Jump to content


Photo

Help! :(


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 13 May 2005 - 05:59 AM

suck.

I've got a project coming up soon and I shot a test roll of 35mm film to test lighting and exposure.

Our first scene takes place outdoors, in broad daylight.
We -need- the 'blue look' (sorry for my blatant amateurism) because it is part of the color theme which is the backbone of this movie (and story).

I shot wide open @ f/2.8, ND'd the lens and added an 80B filter.
Exposure was 1/60th of a second @ f/2.8.
The results weren't what I expected.

1. Is there any way to get the tungsten in daylight 'look' without shooting tungsten film, using available lighting (the Sun)?

---

Also, we'll be using a green filter and a red filter for another portion of the story.
I shot a test roll @ f/2.8-4.5 with a basic green filter on the lens and the images came out, well, green.
I wasn't aiming for a saturated green image, but I do want the greens to be bolder, darker and more prominent.
Same with the red filter.

2. How can I control the image and bring out these color without making the image completely green (using a green filter), or red (using a red one)?

I hope I'm being clear enough and as always, any tips and feedbakc will be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks,
Jonathan
  • 0

#2 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 13 May 2005 - 06:25 AM

Here's what I mean by a 'blue look' -
I know I won't get this exact color palette, but the overall hue is what I'm after:

http://www.imdb.com/...ath_key=0320691

Here's the 'green look' I need:

http://www.imdb.com/...ath_key=0234215

Thanks again,

Jonathan
  • 0

#3 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 13 May 2005 - 08:19 AM

You will need to give us a few more clues.
What stock are you shooting with? is it tungsten or daylight balanced?
Did you correct the exposure for the 80B?
What "basic green" filter did you use? Does it have a number?
Are you shooting negative and getting a print or a telecine transfer?
You didn't get what you expected, but
what did you expect?
what did you get?

Usually a colour look of the sort that you want is obtained by some art direction as well as lightling and filters. But fill in some of the details first otherwise it will be hard for anyone to give you any pointers.
  • 0

#4 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 13 May 2005 - 09:49 AM

Here's what I mean by a 'blue look' -
I know I won't get this exact color palette, but the overall hue is what I'm after:

http://www.imdb.com/...ath_key=0320691

Here's the 'green look' I need:

http://www.imdb.com/...ath_key=0234215

Thanks again,

Jonathan

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Caution: Studio stills or advertising may not reflect actual production footage.

But the "look" of your "Underworld" one sheet is what I would expect from using a silver retention process for the print (contrasty and desaturated), along with color grading (timing) to a "cold" balance.

The "look" of the "Matrix Reloaded" photo could be achieved by normal lighting and photography of your main subject and printing/transferring to a darker balance. The "green" appearance in the skyscraper office lights could just be the normal "greenish" of uncorrected fluorescent lighting in those offices.
  • 0

#5 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 13 May 2005 - 10:28 AM

This is why telecine and grading is such an important part of a films look.

One lights always look like poop! Always! But it's all in there in the negative - all you have to
do is bring it out with a talented colorist.

I used to hear that 50% of good cinematography is production design. That's true - but I'd like to expand on that. Good cinematography in my opinion is:

30% Lighting and framing.
30% Production design.
30% Grading (and by this I mean digital OR photochemical).
10% Catering. :D :D
  • 0

#6 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 13 May 2005 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Dominic,

-What stock are you shooting with? is it tungsten or daylight balanced?

I can get some daylight balanced short ends and recans for free from a friend so that's probably what we'll end up using (no budget).

-Did you correct the exposure for the 80B?

Increase exposure to compensate for light loss?
Yeah, but the image was still slightly overexposed.
Should I use a stronger ND filter?

-What "basic green" filter did you use? Does it have a number?
It's a Hoya X1 green intensifier

-Are you shooting negative and getting a print or a telecine transfer?
We're aiming for a print.

-what did you expect?
-what did you get?
Basically what I got was an overly-saturated green image with the X1 filter, and an overexposed, washed out light-blue image with the 80B.
No rich blacks.
I want it to look a bit darker & moodier.
I want the colors to compliment the images - in a subtle way.

--------

John,

-But the "look" of your "Underworld" one sheet is what I would expect from using a silver retention process for the print (contrasty and desaturated), along with color grading (timing) to a "cold" balance.

