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Filming in the snow.. need suggestions


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#1 Chris Shepard

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 01:58 AM

Hello,
I own a production company and we make snowboard films (er... I should say videos ;) ). We have been very pretty successful and now have the budget to move to 16mm. We won't been shooting all of the film in 16mm, I'd say it will be a 30%film/70%video project this year. I just got a Bolex H16 Reflex3 and have ran through a couple rolls of B/W film for practice.

What I need suggestions for are good overall film emultions to use in the snow. It will be bright sunny days, and I'll be shooting mostly high speeds between 32fps and 48fps. Also If someone could suggest an emultion that would be decent for some low light shooting like rail shots with several 500w lights lighting the scene. Oh and the best place to buy the film as well.

Any other general suggestions for shooting in cold weather and the snow would be helpfull as well.

Thanks!!!!!!
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#2 andrewbuchanan

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 07:42 AM

Here's a few things from the last time I shot in the snow (hope it isn't too basic). Bring a grey card to get you exposures right. I hadn't worked with one in a long time, but I noticed that the reflection from the snow was driving my spot meter a couple (sometimes 3) stops off where it should have been. Watchout for reflection fooling you incidental meter too, don't point it toward the snow's reflectin and expect a proper reading. Also, those little chemical hand warmers that stay warm for 3 or 4 hours are very handy for keeping you camera and battery warm. Remember that taking a cold lens indoors will cause it to fog for a little while while the temp adjusts. Bourbon doesn't really make you warmer and doesn't mix well with cinematography.

I'd use Vision 100 or Fuji 125 (you should have enough light if it is daytime) and definitely bring a Pola and some ND filters. I've always had good experience with www.filmemporium.com. Good luck.
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#3 timHealy

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 01:19 PM

I few years ago I did some shooting at Steamboat Springs, CO with my SR. I recall that between the Sun, bounce back from the snow, (and perhaps the altitude) I was shooting about f16 with 7245 - 50 ASA film. and I did some 45 degree shutter and 48 fps work as work as well. So bring along some ND and stay away from the fast ASA stuff unless your doing evening magic hour/ night stuff.

Colorado doesn't get as cold as it may get in Vermont so keeping your batteries warm is more important in the latter. I did some shooting where it warmed up to -5 degrees f during the day and I had to keep the batteries under my jacket next to my body with a cable down my sleeve or the batteries didn't really work. In the morning I had to run the SR without a mag for a minute or so to get the camera warmed up. At times it wouldn't run with a full mag on it from a cold start. So we ran the camera, put on a mag and did a take.

I think the specs say you can use an SR down to -5 f, but if you are shooting in colder conditions you need to do your homework.

I'd like to know what the folks who work in the Arctic do. Anyone here?

It sounds like you may be in need of a handheld battery type light for your rail shots. A joker 400, 800, an arri pocket par 200w, or a kino (iforget the one you can yuse off a 30 volt??? battery) But again all these battery options will be affected in extreme cold.

I usually by fresh kodak film from kodak. Recans may be cheaper but there is a small risk. It depends on your budget and is it worth the risk? Will your shoots be easily repeatable if something goes wrong?

Best

Tim
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 01:47 PM

For bright daylight, nothing beats 7245 for having the lowest graininess and great sharpness.

For tungsten lighting at night, you probably will need the speed of 7218, which is excellent for a high speed film.

Cold weather shooting:

http://www.kodak.com...ubs/c9/c9.jhtml

Ski photography:

http://www.kodak.com...m_15-18_1.shtml

http://www.kodak.com...0/soulmen.shtml
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#5 jeremy edge

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 02:53 PM

I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about march of the penguins.
But that is probably the best example of artic shooting in 16mm I've seen.
Its really stunning.

The conditions they were under were pretty extreme from what I understand too...did I hear 80 below zero at times? Is that right? Whatever it got down to,it's pretty extreme I'm sure. I wonder how Hi def camera electronics would have held up in those conditions! A perfect example of film going where video cannot.And imagine the nightmare on video with that blinding snow!

Kodak should do an inteview with them.(If they havent already).

It would prove interesting to anyone looking to film in the snow.I live in upper PA so I'm sure I'm going to shoot a little in the snow this winter.
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#6 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 03:05 PM

The conditions they were under were pretty extreme from what I understand too...did I hear 80 below zero at times? Is that right? Whatever it got down to,it's pretty extreme I'm sure. I wonder how Hi def camera electronics would have held up in those conditions! A perfect example of film going where video cannot.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It can even get colder in outer space! Kodak worked with IMAX in providing the 65mm camera film for the Space Shuttle movies like "Space Station 3D". One of their films actually had a camera photograph the Shuttle from a tethered mini satellite.
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#7 Logan Schneider

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 03:26 PM

I've shot snowboarding for years. I think that MackDawg and Standard Films and Teton Gravity Research mostly use 7245 for daytime. Mackdawg never films below 32fps. I would say use 7218 for night. I recently saw Jesse Burtner and some other AK riders filming on a rail at night with work lights, which was enough for exposure, but if you want to really light a scene then I would suggest getting an ARRI kit.

Exposing for snow, I use an incident light meter and usually take a reading with half of the ball in the sun and half in shadow. I shield the bottom of the ball to block the reflection of the snow.

I hope this helps.

Logan Schneider
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#8 Chris Shepard

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 12:49 AM

Wow, thanks for all the replies this really helps! One other quick question, where does everyone recommend to get exposed film developed and telecined?
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#9 Matt Wells

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 07:04 AM

Where are you based?

I am assuming you are in North America, however if you are in the UK:

Soho Images in London are very good and will do deals if you tell them you are a small time/student type filmaker.
0207 437 0831

Recently processed and prepped 1,600ft of 16mm for me for 0.10p per foot.

Have you ever considered trying Super8 for Ski/Snowboard - very handy when you need to shoot certain shots - I go to the Italian Alpes once a year and spend most of the time with a Beaulieu 4008 hanging from my neck. This allows quick access whilst boarding to capture shots on the move and where there is virtually no time to set up.

The 4008ZM / ZM2 / ZMII runs to 70fps too! (80fps for the 4008ZMIV)

Could be handy to run in conjunction with 16mm. Attainable quality can be excellent with just a hint of the Super8 look which is very cool.

When you start shooting 16mm (or S8) always to remember to insist on decent quality transfers!

Matt
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#10 Tim J Durham

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 12:31 PM

The conditions they were under were pretty extreme from what I understand too...did I hear 80 below zero at times? Is that right? Whatever it got down to,it's pretty extreme I'm sure. I wonder how Hi def camera electronics would have held up in those conditions! A perfect example of film going where video cannot.And imagine the nightmare on video with that blinding snow!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In a place like the Antarctic, everything is mostly white so the dynamic range is not that great.
Blinding snow is no more a problem for video cams than film cams as far as exposure goes. Probably less so because with a film cam, you're tied to the exposure characteristics of the film stock you brought whereas a video cam is made to shoot from bright daylight to near darkness.

As far as the cold goes, it will be interesting to see how one of the new Panny P2 cams performs under extreme conditions. No moving parts! I would expect film stock can get pretty brittle in the extreme cold as does video tape. Either way, I expect you'll want to keep the camera warm and dry until you're ready to shoot. Shooting in outer space is something I've wondered about. I wonder what they used to keep the camera warm while it was outside the shuttle?
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