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KODAK 500T WITH NDs FOR INTERIORS


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#1 Alex Birrell

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:14 PM

Hi everyone,

I am going to be directing my second term short film at the London Film School in the next couple of months and am trying to sort out the look of the film with my dp. It is a dark themed short with a horror/thriller flavour all set in one night time interior. They will be giving us Kodak 7219 500T, three 800w redhead open face lights with flags, various gels and diffusion materials and a felloni led light panel and we can use whatever practicals we want. I am going for a very high contrast, hard light look and would like pools of strong illumination in areas of complete blackness. Previously we have only worked with 200T and I was shocked with how much it sees into the shadows even when the meter indicates underexposure. I am worried that with our open face lights 500T will be too much and the whole film could seem flatly light and without contrast. I was wondering if it would be advisable to use our ND6 filter on the camera at all times and expose the film as 125ASA. I have taken some DSLR stills at 100ASA in my flat just with domestic lights on and am seeing the kind of results I like.

Does anyone have any suggestions or think the ND idea might work out? By the way we cannot push or pull the film in any way or manipulate it digitally in post. Part of our brief is that what we expose in camera is what we get.

Edited by Alex Birrell, 17 March 2012 - 05:16 PM.

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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:40 PM

Does anyone have any suggestions or think the ND idea might work out? By the way we cannot push or pull the film in any way or manipulate it digitally in post. Part of our brief is that what we expose in camera is what we get.


Well, it's nice to see some universities still put that kind of emphasis on truly learning the craft with film.

I've used a Tiffen ND .6 on a lot of tests and one of my shorts and it worked out beautifully. Mind you, I usually use natural light, but I got great contrast. I also found that the optimal exposure compensation was 2 1/3 for the stock I was using (which was Kodak 7231.) But considering the look you want and the fact you are shooting with 500T, you may want to adjust that if you like what you see in the shadows.

If you have the time and money, I'd shoot a test roll with the kinds of lighting set-ups you are talking about with the ND filter on the camera.
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#3 Ari Davidson

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

I agree with Bill's approach, but do test if you have any means to. It will greatly improve your results. I believe the ASC manual has some lengthy and technical advice for this type of exposure.


I like this exercise they're giving you. Open faced lights combined with lots of grippage and a high ASA film! Sounds like a great lesson in controlling light, something often missed in the digital age...




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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:04 PM

Set your ƒ stop higher to achieve the look your going for. The highlights will be properly exposed and the rest will fall off into shadow rather quickly. I would rate your highlights at 320iso and adjust the shadows in post. 7219 really does dig into the shadows, but it is easier and better to add in black later than having too much to begin with. If you are able to get an ƒ4 on the face or what ever you want to be the brightest, you are in good shape.
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 01:59 PM

Why not just knock down your light levels and rate it at 320? Seems counterproductive to add so much light and then ND it. It's hard enough to see through a viewfinder and then add an ND.
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