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First time cinematographer - achieve a cold and "glacial" color palette on 16mm


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#1 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 07:12 AM

Hello, this is my first topic on this forum and I hope I can get good advices from expert cinematographers.

I am currently studying in a film school, I started only a month ago, and I have been selected as Director of Photography for a short film that will be shot on an Arri 16SRII Super 16mm. This is my first time as cinematographer on film, I've been shooting in digital for about three years, and I am trying to achieve a specific look on the camera.

Basically the color palette of the film will be cold (almost glacial) and contrasty in terms of lighting. The film Let the right one in (original Swedish version) is a good example. My idea is to use tungsten type film stock (like Kodak Vision3 200T/7213) in all the exterior scenes, with a filter to half-correct the colors, like an 81EF filter, and a recurrent use of poly reflectors to give a white outline to the characters.

Is it a good idea? Should I try to do that only in color grading? Is there another/better way to do it? I'm going to do light tests in a week or so, but I figured out that since it's the first time I should gather some advices. We have a very limited budget available and obviously most of it will be spent for film stock and processing, so I cannot rent too much equipment. But I am very interested in cinematography and keen to experiment.

Thanks a lot and sorry for any unwanted grammar mistakes and typos, I'm not a native English speaker.

Edited by Francesco Chiari, 30 March 2011 - 07:14 AM.

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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 04:02 AM

That sounds like a good starting point, you can then fine tune in post. Best put a neutral grey scale on each roll, so the telecine operator has a reference, otherwise they're likely to remove your cool look palette during the transfer.

Also, consider the art direction, so that you don't have warm colours that will run counter to your look.
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#3 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:55 AM

That sounds like a good starting point, you can then fine tune in post. Best put a neutral grey scale on each roll, so the telecine operator has a reference, otherwise they're likely to remove your cool look palette during the transfer.

Also, consider the art direction, so that you don't have warm colours that will run counter to your look.



Thanks a lot, I'll keep working on it.
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