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Negative overexposure


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#1 Jeremy M Lundborg

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 09:15 PM

I've read a few topics on the board regarding overexposing the negative on set by 1/3 or 1/2 stop. This as a general rule to get a stronger negative for grading later on in the process.

My question is whether it is better and/or preferable to, after exposure, print the image down at the lab, or allow it to be processed normally and bring it down during the grading process. Is this approach altered if the film will go through a DI as compared to telecine?

Thanks.
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#2 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 10:01 PM

My understanding is that you need to overexpose by at least 2/3's for it to be effective.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:39 PM

I've read a few topics on the board regarding overexposing the negative on set by 1/3 or 1/2 stop. This as a general rule to get a stronger negative for grading later on in the process.

My question is whether it is better and/or preferable to, after exposure, print the image down at the lab, or allow it to be processed normally and bring it down during the grading process. Is this approach altered if the film will go through a DI as compared to telecine?

Thanks.


When you print the image down, that is after normal processing -- either way, you process normal, otherwise you'd be canceling the extra density from the overexposure if you compensated by pull-processing the same amount. 1/3-over is very mild, 2/3-over is more definite.

You don't really need the overexposure as much to get deeper blacks if you are grading digitally, but it still helps with reducing grain and improving shadow detail.
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#4 Ben Syverson

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 04:05 PM

With still photography I often overexpose by as much as a stop... You can go further, but there are diminishing returns grain-wise, as you start to push skintones into the compressed shoulder of the response curve. However that doesn't always bother me, because you're also dragging the shadows up into the more linear portion of the curve. With the right shot, you can get away with +2 stops, especially if there are no faces in direct light and you need to be able to fill in the shadows or reduce contrast.

Edit: I should note that my comments apply to a digital environment (ie, DI), where you have some control over the tonal curve. I don't think I would overexpose by +2 if I was printing photochemically, though I'm sure it wouldn't be the end of the world if you did so accidentally.

Edited by Ben Syverson, 14 March 2010 - 04:08 PM.

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