Jump to content


Photo

Fear of Light


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:16 PM

CAUTION :This will include a lot of generalization but try to glean the point. I have been thinking about this for a while so here goes.

Question... Why are so many people so reluctant to use slower stocks? It also seems every supposed 'Film vs Video' test inevitably uses 500t. Why? (that's a rhetorical question.... we know why). Seriously though. It seems in todays world Dps purchase a couple Kinos and they are set. The discipline of getting in there and really lighting for contrast, mood and snap seems to be gone... or leaving. I know when I started shooting I was always bouncing lights into the ceilings... raising the ambient of the room so I could expose... but I wasn't really 'carving out' and directing the eye. I wasn't really lighting at all. Later, after a tremendous amount of trial and error, I really enjoyed going on the set with 100t rated at 64 iso and start Lighting. I love doing this now :wub: . Look, you really don't need a ton of Light to do this. My lighting package is just 3-2ks, 6-1ks, 3-Zip Lights and a Mini Mole, but even with just these units we can get in there and make it happen. Yes there are always limitations and this all depends on what is being shot (see disclaimer above) but I don't understand why more people aren't using slower stocks especially in S16. Kinos seem to have done something to the lighting psyche of many technicians. I personally dislike Kinos. Give me an open face Blonde, a 4x4 frame and a couple Floppys any day. Forgive my rambling here but I just see people afraid to really get in there and pound some light... shooting slower stocks... when they very well could.
  • 0

#2 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:51 PM

It could be that Kinos are just fashionable. Also most people shy away from having 3 - 2k's and 6- 1k's (with extra zip lights) to hook up to a house with 4 or 5 20 Amp circuits. I know I am always running out of outlets and running tons of long extension cords.

But you are right. 100T and 200T are excellent film stocks that will make S16 shine.

I recently shot a couple of shorts on Fuji 400t (rated 250) and was bitten by the amount of grain inherent to the stock. Had I shot with 7217 rated 200 and the same amount of fixtures, the grain would have been a lot better. But I had never shot with that particular 400 T stock so I had to try it. And now I know how to use it to minimize grain.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 23 February 2009 - 10:54 PM.

  • 0

#3 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 23 February 2009 - 11:21 PM

Personally, I really dislike Kinos and try NOT to use them. I think they make everything look too blue even on the T tubes..... Or too orange on their 2900K tubes.
The main reason why I'm using a lot of 500T these days is because if production can afford the film, they can't afford multiple stocks which may or may not all get used... so I need something which I can take outside, often, at night, and shoot a big ext with minimal/no time/money/people to light up a street. Alas.
That being said.. I'm moving myself more towards slower stocks these days. For example, thanks to you, Dave, I'm not going to use 200T as my "go to" stock for anything taking place during daylight, and I might start using 100T for Day exts.
Though, Saul, you bring up a very important point when it comes to working on Location w/o the right power distro system (read, in a place like Philadelphia...) you need the extra speed, sometimes, because to get a good stop you can't pump enough light off of a household circuit and I, of course, am not yet good enough to know what to and not to light (but working on that also).
I further think that there is a tendency these days to an overall soft light look which is easier to obtain on 500T because creating soft-light is more inefficient over large areas than hard light. . . or i could keep on rambling too...
  • 0

#4 Salil Sundresh

Salil Sundresh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 99 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 24 February 2009 - 12:10 AM

CAUTION :This will include a lot of generalization but try to glean the point. I have been thinking about this for a while so here goes.

