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Help! Im completely confused as to what stock I need

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#1 Steve Lowry

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:18 PM

Hi,

    Sorry, this is my first post. Im about to start filming my first year graduation piece and I'm not sure what stock I need to order.

 

It will have a mix of interior hallways (a school's corridors with low angled lighting entering through doorways) and early morning exterior, 9/10a.m. (note that I am in Ireland so it is generally over cast)

 

The school is lit with those fluorescent ceilng tubes which, I know give a green tint to skin tones.

-This is my big issue, I am desaturating it in post production and I need to know if this greenish tone on the skin will affect the contrast on the characters' faces etc.?

-Will my additional lighting clash with the fluorescent?

-What gels/filters are applicable?

-Also, of course: 250T or D?

-And do I lose a lot of speed by balancing the existing flourescent lights with my stock.

 

 


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#2 John E Clark

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:30 PM

Hi,

    Sorry, this is my first post. Im about to start filming my first year graduation piece and I'm not sure what stock I need to order.

 

It will have a mix of interior hallways (a school's corridors with low angled lighting entering through doorways) and early morning exterior, 9/10a.m. (note that I am in Ireland so it is generally over cast)

 

The school is lit with those fluorescent ceilng tubes which, I know give a green tint to skin tones.

-This is my big issue, I am desaturating it in post production and I need to know if this greenish tone on the skin will affect the contrast on the characters' faces etc.?

-Will my additional lighting clash with the fluorescent?

-What gels/filters are applicable?

-Also, of course: 250T or D?

-And do I lose a lot of speed by balancing the existing flourescent lights with my stock.

 

 

 

When you say 'I am desaturating it in post', does that mean your ultimate goal is a monochrome aka B&W output, or just very subdued color?

 

If your goal is monochrome, then the color temperature or spectrum spikes may not affect your final image as much as were you to be going for color output.

 

Also if you are going for monochrome output, I'd recommend looking into using the 'channel mixer' features of the various NLEs or After Effects, which allows you to 'mix' the colors and perhaps if there is some 'green' impact, you can lessen its effect, if the result is undesired otherwise.

 

The biggest problem with shooting B&W or monochrome in in a 'color filled' world, is understanding how the colors are rendered as values of grey, and some colors give color contrast but not value contrast.

 

Since I don't shoot Film film, I can't give you specific information on film stocks etc. But I presume that you are not using a B&W stock, probably for the reason of availability.


Edited by John E Clark, 20 February 2015 - 04:32 PM.

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:55 PM

Your best bet would be to scout the location with a color meter and get an idea of the spikes you'll get off of the tubes to get what gels you'll need. From there, I would leave the fixtures overhead as is and add + green to both your windows as well as any daylight lights you're bringing in.

As you're inside, I would look into going with 250D; and depending on how bright things are; you may want to push it-- though truthfully, i may well just treat it like a 500D and under-expose by a stop; making sure to still get separation through lighting and using some smaller lights to highlight the certain areas you want-- depends on style of course and also, more specifically, what stock you're on 16mm or 35mm. If you're on 16mm, you'd reallly want to get into lighting.

This can be as simple as throwing up some Kinos to augment the overhead floro tubes and then using some smaller pars, perhaps a 400 or 800 joker here and there through some diffusion to come through any windows you may have to give you a dappled light and dark in the interior.

Everything will of course look green out of the gate, but you can balance that out later on when you scan.

Also as you're desaturated (though no idea how much) it may not be that big of an issue.

 

Your other option is to replace all the tubes in the school where you're shooting with higher CRI 5600K bulbs. There are many out there now, beyond just KinoFlo. This may be cost and time and location rules prohibitive though; but it's a fair and fine option and will help you eyes a bit (as you won't see everything with this hideous green tint).

 

Do you have the possibility to grab some location stills for us to look at from a recce? maybe we can give better advice

 

Also any info you have on your final style.


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#4 Oron Cohen

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:47 AM

Is it possible you upload a photo of the location? It'll be much easier to help that way. 

 

It's interesting how every DP look at things different. I sometimes like a tiny bit of green tint, specially if you could see the light bulbs in frame, in any case, film handles mixed lighting and skin tones great.

 

As a student maybe it's also good to take some risks and push the stock as far as you can, I never had any problem with fluorescent lighting, sometimes, if the original bulbs are really old and got a nasty green tint, you can replace the actual bulbs for bulbs that are a little bit more accurate with their colour and got higher or lower intensity (you can get them at tesco's etc). 

 

For stock, without seeing the location and without any tests, I'd probably would go 500T and rate it 320asa, I usually don't use an 85, just shoot clean and time it in post. 


