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Should I Order Push Processing For My Film?

push 16mm bolex processing

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#1 T Sanders

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:23 AM

Ok, this is my first film shot with motion picture film. I read as much as I could about it a jumped right in. This weekend we filmed a very fun and cheesy, short for a Zombie Film Challenge. I'll be sending the footage to the lab on Tuesday.

 

I had a relatively simple one-location story (my garage) with the lighting you see in the photo. In the back, the large white square on the ceiling to the far right behind the practical is a 250 watt Lowel Pro Light. In front there is a 500 Watt Lowel Omni Light and to the far right a 1000 watt Strand Bambino Fresnel on full. I didn't use my light meter. :(

 

I felt a bit unprepared and rushed. I shot with the 16mm Switar wide open the whole time. I may have shot a few seconds with the Switar preset 10mm but that lens for some reason seems confusing to me even though I've read how to use it. 

 

I shot most of the garage scenes on Vison 500T and some on Vision 200T and one on Vision3 200T.

 

My question is do you think I should order 1 - 2 stop Push processing for the garage footage given the film stock used, the lighting conditions and me shooting wide open?

 

 

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 05:23 AM

Unfortunately it's impossible to tell. Since you didn't use a meter you have no way of knowing what your exposure should have been.

Can you go back to the set and get some readings now?

If not I'd seriously suggest you cut your losses, junk the film and reshoot.

Metering is an absolutely basic cinematographic skill. It's not optional.

Douglas Slocombe lit by eye but he had something none of us will ever have- fifty years in the business and a crew who could read his mind.


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:37 AM

Well that's kind of bonkers to be honest but what the hey! :)

 

Nice looking set tho! Wish I had access to one like that!

 

Anyway...I think it's more likely you would need a pull than a push. You definitely don't need to push the film in any case!

The 500ASA film is likely to be somewhat overexposed. I'm guessing you have heard lots of people going on that video is so much better in low light than film. In my experience this has largely been nonsense. People have been saying this for well over a decade and it's only now we are really starting to see video cameras with really good low light ability. I note you have a DVX100B. That camera was pretty fantastic in low light for the time and I'm guessing it's at best in the 500ASA kind of area.

 

I don't know what the T or f stop of your lenses were wide open as you didn't say but, given you were shooting wide open on 500ASA stock and blasting 3 high power lights at the set including a 1K fresnal, with a lot of white and reflective surfaces in shot, I think we can guess it's going to be overexposed, even without seeing the light meter readings. You might be in a better place with the 200T but then again maybe not.

 

I think Mark is right that you should try and go back to the set with a light meter and get some readings, it will give you a better idea of where you are at, and will maybe make you feel more comfortable around the light meter. It can be good to just spend some time with the light meter and just an imaginary camera, as imaginary cameras can be less intimidating. Take your meter readings and work out what your stop should be on your imaginary camera.

 

One take away from this you will realise, is that 500ASA is actually very fast film! If you were to push it a stop you would be at 1000 ASA and be able to film in caves with only a little additional lighting! Well maybe I'm over egging the pudding a bit, but only a bit.

 

Mark is right, it might be easier and more cost effective to just reshoot the thing rather than processing the film.

If you are intent on processing the film you might want to process just the vision 3 200T normally (no push!) and see what you get.

 

I'm sorry for the bad news. Just remember in spite of all the hierachy and nonsense, the most important person on a film set is the light meter. ;)

 

Freya


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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:49 AM

Just a note, on that last comment. Maxim is likely to stop by and tell you that the most important people on the set are the health and safety representative and the on site medic and he might have a very good point, as it's my experience that dead people really don't make very good movies.

 

Richard is likely to tell you that the most important person is the producer and that everyone else can just go die, but he likes to pretend to be one of the boys from brazil, and a lot of people on here keep falling for it.

