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#1 Robert Edge

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 08:57 AM

I've just purchased a 16mm camera that I'll be using a fair bit outdoors in natural, and therefore changing, light. This will be my first foray in 16mm filmmaking. When I use a still camera for critical work I shoot at the metered reading, adjusted for the peculiarities of my meter and the scene, and then bracket the exposure. How I bracket depends on whether I am using reversal or negative film. For the latter, I bracket in larger increments (1/2 rather than 1/3 stops) and normally in the direction of overexposure from the adjusted meter reading.

I haven't come across any discussions about bracketing for negative motion picture film in uncontrolled lighting conditions. Is this because it isn't done, relying on the telecine process for correction and, if so, just how much latitude is there in the telecine process. If bracketing is done, are there particular strategies that are used? I'm interested particularly in bracketing for Kodak negative films where the final output is digital.
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#2 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 09:17 AM

bracketing negative film at 1/2 stops is a waste of film In my opinion.
You can easily bracket up to 2 stops to get noticably different results.

With reversal, as tight as 1/3 stop will make a difference
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#3 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 09:19 AM

I haven't come across any discussions about bracketing for negative motion picture film in uncontrolled lighting conditions.  Is this because it isn't done, relying on the telecine process for correction and, if so, just how much latitude is there in the telecine process.  If bracketing is done, are there particular strategies that are used?  I'm interested particularly in bracketing for Kodak negative films where the final output is digital.

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And how would you bracket motion picture photography? Would you shoot the entire scene all over again with a different setting?
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#4 Robert Edge

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 09:36 AM

And how would you bracket motion picture photography? Would you shoot the entire scene all over again with a different setting?

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I will indeed be able to take certain shots more than once and to bracket these shots. This may make less sense for people making dramatic films. It is something that I am interested in doing until I become familiar with the Kodak motion picture stocks. Also, I am inclined to do as much as possible in the camera rather than fix things later.

For still photography, what works for me for negative film is 1/2 to one stop. I would not bracket two stops, but if that works for you, great.
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#5 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 09:55 AM

I will indeed be able to take certain shots more than once and to bracket these shots.  This may make less sense for people making dramatic films.  It is something that I am interested in doing until I become familiar with the Kodak motion picture stocks.  Also, I am inclined to do as much as possible in the camera rather than fix things later.

For still photography, what works for me for negative film is 1/2 to one stop.  I would not bracket two stops, but if that works for you, great.

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because of latitude of negative film, 1/2 stops will show almost no difference. I just can't see what you gain by bracketing 1/2 stops, that's all.

Personally, I don't bracket negative. I just overexpose one stop to be absolutley sure that it is not underexposed (in case I didn't meter properly), and I don't use recommended ISO most of the time, unless there is really not enough light, In which case I may even have to go under up to one stop.

When something REALLY matters to me, I use reversal film, bracket it up to one stop (usually 1/5). One beauty shot (metered exposure, for viewing and enjoying), and one overexposed up to 1 stop for easier scanning.

Like you said, this is just how I do it.


Anyway. when it comes to motion pictures. I think the slight difference in image in telecine would not justify the price of film stock and processing.

I don't shoot motion pictures, but I think those film have a lot of latitude, something in the ballpark with portra NC films, or even more.
You will get the exposure right, no need to be so strict. Of course underexposure can be a pain, but only if it is like 2 stops. But if you are unsure if your meter is playing ticks on you, you can always add one more stop just to be sure.
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 10:24 AM

bracketing negative film at 1/2 stops is a waste of film In my opinion.
You can easily bracket up to 2 stops to get noticably different results.

With reversal, as tight as 1/3 stop will make a difference

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Hi,

On motion control model shoots I often bracket +1 and -1 stop and build a composite image from the 3 passes. The Spirit operator laughed the first time, so I said grade the +1 and the -1 stop and see if you can make them match exactly! He could not.
I was shooting watches, the metal case blows out very early and the dark face behind the glass goes dark!

Stephen
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#7 Robert Edge

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 10:54 AM

Thanks Stephen, that is helpful.

