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Mixing 16mm and 35mm for night scenes


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#1 William Gagnon

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 01:47 PM

Hi there,

 

I am currently working on a feature film that so far has been shot in the Super 16 format with Vision3 250D for daylight interior scenes and Vision2 500T night interior scenes. We haven't done any outside work yet but will use Vision3 50D

 

I was wondering if anyone had ever attempted to throw in some Vision3 500T 35mm shots for night interior scenes. I have about four scenes in this fairly low-lit Soviet-themed bar and thought that maybe 35mm 500T in shadow areas could be closer to 16mm 250D's grain size.

 

It's just out of curiosity!

 


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#2 Robin Phillips

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:03 PM

your picture will feel a bit different in any 35mm shots, but mixing the formats happens relatively often. if you are concerned about grain size, 500T in 35mm will play as significantly tighter grain than 16mm 250d. you would probably want to push the 500T (and maybe even shoot at 1000 instead of shooting at the more common 800 when the stock is pushed), OR maybe use a 2 perf body (or crop factor on  3 perf) so that you're blowing the image up and thus increasing the grain size.

 

This assumes you're not going through any sort of grain management (either automatically in the scanner or after the fact in grading). If you can, shoot some 100' tests and work with your transfer house to come up with a game plan. Your transfer house may also be able to advise based on what they've seen come through their shop before

 

If it were me, I'd try to get a 2 perf body for the 35mm stuff and probably push the 500T one stop at least. try to shoot a few 100' tests of the 35 though. 


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:09 PM

Well, 35mm is nearly 5 times the size of Super 16. 500 pushed 2 stops may get close to S16 @ 50, depending on how you scan it.

But then you've got the field of view differences, which are a dead giveaway.

I've mixed 16mm and 35mm for alternative "looks" but not for the same look ya know?
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#4 Samuel Berger

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:22 PM

But then you've got the field of view differences, which are a dead giveaway.


Did you mean to say depth of field? Just wondering.
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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 08:40 PM

Did you mean to say depth of field? Just wondering.


Both! Field of view and depth of field, more specifically on the "wide" side of things.

This is due mainly to lens distortion differences.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:11 AM

You can match field of view and depth of field between two formats.  Optical distortions are unique to the particular lens however.

 

To make the math simple, let's say that Super-16 is 12mm wide and Super-35 is 24mm wide, that's a 2X difference.  So at the same distance to subject, you'd use a lens that is 2X longer in Super-35 compared to Super-16 to match field of view, and you'd stop down the Super-35 lens by 2-stops to match depth of field.

 

Grain and sharpness however are harder to match -- you might want to push the 35mm 500T by one-stop to match the 250D Super-16 better.


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#7 Samuel Berger

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:21 AM

Grain and sharpness however are harder to match -- you might want to push the 35mm 500T by one-stop to match the 250D Super-16 better.


During shooting, or during processing?
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:54 AM

Pushing is a processing term.  Generally you'd underexpose by 1-stop (which would give a negative that was 1-stop "thinner" or less dense if processed normally) and then push 1-stop to get a negative that had normal density (but more grain and contrast.)

 

Keep in mind that exposing is a separate thing from processing.  You could expose normally and push or pull process, or you could adjust your exposure in different ways in conjunction with the processing.  The lab just wants you to tell it whether it should be processed normal, or push or pull-processed, they don't care or know how you rated the stock or exposed it.  Exposing is what you do, processing is what the lab does.

 

Roger Deakins, for example, in the daytime desert war flashback in "Courage Under Fire" overexposed the negative by 3-stops and then had the lab pull-process it by 2-stops, which means the final negative was 1-stop denser than normal.

 

"The Godfather" was shot on 100 ASA film rated at 250 ASA and pushed 1-stop, which means that since he rated it at 250 ASA instead of 200 ASA, it was still about a quarter stop "thin" or less dense than normal.  However, Gordon Willis said he did not print back "up" to normal density, he left the image a quarter-stop dark, so in a sense it was not "underexposed" it was exposed correctly for the look and brightness he intended.

 

Truth is that it is common to not quite underexpose the stock as much as you are pushing it.  In other words, if you ask the lab to push 500T by 1-stop, most cinematographers will rate it at 800 ASA instead of 1000 ASA, so they aren't quite underexposing it a full stop even though they are processing it to increase the density by a full stop.  The reasons vary, it's partly that they don't want the graininess of 1000 ASA, but it's also because push-processing isn't always exact so giving yourself a little margin for error by leaning towards more exposure is not a bad idea.  Plus few people are so perfect at making exposures that they are under a 1/3-stop range of error.

