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Exposure/Lighting for close ups vs. wide shots


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#1 Raffinator

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 01:18 AM

When doing coverage, I often hear dp's talk about opening up the iris a bit when moving in for a close up from a wide shot. I'm curious as to why the change in stop for a close up- is this purely aesthetic or "technical"? Or is the practice usually to increase the footcandles about 1/2 stop for the close up and keep the exposure the same?

Raffi
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 01:53 AM

When doing coverage, I often hear dp's talk about opening up the iris a bit when moving in for a close up from a wide shot.  I'm curious as to why the change in stop for a close up- is this purely aesthetic or "technical"?  Or is the practice usually to increase the footcandles about 1/2 stop for the close up and keep the exposure the same?

Raffi

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I wouldn't do that without a good reason. One might be in the wide shot, the person is surrounded by brightness (like an overcast sky or something) and you are trying to hold more detail in the bright areas, but in the close-ups, you are exposing more for the face.

Otherwise, you'd expose the wide and the close-up the same if the face in both shots was supposed to look the same, brightness-wise.

You can just as easily come up with the opposite scenario: in a wide shot of a very dark room with a person standing under a pool of light, you might expose the person to be a little hotter to offset the darkness around them. But when you cut to an extreme close-up where the face fills the frame, you'd expose more normally because now most of the frame is filled with highlight, not blackness.
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#3 Francisco Valdez

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 03:30 AM

When doing coverage, I often hear dp's talk about opening up the iris a bit when moving in for a close up from a wide shot.  I'm curious as to why the change in stop for a close up- is this purely aesthetic or "technical"?  Or is the practice usually to increase the footcandles about 1/2 stop for the close up and keep the exposure the same?

Raffi

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Most dp's soften the lighting when going in for close-ups, which may result in some light loss.

Maybe they could be trying to see more into the shadow side of the face, which in a wide shot you wouldn't get to regardless.
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#4 J. Lamar King

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 03:58 AM

I've never heard of anyone doing that as a matter of technique. If I change the stop it would only be because I was trying to "in-between" the exposure in the wide shot to cover the location better. If I did that, I wouldn't let the faces go too far off.
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#5 Bob Hayes

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 04:22 AM

I actually do that quite often. In the wide shot which is often back lit. I want it to look moody. I?ll often expose to the back light a bit more. When I move into close ups I?ll expose a bit more for the shadow area.
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#6 John Thomas

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 08:15 AM

Many times I've goofed up the feeling of a scene by "taking care of the actor" with all this close-up voodoo. Generally if I have the guts to leave the moody wide-shot lighting alone, and carefully take care of the talent without doing much, the photography is better. Doing "new" close-up lighting has gotten me into trouble. My number one close-up rule is: Don't let the older actress's face be the brightest thing in the frame. (Then you can take care of her without it being as obvious.)

Regards, JT
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#7 Raffinator

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 10:46 AM

Many thanks, guys. I'll draw the conclusion that if your lighting is pretty low contrast and fairly even with the subject, you would be less likely to pull that kind of a move, but if you're dealing with a background that is much darker or brighter than the subject, you might want to compensate a bit to expose for the face-- but be careful not to change anything too drastically or it will look inconsistent.

Raffi
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#8 Mike Hall

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 05:56 AM

I think this is a technique from before our time. I have worked with people who did the same, and it was a technical consideration - with low asa's and talent that actually could make a mark - you could frame a close-up that had the face in complete focus, and nothing else. Bottom of the lens for close-ups was standard fare for the "old time" guys when I was a young lad. Not only did you soften/flatten the light for ECU's - you also put doubles in everything so that the focus was on the front of the face, and nothing else. Some of the old ASC camera guys could probably explain this better; however, coming from a technical side, we expected this to happen years ago. Where are Frank Raymond or Leslie Kovacs when you need them...

