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Balancing vision2 500T


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#1 Richard Turner

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:50 PM

Hi all,

I have a short in the pipeline which will be my first venture into 16mm filmmaking. Fortunately I have managed to obtain 5 400ft Kodak 500t rolls for absolutely free! But unfortunately, most of the script is interior. Its a bit of a kitchen-sink drama, where the crux of the film takes place in a flat with a large bay window. The director wants the interior to appear cool, and the ext to appear even cooler. Please excuse my naivity, but this is what I intend to do to achieve this, along with a few 'noob' questions...

- My initial thoughts were to scrim tungsten’s with half CTB’s and have a Wratten 85 B or C in the matte box. I’m hoping this would balance correctly, but still seem quite cold. Am I somewhere near right here? The mired shift value works out at about 5650۫k, and I was wondering if the extra 50۫ Kelvin’s will make it appear too blue?

- With each 1/2 filter, does it stop down roughly a 1/3rd?

- I’m also worried about tonal ranges from film to DV. As far as I know, the lighting ratio/tonal range for 16mm or cinema is about 64:1 (I may be completely wrong) which should make it a lot more forgiving, but for TV/ Broadcast I’m sure its about 16:1. Does this mean that I should expose the film within the DV/ broadcast tonal range, or film? I imagine if it was originally lit within the tonal ranges of film and then processed to DV, it may succumb to excessive noise?

- Balancing to 18% Grey cards: I was wondering if any of this is considered good practice?
Before shooting, explaining to the lab that at the beginning of every days rushes, there would be a grey card and would they always grade the following scenes to that grey card?
When it comes to the lab report sheets, should I always right on the top ‘grade to grey card’?

Any help would be much obliged, thanks in advance

Regards,

Richard Turner
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 02:05 PM

An 85B filter would correct 5500K to 3200K, so you'd have normal color outside the daylight windows and half-orange lighting inside if you were using tungsten lamps with 1/2 Blue correction.

Considering that the director wants it blue and bluer... I'd skip the filter altogether and let the daytime windows go full blue (being bright, they won't look as deep blue as you'd think since the color gets washed-out), and then your half-blue-gelled tungstens would look half-blue.

If you do that, then shoot the grey scale at the head of the roll under ungelled tungsten light, since that is what you are calling "white" light. If you want them to time a little of the blue out, then put 1/4 Blue gel on the tungsten greyscale lamp and they will add a little orange to correct it out in the print or dailies.

I'd also shoot a sign after the chart that says: COLOR: COLD BLUE-ISH DAYTIME or something to tell the colorist that the blue cast is normal.

Film has a very wide latitude so you mainly want to light it to look good to your eyes, don't get too bogged down in lighting ratios.
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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 03:01 PM

My initial thoughts were to scrim tungsten’s with half CTB’s


It's a minor point, but in the interests of clarity, you would gel the tungstens with 1/2 CTB. A scrim is used to reduce the intensity of the light from a lamp
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#4 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 02:34 AM

If you're going for a cold, blue look, some equally important things to think about are wardrobe, set design, props, etc. For example, if the lead is wearing a bright red shirt & standing in a red room, it's hard to give the director "cool blue" even if you tint the whole thing!
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#5 Richard Turner

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 02:21 PM

Thanks a million for all your replies- it's much obliged

David- Thanks very much for the breakdown! The only issue with the window is that its north facing, so it wont be particularly bright you see (typical British winter) so will it still wash out, or seem to deep of a blue? I was also wondering, when you mean 'wash out' do you mean it will sort of bleach and bleed?

Stuart- Ha, cheers for pointing that little error out! albeit when you do but a CTB on it does technically stop down 1/2 so i think i meant it in that sense :P

Jason- Cheers for the pointer on the costume department. As far as i know, it's a faded off white and the costume is predominately navy blues. How do you think I should tackle this and not make the colour balance seem awkward?

Thanks everyone
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:37 PM

Thanks a million for all your replies- it's much obliged

David- Thanks very much for the breakdown! The only issue with the window is that its north facing, so it wont be particularly bright you see (typical British winter) so will it still wash out, or seem to deep of a blue? I was also wondering, when you mean 'wash out' do you mean it will sort of bleach and bleed?


Technically it would be Full Blue if you shoot unfiltered on tungsten stock, but the brightness will affect the saturation. If the brightness is only dusky / dim overcast, then it will look more deep blue than if it is bright and hot, whether light overcast or sunny. So how blue you want the window to go may determine whether you want to ND gel the window or scrim it to make it seem darker and bluer outside.
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#7 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:04 PM

I think if you put 1/2 CTB on the lights then you'll be fine for what you described. As long as you don't have a radical difference in color temperature between the various light sources - the colorist will be able to make it look however you want. If you have time you could always shoot 50' of test footage or even some 35mm stills.
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Aerial Filmworks

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Visual Products