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Color Correcting Tungsten Balanced Film to Daylight in DaVinci Resolve - 16mm


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I'll be shooting a 16mm project exclusively on 500T soon and had planned to simply correct the color balance to daylight in DaVinci Resolve. Whilst I do have experience with color grading 16mm film in DaVinci, I don't have very much experience at all correcting one stock of film to an opposite color balance. Does anyone here who has any experience in this field have any advice, tips, guides, or steps they'd generally take in doing so? Thank you!

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Just now, Bruce Greene said:

Use the orange 85 filter on your camera when shooting daylight.

If for some reason you won’t, over expose by one stop to allow not under exposing non-blue light.

I was actually planning not to use any kind of correction filter. I heard that you can get much more out of the dye layers by not filtering out the blue in camera, but instead correcting in post. Heard it can produce a pretty vibrant look with warm skintones. I'm going for somewhat of a vintage look, hence the grain of the 500T.

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2 minutes ago, Owen A. Davies said:

I was actually planning not to use any kind of correction filter. I heard that you can get much more out of the dye layers by not filtering out the blue in camera, but instead correcting in post. Heard it can produce a pretty vibrant look with warm skintones. I'm going for somewhat of a vintage look, hence the grain of the 500T.

You’ve been misinformed.

For best options in color grading, correctly balance the color exposure in camera by using the 85 filter. Or use daylight balanced film.

If you don’t use the filter, when you remove blue from the skin tones, your shadows are going to turn orange due to under exposure of the orange range of colors. Neutralizing the shadows will result in noisy shadows, or you’ll need to crush them to black.

To give yourself a fighting chance at a normal color correction when shooting without the filter, increase your exposure by exposing at ISO 250 or 200.

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I have done some testing with tungsten stock outdoors in broad daylight and it's very tricky to correct it in post. It can be done, but as Bruce says, it does come out funky. I recently had a feature that I scanned and colored and they accidentally shot two rolls of 500T outdoors thinking it was 250D, mislabeling the magazines by accident. Anyway, boy was it a nightmare to grade due to it being over exposed AND way the wrong color temp. I guess in the long run, it won't matter as it's a documentary so things that look weird don't degrade the story, but holy crap getting skin tones right was a big lesson in "getting it right in the camera". 

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This is where a test really helps out a lot. Also, talk to the lab before hand to get their input on the matter. However, I have to agree with what has already been said. I would shoot it neutral with a 85 in place and then warm it up in post. Are you shooting exclusively outdoors? Why not try the 250D with a warming filter? Over exposing 500T is good idea. I have shot lots outdoors with 500t, the St. Patty's day parade in Southie, the lab, Cinelab was able to bring all the colors back to a "norm" There was plenty of grain still, but it was old stock and did have great retro look

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If all you want is more saturation, I'd shoot close to correct colors and then add more saturation in the digital color-correction.

What happens when you shoot without the 85 correction in daylight is that the blue layer is overexposed compared to the red and green layer, as opposed to each layer being more balanced.

If you were printing the negative, you get somewhat more saturated blues and greens compared to reds.  I found that when doing the correction digitally, you get a somewhat brown-ish tone by taking out all of that blue by adding orange. If you opt to leave it on the cooler side, you're OK though, it looks fine but the skin tones can seem a bit paler.

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19 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

If all you want is more saturation, I'd shoot close to correct colors and then add more saturation in the digital color-correction.

What happens when you shoot without the 85 correction in daylight is that the blue layer is overexposed compared to the red and green layer, as opposed to each layer being more balanced.

If you were printing the negative, you get somewhat more saturated blues and greens compared to reds.  I found that when doing the correction digitally, you get a somewhat brown-ish tone by taking out all of that blue by adding orange. If you opt to leave it on the cooler side, you're OK though, it looks fine but the skin tones can seem a bit paler.

It's actually quite funny you'd say that. An acquaintance of mine who pushed me in the direction of shooting 500T in daylight w/no filter quite literally told me "I would recommend shooting on Tungsten and correcting it back to Daylight in post. I've been finding that it really helps give me that vintage look with cool blues but warm skin tones". So in your professional experience, would you strongly disagree with this statement? 

Edited by Owen A. Davies
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And be absolutely sure that you want to shoot 500 ISO stock outdoors in the daytime. Unless you want to stop down the lens a lot and work with a very deep depth of field, the amount of ND you're going to have to put in front of the lens, is going to make looking through the viewfinder really hard.

It's difficult even with 250D at times.

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On 1/11/2022 at 7:24 AM, Mark Kenfield said:

And be absolutely sure that you want to shoot 500 ISO stock outdoors in the daytime. Unless you want to stop down the lens a lot and work with a very deep depth of field, the amount of ND you're going to have to put in front of the lens, is going to make looking through the viewfinder really hard.

It's difficult even with 250D at times.

I've always been a fan of deeper depth of field on smaller format cameras, so I planned with that exact notion in mind. Adds more detail and draws attention away from the grain in an effective way in my opinion. 

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