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16mm Shoot - Kodak (500T) 7219 - Push one stop or not?

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I know a lot has been asked about this before but I’m afraid I still have some doubts.
I’m currently shooting a documentary on 16mm. 

One of the next locations where we’ll be is an indoor cafe and I fear maybe I won’t have enough light to film at ease all the men who will be gathering there at dawn.

I was able to visit it very fast - you can see a quick video here:

password: testfootage

The setting on my digital camera (5D markII) were the following: 50mm lens, f4, shutter speed 1/60, ISO 500.

I’m shooting Kodak 500T (7219) with Zeiss T1.3 lenses and during the scouting I took an incident light metering of almost f2 (1.4(9), not sure how to write this) in some areas further away from the light source available.

My questions are:

1) Since it’s a documentary and the director will want to film in any direction of the room, just following the characters, is it worth considering doing a push one development of the Kodak 500T (7219) stock? 

I’m not necessarily looking for a more contrasted scene. My main reason to do it would be to avoid underexposed faces in areas where I might not get enough reading on my spot meter. 
Ideally I would like to have maximum of 1 or 1,5 stops under spot reading on skin if the men are against the wall, further away from the light.

2) If I do push, and since I couldn’t test this with the lab, is it safer to rate my light meter at 800ISO or 1000ISO?

3) I was also testing the color temperature. The 2 pictures enclosed are taken with 3200K (the blueish one) and 5500K (the warmer one). If I want my footage to get closer to the warmer tone, I know I should use a 85 conversion filter but maybe it’s wiser I don’t, since I need all the extra light I can get, right? And then adjust the color in post since we will have a good quality scan of the negative after the editing is finished.

Thanks in advance for you attention regarding this matter, specially since it’s something that has been discussed before in the forum!

All the best,



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Personally I like to shoot this type of scenes on 7207 instead of 7219 if the blue look is not wanted because one loses almost all the benefits of the 500T if correcting it either with a filter or in post.  One of the additional reasons is that the blue layer is less sensitive on 7207 (because daylight having more balanced red-blue spectrum so the daylight film blue layer does not need to be two stops more sensitive like on tungsten balanced film but it can be closer to the sensitivity of the other layers) so I will get almost the same film speed (250 vs. 320 ISO on the filtered 500T) but cleaner grain especially on blue layer and additionally the film is less picky and less temperature/aging sensitive for being both lower overall speed and highly lower blue layer sensitivity.

But if wanting to shoot on 500T then it should be fine to correct the colour temperature in post instead of doing it in camera. By leaving the filter out you will overexpose the blue layer by about two stops compared to shooting balanced with the filter in. But you probably won't have any bright highlight areas so it should be totally fine to lose two stops of highlight detail in scanning compared to the situation where shooting with the 85 / 85B filter. Shooting without filter and correcting in post has a small influence on colors but it should not be excessive. But if shooting this way without the filter and correcting in post you still need to calculate the filter in your light meter readings because the filter correction will still be done whether it being made in post or in camera.

In today's world there is lots of nice and handy LED units available so one possibility would be to add some additional LED light through the window at same color temperature than the ambience coming to the room. Personally, if shooting on the 500T, I would shine additional LED light through the window to raise the light levels in the room AND gel the windows to get all the light closer to the 3200K colour temperature. That would be different from using a 85 filter in camera because you would see better through the viewfinder for not having a filter in and the possible practical lights inside the room would look more natural compared to maintaining the high colour temperature difference between them and the ambience (maintaining the practicals rendering overly warm orange on film)

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I would NOT, though, do both the +1 push AND the overrating of the stock AND the post color correction to warm color when shooting in very cold original color temperature. That would lead to pretty excessive amount of grain because one would first underexpose the red and green layer by couple of stops, then pushing them 1 stop in developing and then digitally gaining them back to normal in post production, whereas the blue layer would be overexposed and then further push processed and then digitally pulled down in post production. If wanting to do a excessive blue look with moderate grain, then it would work but I would not want to correct the -3 stops exposed image back to normal when on film unless if can in any way avoid it.

IF the push and overrating is mandatory, then I would leave the footage blue looking not trying to correct it to warm look at all... OR at least would use the 85 filter in camera OR light with 3200K lights.

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I have been recently shooting 500T.  I'm filming in a small studio in my basement (12'x12') with LED shop lights (two of them, about 10,000 lumens each).  I have an 85 filter on the lens.  Average light meter reading is a 5.6 or 4.  Whatever my light meter readings are, I always open a stop because of the filter.  The image is SOLID.  If possible, try and throw a bit more light in the room.

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I'd start by bouncing light into the ceiling of the room. If it's daylight outside and there are windows, then use tungsten with a 1/4 CTB. If it's dark outside, then simply use tungsten without CTB. I'd shove at least 2 1k's in there, so the room is a lot brighter. Then yes, I'd stick an LED panel on the camera and/or have someone Hollywood it. Something big with diffusion would work. It doesn't need to make the room bright, it just needs to be something. You could try something small on the camera, but it will never work right, it will always look wrong. This is why when I shoot documentaries, I never even try in venues without decent lighting. 

I'm transferring this doc right now that was mostly shot outdoors and they did a good job with hollywooding two LED lights to get some dark scenes, it looks great, One of them was behind to the side of the subjects who were walking in a dark park, the other was right in front of them. They just had two guys from the camera crew do it, not a big deal. Not ideal, but it worked. 

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This is two hollywooded lights, one LED light on a c stand arm in a chimera to the left of camera and up. The other just open faced, around 30ft down the road to the right, set to a bit colder. Where I wish I had wrapped the face around a bit more and done something with the background, the key is 2 stops under exposed, no push in processing. It's 200T 35mm and I pushed it in the scan. Not what I wanted, but it worked and I guess it's a good example of how ya don't need much light, ya just need "some" light. 


Edited by Tyler Purcell
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Karim,

Yes, I had come across with this one before. But thank you anyway for sharing it!

This scene got a little bit postponed, so thankfully I got some extra time to figure out a good approach after reading all these suggestions 🙂

Will try to keep you posted about the results but it might take a while before I get any footage back


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