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consistent lighting


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#1 Andrew Evans

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 01:01 PM

Is it important to maintain an f-stop throughout the different set ups in a scene? Or do you worry about the consistency more in the transfer process? So far everything I've shot has been a one light work print and now that I'm getting ready to shoot a Junior film I'm concerned about consistency within a scene and from scene to scene.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 01:40 PM

Consistency from shot to shot is as much an eyeball thing as a technical thing. In general though, yes, you would light the wide shot to the desired or practical f-stop & contrast ratio and then maintain that through tighter shots. This helps maintain some consistency -- for example, you may relight the close-up up the far background may still have the same lighting from the master, so it helps to light the close-up to the same level and contrast. When doing reverse angles, you have a little more leeway, but even then you'd tend to use the same lighting units, lenses, etc. and would probably end up at the same f-stop.

The only time when it's not really necessary to match the f-stop of the master is when doing a macro insert where you need a higher f-stop to get any sort of depth of field. Or a special "trick" shot where you need to boost the light level a little more, but even then, it would have been better to have lit the master to the level needed for that special lens, etc.

A lot of this is really just eyeballing though. You light the widest shot for the look you want and then when you go in for tighter coverage and reverse angles, you only "cheat" as much as you think you can get away with. Which can be quite a bit sometimes...
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#3 Andrew Evans

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 02:14 PM

Thank you David Mullen. Your ability to post insightful replies at the speed of light has gained you a cult following in the advanced editing seminar at MSU.
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#4 Andrew Evans

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 02:45 PM

What steps should I take to create scene to scene continuity or maintain the "look" of the film? How important is the lab to this process and would you recommend getting a timed print or a best light? Also, since I've only done one light workprints I usually try to nail the exposure, but if I plan on doing a timed or best light should I overexpose 1/2 stop to get the denser neg?
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 04:56 PM

Normally this is really a timing thing, either in telecine, post or at the lab. Some tweaking will always be necessary between frames, even though the light hasn't changed at all. This has less to do with the film or the light itself, as the eye. The eye can for instance perceive a skintone to be more green if the wide shot contains something red or more contrasty if surronded by much darkness and so on - so you match by eye until it feels right.

Unfortunately, it is quite common that colorists/timers miss this feeling. On the last two commercials I did (and where I couldn't attend telecine), the colorist hadn't matched very well at all. Colour differences and gross contrast differences in abundance between shots. Disheartening, to say the least. Only way to safeguard your work is to be present in this process.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 05:25 PM

Whether you rate the stocks normally or overexpose them has nothing to do with consistency, just whether you prefer the look of printing at higher numbers. Regards of the rating you choose to give the stocks, you should expose consistently for the look you want so that it prints within the same range of numbers except for special circumstances (like timing green out of overhead flos.)
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