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shooting daylight stock with tungsten


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Im in prepro for a narrative short set in a surreal restaurant environment and was toying around with the idea of shooting it on daylight stock. Its all night interiors so we'll be using almost exclusively warm or tungsten sources. Only problem is we don't have the budget to shoot a test and im not sure what shooting with tungsten light will look like on 250d vision 3. Does anyone here have any stills or clips showing examples of this? I know the film goes yellow but im curious how correctable it is or if it will add an interesting, or off putting character to skin tone.

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Choosing a film of the wrong colour temperature will not help in regard to visual effects. You are really only changing the hue of the recovered image. Your visual effects will be better achieved by lighting and production design. Before you go burning off a bunch of expensive film, maybe do some tests with a digital stills camera with varying colour temperature settings. If you are stuck with daylight film already, buy or hire an 80A colour correction filter to fit to your camera lens or slide into a mattebox. You may lose two stops of light. You could put blue gel over your tungsten lights but you would also lose about two stops worth of light. Grading film images which have not had a colour correction filter in front of the lens may be a bigger ask of your colourist. If the majority of your shoot is to be nights under tungsten light then you should choose tungsten-balanced film which will require less light for the same exposure than blue gelled lighting to daylight film will yield. That is the whole reason for tungsten-balanced film. For the fewer daylight shots, then use Type 85 filters for the tungsten-balanced film. Loss of light due to the filter is less critical in daylight conditions. Take greater heed of better practitioners than I who may add comments here.

Edited by Robert Hart
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Tungsten light will render as very warm with daylight stock. The saturation of color will depend on your exposure. You'll find that underexposed tungsten practicals will go very orange, whereas actual tungsten halogen "movie" lights, exposed as per the meter will read somewhat more neutral, although still warm. You may have trouble correcting it in post, as there will be very little information in the blue layer to work with.

A Wratten 80a filter is the proper correction for Daylight stock to tungsten, but it will cost you 2 stops of light. It may be a more practical approach to shoot with a Wratten 80D filter which is a weaker correction that needs a 1/3 stop compensation. It will leave the tungsten lamps still slightly warm, but make it easier to correct in post if that's what you decide to do.

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There's no reason to use 250D daylight stock in this scenario if you aren't going to live with the very orange look, or mix in some lights that are closer to daylight.  If there is any chance you are going to pull back on the orange cast, then shoot tungsten-balanced stock, it is easier to add in some warmth in post (or use a pale warming filter).

Movies that have used 250D for a warm look usually use some lights that are closer to daylight for faces.  The 90's version of "Emma" for example, used real candles and daylight lighting on 250D stock so that the candles would come out very orange. "Backdraft" shot their fire sequences on 250D but filled with daylight lamps. Robert Richardson shot a night campus scene in "Born on the 4th of July" on 250D so that the tungsten campus streetlamps would go orange but he mixed in some colder light.

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On 12/23/2020 at 11:55 AM, David Mullen ASC said:

Since you said "surreal" using 250D might work if the foreground actors are lit closer to daylight so that they are surrounded by a sea of orange lighting.

ahh wow. That's a really interesting idea, wish I'd thought of it on my own! That actually works extremely well with the story which is about an unassuming couple being assimilated into the restaurant. Thank you David. 


To the other replies I've used 80 and 85 correction filters and haven't found the results to be worth the light loss, at least for the projects Ive shot with them, much rather use uncorrected stocks and lean into their natural qualities. That being said I haven't heard of the 80D before, that could be an interesting middle ground thank you. I own the camera gear and provide it to low budget stuff like this for free so I like to do as much analog experimentation as I can (as long as it fits the story anyways) hence why im considering doing something funky like this. Thank you all for the replies!

Edited by john a jadkowski
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For going the other way, the 81EF filter is a less aggressive colour correction for using tungsten-balanced stock in daylight. In early evening, using this filter with tungsten-balanced film confers a sweet look to the evening sky as background. 

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