Like the Arclight, the consideration for this type of shooting/lighting may have become extinct in our industry. Today's schedules implore the DP to "get things done", and they are not geared towards the "get things right" atmosphere that was present in our industry before it became a legion of large companies.
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#9 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 09:02 AM

My goal is to get things done and done "right". Sometimes I will open up a tweak for CU's
if the focus is racked out for the closer distance. This really does depend on the type of lighting and who or what is being filmed.
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#10 Patrick Neary

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 09:06 AM

maybe they're ND-ing and opening up for shallower DOF?
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 02:54 PM

Like the Arclight, the consideration for this type of shooting/lighting may have become extinct in our industry. Today's schedules implore the DP to "get things done", and they are not geared towards the "get things right" atmosphere that was present in our industry before it became a legion of large companies.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think the industry itself is to blame for arcs disappearing. First how many electricians do you know that know how to use arcs? Not many if any, and if any they are the older guys who don't want to put up with the crap the industry serves to them.

Put this way, with every cameraman rushing to become a DP with out knowing how to use the equipment, camera and lights etc, it is easier for a young DP to use an HMI or inexperienced electricians who can turn on and HMI becasue they are easier than arcs.

In the right hands an arc will be just as fast as an HMI. But in the hands of a novice, a unexperienced electrician wouldn't be able to load a rod or know the difference between a positive or neg, or know how to trim them during use.

So basically what I am saying is that if a young DP moves up in their career and brings their young gaffers with them to bigger and better jobs, they never use or try arcs. If they try arcs they have to go with older electricians and gaffers that may not be interested in running and sucking up to production in everyway because they usually have more experience in their jobs than the 30 year old production manager who just got upgraded from the locations department will have, but the 30 year old thinks they know how the electrician (or anyone else) knows how to do their job.

Ok maybe I rambled, but the industry has a certain way of not taking care or respecting the advice or experience of many people whether they are a DP, electrician, carpenter, or a make up artist.

I may have diverged a little... But arcs have a terrific clean light, in the right hands.
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 05:47 PM

I'd love to shoot arcs on a professional shoot. Problem is they require an extra hand, good ventilation and they're just not very production friendly anymore. But the light is just as good, if not better. I think Jeffrey L. Kimball, ASC used them up until just recently for their beautiful light.

There's a rental place back home in Sweden that still has a couple of 10Ks standing about gatrhering dust. And they've got enough rods to last a lifetime, so one day I might just try 'em out.
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#13 Mike Hall

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 05:50 AM

Heel, I couldn't have said it any better if I'd tried. I have just finished a $6m commercial with a 27 year old director and 29 Y.O. DP, and every day, all I could think about was: what if they hired someone from my era who could actually figure out the cheats? Without trashing the "coming of age" crowd, I think they could have hired a couple of seasoned vets to lead us poor souls into battle. What has our industry become when, after 30 years of learning, you are suddenly too old to shoot "todays" commercials?

I can't help but wonder if it is a deficit on the part of the DP to actually capture what today's producers want - or a lack of the producer's ability to convey the look that is the problem.
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#14 JimMcGee

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 04:29 AM

Hi,

I am wondering if maybe this was misinterpreted. Perhaps the original conversation referred to the slight light loss when a ZOOM lens is changed from wide to telephoto therefore opening up the iris for the close-up. Perhaps not, just a thought.

Jim
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#15 Sam Wells

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 10:58 AM

Does the phrase "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille" mean anything to you ? :D

Really I think we're talking about, in part, a classical convention. The movie star as icon.

Watch those Mitchell diffusers come and go ! Hell at one point even Griffith had Henrik Sartov and his Sartov close-up lens come in and shoot the CU's !

ps I note Harris Savides on "Birth" was ok with letting Nicole Kidmann's eye sockets get a bit dark, but for Lauren Bacall, there's the fill !!

-Sam
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#16 Raffinator

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 12:22 PM

Perhaps the original conversation referred to the slight light loss when a ZOOM lens is changed from wide to telephoto therefore opening up the iris for the close-up.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That wasn't my initial thought when I stated the question, but tell me more, I didn't realize that zooms lose a bit of light when you go to telephoto. Why would this take place, and exactly how much do you lose (1/3stop, 1/2stop?), or does it depend on the particular lens?

Raffi
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#17 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 02:28 PM

That wasn't my initial thought when I stated the question, but tell me more, I didn't realize that zooms lose a bit of light when you go to telephoto. Why would this take place, and exactly how much do you lose (1/3stop, 1/2stop?), or does it depend on the particular lens?

Raffi

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

Expensive motion picture film lenses usually are the same Tstop end to end.
I was using a Sony HDV Z1 and the wide end was f1.6 and zoomed in f2.8.

Stephen Williams DP

www.stephenw.com
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