Question... Why are so many people so reluctant to use slower stocks? It also seems every supposed 'Film vs Video' test inevitably uses 500t. Why? (that's a rhetorical question.... we know why). Seriously though. It seems in todays world Dps purchase a couple Kinos and they are set. The discipline of getting in there and really lighting for contrast, mood and snap seems to be gone... or leaving. I know when I started shooting I was always bouncing lights into the ceilings... raising the ambient of the room so I could expose... but I wasn't really 'carving out' and directing the eye. I wasn't really lighting at all. Later, after a tremendous amount of trial and error, I really enjoyed going on the set with 100t rated at 64 iso and start Lighting. I love doing this now :wub: . Look, you really don't need a ton of Light to do this. My lighting package is just 3-2ks, 6-1ks, 3-Zip Lights and a Mini Mole, but even with just these units we can get in there and make it happen. Yes there are always limitations and this all depends on what is being shot (see disclaimer above) but I don't understand why more people aren't using slower stocks especially in S16. Kinos seem to have done something to the lighting psyche of many technicians. I personally dislike Kinos. Give me an open face Blonde, a 4x4 frame and a couple Floppys any day. Forgive my rambling here but I just see people afraid to really get in there and pound some light... shooting slower stocks... when they very well could.

I think it's in part because of how sensitive stocks and video cameras have become so it's easy to get "acceptable" looking image. People can light up a little scene with just a few kinos and not have to worry about double shadows or ugly hotspots. In some sense it's a good thing because it will hopefully take some of the focus off of technical quality of images (resolution, blown out highlights, color saturation, etc) instead DPs will be hired more based on their art instead since the craft of exposing technically good quality images is becoming easier.

Edited by Salil Sundresh, 24 February 2009 - 12:11 AM.

  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 24 February 2009 - 12:17 AM

I've done a number of movies in the past using mostly Kodak 200T or Fuji 250T stock for interiors... but there have two main reasons why I've drifted more to 500T over the last few years (for night interiors and exteriors -- I still prefer slower film in daytime).

One is that, in 35mm, the 500T stocks have gotten so close in quality to the next slower speed that the small improvement in grain barely seems worth the extra work -- for example, when you compare 5219 500T to 5217 200T.

Second, is that I like on-camera practical sources like table lamps to put out a lot of the exposure and ambience and too much additional light can overpower that unless you stick some high-wattage bulbs in the practical. Even with 500T stock, I usually put 100w to 250w bulbs in practicals.
  • 0

#6 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:03 AM

For Super 16, I tend to avoid the 500T unless I really need the speed. Although, I know people do use 500T regularly on the smaller format, there's too much grain for my taste unless there reason for using it.

I admit I do enjoy using 100 foot candles (T2.8 100 ASA), but we have better domestic power supplies than in the US.

However, I'll also admit pushing the high speed stocks with the smallest light sources I can find as well (or video with 6db or 9db (on SD) gain).
  • 0

#7 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 24 February 2009 - 08:08 AM

[quote name='David Mullen ASC' post='274922' date='Feb 23 2009, 11:17 PM']Second, is that I like on-camera practical sources like table lamps to put out a lot of the exposure and ambience and too much additional light can overpower that unless you stick some high-wattage bulbs in the practical. Even with 500T stock, I usually put 100w to 250w bulbs in practicals.[/quote]

yes... but carrying some 211, 212 and 213 Globes is inexpensive and easy to do, granted, not all practicals or sconces take 'regular' globes. I just don't see people (no one person in particular) unleashing the power of their Lamps as well as they could and hey, this applies to myself as well. I know this is a vague discussion... just talking trends here.

[quote] In some sense it's a good thing because it will hopefully take some of the focus off of technical quality of images (resolution, blown out highlights, color saturation, etc) instead DPs will be hired more based on their art instead since the craft of exposing technically good quality images is becoming easier. - Sundresh [quote]

yes.. I believe this is a problem... a big problem.
  • 0

#8 Scott Pelzel

Scott Pelzel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York, NY, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:20 AM

I can only speak for myself on this subject and everyone has their own ideas, but I am a "less is more" type of DP and if I can achieve the lighting I need to achieve with less, I will go that route much of the time and I learned a lot about this way of lighting from doing documentaries which I turned around and applied to my commercial and narrative work.

The stock I tend to use more than 500 stocks are actually 250 stocks either daylight or tungsten and either Kodak Vision 2 (5205/5217) or Fuji Eterna (8553/8563) and I love these stocks because they have great looks and excellent latitude and grain structure. I prefer to shoot with the daylight stock if I can because I get more exposure in many circumstances and mainly if I am using HMI's and daylight balanced Kinos mixed with daylight etc...

