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Andrei Pacuraru

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    Cinematographer
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  1. On one hand that's a fairly old light the output of which can be affected by a large set of variables, on the other hand I've noticed that the Photometrics app becomes increasingly "optimistic" about output when you go below the recommended safety distance (which for a lot of lamps seems to be overly cautious) and can be somewhat unreliable for the discontinued products. My recommendation would be to give the lamp and reflector thorough clean and check for any dents in the reflector. Replace the bulb with a new OEM bulb. If you bought the lamp used you have no real way of knowing the age of the bulb or if it is one of the plethora of knockoffs now available. In general I've found that in real life tests on new lamps, they tend to measure slightly brighter than lab measurements due to the ambient bounce inherent in not testing is pitch black rooms. Lastly, I find that testing only at 3' can give somewhat unreliable results as due to the inverse square law the smallest inconsistency in the distance, angle and alignment between the light aperture and the measuring device can give significantly different results. As such, I would recommend doing your tests at the intervals the manufacturers mention in their literature and see if/ where it gets close. I tend to measure in SI at 1m, 2m, 3m and 6m for small units and 6m, 12m, 20m and 50m for big ones. Try comparing your 800 with the current 750 plus, their flood and spot characteristics are different but at a beam of 60° 13' away the old 800 should be no more than a third of a stop dimmer.
  2. This topic seems to appear in this forum every year or so but I've not quite found a definitive answer for myself. Since full on production does not seem to be coming back too soon I thought it would be a great time to think about optimizing. Some people seem to not do any diagrams at all, some jot them down crudely on a piece of paper, some use Shot Designer or some sort of drawing app (OmniGraffle and Illustrator seem to be the options of choice). For really specific setups or on big shows Vectorworks seems to be a great option. If you need to do pre-vis as well, Maxon Cinema 4D might be a great choice. I've tried most of them and it seems that there's always a tradeoff between specificity and the time it takes to create the drawing. When you go into the 3D realm, there's a steep learning curve and it feels like this should be somebody else’s job. In 2D most options seem to lack rigor; I've had gaffers ask me "What's the yellow circle with two lines?" (the symbol for female in Shot Designer). Plus, there seems to be no way to import an architectural plan or dimensional drawing of the location properly. At the moment I'm using Photoshop, for which I've created about 400 scaled assets (10cm=1m / 4"=4') based on manufacturer's dimensional drawings. It can be a bit clunky at times but it saves me a lot of guesswork in cramped locations trying to figure out if something will fit. I'm trying to figure out what people are using in what types of productions and for what reasons. I'm thinking of developing an universal Web App that bridges the gap between sketch and technical drawing. Besides neat and slightly compulsive diagram creation, I'm looking to hear what other features people might want for a 2D lighting planning app. At the moment I'm thinking of the fallowing tricks: · Open Source Database · Generates basic kit lists based on items used · Basic photometric information in SI and US Customary Units · Calculates total maximum power draw of setup for either 110V or 220V · Calculates camera field of view based on sensor size and focal length. I’m attaching a basic diagram I’ve created with my assets, I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about the style and specificity. I’d also like to hear if this a non-issue and if I’m just over-analyzing with all of this time on my hands 😊)
  3. Since my initial post, I've gone down a similar rabbit hole: spreadsheet (though less organised), scratching my head about when things got discontinued, trying to make sense of how the product offering changed and how that affected the creative process. The path seems to brach so much that one looses sight of what their initial goal was. Even though the historical data of this endeavour has become more clear in the past few weeks, the aesthetic aspect requires copious guesswork. Let's take for instance 1960's "Spartacus" an educated guess based on the data I've come across would put it in the ECN I 5248 era. Though also looking at the data it suggests that Kodak did not have a daylight-balanced stock out for the better part of the 50s. I'm starting to think that this sort of endeavour of mapping the stocks to the films they were used on would be much better suited for a crowdsourced database, preferably with data from professionals with first-hand account when possible.