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#5 Steve Lowry

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 06:26 PM

Thanks everyone,

                            I took all that you said into account and asked a lecturer just to clarify, I ended up ordering 200T. Originally I was thinking off 500, or 250D and balancing it, but I can see now that that would have been plain crazy.

 

I have literally no budget, so replacing the bulbs wouldn't be an option. I do have two large keno-flows at my disposal though so they will take out the stink from the fluoro's. I was largely worried that the green hue might detract from the contrast when I desaturate it (MC) but Iv been assured that I'm over stressing.

 

Also, just on a side note: does you have any essential reading for cinematography based primarily on stock rather than digital?

 

Do you have any "go-to" books or site for in depth application of lighting set ups? My main area so far has been classic noir and some of the more popular expressionism. I'd like to progress, though I do like the grandeur produced with such minimalist techniques, also how each light source is absolutely essential.

 

 

Thanks for your time,

I hope I haven't been wasting it.

 

P.S. all of my recce stills are in Raw format, so once I resize them I could put some up


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#6 Miguel Angel

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 08:37 PM

Hi Steve, 

 

If the school you are talking about is the NFS in Dun Laoghaire and the hallways are the ones in the new building, I would take a second look at the tubes as their color renders as yellow when shooting on a daylight stock, tested by me with the colourmeter, film stock and digital. 

 

Essential reading for cinematography based primarily on stock? In - Camera from Kodak and the old Fuji Magazine. The American Cinematographer is a must and the American Cinematographer Manual is something that you have to have. 

 

Friends of the ASC is a fantastic place to learn a bit more from ASC cinematographers via subscription. 

Shane Hurlburt has an impressive website where he teaches everything he knows and if you have €800 you might want to buy his dvd's (although if you are studying at the NFS you might want to ask Anne about those DVD's as I asked her if it was possible to buy them for all of us) 

 

As an aside note: Colour is interesting and it creates contrast. 

 

Have a lovely day. 

Best.


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#7 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 05:41 PM

Your best bet would be to scout the location with a color meter and get an idea of the spikes you'll get off of the tubes to get what gels you'll need. ..

 


If the school you are talking about is the NFS in Dun Laoghaire and the hallways are the ones in the new building, I would take a second look at the tubes as their color renders as yellow when shooting on a daylight stock, tested by me with the colourmeter, film stock and digital.

 

Steve: my advice to each young cinematographer: learn the relevant science.  To master shooting fluorescent lit scenes, learn about light spectra, and how the eye sees color, and how films (or cameras) reproduce color.  My primer was the little Kodak booklet "Color as seen and photographed". The bible is still Hunt's "The reproduction of color". 

 

What makes fluorescent lighting tricky is precisely that things don't photograph under it they way they look under it. Most skin looks a bit unpleasant under most fluorescent lights, but it doesn't look green!   What's happening is that all color films, and most digital color cameras, are poor matches to how color is seen, and the fluorescent illumination exaggerates the mismatch. 

 

Understand that there are two very different instruments that might be called a color meter.  One, whose technical name is "colorimeter" is designed to yield what human color vision yields.  The colorimeter measures a color by three numbers, often CIE defined X,Y,Z or Y,x,y or L*,a*,b*, but it could also be Hue, Saturation, Brightness, etc., some way we characterize colors. There are many scientific color systems, and since it will be your job to shoot color pictures, you should begin to know colors according one or another system.  This colorimeter will notice nothing tricky about the fluorescent illumination.  The lamp itself will measure acceptably white.  The grey card will measure acceptably grey.  Someone's skin will measure decently close to how it measures under non-fluorescent light sources that themselves match the whiteness of the fluorescent lamp.  A colorimeter can tell you which white the fluorescent lamp produces, but not that the light is making the white in some funky way.

 

A very different instrument that might be called a color meter, although it really shouldn't be, is the spectrometer.  It measures a color, or a light, by a graph or a long list of numbers.  It measures what's going on at every wavelength.  This is much more than the human eye can sense from the color or light. Also much more than the film or camera can sense.  Strictly speaking the spectrometer measures more than the color.  So the spectrometer can identify funky light sources like fluorescents and, if you also have detailed knowledge how the eye and the film "see", the spectrometer can predict how they will disagree under that light.

 

Zeiss pocket spectroscopes were once popular for this.  They showed you the spectrum's highs and lows on a reticle.  Though less than a spectrometer, you could identify different types of fluorescent lamps with them and maybe make appropriate filtrations.  There are now portable spectrometers available for $2000.  Maybe this what Adrian S. meant by "color meter".

 

With film there can be bad color surprises when you see the rushes.  With video the color twists due to funky lights are revealed immediately, even before you shoot.  But it's still useful to understand what's causing them.


Edited by Dennis Couzin, 24 February 2015 - 05:43 PM.

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