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Want to know what would you have done in the following situation:


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#1 Alexandre de Tolan

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:15 PM

This week I've DP a commercial for a major candy factory hare in Spain. Myself and the gaffer did all the light equipment listing based on location scouting photos and we both worked with a Director from a well known production company so I was very sceptical when he asked me to… Clip highlights!!!

 

Well. That's nothing new to me when I was used to shoot film but we were shooting with an Alexa XT, so I went to tell him that clipped highlights are horrible, no matter what digital camera is used (exception made to factory practicals of course).

 

Most clipped highlights were shots where we could see windows and the outdoors. I've told him that we could light the set to balance INT and EXT exposure but he insisted that we had no time for that (We shot about 30 shots and did about 80 takes a day from 7AM to 10PM). He also told me that he didn't want to see the what's outside.

 

Well, in reality we didn't had the time to discuss all that on set and the editor (who was there), add on top of that saying that blown highlights were no problem if they are out of focus.

 

So I went and did what the Director asked me but with a major pinch of salt and not believing so much in what I was doing.

 

Can I hear what do your guys think of all this?


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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 07:38 PM

Back in the analog days, I would let the background light sources you describe go to whatever they would go to, then clip them in edit via the Panasonic MX-50 digital switcher (for videotape sources). I got very good results that way.

 

In your situation, I think it more important to reduce contrast and make sure no blacks are crushed, then clip the bright levels afterwards when editing while maintaining the uncrushed black levels above zero IRE.


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#3 Alexandre de Tolan

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 12:16 PM

In your situation, I think it more important to reduce contrast and make sure no blacks are crushed, then clip the bright levels afterwards when editing while maintaining the uncrushed black levels above zero IRE.

 

Alexa does deliver much more detail in shadow areas than it does on highlights. We were shooting 12Bit 4444 ProRes. We used Arri Look Creator to make an on set LUT for the Client EXT monitor but my waveform monitor showed up a very good image latitude. Nonetheless, the camera couldn't cope with such a great difference between indoors and outdoors.

 

You are saying "clip the bright levels afterwards". That means recording bright levels under 100 IRE and clip all unwanted information on post. That was my initial idea and the one I've talked with the Director and Editor. Both told me that that was unnecessary and asked me to clip highlights anyway. Well… I guess everyone has his own way of working.


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

Can't imagine why anyone would specifically choose to throw away information on set, unless you were really concerned over postproduction competence.

 

Which I suppose is distressingly feasible, really.

 

P


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#5 Alexandre de Tolan

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 01:32 PM

Can't imagine why anyone would specifically choose to throw away information on set

 

That was exactly my point but they didn't seem to care more...! 

 

Anyway, I'm really curious to see what images the Editor is going to use on the finished commercial just to see how those blown highlights render (if he's going to choose some).


Edited by Alexandre de Tolan, 06 April 2014 - 01:35 PM.

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#6 Jeremy Parsons

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 01:49 PM

Sometimes the one in charge isn't really qualified to be there. But I'm not usually in any position to make that judgement.

 

I was on a commercial shoot once where the Producer asked us to turn off the eye-light on a talent. The talent had deep-dark brown eyes that were empty holes when not lit. I explained to him the significance of that eye-twinkle and why the light was important, but he insisted he liked it dark.

 

Sometimes its someone who just has bad taste in aesthetics, sometimes its just someone who needs to flex their muscles.

 

In situations like this, or at least the ones I care to make a stand, I offer the compromise to get one good take their way and a one my way. They can sort it out later and I've given them an option should they come to their senses.

 

Hopefully the editor got better luck than I had. 


Edited by Jeremy Parsons, 13 April 2014 - 01:54 PM.

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