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Film Latitude


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#1 Rob Kane

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 08:08 PM

Hello,

I have some question about film in general. I have shot mostly on HD and did one film project a few years back on the Bolex. I am curious about the characteristics of film. Have searched the forums and found a lot of good advice. I understand metering, that film handles the highlights better than digital, and to usually expose from shadows to highlights. But how good exactly is the latitude of film?

With digital I've always have had to watch my highlights, and I've found that sometimes the blacks can have a lot of noise. With film what is the general optimum amount you can over and under expose? On Kodak I've read some of the curves of stocks and found that most have 3-4 stops either way. Though I assume 4 stops over/under has very little detail.

I've found that with digital if I have someone walking through some highlights from a window, sometimes a stop and a half is to much over exposure for the effect. With film how much could I theoretically get away with without burning but looking realistic? 2 1/2 over with a incident reading? Is that too much for the negative?

With underexposure how many stops under do you have before it gets too dark? I've read the best is not to go to extreme with under exposure because you can always print down in post.

Thanks
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 10:06 PM

In my experience with 16 mm film NEGATIVE stocks, if you try to bring up 2 1/2 stops underexposure the grain will bite you so bad, you will be reeling. I would say generally speaking no more than 2 1/2, maybe 3 stops underexposure on Vision stocks and 1 or 1 1/2 stops on Fuji, for the grain to be manageable, but it really depends what you are going for.

My colorist claims he has brought down footage that was 4 stops over with good results on a Spirit Da Vinci 2k with good grain reduction hardware.

With film, in my experience, is better to be over than under exposed. Especially with DI or HD telecine. Grain will always be better if the footage is over exposed and then printed down in post. Most people here recommend rating fast stocks 2/3 of a stop over, but most newer stocks will take 1 1/2 stops over with good to great results. Doing your own tests is the best way to go.

Reversal stocks have usually one stop in either direction of latitude, maybe.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 18 February 2009 - 10:07 PM.

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