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What Aperture Would you Select for This Night Shot Given These Spot Readings?


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#1 Karl Lee

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 02:25 PM

I've been experimenting with filming 16mm 500T at night, with my ultimate goal being to become more comfortable with using spot metering to determine aperture for any given scene, particularly night shots where incident metering isn't practical.  It's said that pictures are worth a thousand words, so below I've posted a photo of a skyline scene I filmed, and I've included spot readings for various parts and highlights within the shot.

 

SkylineMeter.jpg

 

I ended up filming the scene at T2.5, the widest aperture on my Canon zoom.  Since my meter returned "EU" (out of range) readings for a number of spots within the scene, I'm really curious to see if / how the shot will turn out.  The film is off for processing and transfer so I'll just have to wait and see, but in the meantime I thought I'd ask how others would set aperture for this particular shot, given the spot readings I've noted.  So, if you were filming this scene (let's assume 500T at 24 FPS with 180 deg. shutter), what aperture would you select for the shot, and do you think a T2.5 lens would be sufficient for the shot?

 

Thanks for any advice!

 

 


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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 02:54 PM

I've been experimenting with filming 16mm 500T at night, with my ultimate goal being to become more comfortable with using spot metering to determine aperture for any given scene, particularly night shots where incident metering isn't practical.  It's said that pictures are worth a thousand words, so below I've posted a photo of a skyline scene I filmed, and I've included spot readings for various parts and highlights within the shot.

 

attachicon.gifSkylineMeter.jpg

 

I ended up filming the scene at T2.5, the widest aperture on my Canon zoom.  Since my meter returned "EU" (out of range) readings for a number of spots within the scene, I'm really curious to see if / how the shot will turn out.  The film is off for processing and transfer so I'll just have to wait and see, but in the meantime I thought I'd ask how others would set aperture for this particular shot, given the spot readings I've noted.  So, if you were filming this scene (let's assume 500T at 24 FPS with 180 deg. shutter), what aperture would you select for the shot, and do you think a T2.5 lens would be sufficient for the shot?

 

Thanks for any advice!

 

 

 

I still take meter readings for those kinds of shots.  Usually reflected ones.  But in the absence of such readings, shooting at 500 ASA, I'd set the aperture to its widest setting.  Even if the part of the frame you wanted properly exposed wound up being a T4 and you had the aperture open to T2, you can't go wrong with over-exposure on color negative.  You can always print down and it takes about 3 stops over to really look over-exposed on 7219.


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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 02:55 PM

What aperture and ISO did you take the still at?


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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 02:57 PM

I've been experimenting with filming 16mm 500T at night, with my ultimate goal being to become more comfortable with using spot metering to determine aperture for any given scene, particularly night shots where incident metering isn't practical.  It's said that pictures are worth a thousand words, so below I've posted a photo of a skyline scene I filmed, and I've included spot readings for various parts and highlights within the shot.

 

attachicon.gifSkylineMeter.jpg

 

I ended up filming the scene at T2.5, the widest aperture on my Canon zoom.  Since my meter returned "EU" (out of range) readings for a number of spots within the scene, I'm really curious to see if / how the shot will turn out.  The film is off for processing and transfer so I'll just have to wait and see, but in the meantime I thought I'd ask how others would set aperture for this particular shot, given the spot readings I've noted.  So, if you were filming this scene (let's assume 500T at 24 FPS with 180 deg. shutter), what aperture would you select for the shot, and do you think a T2.5 lens would be sufficient for the shot?

 

Thanks for any advice!

 

 

 

Also, I've been shooting 7219 pushed 2 stops.  Depending on your results, you may want to try that.


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#5 Karl Lee

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 03:07 PM

What aperture and ISO did you take the still at?

 

I just took this photo with my iPhone, Stuart, so I didn't have the precision of a DSLR.  According to the EXIF data on the original photo, my iPhone was set to f/2.2 @ 1/15 sec. exposure, but again this is using the iPhone's tiny camera, so that information probably means little or nothing.


