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Using Practicals & Getting The Correct Colour Temperature


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#1 Connor Adam

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:58 PM

Hey, 

 

Looking for some help and advice with shooting practicals and getting the correct colour temperature! 

I am shooting on location in a house with standard household bulbs, and I'd like the colour temperature to be warm but not excessively orange. I've attached some reference stills from Submarine, which has a nice aesthetic similar to what I'm aiming for.

The format is 16mm and I originally thought of shooting 250D with no filters, leaving the practical bulbs as they are. Am I right in thinking, however, that this might yield a result that is too orange and saturated? If I were to shoot with Tungsten stock, how would I achieve that extra warmth - something best done in the grade?

In terms of the actual bulbs, does anyone have any advice on what type to use? I am keen on getting some that are rated accurately at 3200K so they match with any other artificial lights I may use. 

All the best, 
Connor

Screen-Shot-2015-02-02-at-20.13.20.jpg
Screen-Shot-2015-02-02-at-20.14.23.jpg
Screen-Shot-2015-02-02-at-20.15.50.jpg


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#2 Guy Holt

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:20 PM

If I were to shoot with Tungsten stock, how would I achieve that extra warmth - something best done in the grade? In terms of the actual bulbs, does anyone have any advice on what type to use? I am keen on getting some that are rated accurately at 3200K so they match with any other artificial lights I may use. 

 

Most household tungsten lamps have a color temperature around 2700K which makes them warm to begin with on tungsten balanced film so you don’t have to do anything to get a warm look out of them. The PH 211, 212, and 213 bulbs are rated 3200K but only for a few hours and then their Kelvin drops.

 

Don’t try to light your talent with only practical’s because they will blow out. Not only is supplemental lighting required to light your talent, but you must also treat the practicals to make them look realistic. I find that practical lamps never look convincing unless one treats the lampshade as well as boost the bulb wattage. That is because if you stop down to keep the shade from burning out, the output of the practical, on the table it sits on or the wall its on, looks rather anemic. I find you get a more realistic look if you boost the wattage of the bulb and line the inside of the shade with ND gel. It is a delicate balance to obtain.

 

You can obtain this delicate balance without a monitor, by using the old school method with incident and spot meters and a selection of practical bulbs including PH 211, 212, and 213 bulbs. Years ago Walter Lassaley, BSC, instructed me to balance practical’s such that an incident reading of the direct output one foot away from the bulb is one stop over exposure. I have found that rule of thumb gives a realistic output to the practical - the light emitted downward onto the table top and upward onto the wall or ceiling is realistic. After establishing the practical’s output using an incident meter, you then use a spot meter to determine how dense an ND gel is needed to line the inside of the shade so that the shade does not become too hot.

 

Guy Holt, Gaffer

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Lighting Sales & Rentals in Boston


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:50 PM

I use practicals to light the talent IF they are sitting very close to the practical, because then the exposure difference between the face and the lamp shade is not so extreme, and if you are shooting with a camera with a wide dynamic range such as an Alexa, you shouldn't have a problem holding detail in the bright areas.  I just saw "A Most Violent Year" and there's a night shot of Jessica Chastain sitting at a desk lit by a gooseneck desk lamp with a large dish shade, and the Alexa was holding detail inside the white dish near the bulb.  Her key is coming from the desk lamp, though she is filled by an ambient soft ceiling light.

 

It also depends on your mood, there are scenes in "A Most Violent Year" where a room is mostly lit with practicals and the shot is exposed so that most of the interior and people are near silhouette, so the lamp shades, curtain sheers, etc. are all holding detail fine.

 

Anyway, to address the first question, you don't need to use daylight film in tungsten light to get a warm tone, people have been getting warm tones inside at night in movies using tungsten film for decades.  You could use daylight film but that would be like putting full CTO on all your lights or a full 85 correction on the lens, it's quite orange, and once you try to color-correct some of that out, you'll find that there is hardly any exposure in the blue layer, which may create some desaturation once corrected, like working from a sepia-toned image.  I mean, it's been done in some movies -- "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is one example, the tungsten interior work was shot on Fuji 500D Reala -- but it's not too common.  It's more common when you plan on lighting the foreground with HMI's or close to daylight-balanced light and want to let a tungsten background go orange in comparison.

 

What I do is shoot the grey scale / card before the tungsten-lit scene with a 1/4 CTB gel on the light hitting the grey scale / card (or a pale cooling filter) -- once the colorist corrects the grey to look neutral, then the tungsten scene that follows will look warmer.  Also, after the grey scale / card, I shoot a sign that says "COLOR: WARM GOLDEN TONE" or something like that so that the colorist knows that the scene that follows the grey scale is supposed to look warm.

 

Also, I wouldn't be afraid of using 2700K household bulbs,  you just have to put some 1/8 or 1/4 CTO on your movie lamps to match or slightly dim them down.


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#4 Connor Adam

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 09:22 AM

Guy, thanks - a very useful trick that I'll be sure to put into practice.

David: I have read that standard household bulbs are unreliable with consistent temperature, and can often have a green tint to them? How true is this?

Your suggestion regarding the CTB on the grey card sounds sensible - I was hoping you could clarify the process for my situation a little? If I were shooting in a house with standard 2700K bulbs and mixing those with tungsten movie lights with CTO on, under what light do I shoot the grey card? With the household bulbs but 1/4 CTB'ed? Or should I turn off the household practicals and CTB a tungsten light?

I suppose any kind of 2700K bulb will work? I live in the UK, where it seems near impossible to find PH bulbs!


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:53 PM

Incandescents won't have a green tint. A CFL might.