The Fuji stocks tend to have softer looks which I like using in certain situations over the Kodak Vision stock, but like many things, it really comes down to many factors (budget, lights, look etc..) and I like both the Fuji Eterna 500 and Kodak 500 stocks when necessary because they also have great latitude and they give a realism in terms of look that the slower stock lack in certain ways.

-Scott
  • 0

#9 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:15 PM

You also have to factor in the actors' comfort level, and the truth is that they usually prefer working in lower lighting levels.

I love the look of a slower stock and if I find the right project for that approach, I'll use it again. But some projects aren't about showing off how slick you can make an image, they involve lending quiet support to what the actors are doing, and the more you can minimize the mechanics of the process and keep a low profile, the better working environment you create for the actors. This is one reason why I am loathe to pull furniture and walls unless absolutely necessary to work. I recall one dolly grip who was constantly annoyed with me because I didn't let him sweep the rooms empty of anything off-camera, and my reason was that I wanted the actors to work in some semblance of a real room, even if the furniture was off-camera. Plus I like getting a fast turnaround / reverse angle and it helps if you don't have to completely reassemble the room.
  • 0

#10 Jeff Locke

Jeff Locke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts
  • Gaffer

Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:04 PM

My perspective is a little different. I come from a theater lighting background where you are forced into lighting your set and actors adequately and appropriately. I want to do the same on a set; light it like I want in order to acheive the look I want, then adjust the camera to complement. The arguement against this is the cost of film stock, or post work, but if you test enough, there should be less time wasted figuring out how much light is appropriate, or how much color correction is needed.

This idea is already in place for filming theater productions; the camera must adapt to the conditiions, not the other way around. I'm pretty sure The Met shoots in HD, and the San Francisco Opera might shoot in film. (the local movie theater shows monthly recordings of the opera, and I don't think they have HD in the room they show it.)

I always think it is a good idea to learn the art of lighting design. (Here I go...) With the advancements in computer technology to the point that they can recreate a person so well it fools the eye, I fear that there isn't going to be a need for an on-set DP, they will have all migrated to the post studio to do the correction needed to add light! A bit far fetched, but the old fashioned way looks more natural. Of course if you don't want natural then go ahead, but I'll take Blade Runner over Button any day. <_<
  • 0

#11 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:14 PM

You also have to factor in the actors' comfort level, and the truth is that they usually prefer working in lower lighting levels.

I love the look of a slower stock and if I find the right project for that approach, I'll use it again. But some projects aren't about showing off how slick you can make an image, they involve lending quiet support to what the actors are doing, and the more you can minimize the mechanics of the process and keep a low profile, the better working environment you create for the actors. This is one reason why I am loathe to pull furniture and walls unless absolutely necessary to work. I recall one dolly grip who was constantly annoyed with me because I didn't let him sweep the rooms empty of anything off-camera, and my reason was that I wanted the actors to work in some semblance of a real room, even if the furniture was off-camera. Plus I like getting a fast turnaround / reverse angle and it helps if you don't have to completely reassemble the room.



I am with you David M.... and 35mm on 500t with todays lenses is clean enough.. too clean! However, the "talent" , being the professionals they are, should be fine with bright Lamps.. that is their job... just as you shouldn't say to them 'sorry, we can't lay dolly track to follow you out of the room seeing you brood over what just took place because, well, the grips are working hard enough... it is difficult '. I first starting picking up on this when I started shooting older Talent that would ask me 'David R, is there enough light on me?'... I knew then something was going on.... yes there was enough for that stock and that shot.. but I knew I was doing something different (not better) than what preceded me.
  • 0

#12 Ralph Keyser

Ralph Keyser
  • Sustaining Members
  • 120 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 27 February 2009 - 05:21 PM

Another thing that's nice about Kinos is that they don't take up much space. I never have the luxury of working on a stage, and space is always at a premium, so sometimes a Kino is a better choice. You can often get a Kino into places that you can't get other lights. I also like the fact that you can take them apart and get light into all sorts of interesting places.

