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Circus coming to town


Phil Rhodes
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Hi,

 

Okay, looks like I'm shooting some 16 next week, and it also looks like I'm screwed:

 

The only reason it's happening is due to lots of free stuff, and some of the free stuff involved is some 7274 (Thanks, Mr. Pytlak!). This would be fine, other than that it's an interior, and it's 200ASA stock. I was shooting some lighting tests on stills film last night (generic high-street brand 200 speed daylight) and by the time I'd got the blue filter on and the minus-green on my homebrew kinda-flos, it was asking for a quarter of a second at F3.5. I haven't had these processed yet, but that's rather a terrifying result, given that the subject was a scant three feet from the lightsource and fluorescents fall off like a parachuteless skydiver. I'm happy to play the scene, a simple room-bound conversation between two people, as a nice contrasty night or sunset with lancing beams in smoke and a lot of darkness, but yikes.

 

Now, I can conceivably get hold of a couple of 2.5K HMIs, but I fear even that is going to pale in comparison, especially as that's then another stock-lighting colour mismatch.

 

I fear my first major foray into motion picture film is going to come off looking like something lit with brute arcs from the early part of the 20th century, or possibly just a large black rectangle within which shadows move teasingly. Should I just give up and buy some 7279?

 

Camera is an SR2 (Actually an SR1 with every conceivable upgrade) with Zeiss superspeeds, finish to video only.

 

Phil

Edited by Phil Rhodes
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Hi,

 

You don't say whether it's a day or night interior, but I can't see you having problems either way. Remember, the daylight stock you tested will have had an ASA of 64 with the blue filter. 1/4 second at T3.5 on 64 ASA is equvalent to T1.8 at 1/50 on 200ASA - not a great stop, but you could shoot with it....

 

As a night interior you can motivate your sources with table lamps or whatever, then boost your light levels up with some small lamps 300w - 650w. My Arri 300w's meter at a healthy T2.8 at 6ft even with some diffusion on the barndoors.

 

If you select T2.8 as a shooting stop, then light to slightly under that, say T2, to maintain that night interior look, I think you'll be surprised at how little light you need.

 

Hope this helps...

 

Stuart

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Hi,

 

Mr. Brereton: Night. And great, a 1.8 at three feet from the source! Yikes. I think I'll get those HMIs in.

 

Mr. Sloan: Well yeah, but then I'll get either green flos or pink tungsten, which isn't quite the idea, although it might be physically easier to plusgreen the tungsten than minusgreen the flos. Actually I know the flos I have do a beautiful rich green falloff on film, having shot stills with them before, and I thought I might use that, perhaps go for an opening-of-Swordfish effect (shoot straight and grade tungsten warm after, or something)

 

Phil

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If you can't get HMI's, will film stand a 1 stop push?

Maybe won't give you look you want though. Hope

you can get HMI's! Best regards for your shoot Phil.

 

Greg Gross

 

P.S.

I would love to have an SR2! Sure beats the hell out of

the PD-170. Spectra 4 A meter. If lab can correct with

reliable quality(no filters) sonds like a good option.

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If you get those 2.5kW HMI's I think you will have easily enough light especially considering it's a night scene.

 

What kind of space is it? Are you shooting it really at night?

 

If you can shoot it at night or block out the natural daylight, I'd get some tungsten fresnels instead. And they are also a lot cheaper. Heck, you could even use open face lights through some diffusion frames to get semi-soft light.

 

By the way, congrats on your first film shoot <_<

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Mr. Brereton: Night. And great, a 1.8 at three feet from the source! Yikes. I think I'll get those HMIs in.

 

Phil,

 

T1.8 is nothing to be worried about. You said you have Zeiss Superspeeds, yeah? They open up to T1.3 so you have the speed to cope.

 

If I was lighting this night scene, then i would probably shoot at a T2 - T2.8 split. That gives you nice soft backgrounds without being ridiculously out of focus. That's the way I like Night interiors.

I also like night interiors to be under exposed at key,in this case T1.8 - T2. That way, your shadows fall off nicely into black, your actors faces are lit, but not overly so, and your highlights are coming from your practicals.

 

If you are worried about getting enough stop from your 'kinda flos' then don't use them. get some small tungsten units in and use them to augment the practicals. A 60w lightbulb will give you T1.4 on 200ASA film at about 5 feet so you will have no problem with proper movie lights!

 

I know you've a lot of experience with video, so just think about it the same way. If tape has a nominal sensitivity of 320asa, then just light the same way as you would for tape, but 1/3 of a stop brighter for 200asa film.

 

Stuart

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Hi,

 

Okay, sounds good, but I'm still slightly concerned that it'll be too hard-lit if I'm just poking all this tungsten into people to get stop. I guess this is where the HMI and diffusion comes in.

 

To give you an idea, the tests I shot had a 4x4ft fluorescent shop light - they're everywhere - for a total of around 150W about a foot from the subject, and aiming the camera at a grey card gave the results indicated. Okay, not a huge amount of power, but roughly equivalent to a 4x4 kino, and I'd have thought much more than a 60W lightbulb at five feet!

 

And about the tape thing - practical experience suggests that video cameras are way, way, WAY more sensitive than 320ASA. I've had stills guys working with me complaining about the light - one I particularly remember was on an Amsterdam street at night - with 800ASA film, where I'm quite happily wide open (somewhere wider than F1.3) and perfectly happy on the video. I reckon the average video camera's about 1000ASA.

 

I can light an entire room with one of those 4x4 flos on video and not have to be wide open. These tests suggest they wouldn't make 200ASA filmstock flinch. I am most concerned.

