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Happy Sunday,

 

I recently watched Inherent Vice for the second time and was truly captivated by the cinematography. I loved the soft vintage look, the noticeable but fine grain in the midtones and the creamy lens flare.

 

Does anyone know how this look was accomplished? I've managed to research my way to knowing that Robert Elswit used Panavision Primo spherical primes from the late 80s, but what accounts for the grain? Was the stock simply pushed a few stops to give it a look which matches period in which the film takes place?

 

I've been searching and searching, but I've not managed to find any interviews with Elswit about the process. I also read somewhere that they used "old film stock found in someone's attic", although I haven't been able to confirm this.

 

Any help or leads greatly appreciated!

 

Best,

Kaspar

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Thanks for your reply, David!

 

The reason I ask is also because I'm shooting a film on 35mm at the end of May and we're considering shooting on Kodak 500T, but we'll have to balance it to daylight which will make us lose a considerable amount of light -- taking our effective speed down to 320 or so. Our light budget isn't huge so I'm considering pushing the stock 2 stops to bring our ASA up to about 800 or so. Is this something you'd recommend or would the grain be much too much?

 

I should also point out that this is my first film on 35mm and due to our very limited budget we can't really afford to run extensive camera tests beforehand!

 

Best,

Kaspar

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I suggest not using the 85 filter in low light and just correcting the color in timing, or use the Tiffen LLD filter which cuts some of the excess blue but you don't need to factor in any light loss. Then just push one stop if necessary.

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David - thanks again for taking the time to reply to my novice questions! It's very much appreciated.

It's an interior day shoot, so it won't be too dark. We'd still a like a fairly high-key look with a fair amount of tonality.

 

So if we would simply change the colour temperature in the DI, would we still get good colour fidelity?

 

Thanks for the advice on the LLD filter! Seems like a solid choice!

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You'd loose some color fidelity. I would use an LLD or an 85, or even better would be no filter and CTB to your daylight sources (geling the windows for example). Else you'll need to use BCA bulbs and CTB on any tungsten lights you have in order for them to look correct.

You can push, it'll be fine, and when it comes time for your scan you can of course dial in some noise reduction there if the grain is bothersome (but it shouldn't be). Even if you push or whatever you do, Over expose 2/3rds of 1/2 of a stop which will help tighten up the grain structure. (I used to go 2/3rds of a stop over but I think 1/2 would do you fine on 35)

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I think it would be better to rent some fast primes like Zeiss Super Speeds and shoot wide open instead of pushing 2 stops.

 

Just curious, are you balancing for 5600K because you're shooting during the daytime and have to balance to the windows?

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David - thanks again for taking the time to reply to my novice questions! It's very much appreciated.

 

It's an interior day shoot, so it won't be too dark. We'd still a like a fairly high-key look with a fair amount of tonality.

 

So if we would simply change the colour temperature in the DI, would we still get good colour fidelity?

 

Thanks for the advice on the LLD filter! Seems like a solid choice!

 

 

If it won't be too dark, then why do you need to push the film?

 

Plenty of movies have been shot without the 85 filter in daylight using tungsten stock -- "Barry Lyndon", "Greystoke", "Heat", "Shawshank Redemption" to name a few.

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Do you really need that much sensitivity for a day INT? Even ASA100 is more than enough to overexpose windows and then you can light the INT with small HMIs - 1,2-2,5K fresnels or same wattage diffused PARs are usually enough.

Or gel windows and light with tungsten. You can get away with '13 stock and you'll need ND filters with '19.

 

320T was once considered high speed film, 500T ultra high speed...

 

You'd loose some color fidelity. I would use an LLD or an 85, or even better would be no filter and CTB to your daylight sources (geling the windows for example).

You've got a typo, Adrian. CTO not CTB.

 

Don't forget the 81EF.

Edited by Michael Rodin
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The simple solution in my eyes is to use 250D.

 

I do think there are places where 500T is great, when you're dealing with any "daylight" at all, it's just too darn sensitive. The real power of the stock goes to waste through heavy filtration just to make it workable.

 

Honestly, I work with 50D and 250D for almost everything I shoot. This is partially because I light with HMI's mostly and I have nice glass CTO inserts for my tungsten lights. Really the only time I use 500 is exterior night and heavily controlled interiors with no direct sunlight. So buying a few rolls of 500 for those scenes is always a necessity, but for everything else, just stock up on 250D and if you need more range, push it one stop.

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If it won't be too dark, then why do you need to push the film?

 

Plenty of movies have been shot without the 85 filter in daylight using tungsten stock -- "Barry Lyndon", "Greystoke", "Heat", "Shawshank Redemption" to name a few.

 

Thanks, David.

 

The look that we're going for is still relatively high key, and I'm afraid that if we're rating our film at 320-400 we'd need more light to compensate - something that our budget doesn't allow. Also, we're shooting on location (café, ground floor) and it's at this moment unclear how many light sources we'll be able to place on the sidewalk without obstructing pedestrian traffic.

 

 

 

The simple solution in my eyes is to use 250D.

 

I do think there are places where 500T is great, when you're dealing with any "daylight" at all, it's just too darn sensitive. The real power of the stock goes to waste through heavy filtration just to make it workable.

 

Honestly, I work with 50D and 250D for almost everything I shoot. This is partially because I light with HMI's mostly and I have nice glass CTO inserts for my tungsten lights. Really the only time I use 500 is exterior night and heavily controlled interiors with no direct sunlight. So buying a few rolls of 500 for those scenes is always a necessity, but for everything else, just stock up on 250D and if you need more range, push it one stop.

 

Thanks for your advice! I'll look into the possibilities!

 

Do you really need that much sensitivity for a day INT? Even ASA100 is more than enough to overexpose windows and then you can light the INT with small HMIs - 1,2-2,5K fresnels or same wattage diffused PARs are usually enough.

Or gel windows and light with tungsten. You can get away with '13 stock and you'll need ND filters with '19.

 

320T was once considered high speed film, 500T ultra high speed...

 

You've got a typo, Adrian. CTO not CTB.

 

Don't forget the 81EF.

I figured I'd rather be on the safe side, but I see your point. Coming from the digital era, I've never worked with such low ASA. Do you reckon bouncing an M18 on an ultrabounce through the window would be enough on, say, ASA 250 -- and then possibly pushing it one stop?

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If it won't be too dark, then why do you need to push the film?

 

Plenty of movies have been shot without the 85 filter in daylight using tungsten stock -- "Barry Lyndon", "Greystoke", "Heat", "Shawshank Redemption" to name a few.

 

And these films were then given a slightly warmer tone through photochemical processing?

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