Jump to content


Anydive for lighting for a PD-150?


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Mike-In-MT

Mike-In-MT
  • Guests

Posted 14 October 2005 - 01:35 PM

I am Junior in the Montana State film program and my five minute Junior project took a big hit when the DVX-100 I was planning to shoot with recently became unavailable. I no have no access to a 24p camera and will shoot on my own PD-150. I am not looking to create the "film-look," but am aiming for really great looking video. What I need advice on is the best settings for my camera, how to implement a lighting scheme that works best for video (i.e. proper color saturation, quality blacks and good skin tones), filters like Pro-Mist and others that can improve the image, framing tips for post-production letter-box, manual settings for the PD-150, setting exposures (I've heard under-expose a half stop as well as over-expose) and any general advice.

In addition to the PD-150, I will have two Mole-Richardson Tweenie II 650 Watt Fresnel Tungsten Lights, and two Mole-Richardson Mini-Mole 200 Watt Fresnel Tungsten Light, along with a very basic grip-kit, and can get access to or buy many different filters, along with any diffusion and gels. I have about two weeks before I shoot and will be doing lots and lots of camera tests beforehand.

The locations and the look I'm going for are as follows:

1. An apartment at night with one character (VINCE). He enters the apartment which has soft blue wash to create a nighttime feel (was planning on using 1/2 or 3/4 CTB gels). The hallway he enters from will be brightly lit with uncorrected tungsten practicals. Without turning on any lights, the character goes to fridge which spills uncorrected tungsten light on to him. I was planning on setting the white balance to Tungsten then using CTB gels for the very slight blue wash. I want to create some nice shadows on the background and have the character's face fairly flat until he gets to the fridge where his face will be more dynamically light. We will be shooting at night, but I would like to have exact control of the lighting.

2. In the same apartment, but a different room, VINCE sits at desk and tries to write. I am hopping for the same blue wash mentioned earlier, but this time use the computer screen as a practical light for his face, which I will probably reenforce with one of the lights mentioned above. I want the room to feel dark and the computer screen to feel like the only true source of light, but still have detail in the background.

3. This scene will be shot in a studio, with set pieces from #2 to show that we have entered VINCES' consciousness. VINCE will still be sitting at the computer but behind him, in total blackness, a spotlight from above will fade in to reveal the two characters that he is writing. VINCE will talk to his two characters in this moment and I would like the computer screen to still feel like a practical light source, with light blue used as a fill. The two characters he is writing I want to light with a "classic hollywood" style (i.e. the hall of mirrors sequence from "The Lady From Shanghai"), probably having the girl a half-stop brighter and with high-key lighting, while the man will be in a more low-key style. In post I will have the two characters VINCE is writing be in black and white, while VINCE himself will be in color (I have a nice shot in mind, where the black and white girl takes VINCES' hand in hers while his hands remain in color, ahh After Effects) The big part of this is I need the backgrounds to fall completely black. Only VINCES' desk and the actors will be lit. This is the bulk of the movie and the big part I really need to nail down. For the spot light, we will hang a Lieko 1000w Ellipsoidal wired to a theater light board.

Absolutely any advice is greatly appreciated, as I have seen some examples of the posters in this forum and have been greatly impressed. Remember, I'm not trying to create a "film look," just really great looking video that will help sell the story.

Aside from here I am also available at burchett@montana.edu.

Once again, thanks for any help.

Mike Burchett
  • 0

#2 Mario C. Jackson

Mario C. Jackson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Student

Posted 14 October 2005 - 03:43 PM

My first suggestion would be to use a black promist filter on your camera. Do not use the 1/2 pro mist but a full promist. My next piece of advice would be to over expose everything 2 stops because the LCD screen on the PD-150 is 2 or 3 stops off than what the actual picture is. You could also get a properly set tap monitor to illiminate that problem. Also who ever your dp is tell them to shoot for a 640-800 ASA. If they don't have a light meter (spot or incident) then your school should have one. If not then tell them to light by eye and go off of the tap monitor. Also have your dp to give you good aspect ratio on your actors and to give use good but motivated contrast. What I mean by that is tell your dp to study your enviroments. By doing this they will be able to see where light comes in from, and how much practical lights help. You want your movie to look as natural as possible, you don't want your movie to look like it is lit.
Hope all goes well
Mario C. Jackson
  • 0