Filip, I use negative film for black and white 6x7 and 9x12 photographs and I do my own processing and printing. Bracketing a full stop works and lots of people wouldn't be bothered with a half stop. However, I do range from a half stop to a full stop, depending on subject and how much time I have on my hands, because my patience in the darkroom is limited. I am not one of those people who equates spending lots of time mucking around with development and tiny dodging and burning tools with nirvana.

Some time ago, I read a post by a gentleman who has a fine sense of humour as well as a lot of experience. He was talking about light meters and lighting and exposure latitude, but I also like to read his comments as an amusing caution to get the exposure right in the camera. Some people might get a kick out of whaqt he said:

"In my highly opinionated opinion, some folks attempt to use the zone system to photograph scenes which are impossibly (read: poorly) lit. They go to excruciating lengths to spot-meter every square inch of the scene, making copious notes for later super-heroic development antics.

"I was taught still photography in 1960's Hollywood, by old-timers who were heavily influenced by the lighting and metering techniques of cinematography. A universal right of passage was the acquisition of the ubiquitous Spectra 500 incident meter.

"If you work outdoors at the same altitude and latitude, in the same weather conditions and time of day, you can make absolutely breathtaking photographs with a simple incident meter like the Sekonic L-398M Studio Deluxe II, currently available from B&H for $161. And after a few hundred sheets of film you won?t even need that.

"If, on the other hand, you insist on making photographs of a white bride standing out in full July sun at high noon in Arizona, while simultaneously carrying shadow detail in a black cat hiding under a nearby parked automobile, you probably will benefit from a whole suitcase full of expensive equipment.

"My short answer to your question is that you might not actually require a Zone VI spotmeter."
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#8 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:16 PM

why didn't you say so in the first place? Black and white negative is another story.

I was talking about bracketing color negative film.
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#9 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:20 PM

Hi,

On motion control model shoots I often bracket +1 and -1 stop and build a composite image from the 3 passes. The Spirit operator laughed the first time, so I said grade the +1 and the -1 stop and see if you can make them match exactly! He could not.
I was shooting watches, the metal case blows out very early and the dark face behind the glass goes dark!

Stephen

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well I thought motion picture film has more latitude than still film
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:31 PM

well I thought motion picture film has more latitude than still film

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Hi,

I always like to test myself to be sure, some stocks handle over and underexposure better than others, but contrast and grain will change. If you overexpose 1 stop and pull the developement the result is different to a normally exposed neg.

Stephen
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#11 Christopher Wedding

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:52 PM

Mr. Williams,

I was intruiged by your discussion of bracketing in reference to the watch case. How do you grade them in post - one for highlights, one for shadow detail? Do you combine them in After Effects? Sounds silly, but I'm just making sure I've got a handle on the uses of bracketing. However, this process doesn't sound useful unless it's a motion control of a still life!
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#12 Filip Plesha

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:57 PM

Hi,

I always like to test myself to be sure, some stocks handle over and underexposure better than others, but contrast and grain will change. If you overexpose 1 stop and pull the developement the result is different to a normally exposed neg.

Stephen

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I didn't say anything about pulling or pushing. I was refering to processing normally and "printing up" or down in telecine or scanner.
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#13 Stephen Williams

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 01:14 PM

Mr. Williams,

I was intruiged by your discussion of bracketing in reference to the watch case.  How do you grade them in post - one for highlights, one for shadow detail? Do you combine them in After Effects?  Sounds silly, but I'm just making sure I've got a handle on the uses of bracketing.  However, this process doesn't sound useful unless it's a motion control of a still life!

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Hi,

First I grade the correct exposure, then look at the other exposures for the highlights and dark areas. I may even light the strap, case and face with different lighting! I think my record is 22 exposures of 1 Move! I usually combine in Flame, but thats because I have been working with this client for 10 years and thats the workfolw he is used to. AE would work fine.

With live action I often shoot some clowds to composite in at another exposure.

Stephen
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#14 Christopher Wedding

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 05:38 AM

Thank you very much.
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