How much does a silver retention process cost in post?
Is it an hourly rate?
I'm not sure we can afford it.

--------

Adam,

-One lights always look like poop! Always! But it's all in there in the negative - all you have to
do is bring it out with a talented colorist.

This will be my first gig.
Any recommendations of good colorists and labs near the Seattle,WA area?

Thank you all very much.

-Jonathan

Edited by TSM, 13 May 2005 - 11:27 AM.

  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19765 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 13 May 2005 - 12:46 PM

It shouldn't make any real difference whether you use a blue 80A filter on daylight-balanced film in daylight, or remove the orange 85B filter from a tungsten-balanced stock.

It sounds like your test was printed too bright, which is why the blue is washed out -- print it "down" and the blue and blacks will get richer.

I hope you shot a correctly filtered & exposed gray scale before the shot with the 80A filter.

But in terms of the steely monochromatic blue-black look of "Underworld", that requires some method of increasing contrast and deepening your blacks, which can be done digitally (as "Underworld" did) or with using a silver retention process to the prints.

Otherwise, at least try other ways of getting more black into the image (first starting with art direction and lighting, which is 99% of the look of "Underworld").

Most labs charge a $500 set-up fee for silver retention (which is one reason it is cheaper to do to a print once rather than negative rolls daily) plus 5 cents extra per foot I think. If you go to FotoKem, Technicolor, or Deluxe, they also have a variable silver retention process like ACE or ENR (for prints only) rather than the heavy full skip-bleach process.
  • 0

#8 Jon Rosenbloom

Jon Rosenbloom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 13 May 2005 - 01:28 PM

Sorry for not reading all the other replies, but, did you print your test footage and have it projected, or, did you watch something like an unsupervised transfer to video?? If you had the footage printed, you should have the timing numbers, and these can tell you if you're on the right track. If you had it transfered, well, all bets are off ... maybe your methods worked, maybe they didn't. There is no there there in (unsupervised) video.
  • 0

#9 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:20 AM

The Hoya X1 green filter is really designed for b/w photography, where it will produce a strong contrasty special effect (pale leaves etc, dark skies and faces. - but no colour. The sample frames you showed were interiors under controlled lighting. As John suggests, the green cast is probably due to the green spike in fluoros. You try getting that sort of look - either with fluro lighting or - using a green filtered key light but normal fill.

The blue is defininitely a bleach bypass effect: David's comments summarise what you need to do about that - but check varous labs - some may give you a better price for bleach bypassing the neg.

Finally, if the results that disappointed you were on print - did you get a graded (timed) print or a one-light? If graded, what were the instructions? If one-light, then ignore it. The lab can give you quite a lot of control over the colour - but only if you instruct them what is needed. Talk to the lab.
  • 0

#10 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 May 2005 - 06:00 AM

Will do.

Thanks again for all the advice guys.
I understand my mistakes and know what to do better (or not do at all) next time.

David, I'll check those labs out. That sounds like a reasonable price - something we can probably somehow come up with.
I might have to sell a kidney or two, but hey...

Thanks again.

-JonS
  • 0

#11 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 14 May 2005 - 08:25 AM

I actually do not agree that this is something you should go to a lab for at all. This is much better served in a telecine - and probably cheaper, too.

Basically - all photochemical labs can do is shift color balance within RGB, make it overall darker or overall brighter. That's it - they can't do much else. All photochemical coloring basically works by projecting the neg with white light that you can filter with RGB, and then rephotographing it. To make it darker - they dim the projector light - to make it greener, they dial in a graduated green filter in front of the beam and so on.

They can't increase contrast without going in to complex and expensive trial-and-error bleach
bypass sessions - all of which you have to pay for. They can't saturate och change just one of the colors within RGB - they have to affect all. They can't change gamma much. And you can never see the results of your trials without firts having to pay for them. Experimenting is much better achieved digitally - especially when you want extreme looks like the Underworld one.

Sit down one hour in a Spirit with a good colorist and find the look you want. I can't even tell you how much cheaper that is going to be compared to having to strike 6-7-8, maybe 10 prints with various bleach bypass concoctions that will only tell you that you need to do it all over again. And at the of that session - you STILL need to telecine it to get it to tape which will add even more cost.
  • 0

#12 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19765 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 14 May 2005 - 09:24 AM

You make it sound like you can't get anything useful with traditional printing...

