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DP'ing First 16mm shoot.


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#1 James Brown

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 09:01 AM

Hi,

The time is creeping upon me where i am shooting my first 16mm short. We are shooting with a XTR PROD cam with Vision 2 7218. It's four weeks away and i feel completly nervous, inexperienced & unorganised. There is a fear that i will get the film soft and underexposed.
I know this isnt really a specific question, but here goes.

What are the main things that have gone wrong with your first film shoots and what can i do to prevent this? Has anyone got any ideas and tips with using the AATON XTR prod cam?
Who is the best to bounce off when i'm looking for answers, the 1st AC?, what if he knows less then me, ha, then i'm *&^%ed.

The guy that is making it seems to think i am better then i am and is forking out all the cash himself which makes it harder, because he isn't loaded. We were in a production group last year and seemed to work really well with eachother, but still, he is blowing a fair bit of money on a shoot that realies heavily on visuals.

Is this usual, t, do most people become nervous before there first shoots or am i just stressing for the sake of giving me an excuse to drink excessive amounts of coffee.

hope someone can calm my nervs.....

James.
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 09:16 AM

Hi,

The time is creeping upon me where i am shooting my first 16mm short.  We are shooting with a XTR PROD cam with Vision 2 7218.  It's four weeks away and i feel completly nervous, inexperienced & unorganised. There is a fear that i will get the film soft and underexposed. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Why don't you take the cam out for a couple days and shoot some test stuff? It may be worth it to you to fork out your own cash for rental just to make sure you can get the results you think you can.

Also, if the first day you have the camera is the first day of the shoot, you don't want to be hunting and pecking in front of the money people. You need to have a command of the equipment. Having rented or borrowed one for a couple days (prior to your paid gig) and gotten your hands on it and having seen test results, you'll look and sound (and BE) much more authoritative. That's sometimes half the battle. The other half having to do with talent, I suppose.
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#3 Jeremy

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 11:30 AM

If this is your first film (shot on film) then you will be nervous. You'll be nervous until the film comes back and you can see that it turned out... it's a part of the process. It's okay to be nervous, just don't let everyone else on set know it, too. The nervousness will decrease with each new film. Enjoy it, have fun with it, and trust your instincts. It'll turn out... especially if you let yourself know the camera ahead of time. If you're renting it, see if you can go in and just explore the camera at the rental house (most are very accomodating). Make sure you know it intimately, and ask as many questions about it as you can, so if something does arise, you'll be better prepared!

And have fun! You're making a movie!
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#4 Alex Haspel

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 12:59 PM

relax..

film forgives quite a lot mistakes...


i remember my first film shot as dop ...
it was a student film, and actually i was dop, operator, camera assistant and loader in one person...

this lead to some mistakes i made.

.)i was loading a few rolls quite sloppy, so the film was scratching on the side of the magazine -nothing happened
.)i squeezed one roll in a bent can -nothing happened
.)i forgot to put on the correctly measured stop on the lens (or however this is said in english), resulting in some over- and underexposures -nothing tragic happend, we still got it all right in telecine

..and a few more..

see..
you can hardly do anything wrong...

relax and enjoy


ps:
i did post about that film here http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=8299


oh.. and something else..
you might not want hear this in your current situation, beeing nervous and all....

but making mistakes is one of the most important parts of the learning process, at least in my eyes...
the mistakes you've already made are the ones youre never gonna make again.

Edited by haspel, 07 September 2005 - 01:08 PM.

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#5 James Brown

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 10:11 AM

Why don't you take the cam out for a couple days and shoot some test stuff? It may be worth it to you to fork out your own cash for rental just to make sure you can get the results you think you can.

Thanks Tim, your completly right......just need to get comfortable with the cam cam and the use. i think my main problem is that i havent been on enough FILM shoots to understand all that goes on, i have never been next a DP shooting 16mm and watched him work, all my stuff has been video, so i guess thats a pretty big problem....

If you're renting it, see if you can go in and just explore the camera at the rental house (most are very accomodating). Make sure you know it intimately, and ask as many questions about it as you can, so if something does arise, you'll be better prepared!

Thanks Jeremy,
I have contacted the rental house and they were more then willing to give me a crash course in the Aaton...I guess i thought they wouldnt want some student asking them heaps of questions and hanging around in the studio, but there all right in Melbourne....prob because of the dryness of the industry around here they just love to see people renting there equipment, ha...

the mistakes you've already made are the ones youre never gonna make again.


Ha, thanks, i reckon your right..I was shooting a short three weeks ago with a JVC DV500, exterior, raining, late at night, big lighting setup. Tinkered with the settings on the cam cam for ages trying to work out why there was no light getting through, it was a long day of shooting and i was dillusional...1 hour later, i switched the ND5600k filter to 5600K....ha, dont think i will ever do that again (you would hope not anyway) so so so studpid, but your right, learn from mistakes....

