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How do you light for Red


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#1 Morgan Peline

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 12:33 AM

Hi,

I haven't had a chance to use Red yet but I may do soon. I was wondering how you all use it? When I shoot HD I usually use the monitor but as Red has film-like LUTs I am assuming you could just use a light meter like you would with a film camera.

How does everyone here light for Red?

Thanks!
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#2 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 03:46 AM

Hi,

I haven't had a chance to use Red yet but I may do soon. I was wondering how you all use it? When I shoot HD I usually use the monitor but as Red has film-like LUTs I am assuming you could just use a light meter like you would with a film camera.

How does everyone here light for Red?

Thanks!



I use my meters just like i do for every other film or Hd camera out there. I don't use a waveform monitor and i try not to be seduced by the HD monitors - every time i've trusted a hd monitor over my meters/instinct - ive been burned and/or disappointed with the results. Works for me.
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#3 Ram Shani

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 04:19 AM

hi

i just finished red feature

my system was working with light meter and then take a look at the histogram, zebra and false color

98% of the time i go with the meter

the only 2 shots i didn't were over exposed:(
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 04:44 AM

Pick a viewing LUT (color space/gamma/RSX) in prep and monitor on set with it. Additionally, use the spot meter tool in Raw View to check your exposures. It lets you quickly see what IRE values the various parts of your frame are hitting. It helps to map one of the User Keys to "View in Raw" so you can quickly switch between Raw View and your chosen LUT for this purpose. Waveforms are not that helpful with the Red because the HD-SDI out is basically a 720P proxy of the recorded raw image.

Also, don't assume just because the camera has a "Log space" setting in post processing that you have overexposure latitude like color negative film. There isn't much headroom there at all. Better to think of it like any other HD camera.

*Question for Stephen: What ASA do you set your meters to? And how do you make sure the camera/sensor is actually working at the same ASA? Curious... thanks!

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 02 July 2009 - 04:47 AM.

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#5 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 05:14 AM

FILM LIGHTING
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:21 AM

FILM LIGHTING



The "Film Lighting" book is a fine one but does not have much bearing on the question asked.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:46 AM

I use the monitor a lot, seems the whole point of shooting digital versus film, being freed from metering. What's so great about using a meter? But I sort of do a combination -- I set-up the camera at the f-stop I want to light to (let's say, f/2.8), and I use my meter to rough in the key light, and then I check to see how it looks on the monitor and make final exposure decisions that way. If the monitor stays in the same viewing environment and you find your metering and the monitor seem to match, then when you get into the coverage, you start to rely less on the meter.

But this supposes a monitor properly set-up to color bars, etc.
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 06:17 PM

But this supposes a monitor properly set-up to color bars, etc.


Absolutely critical for all digital cameras, not just Red. We just had a first day on a Genesis show where the raw was fine, but the LUT's from the set were so far off it would have got the DP fired -- way blown out and a little on the purple side. It sure helps to be at the first transfer session, or at least have someone you trust cover it for you.




-- J.S.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:03 PM

Absolutely critical for all digital cameras, not just Red. We just had a first day on a Genesis show where the raw was fine, but the LUT's from the set were so far off it would have got the DP fired -- way blown out and a little on the purple side. It sure helps to be at the first transfer session, or at least have someone you trust cover it for you.


I tried building my own LUT's from the set and found that they never translated properly to the post house, for whatever reasons. So on my last Genesis shoot, I created the LUT's at the post house and applied them to the camera on the set, which worked fine.
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#10 Morgan Peline

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:24 AM

Thanks for your answers! Makes sense to use a combination of both meter and monitor.

Do you set your meters to 320ASA?

I still do a lot of low budget stuff where I operate the camera and we only have one monitor so sometimes it's a hassle to walk away from the camera to go look at the monitor...using a spot meter or light meter with Red will just suit me fine I'm sure!
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 01:39 PM

I tried building my own LUT's from the set and found that they never translated properly to the post house, for whatever reasons. So on my last Genesis shoot, I created the LUT's at the post house and applied them to the camera on the set, which worked fine.


Thanks, David -- That's extremely valuable information. Were you able to do it during pre-production using tests, or did it cost you some sleeping time on the first night of the shoot? I worry about any new idea that adds even more load to what is already an 18 hour a day job.




-- J.S.
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 04:06 PM

I did it in pre-production -- shot some greyscales and a face, took it to Technicolor Vancouver, we created some basic LUT's, then I left because they said it would take a couple of hours to build the LUT's. But when they were done, the files were small enough to put on a keychain memory stick or be sent by email.

I just labeled the LUT's "#1, #2, etc." #1 was normal (with slightly deeper blacks), #2 was warmed-up, #3 was cooled-off. If I had remembered, I should have created a LUT that was minus-green for shooting under industrial fluorescents.

