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Do you insist on a monitor when shooting film in daylight?


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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:22 AM

Was curious if anyone else insists on on-board monitor rental (yes, low budget indies have to insist on such common items) when you know you will be ND'ed like crazy?

I just had a shoot on an Aaton 35III, all handheld, with 500asa stocks (no choice) with several mid day ext.'s. As you can guess, actors waited for 30 sec. at least before rolling while I adjusted my eye.

I had forgot how hard it was to keep my eye tuned up enough to see anything at all between shots when stacked up like that. Sunglasses, lots of winking helped of course.

Any other tips for human iris control when in these kinds of situations?
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 03:21 AM

Operating off a monitor has pros and cons. I only do it if I can't look through a VF (jib shot, etc), or if it is a video camera and the VF is a pain in the ass to operate off of.

RE fast stocks on bright light, what I usually do is rate, expose and pull process the stock 1-2 stops, which helps tame the grain and reduce the ND filter factor to help operate off the VF. In my experience, a 500 ASA stock exposed at 125 ASA (2 stops for pull processing) in bright daylight without the use of ND becomes a lot more manageable once other filters (color correction, ND and polarizer) are added to the mix than merely exposing and processing it normal and having to add massive amounts of filtering that would darken the VF to uncomfortable degrees, as you have experienced.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 18 December 2009 - 03:22 AM.

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#3 Chris Clarke

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 06:02 AM

I worked on a film shot in the desert with 500 ASA stock and it is a real problem. The only practical solution is to use Panaflex's and rear gel them. You end up with T8 on the lens and an 85 N9 filter. Almost impossible to adjust your eye to when the ambient light conditions are so bright. The main unit that I worked on was fine with rear gelled Panaflex's but the 2nd unit really struggled with their 435's. It got to the point where the operators were having such a hard time that they had Panastar's sent out!

It wasn't really an option to alter the processing of the stock as the whole point of using it was to be able to see into the shadows more.
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#4 Tony Brown

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 01:38 PM

I worked on a film shot in the desert with 500 ASA stock


Ok....I'll ask....why?
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#5 John Holland

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:00 PM

I echo Tonys question ! Why , see into shadows more ???? Would you like to say who was DP on this desert film ?
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 06:47 PM

Glad to see I am not alone wondering why middle-of-the-day shadows need to be seen "more" to require the use of 500 ASA stock. Perhaps the DP had video-only experience and felt he needed to replicate video filming conditions on film? :blink:

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 18 December 2009 - 06:49 PM.

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#7 Tony Brown

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 07:07 PM

Glad to see I am not alone wondering why middle-of-the-day shadows need to be seen "more" to require the use of 500 ASA stock. Perhaps the DP had video-only experience and felt he needed to replicate video filming conditions on film? :blink:


Well I'd dispute the shadows theory ..... exposure is relative and slow stocks have more latitude, and what detail in 'shadows' are you expecting in a desert? Sand?

Vincent - why was there 'no choice' of film stock? The producer cannot have been that much of an idiot surely. B)
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 07:14 PM

stock donation perhaps?
I recently did a shoot, which I am quite proud of, where all the stock was outdated, badly stored ect, and while we had a few different emulsions to choose from, they were of course limited. I'd've not changed anything for the world, mind you, aside from perhaps giving a go of the Vision 800T cans, but I wasn't adventurous enough to go beyond the 320T we had... (most of it was 5274/5279/5218/5229/5260/5246/and 5293 with some '77 and '89)
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#9 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:38 PM

Well I'd dispute the shadows theory ..... exposure is relative and slow stocks have more latitude, and what detail in 'shadows' are you expecting in a desert? Sand?


Yeah, here in New Mexico we have our share of deserts. I have never have shot with (nor have I heard of anyone else using) anything even remotely close to 500T to "see more in shadows" in the desert in the middle of the day. This summer I shot some '12 at high noon exterior with a pola and a 52B at roughly T8-11 and everything fell into place perfectly, the way film does. Here is a low res .jpg of the SD offline.

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#10 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:50 PM

stock donation perhaps?
I recently did a shoot, which I am quite proud of, where all the stock was outdated, badly stored ect, and while we had a few different emulsions to choose from, they were of course limited. I'd've not changed anything for the world, mind you, aside from perhaps giving a go of the Vision 800T cans, but I wasn't adventurous enough to go beyond the 320T we had... (most of it was 5274/5279/5218/5229/5260/5246/and 5293 with some '77 and '89)


5279? mmmm let me recall it...

yes, it is my favorite discontinued stock. rich colors. deep contrast. tight grain. fast speed. it had it all...
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:59 PM

Yeah it was very nice to use; our main 500T stock. Sad that it'll probably be my first and only chance to use it; though I am rather fond of the new '60 stock.
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#12 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:04 PM

Yeah, here in New Mexico we have our share of deserts. I have never have shot with (nor have I heard of anyone else using) anything even remotely close to 500T to "see more in shadows" in the desert in the middle of the day. This summer I shot some '12 at high noon exterior with a pola and a 52B at roughly T8-11 and everything fell into place perfectly, the way film does. Here is a low res .jpg of the SD offline.


