got 7 1/2 to 8 stops of safe usable range.

But again, like you supposed, you have to shoot and get experience to know what works for you and the material you are shooting.
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#10 Eric H

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 05:51 AM

As a rule of thumb I try to keep it within 2 stops over and 2/3-1 stop under. That's just me, though, and Hell I could be wrong, but thusly I've been pretty pleased with that.
It does depend a lot on the scene context (what shades are in the room, for example) and the particular look.
For me, I try to expose for what is most important in the scene, and often will just let the shadows/highlights fall where they may.



of course, it all depends on what the project dictates. One might be going for a flat look, for example, but 2 stops over and 1 stop under, in reference to 7218 and 5218 would be pretty flat to me. This film stock is really amazing in its ability to see into shadows almost to the point that I will sometimes not use any fill or even use negative fill. I sometimes under rate it to 320ASA too. Generally, if I were going for a contrasty look I wouldn't use 18, however there are so many factors to take into consideration along the way to film stock choice.

good luck, Eric

PS....remember, it is subjective, something contrasty to one person is not to another.
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#11 seth christian

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 08:23 PM

you said its a pet store with all natural lighting....
so with that scenario being all flourescents...all lighting
would be pretty soft and even which would help your
worry....so going with f2.2
with a meter reading of f4...I think you'll probably be alright! :-)

but if you dont pull down a stop @ telecine...you
will definitely have to pull down the level a bit
in post to probably match others that may have been
perfectly shot.

let us know how it turned out and be sure to share
your short with the world.
pet store setting sounds interesting!!!

good luck! :-)

Edited by seth christian, 01 December 2007 - 08:24 PM.

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#12 Sam Kim

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 02:46 AM

you're screwed. :rolleyes:

just kidding. you'll be okay but you gave a little too much head room. give it a stop at max for simplistic reasons. until you're really ready then you can play around with how much you play but make sure when you do it's test stock and not real footage.

besides, sort of the opposite, i hear savides underexposed two stops and then pulled two stops for his film birth. that is crazy to me but he's one of my favorite dps that are just amazing.
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#13 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 08:12 AM

Biggest question of all. Are you going to DI or straight print? In that case what print stock etc?.....
If DI which I´m guessing it is you are so ok you wouldn´t believe especially if you are going for some contrast (2 over is not much on a head with hair...)
Find your "wanted" incident stop as key, and if you then spot meter a bit your total whites should lie around 3,5-4 over your incident key.
cheers
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