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leaky mag effect


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#1 Tom Sugden

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 12:44 PM

Hi everyone,

Shooting a short film in a few weeks - for a short insert I need a shot to burn out at one side and get progressively worse until it's so burnt out you can't actually see any of the image.

Is this an accurate description of a leaky magazine?
Is it possible to do this in camera without damaging the mag, or would it be better to do it in post?

Shooting on an SR3.

Cheers!
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 01:49 PM

You are going to have a hard time making that effect using modern camera magazines (as they were designed to prevent that very same thing). The best thing to do is t use 100' daylight spools. You could just gradually creep the door open, but a lot of testing and takes will be necessarity to achieve the desired result, as you oviously won't see it on the video assist monitor.

The effect may be easier to recreate on vintage Kodak / Bell & Howell type cameras, as they were the cameras that had that problem to begin with, also using 100' daylight loads.
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#3 grant mcphee

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 05:12 PM

yeh, a 100' daylight spool is the way to go.

You might have to use a bolex or similar (like saul mentions) as the mag door on the sr3 won't open once it's on the camera (i tried this recently).

another option is to fire a powerful maglight down the viewfinder, though it does not look the same.

Or shoot what you want 'flashed' on a seperate roll of film, take it into a changing bag and flash it with a maglight, not as controlled as using the daylight spool though.

I did think, though did not have time to try it of putting the sr3 mag on with the take upside completely open. Use a 100' daylight spool for the take up and cover the whole mag with a piece of bolton (thick black cloth) and gaffer up so not to allow any light to enter then slowly lift it when you want to flash the film.
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 06:17 PM

I find it ironic that I am saying this, but, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND either doing this effect digitally, or using a dupe of the footage to get results without ruining original footage.

Don't risk trying to pull this off in camera.

There's a high degree of likelihood that, if you try it, you will get burned.

In any case, good luck!
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#5 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 08:46 PM

I agree with Karl actually. Do try the other suggestions about how to get that effect, but just use that for reference. It's going to be tricky to time it in-camera so that you get exactly the effect you want at exactly the right time. Instead, use references to see how it should look, and replicate that. Basically just remake it by hand, matching the qualities of the actual light leaks that your reference footage has. It might be time-consuming, and will require a lot of attention to detail, but it affords you considerably more control over how it looks and when it occurs.
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 10:59 PM

I agree with Karl actually. Do try the other suggestions about how to get that effect, but just use that for reference. It's going to be tricky to time it in-camera so that you get exactly the effect you want at exactly the right time. Instead, use references to see how it should look, and replicate that.


Yeah, there are several ways of doing it. As an easier alternative, I would do is this:

I would get a 1950's Bell and Howell 16 camera, or whatever works, planning on shooting the footage with the lens cap on.

Next, I would creep the door open as the camera is going and I would shoot more black footage in between the burn outs _at least 5 seconds_ for the entire 100'. Just making sure there is always enough black footage to start the compositing from.

Then I would process the film and do a high quality scan , or as good as the rest of your footage.

Finally, I would find the best burn out and overlay on top of your hero footage -starting from black on the burn out. Then key the black out in FCP or similar, using mattes / the composite modes until the deisred result is achieved .

If you don't like the end result, you can try more painstaking methods. ;)

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 05 March 2009 - 11:01 PM.

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#7 Tom Sugden

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 07:40 AM

Thanks for the fast replies guys,

I think I'll go with your suggestion above, Saul.

The shot is supposed to be some awfully shot news footage by a stringer in the early 80s, which will be seen on a CU of a monitor. Reckon I'll save some stock to try it with a Bell and Howell or Bolex as well, and slowly creep the door open while shooting - just in case it works well!