Adrian, I agree with you on the color temp. I often end up using a little color on the Kinos.
  • 0

#13 JD Hartman

JD Hartman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1690 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Edison, N.J. U.S.A.

Posted 27 February 2009 - 06:53 PM

It's more than "Fear of Light" , it's often fear of hard light. It's frustrating to work with a DP (perhaps in-experienced?) who can't get beyond Kinos and softly lit interiors. I know that the lighting in my home isn't shadowless. I don't have 4' 4 bank(s) mounted where the wall and ceiling meet, am I the exception?
  • 0

#14 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:04 PM

It's more than "Fear of Light" , it's often fear of hard light. It's frustrating to work with a DP (perhaps in-experienced?) who can't get beyond Kinos and softly lit interiors. I know that the lighting in my home isn't shadowless. I don't have 4' 4 bank(s) mounted where the wall and ceiling meet, am I the exception?



Amen J.D... exactly!

btw.. hope all is well. It was great speaking with you last week.
  • 0

#15 DS Williams

DS Williams
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 146 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:21 PM

Very good points concerning lighting with Kino Flos.

I tend to prefer harder shadows over soft. It seems like mainly soft lighting maintains a sort of 'soap opera' feel. I use kinos when I need to simulate soft light from an overcast day entering the window, or If I'm interviewing elderly folks. A 4' 4bank can really help smooth out skin with it's wrap around soft quality. And I use image 85's with the green tubes to light green screens. Do any of you do this?
  • 0

#16 JD Hartman

JD Hartman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1690 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Edison, N.J. U.S.A.

Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:57 PM

Maybe Kevin Z. will add his take on this topic.

In dealing with some (not all, mind you...) DP's, another conversation I always find funny is when they ask about the lighting package you own. A reply of fresnel and open fixtures up to (insert 1, 2, 5, anything) K, gets you the reply, "When would you ever need that much light?" But the same DP usually feels HMI(s) are okay.

Doing just fine, Dave. By the way, great speaking with you as well.

Amen J.D... exactly!

btw.. hope all is well. It was great speaking with you last week.


  • 0

#17 Gus Sacks

Gus Sacks
  • Sustaining Members
  • 287 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:13 PM

It's more than "Fear of Light" , it's often fear of hard light. It's frustrating to work with a DP (perhaps in-experienced?) who can't get beyond Kinos and softly lit interiors. I know that the lighting in my home isn't shadowless. I don't have 4' 4 bank(s) mounted where the wall and ceiling meet, am I the exception?


Yeah, yuck. I worked as an AC for this really bad DP once who would light and then last minute would add (2) Kinos in the scene that would just over-light and making everything certainly disgusting. So gross, and I believe in-experience is the key.
  • 0

#18 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:18 PM

A 4' 4-bank Kinoflo isn't always the softest of sources, and it doesn't have to be flat depending on which angle it comes from. These two shots from "The Quiet" were mainly lit with one kino:

Posted Image

Posted Image
  • 0

#19 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11944 posts
  • Other

Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:38 PM

All the previous stuff is, ironically, particularly relevant at the low end.

With a lack of production design, white walls, and otherwise ugly locations, illuminating the subject brightly and then filtering or stopping down has the effect of making everything else fall pleasantly away into darkness.

My typical experience is being led into the proposed set for the gothic period horror piece and being told "look, there's no problem, there's lots and lots of light", with a throwaway gesture at the huge, unflaggable picture windows. Lots and lots of light just means no control.

P
  • 0

#20 F Bulgarelli

F Bulgarelli
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 409 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 28 February 2009 - 01:14 AM

I think there is a tendency now to want to shoot wide open or almost wide open at very low light levels.
There also seems to be a desire to shoot as close as possible to how the eye sees it, without all the compensations for exposure.
I think just because you go dark it doesn't mean you are not lighting, actually, it's probably one of the hardest things to do because the margin of error is very small.

fb
  • 0


Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

The Slider

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Glidecam

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

CineLab

Opal

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC