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Filming in Paris Metro, How to avoid flicker?


Jeff L'Heureux
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This Summer I'll be in France shooting some B-Roll in the Paris Metro/subway. It will be entirely available light down there, and I'm pretty sure it's all fluorescent. How best would I avoid light flicker?

 

Camera is an Arri 416 Plus, shooting 7219. MOS. My usual framerate is 24fps with 180 degrees shutter otherwise, but if I'm down in the Metro with presumably 50Hz fluorescents, would it make sense to shoot that footage at 25fps since it's MOS, and the 1 frame difference in camera speed would be negligible in post? I'd prefer not to pull out the shutter tool and switch the angle manually if I can avoid it. Will 25fps with a 180 degree shutter avoid flicker in Europe?

Thanks!

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Hey Jeff, what's the issue with changing the shutter angle? It's very straightforward. If you're concerned about doing it on location, where it might be dark and dirty, just set it at the rental house or where-ever you're prepping and shoot everything at 172.8 degrees. The difference in exposure is negligible, 1/50 sec instead of 1/48, the same exp time as shooting 25fps with a 180 shutter.

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It is more of a time convenience option than anything. I'll be shooting B-Roll off the cuff and if I can spend two seconds setting the camera to 25fps to avoid the flicker in the Metro as opposed to pulling off the matte box (not swing-away) and lens and pull out the shutter tool to manually change it, I'd prefer the quickest option. That and I try not to mess with any mechanical parts near the mirror shutter unless I absolutely have to for a change to something extremely noticeable like a 45 degree angle. I'd hate to have some patron bump into me while I'm down in the Metro and have my hands in there and get a fingerprint or scratch on the mirror. I just wanted to be sure that switching to 25fps would do the trick just as well as changing to 172.8 degrees. I consider myself more of a director than a DP; I just happen to know how to shoot and I'm a staunch film supporter so I can't check my work on the set. In past work I've overlooked shutter angle and shot some high speed work that I wanted with my director hat on, while in my DP hat I had mixed lighting that gave me some flicker from fluorescents that I didn't account for. I suppose that's why directors hire you fine people.

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I would recommend just setting your shutter angle to 172.8 when you check out at the rental house (or have one of the prep techs do it for you), and just leave it like that. If you're in 50Hz land and shooting 24fps, it makes sense to just leave the shutter time at 1/50, no?

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I'm shooting some vacation footage for fun this summer in France as a test of the Arri 416 package which I actually just bought from Arri CSC. Great deal, by the way. It will be mostly day exteriors on 7203, so it will be natural daylight. I've got two rolls of 7219 for night exteriors or interiors. I may consider sitting at 172.8 the whole time, but it should only matter for the 7219 when it will be artificial light. I'll consider it, thanks!

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