85b, not 52b. Sorry for the typo.
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#13 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 07:42 AM

Vincent - why was there 'no choice' of film stock? The producer cannot have been that much of an idiot surely. B)


I'm in good with my Kodak rep. so when I was asked to DP this short piece on 35mm, I asked her what we could get "real cheap". Apparently there was some 400ft. rolls of 5218 sitting on a shelf in NY somewhere that wasn't being "sold for retail", so.....
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#14 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 07:52 AM

RE fast stocks on bright light, what I usually do is rate, expose and pull process the stock 1-2 stops, which helps tame the grain and reduce the ND filter factor to help operate off the VF. In my experience, a 500 ASA stock exposed at 125 ASA (2 stops for pull processing) in bright daylight without the use of ND becomes a lot more manageable once other filters (color correction, ND and polarizer) are added to the mix than merely exposing and processing it normal and having to add massive amounts of filtering that would darken the VF to uncomfortable degrees, as you have experienced.


I'd rather not play with changing my exposures to make a VF easier to use. Whatever the preference, in this case half the roll was shot in mid-day sun, and the other half at 2am with a max of an F2.
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#15 Tony Brown

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:37 AM

I'm in good with my Kodak rep. so when I was asked to DP this short piece on 35mm, I asked her what we could get "real cheap". Apparently there was some 400ft. rolls of 5218 sitting on a shelf in NY somewhere that wasn't being "sold for retail", so.....


Then you deserved any problems you had though its a shame your decision impacts other people. Part of your responsibility as a DoP is to make calls that are in the best interest of the production

Live and learn.
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#16 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 10:18 PM

Then you deserved any problems you had though its a shame your decision impacts other people. Part of your responsibility as a DoP is to make calls that are in the best interest of the production

Live and learn.


It rarely fails on public forums that someone like you speaks up for no reason Tony, and without sufficient knowledge of course. Feel free to email me directly with any more comments as I'd be happy to explain how things work out there in the real world where you often find yourself with a producer who has a good enough concept, that's worthwhile helping out on, but who is without the money to do it perfectly, like you seem to assume is the only option. And in case you didn't read between the lines, "real cheap" means "free" and you get what is given you.

Posts like yours isn't going to help your career or reputation, by the way. It will also keep others, or at least myself, from offering any help to you later on. Retracting your ignorance based comment is a good move now.

Exactly, live and learn.

(Edit: Shooting on film was already set in stone, not a choice, and good thing too.)
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#17 Rob Vogt

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 11:14 PM

Then you deserved any problems you had though its a shame your decision impacts other people. Part of your responsibility as a DoP is to make calls that are in the best interest of the production

Live and learn.



C'mon Tony, this isn't called for. I've never worked with Vincent, but I've worked with people he has and he has a good reputation. His decision to use film, although in this case made life more difficult for himself, I'm sure helped the production. Only in these scenes in bright daylight was it really even a problem as he mentioned.
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#18 Stephen Williams

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 02:35 AM

Posts like yours isn't going to help your career or reputation,


Hi,

I don't think Tony need worry, his pictures speak for themselves.

Stephen
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#19 Tony Brown

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 04:41 AM

C'mon Tony, this isn't called for. I've never worked with Vincent, but I've worked with people he has and he has a good reputation. His decision to use film, although in this case made life more difficult for himself, I'm sure helped the production. Only in these scenes in bright daylight was it really even a problem as he mentioned.


So Vincent didn't make an elementary mistake?

The problems he causes himself are of his own making and I would expect him to bite the bullet and deal with it. But to say that actors had to wait 30 seconds before being given the go is at the very least inconsiderate and I would argue unprofessional. Quite why it fell on Vincent to provide the film stock I cant imagine, but having done so he'd made the choice, so to then let that decision impact on others and carp on about it seems a little churlish. Instead of asking "do you insist on a monitor when shooting film in daylight" perhaps Vincent should have just requested the tools for the job. If the producer cant or wont provide them then fair enough, you get around the problems, but this was Vincents choice.
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#20 Tony Brown

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 04:43 AM

I'd be happy to explain how things work out there in the real world



Yeah sorry, not been there yet.....
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