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Shooting 250D at night (crazy?)


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#1 Jeremy Novak

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 03:20 AM

Hey all-

I have just purchased a K-3. I am new to film, so I'm taking the 16mm route of course. All I could get a hold of was some daylight film. I have a few night scenes I wanted to shoot, and was wondering if it's just pointless or not. I have no lights of my own and this is a "no budget" film. I am shooting in a local park at night. I don't know if the lights are tungsten or gas (I shot in digital with no color change, if it helps). Also, I am waiting for my light incident meter, so I haven't gauged the amount of light. The lowest stop on my camera is a 1.9, so I ask you this:

1. Should I use an 80A filter, or will the bring my stops too low.

1B. If it does bring my exposure down to a minimum w/ the 80A filter, could I push process the film w/ good results?

2. Is there a way to tell what type of light I am dealing with - other than shooting it for a test reel - when I don't control the source (i.e. the lamps)?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

-JN
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#2 Robert Glenn

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:12 PM

Hey all-

I have just purchased a K-3. I am new to film, so I'm taking the 16mm route of course. All I could get a hold of was some daylight film. I have a few night scenes I wanted to shoot, and was wondering if it's just pointless or not. I have no lights of my own and this is a "no budget" film. I am shooting in a local park at night. I don't know if the lights are tungsten or gas (I shot in digital with no color change, if it helps). Also, I am waiting for my light incident meter, so I haven't gauged the amount of light. The lowest stop on my camera is a 1.9, so I ask you this:

1. Should I use an 80A filter, or will the bring my stops too low.

1B. If it does bring my exposure down to a minimum w/ the 80A filter, could I push process the film w/ good results?

2. Is there a way to tell what type of light I am dealing with - other than shooting it for a test reel - when I don't control the source (i.e. the lamps)?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

-JN

hey hey
just try it out! Use a roll to shoot different lighting situations and see how it looks. While your'e at it, do a registration test while you're at it. you would need an 80a filter though. The lights that I think you're talking about have a orange hue and probably have a color temp under 2000. Using an 80a would probably be unfeasable without slowing the camera down to a lower fps I think. One thing you can do with a k3 though is take single frame shots with the wand that is provided with it, if you are concerned about saving film. Just dont use a projector to view single frames though.. will melt the film!
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:23 PM

Except for the brightest night exteriors possible, or close shots near well-lit storefront windows, 250D stock will be too slow unless you undercrank the camera (run it at a lower frame rate for longer exposure times.) You'll be shooting wide-open with no color filters just to get enough exposure, so don't bother with an 80A filter. You may want to push the stock by one stop.
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#4 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:24 PM

If you want to shoot a night scene, your better off calling kodak and ordering a roll of 500T for $35... because 250D is only 64ASA with 80A filter, and would be a waste at night.
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#5 Brian Danin

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:24 PM

One way of testing your color tempuratures is with a digital camerea (video or still) with white balance settings that you can toggle between preset daylight and tungsten built in settings. This way you can set your white balance to daylight: the same as the 56K balanced film (a close enough approximation), and you can at least get a nice look of what the colors will look like. You could also change that to the tungsten function to test lights as if you were shooting with an 80A filter.

I think that I would personally gel the tungsten lights (if that is what you have). This way you can mix several varieties of blues. 1/2 CTB will have an orange tinge to it, which is acceptable if you motivate your lights from street lamps. You can then add some 'white' light with full CTB and have a mix of colors which is always interesting. This way too, with the 1/2 CTB you're not knocking your light down as far as full CTB or an 80A filter. And if you do end up getting a couple of halide lamps or even kinos with daylight bulbs, then you won't have to gel them, they'll already be balanced for 56K.

I haven't had a TON of experience with film yet, so I'm sure there a lot more great suggestions out there too.

One thing I would say is that you definately need to do some sort of test with the actual film stock your using and the lights you'll be using. There's no reason to waste a lot of time and money on something your going to be shooting 'in the dark' (please excuse the pun, I couldn't resist.)
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:48 AM

Hey all-

I have no lights of my own and this is a "no budget" film.


If you're shooting film at all, its not quite "no budget." :D

You can pick up some really inexpensive but powerful work lights on stands from Home Depot and bounce them off some white posterboard or something for lighting.

If you'll be transfering this to video and not projecting a print, many of the color issues can be addressed in telecine (although the experts will tell you its tough to fully correct for the Tungsten/Daylight shift).

Look at a movie like Lost In Translation... I think that was shot with 500T... although Fuji makes a 500D I think... They used very little fill light and relied on available light for most of those outdoor night shots and were even suprised themselves when the tests came back so good.
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#7 stoop

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 04:38 AM

So what would you do if your filming between dusk and night. You have lots of tunsten lights such as cars and shop windows in the background but still with some "daylight" visible. Would you shoot daylight and adjust in telecine or shoot tungsten and adjust?

I come from a background of video so everything is white balanced accordingly.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:04 PM

That's a 50/50 question -- it just depends on a number of factors, mainly if you plan on leaving the dusk light with a neutral or warm bias or a blue tone, plus if you need the extra stop from the 500 ASA versus 250 ASA. Plus it also depends on if you will continue to shoot coverage further into full night where you had planned on using 500 ASA tunsgten stock, or whether the dusk footage is stand-alone. But many people would just switch to 500 ASA for the speed and plan on color-correcting in post for the right balance between the dusk and the tungsten practicals.

I had some magic hour shots in "The Astronaut Farmer" (just wrapped) and I either used 250D stock or 500T stock depending on whether I wanted a warm or cold magic hour effect. It also depended on if the magic hour shot was a continuation of a day scene shot on 64D, or the beginning of a night sequence shot on 500T. Sometimes I used 500T but with an 81EF for partial (halfway) correction in-camera; othertimes I just planned on correcting it in post.

But the truth is that 250D and 500T stocks tend to be similar in quality, grain, etc. so one can get away with either. Some people shoot everything, day exterior included, on 500T and just use correction/ND filters.
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