If his project is short enough, he can probably afford either silver retention printing or a D.I., but the truth is that silver retention printing adds about $500 to the cost of an entire feature length print, so for ten prints, that's like $5000 extra... which is still WAY cheaper than a D.I.

And remember that movies like "Underworld" were not THAT unique-looking, basing their D.I. look on movies that used traditional printing methods and silver retention to achieve that look (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Seven, Saving Private Ryan, Payback, etc.)

However, I agree that a D.I. is the easier approach because these photochemical methods require serious TESTING to get the balance right (key-to-fill in lighting, any flashing or filtration used, etc.) My flashing/filtration guide for "Northfork" can prove that...

Also, the look created by a D.I. printed on a normal print is not quite the same as silver retention on a print, since this allows you to exceed the normal D-Max of the print stock. It's similar to the problem of doing the silver retention to the I.P. instead of each print. Doesn't look as cool.

And he WILL still end up doing this digitally anyway for the final video transfer, you're right.
  • 0

#13 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 May 2005 - 10:40 AM

"However, I agree that a D.I. is the easier approach because these photochemical methods require serious TESTING to get the balance right (key-to-fill in lighting, any flashing or filtration used, etc.) My flashing/filtration guide for "Northfork" can prove that..."

Hey David,

Where can I find that guide? What topic is it under?

Cheers,
Jonathan
  • 0

#14 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11941 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:03 PM

Hi,

The treatment done to Underworld can be done in any basic image processing software in about ten seconds by anyone with a few days' experience; it is far from complicated. If this is an independent short, which I assume it is given your inexperience, be aware that you inevitably won't be printing it anyway, no matter how much you have convinced yourself that you need to, and you might as well just do it in the transfer as that's likely all it'll ever have.

Phil
  • 0

#15 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:14 PM

Actually, most shorts festivals today accept submissions for electronic projection. Sure, it's nice with a print, but if you can project off of a HDCAM master or even a highly encoded DVD with a good projector, then much money is to be saved.

It's the way it should be - it's preposterous to demand film prints from the filmmakers with the least amount of cash.
  • 0

#16 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:18 PM

""If this is an independent short, which I assume it is given your inexperience, be aware that you inevitably won't be printing it anyway, no matter how much you have convinced yourself that you need to, and you might as well just do it in the transfer as that's likely all it'll ever have.""

You know Phil, I agree with most of what you have to say -- but let's turn the pessimism down a notch, a'ight?

;)

Life ain't that bad...
  • 0

#17 Jonathan Spear

Jonathan Spear
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 586 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:21 PM

""""To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". - Mark Twain"""

Well said, Mr. Twain.
  • 0

#18 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19765 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 14 May 2005 - 09:34 PM

      Where can I find that guide? What topic is it under?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


There's a link in this article:
http://www.cinematog...cles/northfork/
  • 0

#19 Boone Hudgins

Boone Hudgins
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 123 posts
  • Other
  • Toledo, OR

Posted 14 May 2005 - 11:22 PM

If I remember what I've read correctly, the green in The Matrix was added in timing.
  • 0

#20 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 15 May 2005 - 02:40 AM

To make it darker - they dim the projector light - to make it greener, they dial in a graduated green filter in front of the beam and so on.

Well no ... if you are going to describe the work of a lab, at least get it right.

To make a print darker you need to increase the printing light, not decrease it.

To make a print greener you actually need LESS green light rather than more, and it isn't done by "dialling in a green filter" (except in one particular style of lighthead on a particular optical printer), but by adjusting the light vane in the green light path to admit less light.

However, I do agree that the optins are more limited in lab processes than on telecine. It's just that in this instance, the original questioner explained that he was going to a print rather than telecine.

The options at the lab for experimental work or try-it-and-see work are indeed limited. But the traditional methods are not completely powerless. As Boone just pointed out, the green look that was being sought was actually achieved by conventional grading in the print in the Matrix example. I really would recommend that anyone should go to the trouble of finding out what this process is, how it works and what it's for - before they shoot film and put it into the lab.
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

CineLab