 

I'm just talking about exclusively in the world of cinematography where the light meter is king! ;)

You ignore the light meter at your peril! :)

 

Freya


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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:05 AM

How do you want it to look? That is the big question. Not metering is a big no no, but you are going to be OK. Having shot on 7219 for the majority as you said, I would NOT push or pull and do not reshoot just yet. Why not have one roll processed, and see where you stand. A good colorist can do wonders.  All of the stocks you used have HUGE latitude, especially the the 500T. From your still and what you said, you probably will be overexposed, but that is good. You can always bring it down in the transfer. If you were trying to nail the look in camera, bravo! That is a great thing to here today where the trend is to get the look in post. I recently shot on a Super 8 camera where the aperture control wasn't working and I had no way of telling what the ƒ-stop was. I was shooting 7203 outdoors. I had the film scanned to 2k DPX at Gamma Ray digital. The resulting frames were extremely overexposed, perhaps more than ten stops.  A bleached white frame with almost no detail was what I was looking at. I was able to pull all the info back and now have a perfectly good image. I have also made mistakes where I used 7213 when I intended to use 7219 (long day) with no problems, they inter cut fine. Really don't stress, tell the lab what happened and ask for one roll only to be processed and transferred.


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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:13 AM

How do you want it to look? That is the big question. Not metering is a big no no, but you are going to be OK. Having shot on 7219 for the majority as you said, I would NOT push or pull and do not reshoot just yet. Why not have one roll processed, and see where you stand. A good colorist can do wonders.  All of the stocks you used have HUGE latitude, especially the the 500T. From your still and what you said, you probably will be overexposed, but that is good. You can always bring it down in the transfer. If you were trying to nail the look in camera, bravo! That is a great thing to here today where the trend is to get the look in post. I recently shot on a Super 8 camera where the aperture control wasn't working and I had no way of telling what the ƒ-stop was. I was shooting 7203 outdoors. I had the film scanned to 2k DPX at Gamma Ray digital. The resulting frames were extremely overexposed, perhaps more than ten stops.  A bleached white frame with almost no detail was what I was looking at. I was able to pull all the info back and now have a perfectly good image. I have also made mistakes where I used 7213 when I intended to use 7219 (long day) with no problems, they inter cut fine. Really don't stress, tell the lab what happened and ask for one roll only to be processed and transferred.

 

Certainly just processing one roll seems like a plan but definitely don't push the film! :)

 

Freya


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:44 AM

Well you took stills of the set.... do you happen to recall the settings for the stills? If you do then you can use that as a poor man's meter and convert..

 

Yes you should always meter--sometimes I don't-- but that's for situations where you "know" it's either perfect or that you're pushing it too much-- and I prefer not to know how much I'm pushing it sometimes because I may chicken out!

 

That said, I would develop 1 roll of the '19, see how it stands-- or I would just develop it all, normal, and see how it sands-- and take whatever it is the film gives you.

One of my favorite shots was something about 5 stops under-exposed and pulled up in the TC that the director loved.


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#8 T Sanders

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:22 PM

Thank you all so much!  I will never do it again without a meter.

 

I was so tired last night when I wrote the post I just didn't think of going back and doing the meter read after the fact. 

 

I just metered where the subjects were sitting and it gave me a reading of f2.8 and t60 for the 500 ISO film. It gave me a reading of f2.0 and t60 for the 200 ISO film. I have a Gossen Luna-Star F2 meter. I had the meter available but too much going on with too little time and I forgot about it given up until this point I'd never used one when shooting digital (wish I had then too). I knew how easy it would make my job and still forgot it.

 

Both the 16mm and 10mm Switar lenses are wide open at f1.6.

 

I could have answered my own question with a reading. :D  I can clearly see now a push is not needed. 

 

Freya I have heard that about lighting digital vs film. I didn't quite think of that in this case because I saw a video where a guy took a bolex out with Vision 3 500T to see how it would do in low lighting and it it did really well but it was helpful to me to get an idea of the lighting conditions.  https://vimeo.com/36703048

 

So I guess I should have known but I was still worried my set was too dark because when I was shooting digital I always felt like my sets were under lit. Yes my DVX100B is AMAZING in low light. I still kiss it every now and then. j/k hahahaha :)

 

I don't feel like any of this is bad news at all. I used this as a learning experience and I'm learning. :) 

 

@Chris how did you get the overexposed film fixed after processing? It sounded like it was processed and you noticed it was overexposed by 10 stops but you were able to fix it and get the right image if I'm understanding correctly? How so?