#3 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:08 PM

My first suggestion would be to use a black promist filter on your camera. Do not use the 1/2 pro mist but a full promist. My next piece of advice would be to over expose everything 2 stops because the LCD screen on the PD-150 is 2 or 3 stops off than what the actual picture is. You could also get a properly set tap monitor to illiminate that problem. Also who ever your dp is tell them to shoot for a 640-800 ASA. If they don't have a light meter (spot or incident) then your school should have one. If not then tell them to light by eye and go off of the tap monitor. Also have your dp to give you good aspect ratio on your actors and to give use good but motivated contrast. What I mean by that is tell your dp to study your enviroments. By doing this they will be able to see where light comes in from, and how much practical lights help. You want your movie to look as natural as possible, you don't want your movie to look like it is lit.
Hope all goes well
Mario C. Jackson



No offense to Mr. Jackson but you should probably disregard almost all of the advice he just gave you.

First, the LCD is a poor way to judge your lighting anyway and shouldn't really be used for that purpose. You should NOT overexpose everything by 2 or 3 stops, very bad idea. That will only get you a lot of clipped highlights that you can't fix.

A monitor can be used, but you have to be ABSOLUTELY sure it's properly calibrated and in good working order. If it is in good order, you should make sure to look at it under a light hood so you see the monitor, not the monitor as it's affected by the lights in the room.

The ASA is different from exact camera to camera, too. If you and your DP want to light with a meter, you can find the effective ASA of your specific camera. Just light a grey card evenly (or better yet, a chip chart so you can set the whites on the chart to zebra at ~90 IRE), and set the camera up so the grey card is a large part of the shot, but not filling the frame. Now set the stop, LOOKING THROUGH THE EYEPIECE, NOT THE LCD, to where the greycard looks to be the correct tone. Cross reference the stop you find the camera at, the shutter speed you are using and you will be able to find the ASA setting that you should use.
  • 0

#4 Mike-In-MT

Mike-In-MT
  • Guests

Posted 15 October 2005 - 12:53 PM

I will go ahead and try both durring screen tests this week. Thanks guys
  • 0

#5 Mario C. Jackson

Mario C. Jackson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Student

Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:19 AM

No offense to Chris but all you did what restate what I said. I said to not go by the LCD screen, I said go off a properly set tap. If one is not vacant then overexpose the LCD by two stops. The LCD screen is not acurate, it is 2 stops off than a properly set tap monitor. That is why I said to overexpose the LCD screen by 2 stops. Nevertheless the only way to find out yourself is to run test.
Mario C. Jackson
  • 0

#6 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 21 October 2005 - 03:28 PM

No offense to Chris but all you did what restate what I said. I said to not go by the LCD screen, I said go off a properly set tap. If one is not vacant then overexpose the LCD by two stops. The LCD screen is not acurate, it is 2 stops off than a properly set tap monitor. That is why I said to overexpose the LCD screen by 2 stops. Nevertheless the only way to find out yourself is to run test.
Mario C. Jackson



PD-150s have the option of changing the brightness and contrast of the LCD separately from any other camera settings. That means it may be a 2 stop difference, it may be more, it may be less. You can't attach rules to it like you're trying to. Yours might be a 2 stop difference, but not everyone's.
  • 0

#7 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 21 October 2005 - 04:00 PM

You should NEVER set your exposure on a video camera with only the LCD, veiwfinder or Tap monitor. All of these are subjective depending on how they are setup and the environment they are in. Plus can you tell the difference between IRE 90 and IRE 95. I hardly can and I have worked in TV and video for 8 years. Use the zebras. please use zebras as your ONLY source of exposure. If its your camera I assume you know how to expose with the zebras, and where they should fall. so use them, its the only accurate form. remember that zebras turn on at the same IRE value everytime. find the setting (it could be IRE 70 like mine, IRE 90, IRE 100 or could be anywhere in between so find out what yours is and use it as your source of exposure.