 

"Eyes Wide Shut" was shot on 500 ASA film pushed 2-stops but rated at 1600 ASA instead of 2000 ASA.

 

Gordon Willis used to say that there was no such thing as a 3-stop push-process, meaning that there wasn't much point, you weren't gaining 3-stops of speed.

 

The other problem is that let's say you shoot a test and decide that 2-stops underexposure looks decent but 2 1/2-stops underexposure looks bad -- that only leaves you with a 1/2-stop range to make a mistake, which is a narrow margin.  When you work close to the edge, it doesn't take a lot to fall off the ledge.


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#9 James Compton

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 08:59 PM

William,

 

  Have a look at the movie 'THE CONSTANT GARDENER' (2005 shot by Cesar Charlone). Charlone shot Super 16mm for close, medium shots. 35mm for the wide shots. Same lenses on both formats, Zeiss Standard Speeds. Same filmstocks for each scene, pushed as needed to match filmstock grain.

 

 


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#10 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 03:25 AM

Gordon Willis used to say that there was no such thing as a 3-stop push-process, meaning that there wasn't much point, you weren't gaining 3-stops of speed.

 

Forgive me if I am repeating myself from a previous conversation, but back in '85, a press photographer I read about pushed Fuji Pro 400 colour negative film by three stops, giving him ISO 3200. The results were pretty damned good, considering. I also hear that Ektachrome P800/1600 was a 400 speed film that could be pushed to 3200 if needed.

 

Black & white film can be underexposed by five stops and give useable results. From what I've seen, 5219 can give you a good ASA 3200. I wonder what you think about that!

 

It's funny, but digital cameras never offered good competition for high ISO until the Nikon D3, then the D700 (now superseded by cameras with smaller sensors). And forget using digital cinema cameras at 3200, unless you're using a Dragon sensor or better.


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#11 William Gagnon

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:35 PM

Thanks a lot everyone for those very informative replies.

 

I kinda like the idea behind Charlone's approach (WS on 35, CU and MS on 16), but I will definitely test a few 100' reels to see how pushing one and two stops would feel along 16mm that's been exposed "just right".


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#12 Samuel Berger

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 06:28 PM


 

"Eyes Wide Shut" was shot on 500 ASA film pushed 2-stops but rated at 1600 ASA instead of 2000 ASA.

 

There must have been massive de-grain and cleanup in the HDTV release.

 

I'm thinking of the odds of Kubrick saying "This grain will look awful in theatres but I imagine they'll make it look amazingly grainless on DVD".


Edited by Samuel Berger, 08 December 2017 - 06:37 PM.

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#13 Robin Phillips

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 10:05 PM

 

There must have been massive de-grain and cleanup in the HDTV release.

 

I'm thinking of the odds of Kubrick saying "This grain will look awful in theatres but I imagine they'll make it look amazingly grainless on DVD".

I saw this a while ago when doing some other research - 

 

its 500T vision 3 2 perf pushed 2 stops rated at 1250. not sure how much it was de-grained in the scan, but it looks pretty darn great. the user even enabled downloading so you can see the source (or possibly just least compressed) file


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#14 Samuel Berger

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 10:58 PM

I saw this a while ago when doing some other research - 

 

its 500T vision 3 2 perf pushed 2 stops rated at 1250. not sure how much it was de-grained in the scan, but it looks pretty darn great. the user even enabled downloading so you can see the source (or possibly just least compressed) file

 

Thank you for posting that, it led me to watching the entire short. I enjoyed the short, I was happy it wasn't an attempt at misleading the audience and the payoff was actually there. Nowadays there's too much cynicism and you never know where they're going with something that starts off sweet and enjoyable. Very well done.

 

I do wonder how they exposed for the skyline in the full short.


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#15 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 04:21 PM

It's a 1080p scan, so it hides a lot of the noise/grain. It's a great sample though and someday when I have the money for NEW 500T, I'll probably do the same trick.

Lost City of Z I believe is 500T pushed 2 stops.
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#16 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 03:02 AM

FWIW, based on what I have seen of raw scans, '219 handles push processing really well. Even in 16mm. You'd be surprised.


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