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Choosing Film Speed


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#1 Paul Berenstain

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 05:32 AM

Hello,

I'm going to shoot a short on 16 mm Vision 3 next week and I have to order the film stock.

The short will only be about 3 mins long and I plan on using a single 400' roll. It will be shot in a room, both during the day and at night, using natura light from the window during the day and practicals otherwise. I'm a bit undecided in what speed and colour balance to get. As I see it, I have three options:

Get 250D and use a filter for night time
Get 200T and use a filter for daytime
Get 500T and use a filter for daytime

My goal is to get good exposure during the night with minimal lighting, and also to have some grain, but not excessive amounts.

I'm thinking that if I get tungsten balanced stock and use a filter for daylight, I could have the full sensitivity of the film when I need it most, during the night. But I'm wondering if the 500T wouldn't be unpleasently grainy.

Any thoughts/tips?

Thanks.

Edited by Paul Berenstain, 29 June 2017 - 05:45 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 06:50 AM

Part of the job of filmmaker is to reduce variables during pre-production -- you can't just buy stock and hope that it is fast enough for whatever lighting conditions you will run across.  What if you need 1600 ASA in order to get enough exposure in that room at night?

 

Take some meter readings and/or some reference stills at the ASA, shutter speed, and f-stop you are planning on using to see if you have enough for 200T stock.

 

Truth is that I think you should just use 500T and find out for yourself if you like the grain structure; on your next project then you'll have a frame of reference.

 

250D isn't a good idea for night work unless you want to replace all your lightbulbs with daylight LED bulbs.  The 80A blue filter to correct daylight stock for tungsten loses 2-stops, so you would have an effective 64 ASA film stock.


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#3 aapo lettinen

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:03 AM

I also think that the 500T might be the best option unless you know for sure what kind of light levels can be archieved, which stop you want to use, etc. 

 

for lighting interiors with low budget, tungsten light is still one of the cheapest options and if you are shooting in single room you can always gel the windows with cto during the day and keep the interior lights at 3200 or lower. at night, you can remove the cto from the windows and use ctb on the ext lights (moonlight etc) or use hmi as a moonlight. 

 

if gelling the windows is a problem then it might be better to use 85b in camera and daylight balanced lighting OR 250D film and daylight balanced lighting. 

but for a budget it may be much cheaper and easier to just gel the windows with cto and use tungsten balanced film and lighting if there is not tons of windows in the room.

as David said it depends on if you have access to affordable daylight balanced lights which are powerful enough. 


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#4 Paul Berenstain

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:58 AM

Thanks for fhe feedback!

I have taken some reference shots with my iPhone, as I don't have access to a DSLR at the moment. With its fixed f2.2 aperture I get the daylight shots about a stop or two overexposed at 200 iso and 1/48 shutter, and the night shots underexposed by about the same amount with 50 iso. So using 500T with a filter for daylight would mean I would have to close the aperture quite a bit, unless I apply some nd filters as well.

For the night shots I think it would work quite well. But aren't there any aberrations introduced if I use a colour filter and nd filter at the same time during the day? Also, I guess I'm a bit panicked about getting the exposure just right as I don't know how forgiving film is compared to digital. Then again, there would't be any digital artifacts and grain is more pleasing than noise.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 09:45 AM

They make 85ND combo filters but generally inside you can find ways of knocking down the amount of daylight.
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#6 aapo lettinen

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:25 AM

Also, I guess I'm a bit panicked about getting the exposure just right as I don't know how forgiving film is compared to digital. Then again, there would't be any digital artifacts and grain is more pleasing than noise.

 

the main issue with film grain is changing grain texture if you have large exposure variations which are compensated in post. generally film is very forgiving in overexposure (in terms of dynamic range, the texture of course changes) but depending on the stock may be very unforgiving in underexposure, especially if you don't compensate underexposure with processing. 

generally exposure differences show in varying grain textures so if you need perfectly matching shots in terms of grain you should be quite precise with your exposures so that you don't need to gain anything in post. OR leave the underexposed scenes to be underexposed in the final grade so that you don't need to boost (grain) .


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#7 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 08:56 PM

I am just a spectator in these sorts of discussions, but if I understand your scouting data correctly, it seems that you're going to want 200T. That allows you to get your exposure at night but you will have to use probably 2 stops of ND in total for the daylight shots.

 

Stopping down or using NDs won't make a difference to the operator of course, but the focus puller would probably appreciate the narrower aperture. Maybe compromise so that one stop is taken care of by filters, the other by the aperture.

 

I'm sure that 200T can easily handle massive overexposure, but it seems that this is not what you want, as it will introduce inconsistencies between the day and night scenes.

 

Just my two cents. :-)


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#8 Chris Burke

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 07:12 AM

I wanted to share an experience of mine. I have mistakenly shot 7213 thinking it was 7219. I'm metered it for 500t and when I got everything back, it looked great!. The 200t works very well in high contrast low light. It also works well in very bright light. It can hold the Highlights better than probably any of the other stocks. I also believe that 200t is the sharpest Kodak stock. 7219 can really dig into the shadows without much grain. I am often surprised at how little grain there is in 7219.
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#9 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 08:38 AM

Just to throw it out there as another alternative, I'd consider 250D if you have a lighting package that's up to it for your nighttime work. Daylight balanced LED bulbs are now cheap and readily available for practicals, you can even get some now that can be either 3200k, 4500k, or 6000k, and offer dimming capabilities.

And if you have a reasonably modern lighting kit at your disposal, most now have a pretty heavy bias towards daylight fixtures (HMIs, fluorescents and LEDs) so lighting a night scene for 5600k is much easier now than it used to be.

This could save you having to muck around with colour correction filters like 85/85b in front of your lens (and therefore in front of your viewfinder as well).


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#10 Stephen Baldassarre

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:34 AM

I know this is a moot point due to the time frame, but I myself prefer 200T for interiors and exteriors.  It's sharper than daylight films and finer grain than 500T, which is important on 16mm.  So, I would bring along some auxiliary lighting and light modifiers to make sure I get not only a good exposure, but that the quality of lighting works for the project.  Too many people paint themselves into a corner by merely going for "enough" light and not ensuring it's GOOD light.


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