I'll see if I can post the results when I get them.
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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 09:05 AM

The shot is supposed to be some awfully shot news footage by a stringer in the early 80s


It always amuses me how often 'old' footage is equated with being badly shot, badly exposed or damaged in some way, whereas in truth, 25 years ago camera people were trained professionals. A far cry from the news footage of today, shot by a barely trained, 20 year old director/camera/sound person with a sony Z1.
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#9 Stephen Smith

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 02:17 PM

my uni bolex had the filter holder missing when i first used it so burnt out the whole side of the fil mi put through, maybe you could try a bolex without the filter holder and blank it off at first then gradually let more light go in through it? would save opening the camera mag. Depends what you have available though i suppose.
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#10 Keith Mottram

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 08:03 AM

i'd do the effect whislt shooting a black card, then you could screen it onto any footage you liked.
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#11 James Erd

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:31 PM

I would go with putting a lens cap on my Bolex and creeping the door open and or pull out the filter holder. Then with a 2K or better scan and spend a little time compositing the effect. I use Shake and there about a dozen ways to do this effect without even using a keyer. I am sure you could do it in AE, Nuke, Combustion. It's not hard. The real advantage is you will get the effect you want, when and where you want it. If you try to do it in camera be prepared for additional days of shooting. You still may be able to avoid the digital land of ones and zeros if you can find a house with some old school techs, but it will cost a good bit of money and you will also have to establish that working relationship with the lab, because it is going to play a part in the final look of the your film.
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:39 PM

You still may be able to avoid the digital land of ones and zeros if you can find a house with some old school techs, but it will cost a good bit of money and you will also have to establish that working relationship with the lab, because it is going to play a part in the final look of the your film.


You can avoid the "digital land of ones and zeroes" doing a tedious optical matte and just shooting the blank footage fogged anyway too. But what is the point? Do you get medals for being an analog purist where you come from? Doing it that way may give you a charge, but it doesn't make God shine His holy rays down on you. :rolleyes:

And assuming you are working with 2K 4:4:4, where 16mm is sometimes overkill, is using digital to merge two film-originated scans onto one another really a compromise when it can produce a far better result? Obviously, there are huge compromises with optical special effects too.

Look at the huge matte lines, grain build-up and contrast build-up! Forget nostalgia, what will look better in the final result? Doesn't matter how you get there, matters how the final product looks.
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#13 James Erd

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:57 PM

It always amuses me how often 'old' footage is equated with being badly shot, badly exposed or damaged in some way, whereas in truth, 25 years ago camera people were trained professionals. A far cry from the news footage of today, shot by a barely trained, 20 year old director/camera/sound person with a sony Z1.


Referencing the past in this way is probably a bit unfair but some how it has become an accepted way of evoking a different era. I don't really understand why it works this way but it does.

In college I was experimenting with processing my own film in different formulas. I didn't have access to proper equipment because we did not have a film program. So I used what was available to me at the time..... buckets. As you would expect the film suffered horrendously but I learned what I needed to from my experiment. So in that regard it was a great success, and that would have been the end of the story were it not for the fact I desperately needed something to turn in at the end of the semester to get a grade. In desperation I used the results of my experiment to create a short film. I had no expectation of how it would be received and was quite surprised to be asked how I got "Film from the fifties" before I had a chance to answer some one noticed the 1-800 FAX number on the coffee mug one of my actors was holding. Then they turned on me, accusing me of deliberately trying to deceive them.

On the other hand I have actually seen some awfully shot news footage by a stringer in the early 80s. Even the pro's didn't get it right all the time and sometimes the story was compelling enough that the footage was aired in spite of the flaws, but it was much less frequent than you would expect from watching the films we make about the past.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:05 PM

On the other hand I have actually seen some awfully shot news footage by a stringer in the early 80s. Even the pro's didn't get it right all the time and sometimes the story was compelling enough that the footage was aired in spite of the flaws, but it was much less frequent than you would expect from watching the films we make about the past.


It is amazing though that, using something so much more complicated, they produced such good results.I'd love to see stringers today try to work with about a stop of latitude, total and get 400 film to work for them throughout an entire shooting day.

And, lol, early '80s guy probably griped and said stupid poop like "When is this station going to go video. You really need to get a video camera. They are clearly superior, even though he'd still be wrong almost 30 years later.
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#15 John Brawley

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:13 PM

Hi everyone,

Shooting a short film in a few weeks - for a short insert I need a shot to burn out at one side and get progressively worse until it's so burnt out you can't actually see any of the image.

Is this an accurate description of a leaky magazine?
Is it possible to do this in camera without damaging the mag, or would it be better to do it in post?

Shooting on an SR3.

Cheers!



Im a fan of doing this in camera myself. Give me random over digital anyday. If you want it to get worse as the roll goes on then just close the lock of the mag on the take up side. THEN close the door. It won't close, it will just sit slightly adjar. Perhaps tape it to the mag so it doesn't fly open.

