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#1 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 11:27 PM

So for my grad film this year, we are planning on either shooting super 16 or super 35mm depending on budget and i have a few questions on film techniques and stock etc. In the past i have shot standard 16mm film but did so a little uneducated and ended up with less then perfect results.

Ok first question
- In my grad film we will be shooting a big chunk of night time scenes. These scenes are out in a field or valley and as such wont have tungsten light sources. I will be using tungsten lights with daylight balancing diffusion on. The question i have is what would normally be used on a location similar to this. I have used 500T in the past and would like to do so again, for the grain and low light capabilities but its tungsten balanced where as the scene will not be. Can this still be used? I saw some vision3 250D stock but didnt know if it would be fast enough for night shooting.

-If anyone could elaborate on rating film stocks lower it would be great. The basic understanding i have is that if you rate something like 500T at 320 or 400 etc that the light meter will give a faster fstop reading to compensate for the slow film. I will be trying to used some lenses along the lines of t1.3 etc so before anyone says i will need fast lenses i jsut thought i would clarify. Ok back to the question. Is rating like above always necessary? Assuming that most the shots will be high key due to lack of lights available for the production, will it cause highlights to blow out but reveal more detail in the shadows, or is film dynamic enough to still handle such a situation?

-Controlling Depth of Field when a light meter is telling you what stop to set the lens at. Is it just a matter of using more light if i want the stop to be slower? As mentioned above the scenes will be at night with minimal lighting available. Just dont want every shot to be extremely shallow dof.

-Last one. If we were to shoot super 16mm is it possible to use 35mm lenses or would it be best to stick to something like the zeiss superspeed mk3's s16?

I fully understand if some of these questions cant be completely answered as they are artistic choices etc but if anyone could help me out with some knowledge it would be great.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 12:11 AM

- In my grad film we will be shooting a big chunk of night time scenes. These scenes are out in a field or valley and as such wont have tungsten light sources. I will be using tungsten lights with daylight balancing diffusion on. The question i have is what would normally be used on a location similar to this. I have used 500T in the past and would like to do so again, for the grain and low light capabilities but its tungsten balanced where as the scene will not be. Can this still be used? I saw some vision3 250D stock but didnt know if it would be fast enough for night shooting.


Normally you'd use 500T stock for night scenes mainly because you need the speed. If you use HMI lights -- or tungsten lights with blue gel on them -- they would render blue-ish on tungsten-balanced film, which is not unusual if you want a blue moonlit look.

-If anyone could elaborate on rating film stocks lower it would be great. The basic understanding i have is that if you rate something like 500T at 320 or 400 etc that the light meter will give a faster fstop reading to compensate for the slow film. I will be trying to used some lenses along the lines of t1.3 etc so before anyone says i will need fast lenses i jsut thought i would clarify. Ok back to the question. Is rating like above always necessary? Assuming that most the shots will be high key due to lack of lights available for the production, will it cause highlights to blow out but reveal more detail in the shadows, or is film dynamic enough to still handle such a situation?


Not sure I understand your question. If you rate a 500 ASA stock at 400 ASA, let's say, by switching your meter to 400 ASA, then you will get meter readings for 400 ASA, and following them, you'd be on average giving your image 1/3-stop more exposure. It would be the same thing as if you left your meter at 500 ASA but then open-up the stop by 1/3 for every set-up. Rating 500 ASA stock at 400 ASA is pretty conservative, it's only something like a 2-point printer light adjustment, it's minimal overexposure. In fact, it is so minimal that I think it falls into a margin of error of exposing, i.e. if you rated a stock 1/3-stop slower but accidentally underexposed by 1/3-stop, you basically ended up back at the normal rating.

Is it necessary? Just depends. Rating a stock a little bit slower is sort of insurance against accidental underexposure, but maybe you never accidentally underexpose so that's not a problem. A slightly overexposed negative will have tighter grain, snappier blacks and richer colors, all slightly of course. But if you are happy with the grain, colors, and blacks of the stock rated normally, then maybe you don't need to rate it slower.

Controlling Depth of Field when a light meter is telling you what stop to set the lens at. Is it just a matter of using more light if i want the stop to be slower? As mentioned above the scenes will be at night with minimal lighting available. Just dont want every shot to be extremely shallow dof.


