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Shooting on film, low contrast and flares


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#1 Stephen Price

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 10:05 AM

Hello,

In a couple of weeks time, i will be shooting my first ever music promo on film. I will be using Arri SR3 s16mm. It is all interor, mostly daytime, small amout of night time. The location is a large modern house.

The framing style is held held, many closeups on two charecters, drifting focus. I want the look to be low contrast, and to include lens flares as if there is strong sunlight back lighting the subjects.

I plan to use uncoated T1.3 superspeeds, if i can get them and the stock I plan to use is Fuji Eterna 250D.

I have included several reference images to show examples of how i want the promo to look. Can any help suggest techniques to help me achieve this look? Anything to look out for when flaring lenses on film, eg exposure? Would filters such as Lo Cons help? Any particular lights that would work well?

Any advise would be really welcomed, as i said before i have not shot on film before and i am slightly anxious about achieving the look and exposure.

Many Thanks

Stephen Price
London

Attached Images

  • TR_GUAR_0405new.jpg
  • TR_GUAR_0403new.jpg

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 03:43 AM

I'm a bit confused when you say you want low-contrast images, because both the stills you posted are very high-contrast, though some of that contrast may have been added in post color correction. Both images almost have that "reversal film" look, at least to me. The first image doesn't appear to be flaring the lens much, if at all. It just looks like it's lit with very hot 3/4 backlight. The second image doesn't look too flarey either, the flare is localized around the light source without milking out the girl very much.

I think you should shoot a test with the uncoated lenses and regular Superspeeds to make sure they're going to give you the look you want. Uncoated lenses will give you a lot more veiling glare (low-con milkiness) than the coated lenses, so make sure that's what you want - your posted stills don't appear to have much veiling glare. Also, Superspeeds normally flare quite a bit when used wide open, so that may be already enough to get the look you want.

As for filters, try different types of diffusion - Promists, Classic Softs, and nets will give you halation as well as lower contrast and sharpness. They will also sometimes create artifacts in the out of focus highlights. Classic Softs create a dot pattern, nets create a crisscross pattern, etc. You could try Ultracon filters which lower contrast by spreading light from the highlights into the shadows.

And finally for lighting, I would say be bold and light it how you want it to look instead of being too safe and having the colorist apply the look in telecine. If you want strong edge/backlight like in your stills, let it go 4 stops over. That hot light in the bottom of still #2 was probably spotting at around 6 stops over. The nice thing about film is that highlights blow out very gracefully, so use it. It's better to go too extreme than to not go extreme enough.
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#3 Stephen Price

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:13 PM

Thank you for your advise.

My main worry is exposing the subject correctly, when I am using hard, strong back lights, and flaring the lens. Is there any techniques to use when setting the exposure for the subject, whilst letting the background blow out? I guess I'm worried about relying on a light meter to give me a correct reading for my subjects, as I am not familiar with exposing for film.

Many Thanks

Steve Price
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 02:27 PM

My main worry is exposing the subject correctly, when I am using hard, strong back lights, and flaring the lens. Is there any techniques to use when setting the exposure for the subject, whilst letting the background blow out?

The usual technique using an incident meter in backlit situations where you want to check the frontal fill light on a subject is to take a meter reading in the front of the subject's face, with the dome pointed toward the lens. Use your free hand to shade the dome from any backlight spilling onto it, and you will be only reading the fill light. You just have to be careful not to block the light as you take your reading. Underexpose the fill to taste.

Read the key/backlight by placing the meter between the subject and the light and as close to the subject as possible, with the dome pointed directly at the light. Again, shade the dome from any stray light. Overexpose to taste.

Spot meter the backlights in frame from the camera position, overexpose to taste.
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#5 David Rakoczy

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 03:46 PM

I'm a bit confused when you say you want low-contrast images, because both the stills you posted are very high-contrast, though some of that contrast may have been added in post color correction.


I could not disagree more.. there are very, very little Black Blacks in either Still Frame. Sure they look 'processed'... but High Contrast?.. No. I disagree. Flat and Pastel.. yes.


Shooting on Film, Low Contrast and Flares... can equal= Soft Contrast Filters (Soft Cons)... not to mention a great Colorist!
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#6 Serge Teulon

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:13 AM

Hey Stephen,

How are you?

From those pics what is clear is that the exposure is set on the fill side with key being a hard edge and shallow dof. The flare that lowers the contrast of those images comes from the hard key.
If you follow that method I'm sure you'll get what you want mate.
Additionally you can use a very subtle soft filter or some 'smoke' to further lower the contrast.

As for shooting with film, my only advice if light by eye first, then get your exposure right. Film is ALOT more forgiving than digital!

Here is a still from a promo I shot last friday on 35mm Anamorphic, which employed the same 2 light style as your stills with smoke dry ice smoke.
The light set up was an open 2k fresnel about 6 feet behind her and one of those rectangular light panel lights that sit on the camera. But in this case it was on a magic arm set below matte box with full cto gel on it.

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  • Boxer.jpg

Edited by Serge Teulon, 30 September 2009 - 06:15 AM.

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