 

I think I will ask the lab to only do one roll first so I can see. 


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:30 PM

well 10 stops is a bit much. But you commonly will over expose negative stock by 2/3rs to 1 stop in order to minimize grain and get more detail in your shadows. Then in the telecine they will correct for this and you'll get a lush wonderful image. It's about getting slightly more information on the neg so you can discard it more willingly.

I think you will be fine with youre shoot. 2 stops over isn't too bad for the 500T and 1 stop is nothing.


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#10 T Sanders

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:31 PM

Wonderful Adrian! Thanks. :)

 

I can't wait to see what this looks like. 

 

I definitely trying to get that look in camera. I like editing but I don't like doing a lot to the footage in post.

 

Freya, the set is my garage. I swept it up a bit and hauled a bunch of stuff out of there. It certainly forced me to clean up. :D Makes me a bit anxious though, I just got a new car a few weeks ago and want to put it back in the garage.  :ph34r:

 

I have one more scene to shoot for this film with one talent and some inserts. I will meter them. :)


Edited by T Sanders, 17 February 2014 - 12:32 PM.

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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:00 PM

Wonderful Adrian! Thanks. :)

 

I can't wait to see what this looks like. 

 

I definitely trying to get that look in camera. I like editing but I don't like doing a lot to the footage in post.

 

Freya, the set is my garage. I swept it up a bit and hauled a bunch of stuff out of there. It certainly forced me to clean up. :D Makes me a bit anxious though, I just got a new car a few weeks ago and want to put it back in the garage.  :ph34r:

 

I have one more scene to shoot for this film with one talent and some inserts. I will meter them. :)

 

Hiya T!

  I could tell the set was your garage but I think it actually works quite well as long as you are zoomed in a little! Some of the metallic backgrounds just look like some designer flat or something a bit futuristic! Obviously if you get too much of it into shot it probably starts to look like...a garage... but I think it kinda works! I'm especially liking your candle stand. :)

 

  You got a new car? Couldn't you have bought a load of film and processing for that money!!! ;)

 

Freya


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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:14 PM

I think you need to get used to your meter and when you have a good relationship it won't feel like it takes any time to glance at the meter readings. It will be so second nature it will be like breathing or something. Well maybe not but...

 

As time goes by you can get a bit of a feel for different speed film so you might know you are going to be wide open without looking at the meter or that you are at f16 because it is so sunny but mostly the meter is your friend!

 

fingers crossed that it will look great! Be sure to stop back and let us know how it comes out at the lab! :)

 

Freya


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#13 T Sanders

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:17 PM

I gotcha. :D  I wanted the candle stand on the table but it was blocking a short someone. :D

 

I hear you about the meter. I will definitely share the film once it's done. :)

 

Now I have to tell you my car story. hahahaha Sooo yes, I had to buy a new car instead of film.  

 

I'd had a '99 Corolla since 2000 with over 160K miles on it, had driven it in Seattle, cross country(several times), and upstate, NY for 10 years in the snow. The hood had flown up, the windshield had a big crack in it (after 4 replacements), parts had rusted off, the door handle on the inside and outside of the drivers side was broken, had to replace the rims several times and some metal was digging into the tires on the inside under the car and eventually putting holes in them. The car was becoming a deathtrap and I kept it all in the name of spending more money on my creative arts. :)

 

So when I had to change my tire AGAIN like seasoned pit crew after work in my work clothes at night, I'd had enough (oh and I got a raise at work). Even the morning I set out to go buy the new car, I walked into the garage to find the old car with a flat tire.

 

So, I went to the dealership with my eye on a used 2006 V6 Saturn Vue with a Honda engine and transmission in it and 75K miles on it (and in fantastic shape). They looked over my Corolla for the trade-in value and basically said I had no business driving it. hahahaha Then the first thing the guy who does the paperwork said to me is that he had to ask why someone with my income would drive such a thing... I told him I had a good reason. I spend my money making films. He thought that was a good reason and I bought the car. :)  It was cheap anyway (less than $10k).