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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 04:17 PM

 

I just took this photo with my iPhone, Stuart, so I didn't have the precision of a DSLR.  According to the EXIF data on the original photo, my iPhone was set to f/2.2 @ 1/15 sec. exposure, but again this is using the iPhone's tiny camera, so that information probably means little or nothing.

If you can find the iPhone's ISO setting, it's some fairly simple math to work out the equivalent stop at 1/48 shutter

 

1/15 @ f2.2 is equivalent to 1/48 @ f1.2. Let's assume the phone ISO was 800, so let's say your still was 1/48 @ f1.2 800ISO

 

Compared to this your film is 500ISO, which is 2/3 of a stop slower, and your lens is f2.5 which is about 1.5 stops slower. In total you're about 2 1/3 stops more underexposed than your still.

 

Of course this assuming that the iPhone data is correct, and that its sensor responds to light in the same way as film does.

 

You'll find out for sure when you get your footage back, but I think you should be prepared for some fairly dark images.


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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 04:53 PM

If you can find the iPhone's ISO setting, it's some fairly simple math to work out the equivalent stop at 1/48 shutter

 

1/15 @ f2.2 is equivalent to 1/48 @ f1.2. Let's assume the phone ISO was 800, so let's say your still was 1/48 @ f1.2 800ISO

 

Compared to this your film is 500ISO, which is 2/3 of a stop slower, and your lens is f2.5 which is about 1.5 stops slower. In total you're about 2 1/3 stops more underexposed than your still.

 

Of course this assuming that the iPhone data is correct, and that its sensor responds to light in the same way as film does.

 

You'll find out for sure when you get your footage back, but I think you should be prepared for some fairly dark images.

 

Stuart is on the money.  My fastest lens is a T2 and I've had to open it all the way even when pushing 7219 so that I would wind up with a dense enough negative in low-lighting.  Regardless of how the film turns out, try a 2-stop push for your next rolls.

 

And if you can post your results, that would be great.


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#8 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 05:11 PM

I would try, if you can afford it, to try testing a 1-stop push as well. I only say this because '19 does not gain a huge amount of sensitivity at 2 stops push, and if you're doing a data scan you could probably get a lot of detail in the blacks that way. 


Edited by Kenny N Suleimanagich, 26 November 2014 - 05:11 PM.

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#9 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:13 PM

I would try, if you can afford it, to try testing a 1-stop push as well. I only say this because '19 does not gain a huge amount of sensitivity at 2 stops push, and if you're doing a data scan you could probably get a lot of detail in the blacks that way. 

 

True.  A 2-stop push winds up being more like 1 & 1/2 at the lab.


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#10 Shelly Johnson ASC

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 07:36 PM

Hi Karl,

 

Based on your reflective readings... and the fact you're shooting on film vs digital, I would have placed the shooting stop closer to a T1.8-1.6

 

Film has a marvelous capability of hanging on to highlight detail and even with a push process, generous exposure will help give depth to the large amount of low-light details in your composition while still giving the highlights a bright but detailed character.

 

Keep track of any lab printer point values and talk to your colorist to see if he felt he had enough detail to work with. Hopefully you'll be fine (and I realize your fastest lens was well over a 2) as pushing and/or under-cranking are your only viable options if you don't have access to a faster lens. The presence of water and other urban movement makes under-cranking a clear slippery slope.

 

I'd be curious to hear how this shot printed!


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#11 Karl Lee

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 04:41 PM

Thanks for the tips and information, and I'll try to upload some of the transfer when I receive it.  Considering the lighting conditions and that my lens opens up to only T2.5, I went into this expecting that the shot will turn out quite dark, but as I'm still learning about and experimenting with filming at night, I wanted to give it a try nonetheless.  To add to the uncertainty, the film I used was an older 100' roll of Fuji Eterna 500T, so I'll probably end up repeating with some fresh 7219 at some point :)


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