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Sony F900


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#1 albert camus

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 09:19 PM

Hello,

I am shooting a feature on the Sony f900. I was wondering....

how do I meter the light? I own a sekonic l558 cine. Do I simply set the iso and
the FSP and meter away? Or is there a special HD setting. Is there any
compensation I should know about?

is the monitor faithful to the finished product before it goes into post? can i look at
the monitor and light according to wha I see?

is it true that HD requires significant amount of extra lights? I've been told that
HD is not as sensitive as film and so thefeore requires more lights to get the
desired look?

is there anything else that I should know about lighting for HD? Is there any
prior listings or discussions on this forum that I can reference?

Thanks to anyone who contributes. :ph34r:
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#2 drew_town

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 10:46 PM

can i look at the monitor and light according to wha I see?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes. You don't really need a light meter.

"Does HD need more light?"

A little more than SD. I haven't shot enough HD to give you an accurate number but I estimate about 1 or 1.5 stops in difference.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 11:33 PM

I find I use slightly less light with HD on average, mainly because it's in the 320 to 500 ASA range, comparable to film, but you can drop from 1/48th to a 1/32nd shutter to gain another half-stop of light and if necessary, boost the gain +3 db to gain another half-stop of light -- both together, that's a full-stop more exposure, putting you in the 640 to 1000 ASA range when necessary with hardly any visible loss.

Plus you typically light to T/2.8 if not wider, whereas in 35mm, I tend to light to a T/4 if possible for better depth of field. And I tend to rate 500 ASA stocks at 320 ASA.

But you have to consider that three out of the last four 35mm features I shot were in anamorphic where I was always trying to stop down. If you're someone who routinely shoots 35mm at T/2.0-2.8, and rates 500 ASA stock at 500 ASA, you'll find the light levels in HD to be similar (at 1/48th shutter & 0 db).

You don't really need a meter except to prelight or to scout locations, or balance multiple key spots with each other, in which case I usually set my meter to 400 ASA as a starting point. I don't set the camera's exposure by the meter though so I only have to be in the ballpark. A properly set-up monitor and zebras in the viewfinder are fine for most exposing situations; if you really want to be accurate, a waveform monitor is better than a light meter (in essence, the camera IS a light meter.)

You have to remember that the HD camera has a shutter (electronic though) so you can set your meter to the shutter speed you select. Most of the time, you'd be at 23.98P with a 1/48th of a second shutter speed.

Where you might use more light with HD is balancing a room with a bright daylit background. On the other hand, sometimes you use less fill light at night with HD because it tends to pick-up ambient detail well.
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#4 David Cox

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 06:51 AM

...from the post production point of view, we have had some very good results where the DOP has intentionally under exposed the shots, so that greater detail can be maintained in the highlight areas. As you will be aware, the Achilles heel of digital cinema cameras is still that lack of latitude and this shows itself as clipped highlights (for example, a sky with no detail in the clouds). Underexposing a little can help to keep this detail, as the "brightness" of the image can be restored in post production colour grading with not too much increase in noise.

As David M suggested, a waveform monitor is useful for this because you will clearly be able to see the clipped highlight areas, which will look ?squared off? at the top of the waveform.

If you are using an external monitor to make your final adjustments, make sure it is calibrated and viewed in a suitable and consistent environment. For example, shooting two shots that are supposed to cut back-to-back, but with your viewing monitor in bright sunshine in one set up and under a shady bush in another, are likely to lead you astray. :)

David Cox
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www.baraka.co.uk
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:49 AM

Truth is that I have yet to use a waveform monitor on a set after eight HD features; I find that the zebras tell me enough information and generally you can SEE clipping if you look for it. Like you said, in video, you tend to err on the underexposure side to hold highlight detail, which is another reason why the light levels can seem lower than with film, if you're the type (like me) who tends to overexpose the negative.
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#6 Andre Lim

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 02:03 PM

When I shot w/ the f900, I put my light meter at 400asa and worked from that. If you want to go based on what the monitor shows you, make sure you calibrate it correctly and keep it away from glare. Bigger the monitor the better. If you get LCD monitor, dont even bother trying to measure your lighting with it. I did a test with both kinds of monitors at the rental house, the silk covering of the LCD makes it look a bit darker and depending on the angle of the monitor or ur head, it might look a lot darker than it's supposed to be.

In most cases, it's better to under expose a bit than over expose. I'm pretty sure the f900 has a 1.5 over to 4.5 under ratio. If you're having problems with over exposure, you can keep some detail by turning on your knee aperature in the menus. As far as lighting goes, you shouldn't change much of how you would normally light for film. With a decent HD monitor you get what you see, so if anything, it'd make lighting much easier for you. Make sure you dont blow out your highlights and dont worry so much about crushing your blacks unless that's the definate style you want, because you won't be able to redo it in post. Play around with the paint and operations menus and get familiar with it, because for those small tweaks in highlights and color, it's all done in the paint menus.

I've heard red bleeds on HD, but I love red on HD. Make sure you and your production designer collaborate on having really deep rich colors which will make great use of the f900. Try not to light hard on sets as you tend to see a LOT of detail with HD and same with make up.

You have to make sure that you and the make up artist knows if the shot is going to be a close-up, ms, or ws. The make up artist and the director had an arguement after I was supposed to get a close up of a gunshot wound on the head, the bullet hole was too fake, if you can notice anything on a 19" monitor, you will definately notice it on the big screen. Anyways, if you've got special effects and make up people, make sure you keep them informed because HD will show every litle detail, especially on a close up.

I guess the main things are

1. dont over expose
2. calibrate your monitor precisely if you are going to be working off the monitor
3. keep your backfocus set
4. HD shows a LOT of detail, make sure you dont see tape on the set walls or cracks etc.
5. get to know the paint menu

Also, unless you get a pro-35 adapter with 35mm lenses, more than likely a lot of you shots with have a a deep depth of field. And I would highley recommend you not use the cannon ENG lens that comes with the camera and get digiprimes, pro-35 adapter, or fujinon wide or long lens. I used the fujinon wide zoom lens, and the glass on the fujinon beat the hell out of the standard cannon eng on the f900.

If there's anything else I can try to help you with let me know.

P.S. make sure you set your time code to r-run. Watch out for timecode breaks! :)
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