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Why is my film so underexposed?


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#1 JoanneLou

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 02:14 PM

Hi,

I'm a beginner to super 8 filming and have acquired a Nizo Professional
camera. I have shot three films on it (one in tri-x the other two 64T)
and, whilst the outdoor shots have come out beautifully, the indoor shots
are severely underexposed, even though they have not been in particually
dark indoor conditions.

Is there something Im overlooking with regards to the cameras features
which could help gain more exposure? I'm getting really disheartened with
spending money on film, processing etc only to get bad results.

Any advice would be great!

Jo
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 02:56 PM

Do you have a light meter? What are you metering your scene @ and exposing @? Are you lighting it yourself? We'll need more info before we can help.
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#3 Rob Vogt

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:36 PM

I'd imagine shooting at an ISO of 64 indoors would need be lit or you could push process if you don't have access to lights. I suggest getting a faster stock for indoors.

Not saying that every photo doesn't need to be "lit," just that you need to add artificial light.

Edited by Rob Vogt, 17 June 2010 - 06:37 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:55 PM

Does your Super-8 camera have a built-in meter? If you are underexposed, then you either don't have enough light to shoot with or you have set the f-stop incorrectly. But assuming your lens is wide-open, then probably you simply don't have enough light for the speed of film stock you are using.
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#5 JoanneLou

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 07:23 PM

Thank you all so much for your prompt replies.

The camera has a built-in light meter, which appears to work really effectively outdoors
(the needle moves etc) but is not as active indoors. You'll have to forgive me but I'm not sure what an f-stop is/does,
or how to set it up. I'm not lighting the subjects myself as I'm just doing some basic home
movie/wedding filming.

How do I set up the f-stop? Will this affect the exposure? Also what faster film stock would you recommend?

Thank you all so much!!
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 12:04 AM

The four basic things that affect exposure (ignoring any light-robbing filters in front) are:

(1) The amount of light in the scene / subject brightness

(2) the size of the lens aperture (f-stop)

(3) the exposure time (controlled by frame rate and shutter angle in a movie camera)

(4) the sensitivity of the film stock

Your lens has an iris that opens and closes to control the amount of light -- even if the f-stops are not marked on the barrel, many Super-8 camera display the f-stop inside the viewfinder with a little needle sometimes swinging over the f-stop range that the internal light meter says is needed to get a correct exposure. However, once the needle hits the widest aperture -- it may be f/2.0, let's say, the f-stop can't open up any wider. Then the trouble is that you don't know how many more stops below that you actually need to get the correct exposure, unless you use a separate light meter. But you can pan around until you find a brighter subject and the meter needle starts to move again to get a sense of the average light level needed for the speed of the film stock you are using.

There are faster Super-8 stocks, but most are color negative film not designed for direct projection, unlike reversal stocks. They have to be transferred to video on a professional telecine. I think now Kodak sells 100D as their only color reversal film in Super-8; the fastest reversal stock is Tri-X b&w.
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#7 JoanneLou

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 06:03 AM

That is fantastic advice, thank you so much for explaining things so clearly. I shall prompty go
back to my camera and have an experiment!

Thank you again.

Jo
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