You will find though, that the mag won't start to really leak in a noticeable way until the last maybe 80' It will get worse from there as the roll GETS LARGER and gets closer to the leak.

It's really something you should test for. Especially take note of the light source direction and level so you can repeat it. Perhaps use smaller loads and get a larger 2"core (which i think you can use in an SR) so you don't have to waste as much film getting it to the nearly full roll stage.

The other way (and ive' done this) is to do it to an unexposed roll and composite it in later as a key(luma). Ive done this before and it works great. (also good for home made scratches)

Sounds like fun.

jb
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#16 James Erd

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:29 PM

You can avoid the "digital land of ones and zeroes" doing a tedious optical matte and just shooting the blank footage fogged anyway too. But what is the point? Do you get medals for being an analog purist where you come from? Doing it that way may give you a charge, but it doesn't make God shine His holy rays down on you. :rolleyes:

And assuming you are working with 2K 4:4:4, where 16mm is sometimes overkill, is using digital to merge two film-originated scans onto one another really a compromise when it can produce a far better result? Obviously, there are huge compromises with optical special effects too.

Look at the huge matte lines, grain build-up and contrast build-up! Forget nostalgia, what will look better in the final result? Doesn't matter how you get there, matters how the final product looks.


I am more comfortable going digital these days than I was in the past, even to the point that I haven't used film on a project in quite a while. Overkill definitely better in most cases than under-kill :) As for my own purposes I definitely want the much chroma information as I can get when I am keying but I think this effect could probably be pull off fairly well even in HDV 4:2:0 since keying would not really be needed any way.

As far as going the optical path it could be done DIY without using a mat by sandwiching the negs with the blown out negative backing the normally filmed footage and then do a contact print. Of course this requires a gate that can reasonably be expected to get three pieces of film through.... and still have good registration <_< Not very likely that is going to be in most folks personal collection. I did have access to a JK optical printer but that still leaves the negatives sandwiched on one end.... unless using reversal is an option... But when I think about all the places for things to go wrong in that path, I think I would have much less frustration in the digital realm and then I would get to experiment with a lot more looks with out the need to spend my limited budget at the lab. On the other hand if I were trying to achieve the look of awfully bad footage shot by a stringer in the 80's..... maybe the pitfalls would work in my favor? Nah... I'll go digital :)
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#17 John Brawley

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:30 PM

It is amazing though that, using something so much more complicated, they produced such good results.I'd love to see stringers today try to work with about a stop of latitude, total and get 400 film to work for them throughout an entire shooting day.


Not only that but only get one roll to work with. A lot of the older more succesful DOP's from the generation above me came through this training ground. John Seale and Dean Semler being some of the higher profile DP's who went through that school. I remember seeing Andrew Lesnie's credit on the 16mm shot behind the scenes footage of mad max 2 (which Semler shot)

That training now no longer exists. It used to be that there was a sense of craft and care. I used to work on promo shoots for various TV stations which meant shadowing the crews to get shots of them in action.

It always used to amaze me to see them all talking to each other about where they were going to set up and what questions they would ask. They all basically get the same thing.

I think they were a lot more competitive back in those *VNF* days....

jb
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#18 James Erd

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:34 PM

Im a fan of doing this in camera myself. Give me random over digital anyday. If you want it to get worse as the roll goes on then just close the lock of the mag on the take up side. THEN close the door. It won't close, it will just sit slightly adjar. Perhaps tape it to the mag so it doesn't fly open.

You will find though, that the mag won't start to really leak in a noticeable way until the last maybe 80' It will get worse from there as the roll GETS LARGER and gets closer to the leak.

It's really something you should test for. Especially take note of the light source direction and level so you can repeat it. Perhaps use smaller loads and get a larger 2"core (which i think you can use in an SR) so you don't have to waste as much film getting it to the nearly full roll stage.

The other way (and ive' done this) is to do it to an unexposed roll and composite it in later as a key(luma). Ive done this before and it works great. (also good for home made scratches)

Sounds like fun.

jb


Just for fun you could take a pair of tin snips to an empty 100' daylight reel and then reload it.... then you have light coming in whenever it hits one of the areas where the film isn't protected.
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