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Shooting before and during magic hour with 400T


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#1 Phil Thompson

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 07:25 PM

Hello

I am filming this Sunday in Bradwell-on-sea. Planning on shooting in Magic hour. Test out my new Arriflex 16bl. I have some 400T Fuji Eterna. Planning on using this filter I got. The 85n6 which i believe is an 85 filter with ND. Do you reckon this is the way to go? and if so do I rate it at 200?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 08:47 PM

Hello

I am filming this Sunday in Bradwell-on-sea. Planning on shooting in Magic hour. Test out my new Arriflex 16bl. I have some 400T Fuji Eterna. Planning on using this filter I got. The 85n6 which i believe is an 85 filter with ND. Do you reckon this is the way to go? and if so do I rate it at 200?


Do you want a blue-ish twilight look? If so, I'd forget the 85 correction.

Here's the main issue with dusk shooting -- the light quickly drops to nothing. Your first shot may be at f/8 with an ND.60 on the camera but your last shot will be wide-open with no filters.

It helps to decide up front just how much to underexpose the image so that it feels dimmer than full light -- a safe amount would be 1.5-stops for example. First shoot a neutral shot of a grey scale & face in frontal daylight that is correctly exposed, something that is a no-brainer to color-correct. That will give you and the colorist a base for what is "norma" so that when the dusk shots come up, they look like dusk shots. So once the dusk begins, you meter the shot and let's say your meter says "f/5.6" -- so you'd expose at f/8 and 1/2 for that 1.5-stops underexposure so the light feels a little dim. This will help you at the end of the dusk because maybe your meter says "f/1.4" but since you are always underexposing by 1.5-stops, that would mean that f/2.0 and a 1/2 would give your negative the same exposure it had when you started. Now of course one tends to keep shooting well beyond that, when your image starts being two or three stops underexposed even if the lens is wide-open. You just have to accept that these shots may or may not usable, but no guts, no glory, you may get something beautiful.

The other thing to remember is that as the light fades, if you shoot your last shots more at a low-angle looking into the sky, even though very underexposed, you may get a nice silhouette effect even though it's too dark to see faces. I shot a twilight scene in "Astronaut Farmer" that way:

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 08:52 PM

As far as filters, you may want both an ND.30 and ND.60 so you can more gradually work your way to shooting with no filters when the light is very dim. However, certainly the jump from ND.60 to no filter is manageable. If you use 85ND combos for a warmer dusk look, you'd want a straight 85 as well so you could go from an 85ND to regular 85 as the light fades, and then you'd be pulling it for the last shots and having to correct out the blue cast later in color-correction.
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#4 Phil Thompson

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 03:42 AM

Hi David,

Thanks for your detailed response. The stills look incredible by the way. I was actually thinking of filming 30 minutes before total dusk so I still get those long shadows and glistening glow from the sun reflecting off the shiny wet mud flats. I'm guessing in the stills you posted you were running with no filtration. Is 400T a good stock to use for this situation or should I be using 250D? The only filters I have are an 85N6, 85, 85 Pol - Do i need the ND combo? Sorry, I've no experience using ND's at all. If not, I shall use the 85 and rate the stock at 320. Is that correct?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 10:33 AM

Hi David,

Thanks for your detailed response. The stills look incredible by the way. I was actually thinking of filming 30 minutes before total dusk so I still get those long shadows and glistening glow from the sun reflecting off the shiny wet mud flats. I'm guessing in the stills you posted you were running with no filtration. Is 400T a good stock to use for this situation or should I be using 250D? The only filters I have are an 85N6, 85, 85 Pol - Do i need the ND combo? Sorry, I've no experience using ND's at all. If not, I shall use the 85 and rate the stock at 320. Is that correct?


You'll need the ND's while the sun is up, whether or not you use 400T or 250D -- whether you need the 85 correction too just depends on how warm or cold you want your image. If the sun is still up and low, it sounds like you want a warm image. 400T with an 85 correction is 250 ASA, so it's the same speed as 250D -- if you rate either stock 1/3 of a stop slower, that's 200 ASA either way. Of course, with 400T you could pull the 85 filter and have a bit more speed at the expense of a bluer image. But it sounds like you are more interested in the early warm sunset look rather than the later cool twilight look.

I'd use 250D stock and regular ND's (pulling them as the light drops) unless you wanted the slightly lower-contrast, more pastel look of the 400T stock. 250D is less grainy. But either would work. The 400T without any filters would give you a minute or two of shooting into the darkest part of twilight.

There is also the Fuji 250D Vivid stock if you want more contrast and saturation.
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#6 Phil Thompson

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 05:29 PM

Thanks for that David. My only issue is I have just one 85 filter and one combo 85n6. Thats it. If i use the 85n6, what am i rating the stock at? 65?

P
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 05:42 PM

Thanks for that David. My only issue is I have just one 85 filter and one combo 85n6. Thats it. If i use the 85n6, what am i rating the stock at? 65?

P


Yes, 64 ASA (400 ASA - 2/3-stop for 85 = 250 ASA - 2-stops for ND.60 = 64 ASA.) But that's assuming you rate the stock as listed -- I recommend rating it at 320 ASA just as a starting point.
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