If you want to stop down to increase depth of field, you need either more light or faster film. That's just physics, or life, you can't have it both ways, work at low light levels at wide apertures but get more depth of field. You want more depth of field, get more light and stop down. Or use a smaller format.

Last one. If we were to shoot super 16mm is it possible to use 35mm lenses or would it be best to stick to something like the zeiss superspeed mk3's s16?


Sure you can use 35mm lenses but you may want some short enough focal lengths to get wide-angle shots on the smaller Super-16 format. Your 35mm lens set may only go to 18mm at the shortest, so you may need to augment that with some Super-16 lenses that are in the 8mm to 18mm range, let's say.
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#3 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:59 PM

Thanks for the useful replies David. I have one more question that if you or anyone else could answer it would be good.

If we were to shoot 35mm i'm a little confused on perforations. I understand perforations in terms of film size, aspect ratios etc but my question is in regard to buying stock. Once a chosen perf amount is decided upon do I then have to specify how many perforations are needed with the stock i want to buy or am i thinking about it incorrectly and its the camera pull down that is all that matters?

In my head i cant see how it would be solely the cameras pull-down that would determine the pull-down as i always thought there was a gap between each emulsion and as such you would have to choose a film stock that has the certain amount of perforations.

Bit confusing but any info would be great.
Thanks
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:30 PM

Camera pull down only, and gate, of course, but it's the pull down which matters.
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#5 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:36 PM

Thanks. So when choosing a stock i just go by the iso and balance etc. Pull down is irrelevant?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:45 PM

Thanks. So when choosing a stock i just go by the iso and balance etc. Pull down is irrelevant?


Yes, you just order the 35mm stock you want, the camera decides how many perfs to pulldown, what size the gate is, etc. -- it's the same stock. How many perfs affects how many feet you shoot obviously, how many minutes you get out of a roll.

Also, only 4-perf is a 35mm projection format, though a lab may have a 2-perf or 3-perf projector. But if you shoot in any format other than 4-perf, you are talking about a conversion (usually digital these days) to a 4-perf standard 35mm projection format (flat or scope) for theaters.
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#7 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:15 AM

Thanks for the replies. At the moment it looks like super16mm will be all that can fit into our budget. If someone could explain video assist to me it would be good. Does it allow external monitors for focus etc? Or does it only act as some form of recorder. The cameras available to be rented where i am are the arri sr3 s16, AAton xtr prod, aaton XTERA and the aaton a-minima. Im not sure on camera specifics but all the cameras say they come with video assist. Not sure what the extent of these are but if someone could maybe tell me which camera is best or just some pro's or cons that you have experienced with any of the above.

Thanks
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#8 Chris Burke

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:24 AM

Thanks for the replies. At the moment it looks like super16mm will be all that can fit into our budget. If someone could explain video assist to me it would be good. Does it allow external monitors for focus etc? Or does it only act as some form of recorder. The cameras available to be rented where i am are the arri sr3 s16, AAton xtr prod, aaton XTERA and the aaton a-minima. Im not sure on camera specifics but all the cameras say they come with video assist. Not sure what the extent of these are but if someone could maybe tell me which camera is best or just some pro's or cons that you have experienced with any of the above.

Thanks


for budget sake, you may opt not to have a video tap. Ask if that is an option, only to save money, otherwise keep it. A video tap serves as a monitor for the director or anyone else who is going to watch. I think that Jerry Lewis the comedian who came up with the idea. Because only one person can look through the viewfinder, a tap was need for others to look along. Recorders are often attached for playback review of a scene. There are some really snazzy video taps out there, but a basic black and white model will suffice. Either the SR3 or XTR Prod, my favorite, will do the job for you.
On a different note, you may want to inquire about shooting 2 perf 35, it will be only slightly more expensive or less expensive than S16. Your rental house, seeing as they have an XTera, might offer a 2 perf camera.
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#9 Chris Burke

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:47 AM

forgot to add that you should NEVER judge focus from the video tap.
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#10 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:11 PM

Yeah they actually offer 2 and 3 perf 35mm cameras. They just seem to be at least double the cost for the camera per day then say the sr3 or the xtr prod. The xtera is similar price to the 35mm cameras as well. It would be great to try using 35mm but unfortunately i don't see it happening. As for focus, after measuring, i was told by a teacher at my university that the viewfinder would be the best. I still have a little while before we start filming so will have to go and check out the cameras to see if they offer video taps.
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