I also had one special look LUT for a flashback that was hi-con and super-saturated.

If the DP has the time, he could take some dailies to the post house, time them and create a LUT, then take that LUT back to set the next day.

In theory, you could create your LUT's on set but you really have to know what you are doing and have a well-calibrated monitor in a good viewing environment, plus a waveform. But the DP would have to follow the footage to the post house to make sure it looked the same on their monitors.
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#13 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 06:16 PM

I mostly rely on my meters - as David mentioned, I find it's best to rough in the key lighting by eye and confirm with your meter and then use the monitor to add touches and details.

I'm leery of doing everything off of a monitor - what if someone bumped a switch, what if there's a bad cable, with the Red I find that sometimes when it reboots it will alter settings within the menus, etc. The environment you're working in also dictates how much a monitor can be of use to you - if I'm shooting on a stage where the monitor is in an ideal viewing environment, it can be of more use to me. However, if I'm shooting Day exteriors my eyes are going to get tricked by running in and out of a viewing tent.

To each their own - at the end of the day it's whatever works for you that you find to be reliable.

As for the ASA of the Red - it seems to vary. I did one Red shoot where the camera rated as low as 160, but in general I find 250 seems to be the norm. Again, though, it's a bit of personal tastes too (do you prefer 5218 at 320, 400, 500, 640, etc).
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#14 Von Thomas

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 11:51 PM

I don't hear many of you using the most valuable exposure tool for RED, it's histogram. I come from years in the digital still world, where I really don't need a meter, just for quick reference. If you really learn and rely on the histogram, your images will work for you every time. I remember my first histogram, did not understand it, then over the years it became my most valuable tool. Add to that the false color tool and bingo, your in good exposure territory. Jim Jannard has a thread on RED User called Exposure 101, you should check it out.

Also shoot a gray card in key light near talent, later use as white balance reference to neutralize your image in RED Alert, this will save you time and money in post, and it's a simple process, takes seconds. Do this with every lighting change, and you will have trimmed hours off post.

REDucation's first training series starts next Monday July 20, it is the first all inclusive all immersive RED authorized training, and I'm gonna be there. I suggest for those shooting with RED, consider attending the next REDucation which starts in September. It should answer most all of your questions
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#15 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:12 AM

I used the in camera spot meter on my feature and it worked great. Refer to what Satski posted about metering in RAW and not in REC 709 or Redspace. There were big differences in exposure between the two.
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#16 Von Thomas

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:37 AM

I used the in camera spot meter on my feature and it worked great. Refer to what Satski posted about metering in RAW and not in REC 709 or Redspace. There were big differences in exposure between the two.


While the spot meter is a good tool, the histogram is the best way to expose, it's a graph of all your digital info, highlight to shadow.
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#17 John Sprung

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 12:56 PM

While the spot meter is a good tool, the histogram is the best way to expose, it's a graph of all your digital info, highlight to shadow.


The beauty of the histogram is that it shows you where the actual data you're recording lands. If you're crushing blacks or blowing out whites, the histogram shows it to you directly. The in-camera spot meter shows you where specific things are landing within the camera's dynamic range. So, if you want to let a window blow out, and check that you still have detail in a white shirt, that's where the spot meter helps. There's the false color/zebra stuff on digitals cameras, too.

Remember film? Everything was secondary measurements -- there was no way to get a measurement from the emulsion of exactly what it's getting. We could incident meter to get an exposure and fill ratio, we used spot meters to check that specific things were where we wanted them. OTOH, film has a bunch more dynamic range, especially on the high end, that saves our tush a lot of the time. So, this fancy stuff film can't do, it doesn't need to do. ;-)





-- J.S.
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#18 Von Thomas

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:26 PM

One thing I've noticed in quite a few RED finished project are the whites being blown totally out. I watched a guys reel the other day, and I thought it looked terrible. If you have a black man in a white tee shirt, the tee shirt would be out, anything white would be out. Who is teaching these people how to light? Coming from a still background, I could not turn in a project like that, I'd never have a client again. I think taking the care to light properly is a must. I want to do a test on RED in studio with HMI's, white cyc, model in white dress, and have everything beautiful, we do it all the time in digital still. The photo below, I have on white pants, there is detail, not blown.

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Edited by Von Thomas, 12 July 2009 - 10:28 PM.

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#19 Serge Teulon

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 06:31 AM

To the ppl that use their meters......what asa do you set your meter at?

I've now shot a 3 promos and 1 ad with the red. When testing I used my meter (set at 320asa) but I found the images to be underexposed.
So I decided to (still with my meter was present) rely more on the histogram + traffic lights and the images have come out exactly right.

Has anyone had a similar experience?
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