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blooming highlights, what filter?


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#1 Ian Coad

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 06:46 PM

my question is in two parts relating to a filter and then to optics. so i would really appreciate some insight on following issues. however let me first mention that this is a super 16mm project that will likely be shot on the panavision elaine which uses zeiss superspeed glass:

a month from now i will be shooting a scene in a strip club. in the scene the supporting character is tempted by the seductive nature of the underworld where he and his partner (main character) are meeting the crime boss. however i would also like to portray this scene with an eerie sense of distance and forboding unattainability.

for me these two qualities of temptation and exclusionary distance would be well told with what i can for lack of its true name, call 'blooming highlights'. robert richardson's work in casino and janusz kaminski's work in minority report both used hot rims, backlights and hot specular gleaming points in combination with a filter (my guess is some degree of a classic soft) to create these blooming highlights - which for me are eerily seductive.


1. does anyone know what filter might work well for this. if this is a classic soft, is there any reason why the black classic soft filter might be counter to achieving this effect?

2. i am having trouble understanding the ways that the lenses i have at my disposal are limiting what i can and can't do - especially when i am wanting to do what high budget features can. i have noticed that high quality lenses have a much kinder way of showing the range between darks and highlights. lower quality lenses seem to have trouble with highlights, often coming out more raw and unruly. being that minority report and casino play with such hot rims and specular points, can my superspeed primes facilitate and accommidate such a look?

my guess is i'm missing something here, i would greatly appreciate any gaps you guys can fill.

- ian.

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#2 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 06:48 PM

Supafrost
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#3 Gus Sacks

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 06:56 PM

Supafrost


Is that the equivalent of a BPM 1?
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 07:04 PM

Not at all.. and it is nothing like a Classic Soft (which I love for subtle diffusion). Supafrost is a resin filter... and it really kicks the highlights!.. They are also interesting to use as a lo con filter during day ext work. I know Richardson uses it.. not sure what Kaminski used... either way... which ever Bloom Filter you use be ready to POUND some Light!.. I mean Zenons... Large Pars... etc.... very directional.. very focused.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 07:15 PM

Supafrost was a plastic filter made by Wilson in the early 1980's which was (more or less) copied by Tiffen as a glass filter in the mid 1980's, which become the ProMist. Because the Supafrost was prone to scratching, most rental houses claimed they were expendables and wouldn't rent them. There was a black dot version of Supafrost which is similar to the Black ProMist.

You see movies in the early 1980's using the Supafrost, like "The Natural".

In Tiffen's defense, I suspect many DP's asked them to make a glass version of the Supafrost, I assume, because Wilson didn't want to.

"Casino" used a ProMist. Most of "Minority Report" used a net filter. You can see the net pattern here:
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Later on "War of the Worlds", Kaminski started using Classic Softs more often than the net.

Almost any diffusion works in terms of causing halation around overexposed areas in the frame.

Example of ProMist in "JFK":

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Example of net in "War of the Worlds":

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Example of Classic Soft in "War of the Worlds":

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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 07:27 PM

Hmmm , I could have sworn Casino used a Supafrost. Certainly could be wrong.

The equivalent flare in a BPM is a 2 to even begin with. I noticed that the Supafrost actually did a super bloom without completely drowning out the dark areas of frame. Either way it is a technique that involves much more then just a filter.. you need some HARD LIGHT... creating nuclear spot readings.
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 04:56 PM

I believe the Supafrosts were made by spraying hair spray onto the acetate. Of course, that could be one of these urban myths, but it came from a good source.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 08:25 PM

I believe the Supafrosts were made by spraying hair spray onto the acetate. Of course, that could be one of these urban myths, but it came from a good source.


Maybe some similar method was used, but it seems unlikely only because you'd have to then sandwich/seal the sprayed area with another layer of plastic, and if you've ever tried doing this yourself, as I have, it's very hard to create enough evenly-spaced clear gaps between the mist droplets... and because of this, the whole image just gets thrown out of focus. You have to create an incredibly light spray that is evenly dispersed to get a usable diffusion filter. I made one like this in an emergency once, took a lot of attempts.
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 05:00 AM

Maybe some similar method was used, but it seems unlikely only because you'd have to then sandwich/seal the sprayed area with another layer of plastic,


On the Supafroasts the diffusion material appeared to be on the surface, rather than sandwiched. However, I suspect a more robust material than hair spray was used, although perhaps that might have been used in the playing around stages.

I expect they did a lot of testing with pressure and nozzle sizes to achieve some consistency. However, I heard that each set was slightly different.
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