  4. The Ron Garcia interview was a great Monday morning breakfast listen @Karim D. Ghantous, thanks. I think you are very right about the virtues of doing it "in camera", I am eternally grateful for the drilling and grilling that I underwent during my formative years while shooting on film. The cost and somewhat limited manipulation possibilities forced one to prepare more, conceptualise more, to study more and to as strange as it might sound, take it seriously. It's such a shame that, to my knowledge, maybe a handful of film schools in the world are still using film as a primary didactic tool. As for Fuji, Superia Reala 100 is one of my favourite stills stocks as it's clean sharp and saturated right out of the box. I really like the separation between red and green it offers, I recall what seems in hindsight to be a somewhat racy anecdote one of my old professors had. He theorised that the higher than "normal" output of the reds was to help out the paler Asian skin tones of its domestic market. It would be great if there were some kind of repository for all of these stocks paired with projects they've been used on and both their technical and subjective qualities. As much as we like to think that we're all painting with light so much of what we do is tied to playing the strengths of the boxes that record process and reproduce our work.
  5. Thank you @David Mullen ASC for your thorough reply, this is a bit of a full-circle moment, I think I studied on one of the textbooks you authored in the early 2000s. The Kodak link helped a lot in clarifying the chronology and milestones that they went through. With this info and a bit of help from shotonwhat.com and IMDB I've managed to get a loose picture of that evolution. I might be overgeneralizing so please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems that a similar process that we've witnessed with the introduction of digital has been going on in the development of colour negative since the mid-30s. The advancements seem to come in pairs of technical proficiency and aesthetic possibility. It seems that they were trying to balance the same challenges of speed, noise, dynamic range, spatial resolution, colour gamut and the somewhat difficult to define "look" Since the lockdown in the UK doesn't seem to be going anywhere I think I'm going to start looking into possible ways of emulating some of the defunct stocks. I guess ideally we would have a fresh batch or of stock and do a stepped range of exposures and run the developed through a densitometer then correlate the densities to Cineon values and then make a conversion LUT. Almost anything can be accomplished in grading but the means seem somewhat unrigorous. I've tracked down some software that claim emulation to some degree or another: Film Convert Nitrate Impulz LUTs DXO Film Pack Tiffen Dfx Unfortunately, most budgets and timelines don't allow for film acquisition while at the same time many of us really enjoy the photochemical "look" so I'm kind of looking to broaden my understanding of the toolbelt we have "in the box". Dfx stands out to me as a plugin made by people from the "old industry" but if anyone here has used any of these or others recommendations would be greatly appreciated. It seems they all have emulators for the current Portra 400 stills stock, which seems to be based on the Vision 3 tech. What would be a somewhat reliable "at home" testing protocol?
  6. Since we're all stuck in our houses the possibilities of doing what we love as cinematographers are somewhat limited. Thus I've been watching way more films and getting proficient at grading since I feel it's the one skill I can develop during lookdown that will help me know what I can get away with whenever we get back to work. I ended up playing a lot with luts and film emulation plugins and that kind of got me thinking. While the look of a lot of films made in the past 10 years is relatively easy to reproduce as I'm more familiar with the tools in use, the further I go back in time the harder it gets to find info on the processes employed. As someone who went to film school at the tail end of the 2000s in the eastern block, I'm somewhat familiar with older tools and techniques, having shot my fair share of 5205, 5207 and 5222 through a Moviecam SuperAmerica or Arriflex 2C. While watching older and older films one can kind of see when the Vision I/II/III stocks came onto the market but I find anything older than that on made by Fuji a mystery. Both Fuji and Kodak have some dry documentation available online about their products starting in the mid-90s but it's pretty hard to equate that with a look. The only way I can figure out at the moment is to try to go through the ASC Magazine back catalogue and try to find what stock trickery and specific stocks they were using on something like THX 1138 or The Conformist. The emulsion had such an important role in how we worked and how films looked that I was wondering if anyone knows of a more centralised resource or if possible a nice coffee table (or more serious) book that chronicles the evolution of film stocks from the first Eddison perforated stock through Technicolour and ECN. If such a publication or resource exists I would be forever gratefull to whoever points me to it as "the algorithm" has faild me. I remember doing some side by side tests between 5217 and 5293 and finding that the EXR stock had pretty muddy blacks but would saturate in a really pleasing manner in the upper part of the curve or when pushed. I'm looking for examples like this but more universal and tied to specific films/ approaches. Thanks.
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