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Connor Adam

Using slower stocks (50D) for more contrast?

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Hey,

 

I have read in several places that slower stocks yield a more contrasty look. Does anybody have any experience with this? Would Kodak 50D be noticeably more contrasty than, say, 250D?

 

I am shooting a scene during an overcast day and am thinking that using 50D over 250D would give the image more contrast, as I am worried that the light may look too flat on the actor's faces. Alternatively, might it be better to go with a less contrasty stock and reserve option to add contrast in the grade?

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An overcast day is low in contrast to begin with, that is out of your hands. The speed of the stock doesn't dictated the contrast. All Kodak stocks except the black and white stocks, are low con. I would choose the 250D in your situation. It will give you a lot more flexibility on an overcast day.

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Some people find the two daylight stocks (50D and 250D) to be a bit more contrasty, or have slightly harder blacks, but if so, it's pretty subtle, the Vision-3 stocks are designed to be intercuttable with matching contrast, saturation, and black levels. The higher contrast of daylight stocks might have been more true back in the days of EXR or Vision-1 but the belief continues today, mainly by people who avoid daylight stocks.

 

Yes, with electronic color-correction, you can easily add more contrast but it also helps to do things like negative fill in overcast light.

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Thanks for your replies.

 

Chris, when you say 250D would give me more flexibility, are you referring only in terms of exposure?

 

Do either of you have any experience in the difference in grain fineness and amount between these two stocks on 16mm?

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50D is less grainy than 250D but there is no real way to describe / quantify the difference in graininess in any practical real world sense. You just have to test and view at the image size / magnification level you plan on. Otherwise use the slower stock whenever possible if you are worried about graininess.

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From my experience shooting in England in winter, I would defiantly skip the 50D as you might find yourself struggle to get good exposure in times when you want to close the lens to say T4 or so. I would actually consider shooting on the 200T which is really fine in grain or the 250D, and overexpose by 2/3-1 stop, getting tighter grain.

 

Also, bare in mind that on 16mm or super16, sharpness is also important, and it's not only due to the stock but a lot of it have to do with the lenses used and in what T-stop. the Zeiss super speed primes 1.3T around 2.8T will give nice sharpness, but there are some other options (not too many actually).

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Thanks for your advice, 250D it is. Although I will look into the other stocks you've mentioned - again, thanks for those.

 

With regards to sharp lenses, we should be OK as we are using Zeiss Ultra 16s. Looking forward to seeing the results as it'll be the first time I've shot 16mm with lenses that aren't really old and super soft!

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Thanks for your advice, 250D it is. Although I will look into the other stocks you've mentioned - again, thanks for those.

 

With regards to sharp lenses, we should be OK as we are using Zeiss Ultra 16s. Looking forward to seeing the results as it'll be the first time I've shot 16mm with lenses that aren't really old and super soft!

Good choice and great glass! Just remember to overexpose it. Could you please share where you're doing the telecine? i-Dailies? Cinelab? Would be great if you could post some footage or jpegs later on.

Edited by Oron Cohen

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Good choice and great glass! Just remember to overexpose it. Could you please share where you're doing the telecine? i-Dailies? Cinelab? Would be great if you could post some footage or jpegs later on.

 

Sure - Processing and telecine through CineLab, hopefully a GoldenEye scan too. Will make sure to post some footage after the shoot!

 

Have you had much experience with overexposing 16mm? I have shot 16mm a few times in the past but always stuck to the base ASA. Results have seemed fairly good but I have heard from quite a few that an overexposure of 2/3rds is a good thing to do.

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It's an old trick to overexpose a little when shooting negatives. It just gives you a bit of a "thicker" negative, i.e. more silver left on the film = more information recorded = less grain. That's the idea anyway. Some people prefer to shoot at box speed -- I mean that is what the manufacturer recommends, so that's probably a pretty safe bet. Some people like to overexpose. It's up to preference really. Personally, I do like to overexpose a bit. Just how I was taught.

Edited by Josh Gladstone

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Sure - Processing and telecine through CineLab, hopefully a GoldenEye scan too. Will make sure to post some footage after the shoot!

 

Have you had much experience with overexposing 16mm? I have shot 16mm a few times in the past but always stuck to the base ASA. Results have seemed fairly good but I have heard from quite a few that an overexposure of 2/3rds is a good thing to do.

Hi,

 

Thanks for the info, all recent projects I did where with i-Dailies, so not that familiar with cinelab facilities.

 

I have a lot of experience overexposing, in fact I almost always overexpose by 2/3 to a stop if I'm shooting Colour Negative film(Black and White is a different story), which tighten the grain. The only reason I'll not overexpose is if the director wants a 16mm grainy look purposely.

 

If talking about your stock, 250D, I'll just set my light meter to 160 ISO and treat the neg as if it's 160 ISO.

 

Hope it helps, it makes me so happy to hear young filmmakers still shooting film!

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