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Exposing correctly: S16 Film vs Analog Photography


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#1 Alexander Boyd

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 10:27 AM

Hello everyone!

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the thought below. I'm a student owning a nice S16 kit which I'm planning to use on a couple of projects. Since I'm not very experienced with shooting film I am looking for ways to practice getting the right exposures under various conditions. Unfortunately there are no film labs in my area, which led me to this thought: 

 

Theoretically, could I practice to expose film correctly by taking 35mm pictures and directly translating it to S16 film (assuming EI/ISO are the same). I guess what I really want to ask is how close S16 film stock and 35mm photography are to each other and if there are direct links/connections when it comes to the correct exposure. 

 

I do have an old Konica III camera (no built-in meter). I could expose with my meter and process/scan it to get an idea of how to expose the same scene with my S16 camera. 

 

Is this idea completely off? 

 

Thanks a lot for your time and feedback.


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#2 Dan Dorland

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:38 PM

This sounds like a good idea. ISO doesn't change from one format to another. Aside from the obvious difference in relative grain size, the results will be similar whether it's 16mm or 35mm. Try to match as much as possible in your tests, like aperture and equivalent focal lengths.

 

Of course, you won't be able to shoot motion and still with the same exact emulsion (which would be ideal), unless you want to try Cinestill:

http://www.cinestill....com/p/th.html)

 

Otherwise you could treat Portra 400 like 500T, just without any filters since it's already a daylight film. But are you set up to process C-41 yourself, and can you do it with consistent results? If you can only do B+W processing, this whole thing could be a fun exercise, but not very useful if you want to see how exposure changes color rendition. If you're going to be shooting B+W in 16mm as well, then rock on!


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#3 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:45 PM

I would suggest a spot meter, that way you can more specifically meter what in the shot is exposed over, under or on to the iso / stop / etc.


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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:34 PM

ISO is an international standard, so any film marked that way should match the stated sensitivity.

 

Taking stills is an excellent way to learn how to expose, and frame a shot.

 

I would suggest learning to use an incident meter, rather than a spot meter, as reflective readings introduce a whole range of variables which can easily catch you out.


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#5 Matt Sezer

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 02:39 PM

I agree that getting an incident meter would be your best option. They're simple to use and they're also significantly cheaper than spot meters. But yeah, taking stills on film will really help you learn what you're doing too.


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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 06:45 PM

Taking and Manipulating stills will teach you a lot as well. Try for the Kodak Porta films, they are closest to the MP stocks (other stills film are more contrasty than MP films)


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#7 Zac Fettig

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:00 AM

The idea is sound. In the "good old days" Kodak used to make their cine stocks available on 35mm rolls for DPs to use in testing (source: "Every Frame a Rembrandt" -Andrew Laszlo). I don't know the Konica well, but if you can set it for 1/50th of a second, and meter for that (use a tripod. It won't come out well hand held) you should have a good idea of what the finished project looks like.

 

I heard (possibly apocryphally) that Matthew Libatique did something similar when filming Black Swan. He'd test lighting by shooting a still on a DSLR, so he'd know he's got (close) to what he'd get when he shot on S16.


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#8 John E Clark

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:05 PM

The idea is sound. In the "good old days" Kodak used to make their cine stocks available on 35mm rolls for DPs to use in testing (source: "Every Frame a Rembrandt" -Andrew Laszlo). I don't know the Konica well, but if you can set it for 1/50th of a second, and meter for that (use a tripod. It won't come out well hand held) you should have a good idea of what the finished project looks like.

 

I heard (possibly apocryphally) that Matthew Libatique did something similar when filming Black Swan. He'd test lighting by shooting a still on a DSLR, so he'd know he's got (close) to what he'd get when he shot on S16.

 

While not a DP, i shot a few rolls of whatever the then current popular motion picture stock with my 35mm still camera in the early 70's. I didn't like the look, and as I recall there was an issue with processing motion picture film, due to the 'black' backing.

 

I remained firmly in the B&W camp, and only shot a few color shoots over the course of 10 years.


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