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My first film experience


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#1 Ulas Yigit Ulker

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:08 PM

Hi all;

This is my first topic on this great site.
Ok my question is: I'm a young up coming DP(cause i don't want to call myself DP as long as i don't success with a film camera) i had many experiences any kind of HD, including a featured movie with RED camera. Yes i had my first feature this summer. So in a short time, i have project that i have to shoot with film camera. As you guess i'm quite stressed:( I know more than basic cinematography and i don't think it will be any problem with the result of my work but you know its my first time.

So you masters, What are the things i need to be aware of on film, should i work exactly the same logic with RED? Cause in video WYSIWYG(almost) but to don't know what you"ll get on film is extremely stressing me out..On the other hand i'm so excited with this project, its Tv commercial, and its half studio half outdoor shooting. Hints and helps will be very helpful with this young DP's self confidence..

Best

Ulas
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:33 PM

One thing to keep in mind about not seeing what is on film, is that a digital camera can see less contrast than film. Film can see less contrast than your eye. If you are comfortable lighting for video without using a monitor and judging by eye, then you should be equally adept at doing it for film. Usually I meter the key and a few other spots and then light by eye. If there is a dark shadow or a really hot highlight I might meter it or spot it just to see if its too far out of range, but in general I trust my eye.

If your still nervous, take a digital camera, set it to 1/50 sec exposure and snap stills with your aperture roughly set to what your lens will be (stills are F-stops, not T-stops, so even if the settings are all the same, the still camera will be slightly darker, so use your meter to determine the actual lens stop)

And keep in mind you have a lot of room to screw up. There are countless examples of big name DPs screwing something up that gets solved in the print, just because film has so much latitude.
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#3 Ulas Yigit Ulker

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:49 PM

One thing to keep in mind about not seeing what is on film, is that a digital camera can see less contrast than film. Film can see less contrast than your eye. If you are comfortable lighting for video without using a monitor and judging by eye, then you should be equally adept at doing it for film. Usually I meter the key and a few other spots and then light by eye. If there is a dark shadow or a really hot highlight I might meter it or spot it just to see if its too far out of range, but in general I trust my eye.

If your still nervous, take a digital camera, set it to 1/50 sec exposure and snap stills with your aperture roughly set to what your lens will be (stills are F-stops, not T-stops, so even if the settings are all the same, the still camera will be slightly darker, so use your meter to determine the actual lens stop)

And keep in mind you have a lot of room to screw up. There are countless examples of big name DPs screwing something up that gets solved in the print, just because film has so much latitude.



Thank you very much for your time Michael;

I got it but one thing i wonder, the eye i will trust in this case is used to video, lets say i made a scene exactlly the way i made on video, and set the exposure according to my lens and ISO rate, and my eyes say its ok, do you think i should still cross my fingers and wait till the end of laburatory?Or it will be fine and i should just go for it?

Thanks in advance
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 07:48 PM

Nope you will be fine. In fact if you video eye is telling you its contrasty, but within range, you might find it to be a bit flatter in the neg than you would expect. If your eye is trained for the limited range that video has, and you light a scene to fit within that range, you have lots of room (mostly on the overexposure side) to play with. you have the saftey.

What I would do is get a few exposure tests with the lens/stock/proccessing you are going to be using. Shoot a model or one of the actresses and get a few seconds of 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 even 5:1 (with the key light at normal exposure) then start to crank up the key and see what overexposure is doing. Most times its enough to know how different exposures will read on skin tones, and the rest falls into place. If anything in the commercial has to be D-max or D-min (say, a window with 1000h that you need blown out, or a black void background) you should test that too.

I assume this is for video finish, since it is a commercial. That means you will have plenty of room in the TK and the edit bay to move the contrast into the proper range.

Be sure and step out on a ledge at some point in the shoot, something you feel is daring and almost dangerous (not physically, of course). Try something that seems like its just over the line. Odds are you will find that is just perfect, and the shots you felt were pushing it, but within range will be somewhat duller. That way you get a sense of how far you can push it film, and you will start to learn to trust the emulsion to do its job.
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#5 Anthony Brooks

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 10:21 PM

Thank you Michael for the information...and Ulas, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you man. Though I shot a 16mm project once, I'm still a newbie to film cinematography. Best of luck.



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Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

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The Slider

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Metropolis Post