 

So.... eventually, I'm going to put a hitch in the front and back and build a camera platform for filming so it still worked out. Might should have kept the beater for this but I'd rather be safe. 


Edited by T Sanders, 17 February 2014 - 01:18 PM.

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#14 Chris Burke

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:43 AM

I shot the 7203 which is 50 iso daylight stock with gobs of highlight latitude. The aperture would not give me an accurate reading so it ended up be way overexposed. I had a flat scan to dpx frames done. THis gives me all the info on the negative. I was able to pull out tons, if not all the detail in an otherwise, bleached frame. My point is, that if you are over, you have less to worry about with modern color negative, it is amazing stuff. If you were wide open as you say,  a larger concern might be focus and is it sharp.


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#15 T Sanders

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:13 PM

Thanks for the update Chris. I understand what you mean. I'll post some stills or footage when I get it back from the lab. :)


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#16 T Sanders

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 01:25 PM

I got this film back from the lab several weeks ago but we missed our deadline due to scheduling issues. They've extended the deadline until tomorrow so the movie is almost done. I will post stills when I can figure out how to make them so they don't look squished (change the aspect ratio). They look fine in photoshop but not on save/export. 

 

At any rate... this has been a great learning op. 1st. the lab called to say they were having an issue getting the backing off my old stock. Hmmm, didn't think it was that old. :)  Then they said my old stock was grainy because it's expired. Hmmmm, didn't know it was expired. Hahahaha I'm kidding. I totally knew. I have a freezer full of the stuff for practicing.  

 

But in all honesty I never thought it would make the backing hard to get off. Now I know.

 

So I shot 9 rolls of film, 500T, 250D and 200T. Some Vision, Vision2 and Vision3.  The best one of course was the fresh roll of Vison3 500T. I was trying not to use my fresh stuff for this project but had to use one. I really like how those shots came out.

 

The verdict... film is awesome. Forgiving is the best word actually. In all my suckage, the footage is still usable. I can clearly see where the problems are and how I could have avoided them. 99% of them I would have avoided by using a meter. The rest by using fresh stock. I'm strictly speaking about image quality here and not about content or shot comp.

 

A lot of the footage is underexposed because I stopped down too much and hadn't used the meter.

 

I also love the quality of the scan. For the first time I can look at footage I shot and not see artifacts. 

 

Also, there isn't a real need to do anything with the colors unless I want to do something unique but the coloring looks like what I would have done manually in post had I been shooting digital. In other words, I'm happy with the colors.  The outdoor shots are a bit over exposed but that works perfectly since it was a fantasy/daydream scene but I really love the colors on those as well. 

 

I look forward to shooting more and correcting the mistakes I made with this one. 


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#17 T Sanders

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 02:21 PM

Ok here goes. Be kind. :)

 

This one is probably the most underexposed of all the footage. I believe I was stopped down to 5.6 on the lens.

 

Yeah01.jpg

 

This was super grainy.

Yeah30.jpg

 

This was the weirdest one because it had a kind of pulsing going on with the grain where it would get light then dark then light, etc. When I post the video in a few weeks you will see what I mean.

Yeah31.jpg

 

 

 

Not sure on this. Might be the old stock. 

Yeah15.jpg

 

 

Overexposed 250D but not too bad for this fantasy sequence.

Yeah19.jpg

 

250D not too bad outside on the patio and very much aware of the terrible makeup job I did. At least I don't have to take credit for those crazy look bite mark patches  :D

Yeah21.jpg

Yeah22.jpg

 

I think I was stopped down too much on this one too.

Yeah28.jpg

 

 

 

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#18 T Sanders

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

 

 

This is the best footage, shot on a relatively fresh roll of Vision3 500T.

Yeah04.jpg

 

Yeah07.jpg

 

Yeah12.jpg

 

Well that's it.  I'm going to do more practicing. I'll use my meter all the time and work on being in focus and go from there. This project was a lot of fun. 

 

Cheers


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