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black cast, 7219, might have underexposed?


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#1 Ian Coad

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 02:32 PM

i'm nervous that i might have underexposed a student film i just shot.

7219 served for the entirety of the shoot. color charts were rated at 500. while actual shooting was rated at 1000, a simple means of underexposing by 1 stop. the film was shot at a motel with night interiors and night exteriors. our references were films like munich, american gangster and godfather - films that incorporated a large amount of darkness into its frames, making light something that is attempting to survive. the director and i talked a lot about the power of films that portray their characters in darkness instead of in well lit settings.

i exposed the film a stop under because with my limited experience i've never seen any of the 7219 i've shot look too far underexposed - even with my meter reading EU, footage has looked even. i've felt that the latitude is immense and has all kind of capability for capturing images substantially below grey.

however, this was a black cast. and black skin is not something i have had the opportunity to shoot before. further still i was unable to do tests prior to the shoot. i did look at the kodak vision 3 dvd and looked at images that were two stops under - which appeared strong. though i question the honesty of this.

regardless, i'm wondering what more experienced dp's can say about underexposing black skin with 7219.

i have the option of pushing the film one stop to correct for this stop - though this would obviously create a different sense of contrast altogether.

any advice?
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 04:25 PM

If you lit with the intent to not push the film, I would go with it and trust yourself. I think you'll be surprised. I've actually had a tough time getting things to go black on 7218 and 19. I've been in the same situation, wondering whether the cast will have black holes for eyes, and I ended up bring it down a little in post.
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:00 PM

It is very hard to say given the info you provide.

Lighting is key to creative underexposure. If you kept some back / side lighting you may be OK.

If people -especially dark skinned people- or objects in general blend to the shadows in the background there is very little you can do to bring it up later. For creative underexposure, generally speaking, you want to keep people somewhat dark, but the surroundings have to be lit brighter to separate them -otherwise you just get black everything of course. You may now this, but you didn't write about it so I felt it was important to get it out of the way.

Dark skin needs somewhat hard reflected light -particularly in underexposure -to give it volume and a bit of contrast and definition.

'19 should give you some degree of latitude, depending on how it was lit. I have underexposed 500 asa film 2+ stops with good results, although not with dark skinned people.

If you haven't processed the film you can do a snip test and go from there.

But I would just trust it and plunge in head first. Scary, but that is what happens when we don't do pre-production tests, don't worry I have been there myself too. :o
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