Posted 13 May 2005 - 05:59 AM
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.
Posted 13 May 2005 - 08:19 AM
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.
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:
Here's the 'green look' I need:
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.
Posted 13 May 2005 - 10:28 AM
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).
Posted 13 May 2005 - 11:25 AM
-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.
-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.
-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.
Edited by TSM, 13 May 2005 - 11:27 AM.
Posted 13 May 2005 - 12:46 PM
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.
Posted 13 May 2005 - 01:28 PM
Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:20 AM
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.
Posted 14 May 2005 - 06:00 AM
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...
Posted 14 May 2005 - 08:25 AM
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.
Posted 14 May 2005 - 09:24 AM
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.
Posted 14 May 2005 - 10:40 AM
Where can I find that guide? What topic is it under?
Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:03 PM
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.
Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:14 PM
It's the way it should be - it's preposterous to demand film prints from the filmmakers with the least amount of cash.
Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:18 PM
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...
Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:21 PM
Well said, Mr. Twain.
Posted 14 May 2005 - 11:22 PM
Posted 15 May 2005 - 02:40 AM
Well no ... if you are going to describe the work of a lab, at least get it right.
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.
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.