 

Phil

Edited by Phil Rhodes
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If you get those HMI's I don't think you're going to have any trouble. Unless you're trying to light a much too big space but I mean it would have to almost be warehouse big.

 

As for light meters I use the Spectra IVA now and use to have a Sekonic L-508c. You could get by with one of those small Gossen's if you don't want to drop a lot of cash.

Edited by J. Lamar King
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A 2.5 HMI isn't exactly small, and not exactly ideal for a night interior. If you really want HMI's, you might be better off with a couple 400's or a 575.

 

And 200 ASA isn't really that hard to light for in a small room. If need be, try blocking your shots so that you don't have to see (and light) the whole room all at once.

 

As someone pointed out, the Zeiss superspeeds are T1.3 so you've got the stop if you really need it. But even in 16mm, t1.3 can be a focus-pulling challenge. I think you'll be pleased with their performance between 2.0-2.8.

 

I agree that you can expose your key a little "under" for a moody nightime interior, but be aware that 7274 is the LEAST forgiving when it comes to shadow detail. Three stops under and it's black. But that sharp falloff into black is what gives it such "snap" that most people seem to like.

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You need a light meter!

I suggest a Sekonic L608c (or 508c or 558c)

If you're strapped for cash you can find a handy dandy Sekonic L398 on ebay.

 

Shooting film without a light meter is like hunting blind.

It's the only good way you'll know if you have a good exposure

Or you can always wait for the dalies (not the best idea though)

 

Other than that cheap alternative ways to light night interiors-->USE PRATICALS

They can better define your space and bring a bit of light to dark corners

 

Also I like to use a Chinese Paper Lantern with a 100w blue bulb for a slight fill

I'd not use the 2.5K HMIs that's alot of light for an interior

You'd have to shoot at F5.6 and probably gel the HMI's to bring 'em down

I'd go with small tungsten instruments Tweenies, inkies, Omnis, Pro-lights...

Keep it with lights under 1Kw for interiors and you'll be alright

 

Just follow your basic 3-point or 5-point lighting theories and everything groovy

And be aware of how everything will expose.

 

If you're having such hard problems with the stock maybe you should change

I suggest 7218, 500T Vision 2

It's got so much latitude (almost 5 stops each way) & the grain is very minimal

 

It's not that hard to shoot film you just need to meter everything carefully

Know where your exposure is at and be ontop of your focus...

Pretty soon you'll surprisingly find out that film is more forgiving than video

 

Also the Arri SR is a great camera to work with, very user friendly and fun

Break a leg! :)

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Okay, not a huge amount of power, but roughly equivalent to a 4x4 kino, and I'd have thought much more than a 60W lightbulb at five feet!

These tests suggest they wouldn't make 200ASA filmstock flinch. I am most concerned.

 

Phil,

 

Here is a digital still of a room taken at T2 1/50 sec 200asa. The only illumination in the room was from the two lamps you can see in the picture and an overhead 60w bulb. Incident readings varied around the room but averaged T1.4 (1 stop under).A Reflected reading of the lamp on the left gave a reading of T5.6 (3 stops over).

 

The room is not lit, just illuminated, but you could shoot in there if you had to. Relax, and enjoy yourself :-)

 

Stuart

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And about the tape thing - practical experience suggests that video cameras are way, way, WAY more sensitive than 320ASA. I've had stills guys working with me complaining about the light - one I particularly remember was on an Amsterdam street at night - with 800ASA film, where I'm quite happily wide open (somewhere wider than F1.3) and perfectly happy on the video. I reckon the average video camera's about 1000ASA.

 

Hi,

 

1000asa is only a 1 1/3 stop more sensitive than 320asa, a significant but not huge difference. Your Amsterdam street may have looked great wide open, but I'll bet it was under-exposed. Why? Because night exteriors generally are - that's what makes them night. A mixture of highlights and deep shadow. If you were exposing for the streetlights, which if I remember usually read T1.4 @ 2000asa(!), or the ambient light, then (assuming this was possible) the street would be lit up like broad daylight!

 

You were taking advantage of videos' underexposure latitude to get a very low light shot, in effect, rating your 320asa camera at 1000asa, just like you might do with film. That doesn't change the fact that it is still 320asa

 

Stuart

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Listen to Stuart, I have nothing to add !

 

ps I push 7274 all the time, it's fine, just remember it's a shift on the curve not a doubling of sensitivity. But I'm not sure you need to.

 

pps I personally hate nuclear-glow practicals, unless it IS a psuedo-available light (a la "Fallen Angels" etc)

 

-Sam

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Phil,

 

 

EI200 really isn't such a big deal! One of my better looking student films was shot on EI125, rated at 80, with nary a hard light in sight, pretty much all bounced off 8x4 polys at around 3 to 7ft away. I started the shoot with two Blondies, 6 redheads and a handful of 300W Arri Juniors. Of course, with all the gear coming from my school, within a day I had gone through all my spare bubbles (stingy school) and was down to one Redhead, on a public holiday with no chance of getting another replacement...

 

After that, shooting EI200 seemed like a luxury! If you can get a 2.5k HMI I'm sure you can get some Blondies and Redheads. A few pollys or umbrellas or diffusion frames and you should be set!

 

As for the meter -- can you rent one from anywhere convenient? I had to sell my own meter a while ago due to angry snarling sounds emanating from my bank account -- sure it hurts forking over that $$ every time you want to wave the darn thing around but it hurts a lot less than buying one...

 

Cheer up mate! :)

 

 

Kim Sargenius

cinematographer

sydney

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