Thanks for your replys, my nervs have eased slightly, but there will always be an element of failure when your are the level i am...Guess ill battle through and see if i can put some pictures up on the big screen.......

Regards James
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 10:33 AM

James,

When I was in this same situation a few years ago, here's what cinematographer Mitch Gross told me to do and it worked for me, maybe it will help. Do what everyone so far has said, get ahold of the camera for a day if possible.

Then, you know what stock you are shooting, right? We always shoot Kodak, but it might work the same with Fuji. But I always call my Kodak rep and ask for a 100' roll of whatever film type we are shooting. And every time she has sent me the roll free of charge (because she knows she is going to be getting the commission on the sale of the film for the shoot). Then I shoot the roll, mimicking the most difficult light set ups I think I will face on the shoot, just ten to fifteen feet of each set up and use my wife or friends to stand in for the actors, and many times I fake the lighting with any lights I can get my hands on.

Then I talk with the processing house that is going to be doing the processing for the shoot (and in my case, it is the same house that will be doing the telecine) and have them process and transfer the 100' roll to tape. Again, they will do this for a nominal charge or for free because they know you are going to have them do all the footage from the shoot.

Then I study the footage. I see what seemed to work, what did not work, etc. And then I plan for the shoot knowing what things I am likely going to run into.

It has sure calmed my nerves before the first day of shooting because I feel I already have a relationship with the camera and the film stock and now am ready to deal with the challenges that develop on any film shoot.

Hope that helps,
-Tim
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#7 Matt Pacini

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 05:43 PM

Shoot tests.
If you, or anyone else with the production is saying you can't afford to shoot tests, or you don't have the time, then you REALLY need to shoot tests, because you're headed for problems with that attitude (been there, done that!).

1. Clean the gate, unless you like hairs & scratches.
2. Take your time on the shoot, concentrate, pay attention to what you're doing, & don't let anyone rush you.
That's how you make mistakes. Things that otherwise are obvious will slip by you if you're shooting like maniacs.

MP
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#8 James Brown

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 11:31 AM

Hi,

Thanks for the responses, much appreciated....But i feel i have to ask one question to calm myself...

I met up with the Kodak rep and she gave me a DVD "Embracing the power of light", most of you have probably seen it but they have a lot of tests comparing the Vision 2 and the old vision stocks, they main test i am wondering about is when they undersexpose the two to see how they handle.
My question is this (bare with me). When they say "normal exposure" do they mean taking a reading from the subjects face and setting the iris to that?, but then they underexpose it, one stop, then two stops and when it's underexposed two stops it looked horribly grainy, soooo....why does underexposing two stops look so grainy but you can can have a shot with the background 5 stops underexposed and that blackness isnt grainy? Or is it, i think i am missing something major!!


Thanks again for helping me with my uneducated queries...

Regards James.
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#9 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 11:51 AM

Hi,

Thanks for the responses, much appreciated....But i feel i have to ask one question to calm myself...

I met up with the Kodak rep and she gave me a DVD "Embracing the power of light", most of you have probably seen it but they have a lot of tests comparing the Vision 2 and the old vision stocks, they main test i am wondering about is when they undersexpose the two to see how they handle. 
My question is this (bare with me). When they say "normal exposure" do they mean taking a reading from the subjects face and setting the iris to that?, but then they underexpose it, one stop, then two stops and when it's underexposed two stops it looked horribly grainy, soooo....why does underexposing two stops look so grainy but you can can have a shot with the background 5 stops underexposed and that blackness isnt grainy? Or is it, i think i am missing something major!!
Thanks again for helping me with my uneducated queries...

Regards James.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Dear James,
In a normal exposure, wich is a reading from a grey card or from 18% photometer, the light that lits the blacks has details, and doesn't affect the Dmin of the emulsion.
Best blacks for film are the lighted blacks, I know it sounds weird.
U see when u underexpose 2 or 3 stops, u actually shooting something near the limits of the film. The emulsion doesn't take the light it needs to do the photo chemical reaction to produce it's best.
So if u look the negative is almost the colour of the base, with no details in the blacks and no highlights. In a way we can say it fogs.
This has to do with the dmin and latitude.
I know I am not so good explaining things, but I hope I ve helped.
Oh and about your shooting, congratulations at first and plz don't drink all this coffee, and always check that your lenses have fasten on the camera body. One assistant I was using in a shooting have let the lens loose hangin out, I was using full promist on the lens and it was a 12mm one, so I have just thought it was the filter, untill I saw it hangin out of the body!

Dimitrios Koukas

Edited by Dimitrios Koukas, 10 September 2005 - 11:56 AM.

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