PH bulbs are 110V. The equivalent in 240V are the P3 Photocrescentas in 75, 150 and 250W. They're meant as enlarger bulbs,  P3/2, 3 and 4 IIRC.THere are still a few around on ebay and Silverprint carry them .

Here's a 150W

http://www.ebay.co.u...4 bulb&_sacat=0

75W

http://www.thedarkro...in-stock-b.html

Be careful_ they are getting a bit pricey. Ebay new old stock is a good bet. Buy a few. Some may only come in ES so get an adapter.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 03 February 2015 - 12:56 PM.

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#6 Connor Adam

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 03:03 PM

Thanks Mark.

Could you elaborate on the benefits to using the Photocrescentas bulbs over standard 2700K bulbs available in home DIY stores?


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#7 Albion Hockney

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 04:34 PM

I use practicals to light the talent IF they are sitting very close to the practical, because then the exposure difference between the face and the lamp shade is not so extreme, and if you are shooting with a camera with a wide dynamic range such as an Alexa, you shouldn't have a problem holding detail in the bright areas.  I just saw "A Most Violent Year" and there's a night shot of Jessica Chastain sitting at a desk lit by a gooseneck desk lamp with a large dish shade, and the Alexa was holding detail inside the white dish near the bulb.  Her key is coming from the desk lamp, though she is filled by an ambient soft ceiling light.

 

It also depends on your mood, there are scenes in "A Most Violent Year" where a room is mostly lit with practicals and the shot is exposed so that most of the interior and people are near silhouette, so the lamp shades, curtain sheers, etc. are all holding detail fine.

Here is the still David References

MostViolentYear.jpg

 

David, That movie was shot by Bradford Young....who I keep referencing on here. Did you enjoy how it was shot? would be very curious your opinion on it

 

.....

 

 

Anyways yes I agree with david in lighting people with practicals when you are close to them, totttaly works. Also I find it curious people always say you need to bulb practicals bigger .... if you are using them to light the talent I think this is sometimes necessary, but if not I always wind up bulbing down. With modern cameras at 800 base ISO's generally smaller bulbs (25-60W) I find work great.

 

Using practicals to look somewhat "realistic" or within latitude is just about balancing out the contrast making sure your practicals don't blow out in frame, and at the same time give out some amount of light. sometimes I find like shooting with natural light outside its just about balancing the fill side out a bit, other times I find you need to "fake sources" with other lights hidden above the practicals ....but that is more useful for example extending a lamp out 15ft to work as an edge on someone .....if someone is close to a  lamp for example my approach would always be to work the lamp to light them.

 

 

In terms of color temp I find I like the household bulb color quiet a bit and I often dim movie lights warmer to interiors.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 03 February 2015 - 04:35 PM.

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#8 Mathew Collins

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 09:13 AM

I use practicals to light the talent IF they are sitting very close to the practical, because then the exposure difference between the face and the lamp shade is not so extreme, and if you are shooting with a camera with a wide dynamic range such as an Alexa, you shouldn't have a problem holding detail in the bright areas.  I just saw "A Most Violent Year" and there's a night shot of Jessica Chastain sitting at a desk lit by a gooseneck desk lamp with a large dish shade, and the Alexa was holding detail inside the white dish near the bulb.  Her key is coming from the desk lamp, though she is filled by an ambient soft ceiling light.

 

It also depends on your mood, there are scenes in "A Most Violent Year" where a room is mostly lit with practicals and the shot is exposed so that most of the interior and people are near silhouette, so the lamp shades, curtain sheers, etc. are all holding detail fine.

 

Anyway, to address the first question, you don't need to use daylight film in tungsten light to get a warm tone, people have been getting warm tones inside at night in movies using tungsten film for decades.  You could use daylight film but that would be like putting full CTO on all your lights or a full 85 correction on the lens, it's quite orange, and once you try to color-correct some of that out, you'll find that there is hardly any exposure in the blue layer, which may create some desaturation once corrected, like working from a sepia-toned image.  I mean, it's been done in some movies -- "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is one example, the tungsten interior work was shot on Fuji 500D Reala -- but it's not too common.  It's more common when you plan on lighting the foreground with HMI's or close to daylight-balanced light and want to let a tungsten background go orange in comparison.

 

What I do is shoot the grey scale / card before the tungsten-lit scene with a 1/4 CTB gel on the light hitting the grey scale / card (or a pale cooling filter) -- once the colorist corrects the grey to look neutral, then the tungsten scene that follows will look warmer.  Also, after the grey scale / card, I shoot a sign that says "COLOR: WARM GOLDEN TONE" or something like that so that the colorist knows that the scene that follows the grey scale is supposed to look warm.

 

Also, I wouldn't be afraid of using 2700K household bulbs,  you just have to put some 1/8 or 1/4 CTO on your movie lamps to match or slightly dim them down.

 

 

David,

 

>You could use daylight film but that would be like putting full CTO on all your lights or a full 85 correction on the lens, it's quite orange, and once you try to color-correct some of that out, you'll find that there is hardly any exposure in the blue layer, which may create some desaturation once corrected, like working from a sepia-toned image.

 

Is full CTO and full 85 correction different or same?


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#9 Daniel Meier

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 01:11 PM

Not quite...

See this link:

http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=3529


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#10 J. Winfield Heckert

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 03:18 PM

I've seen some of the newer LED Bulbs Rated at 2700 3200K and 5000k varieties, with edison sockets.


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#11 Mathew Collins

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 09:36 PM

Not quite...

See this link:

http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=3529

 

Daniel,

 

I have gone thru that link, but able to find answer for my question.

 

'Is full CTO and full 85 correction different or same?'


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