As Keth said if you blow any highlights then you wont beable to fix it. They will always be 100% white, unless you color correct, then they will become an awquard grey or colored tone. The point is after you reach 100 IRE your camera will not resolve any more detail. It is white.

The absolute best way to expose any video signal, and I will swear up and down in these forums that its the only true way to expose with video. Use a vectoscope. If you can get a physical one then your golden. Plug it in and turn it on. If you dont have access to a physical vect. get DVrack made by pro logic. A laptop with an IEEE1394 input will be all you need. Connect the computer while you set up and watch the vect. It will show you where every pixel falls on the IRE chart. If you have a few pixels above IRE90 your fine. Try and keep most of the shot below that, so you keep details. all white shirts, walls etc should fall at 90. very bright highlights like a window you want to blow out should be at 100.

The natural light idea can be a good sugestion if you use it right. video is very sensitive because of its limited exposure lattitude and anything in the highlights will look like poo if it blows out, or worse, if the CCD starts to bloom. also remember the toe charicteristics of CCDs you will loose a lot of detail as things start to fall into black (though I gather you are counting on this for the desk scene.)

best advice, get a vect. think of it as attaching a mini spot meter on EVERY pixel in your camera. Its a lifesaver and the one really big advantage we have over the film folks.
  • 0

#8 Mario C. Jackson

Mario C. Jackson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Student

Posted 22 October 2005 - 06:55 AM

Point well taken, I have used a vectoscope quite a few times. I also shouldn't assume that everyone's camera is like the ones I have shot on. I have got some pretty good pictures on my theory but nevertheless as you say every camera is different. Thanks a bunch guys.
Thanks Mario C. Jackson
  • 0

#9 Matt Frank

Matt Frank
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 78 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, Ca

Posted 24 October 2005 - 03:46 PM

One thing you can do for proper aspect ratios is to actually create a 720x480 image in photoshop with black bars in the proper aspect ratio and then a chromakey color in the middle. You can then use the chroma key function on the PD-150 with that jpg saved to a memory stick and it will put the matte on there for you. This of course with cost you resolution and will give you a non-anamorphic image. Also you will be unable to adjust the framing in post, but you will be able to see the framing you are getting in the viewfinder. One thing you can do is pull up the jpg on the viewfinder and mark the proper framing, but then not use the chromakey effect so then you can still adjust your framing in post. Or you could just shoot with the PD-150s anamorphic setting on, but that will cost you some resolution since it is not a 16x9 ccd.
  • 0

#10 gregory mandry

gregory mandry
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London UK

Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:05 PM

You could run the signal through a hamlet which will give you a vecterscope on your monitor. But hell I was a student once, sony have built quite a good lightmeter into the pd 150, I know I'll get shot down for saying this but it's a cheep option. You may wanna shoot with the iris close to fully open, close down the deph of field.
  • 0

#11 Gordon Highland

Gordon Highland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 261 posts
  • Director
  • Kansas City

Posted 26 October 2005 - 02:32 PM

sony have built quite a good lightmeter into the pd 150, I know I'll get shot down for saying this but it's a cheep option.


It can work. I use the zebra modes for everything critical, but then often compose with the flip-out LCD (and its brightness ALL the way down). if you don't care about aperature, in a pinch, you could also walk up and fill the frame with skin tone, get the auto-iris reading, then pop back over to manual, step back and recompose your shot. This is not very good cinematography though, cuz it only accounts for the subject. Best for news/doc stuff.
  • 0

#12 andres victorero

andres victorero
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 412 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Spain

Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:16 PM

i´m totally agree with Michael collier (great answer) the only way to expose well in video are zebras /vectorscope, a pro field monitor helps a lot. expose with on camera lcd or lightmeter is very dangerous, the video cams has not the same ASA rating, and it changes depending of aperture setting.
  • 0


Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

CineLab

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

CineLab