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#1 Hugo Alexandre

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 08:54 PM

Hello all,

I will be shooting outdoors with B&W Kodak 7222 250D. All the scenes are snow related and involve snowballs, kids sledding, snowmen, and ice skating in the daytime. There will be no studio lights. Here are some of my concerns and I hope you can help me out.

1. Not overexposing.
They say that a lot of snow can make the incident meter give a faulty reading. Unfortunately, I won't have a spot meter. Any tips to get the exposure right?

2. Good contrast.
I am hoping to get good contrast on all the shots. I've made sure that the location has enough shruberry around, and that my actors don't wear light colors so as to not blend in with the snow. Would you have any other suggestions for me to avoid a 'flat' look, and more depth.

I don't know what the weather will be like but I was told to avoid shooting if there is intense sunlight as it would reflect way too much on the snow. What do you think?
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#2 James Baker

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 12:27 PM

An incident meter (light falling on the subject) will work better than a reflected meter (light reflecting off the subject.) A spot meter is a reflective meter that simply allows you a narrow angle of measurement.

Using a reflective meter, meter off a gray card, then meter off a white card, then meter off a black card . Compare the readings with the understanding that meters read everything as gray. Now you know what you're dealing with. The meter will read snow as gray. You overexpose to get it to white. Then read off a person's face (without any reflecting snow in the frame) and compare the readings. Make your choice from that with the assumption that overexposed white snow might be more acceptable to you than underexposed people.

Try using a reflector to boost the EV of the faces so there's less of a range. That can be as simple as somebody holding up a piece of white foam core.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:03 PM

Why not use Plus-X negative instead?
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#4 Sam Wells

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:36 PM

Why not use Plus-X negative instead?


Yeah, I think that's a better approach. I've always found Double-X a bit flat at its default gamma of 0.65 (altho some labs will 'normally' process at 0.70) --- the trouble with 0.70 or higher is, it's a bit of a push -- so now you are _really_ shooting a bright subject with a high EI/ASA, so unless you are shooting a high frame rate I think PlusX will be much easier to work with a significantly finer grained as well.

That said I personally would not hesitate to give the Plus-X a 1/2 stop push - 0.70 - if the scene looked flat to my eye on that day.

-Sam
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#5 Hugo Alexandre

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 04:16 PM

Yeah, I think that's a better approach. I've always found Double-X a bit flat at its default gamma of 0.65 (altho some labs will 'normally' process at 0.70) --- the trouble with 0.70 or higher is, it's a bit of a push -- so now you are _really_ shooting a bright subject with a high EI/ASA, so unless you are shooting a high frame rate I think PlusX will be much easier to work with a significantly finer grained as well.

That said I personally would not hesitate to give the Plus-X a 1/2 stop push - 0.70 - if the scene looked flat to my eye on that day.

-Sam


Yes, I will consider using Plus X for my outdoors scene. However, I will use Double-X for my indoors scene considering it has a higher ASA and I only have 3000KW of lights to work with, even less. That's two 1k's and one 650.
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:15 PM

Yes, I will consider using Plus X for my outdoors scene. However, I will use Double-X for my indoors scene considering it has a higher ASA and I only have 3000KW of lights to work with, even less. That's two 1k's and one 650.


OOooh! If you have a choice definitely shoot Plus-X. Plus-X is one of thosde really magical filmstocks that makes everything look special and makes you feel really glad that you shot it on film. Double X isn't. I'm always impressed when someone makes 5222/7222 look really good. I generaly dislike the look of it. I have lots of it tho because I can pick it up cheap and I can never get my hands on cheap plus-x which is like gold dust. I'm always asking around for cheap plus-x but I just can't get it.

Outdoors it might work to your advantage too because 7222 might be too fast if you manage to get a lot of sunlight reflecting off the snow.
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#7 Hugo Alexandre

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 12:59 AM

OOooh! If you have a choice definitely shoot Plus-X. Plus-X is one of thosde really magical filmstocks that makes everything look special and makes you feel really glad that you shot it on film. Double X isn't. I'm always impressed when someone makes 5222/7222 look really good. I generaly dislike the look of it. I have lots of it tho because I can pick it up cheap and I can never get my hands on cheap plus-x which is like gold dust. I'm always asking around for cheap plus-x but I just can't get it.

Outdoors it might work to your advantage too because 7222 might be too fast if you manage to get a lot of sunlight reflecting off the snow.



That is true, I didn't think about how a slow stock might actually help me with the problem of reflecting snow. However, for indoors scene I still feel obliged to use Double-X given the limited studio lights I have (2X1K + 1X650W). I hope both stocks blend in well together.
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#8 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 02:15 AM

I just shot a B&W feature and I'd agree that you should seriously consider Plus-X for the exteriors - B&W is all about contrast and especially in an exterior with snow, you'll be fighting for any and every bit of contrast you can get.

The 5222 is tough to get good contrast out of in day exteriors; the only time I was really happy with it was in a day exterior forest scene I shot (which was so dark that it was virtually an interior!) and an early morning scene I shot using the sun as a backlight and then under-exposing faces towards camera - that was very high contrast because it was shortly after sunrise; everything else I did as a day exterior got a bit muddy and required a lot of filtration to get it to a place where I was happy with it.

Also keep in mind that 5222 is a grainy stock (so 7222 will be much grainier) - though perhaps your story calls for the grain.

The feature I shot was called "The Naked Eye"; take a look in the archives for more of my opinions on B&W - maybe some of it will be helpful.
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#9 Hugo Alexandre

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 11:00 PM

I dont want the sky to be too dark but I still want it to have good contrast. Should I use a yellow filter? And if so, which one in particular?
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#10 Hugo Alexandre

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:10 PM

So should I use a yellow filter in particular?
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#11 Zamir Merali

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 07:17 PM

Generally a yellow number 8 filter is used on most outdoor black and white shooting. The filter is sometimes called k2. Black and white film is a little oversensitive to blue light, which is why the sky tends to always blow out. A yellow filter will just block out some blue light. For a more extreme effect you can use orange filters or red filters. A deep red can make the sky black and give a day for night look.
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#12 Zamir Merali

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 07:18 PM

Generally a yellow number 8 filter is used on most outdoor black and white shooting. The filter is sometimes called k2. Black and white film is a little oversensitive to blue light, which is why the sky tends to always blow out. A yellow filter will just block out some blue light. For a more extreme effect you can use orange filters or red filters. A deep red can make the sky black and give a day for night look.
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Visual Products

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Wooden Camera

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FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine