My first feature was shot in Regular 16mm in 1994. Most of the same ideas still apply with a few exceptions.
Film stock- Use as slow as possible. I shot most of the film on 50asa film and some 100asa. A slight overexposure can be good, but not too much.
Processing - Normal. Avoid push processing. Pull Processing can further reduce grain but that should be tested properly before hand to determine the new asa and black and color levels.
Lenses - Use as sharp as possible.Use fixed focal length Primes over the Zoom as they should be sharper. Don't shoot wide open as some lenses perform much more poorly then. Even 1/2 stop closed (T2.5 on a T2 lens for example, can make a difference) Also don't shoot at T16 either as the lens will also perform poorly.
Filtration - Less in front of the lens the better for sharpness. Use diffusion for effect if you like but avoid it for anything you want to be 'normal'
Color Balance. - Film stocks behave best when properly exposed in the color range you intend. More grain and image artifacts result in trying more radically 'push' the color of a scene in color correction. Get the photography right first in the color range you intend. Make it look good to your eye and expose properly.
Color Correction/ Blow up. - Here there are a couple of differences than the photochemical blow ups of the past. Firstly overall quality will depend of the Lab doing the work. The quality of their 'Scan' of the negative really matters. Some facilities will do a muliti pass scan to dig all the possible information out of the shadows and highlights. Modern grain reduction technology is finally getting to the point of being useful without just making the whole image softer. Be very careful about overexposure if you are doing your blow up digitally. Highly overexposed areas can induce some electronic noise. This is the opposite of what would happen in an all photochemical process. I'm not talking about brightness, have all the highlights you want, but if you have a white sky or very hot area AND your whole scene need to be brought down 2 stops you will end up with some grainy stuff in those highlights. So be careful.
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good luck on your shoot.
Testing will tell you that.
So, lets assume you´re on a low budget production and your option is s16.
There are many tips on how to tighten grain structure, get sharper renderings and get
those rich blacks (and much more). I´ve been trying to collect all the info i can on how to make s16 resemble 35mm or rather get the most out of s16.
This is an atempt to get all those tips and hints into one thread.
I assume most of you are overexposing a bit (2/3 stop) and then printing down or correcting in the DI, but there are so many other experiences out there.
Are you correcting the K-factor in your meter to measure 18% grey?
Are you using HMI´s only for a different quality in light?
Are you considering the color reproduction of the film and communicating this to production design?
I would rather start this discussion, then ask questions in ten other threads.
Please contribute with your take on theese issues.
Hopefully they´ll all be excessible in this thread.
I hope the technical level in this thread can be kept on a high level.