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Ike Oedel

Film Stock woes- Red gelled Flourescent Darkroom, color temp

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Hey all, hoping for a bit of advice.

Having some trouble with an approaching s16mm shoot- a darkroom scene. I was hoping to light mainly with practical florescent 2x4's and then to gel them fully red for some sequences.


My question is: with the interior location, I thought I should shoot on 7219 500T... should I use tungsten tubes? Or would daylight tubes be better for the gel? I know daylight-balanced bulbs on tungsten stock will come away rather cyan, which I don't mind. But gelled, what should I expect?


I could shoot on 250D, but am nervous that the light loss from the gels will give me a tough exposure.

What setup of stock and bulbs (filtration?) do you think is best? Unfortunately, there just doesn't seem to be budget for tests.


I also read in an older post here that there were issues with focusing, or that the image (red lit) will look soft. Is this a genuine focusing issue? Or should we just measure out as per usual?

The last thing here that freaked me out was that someone noted that my light meter will give me an improper reading under these red conditions. Does anyone have any experience with this type of setup?


Thanks so much for your input. Any advice would help!

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If there is no other colored light in the scene, no white room light comes on, etc. then there is a theory that one should light with magenta light instead of red so you can record a little more detail in the blue channel, then time it to pure red in post. That may gain you a bit more sharpness.


But if you actually need the correct red color because some other light comes on in the frame, then just use tungsten bulbs with red gel, not daylight tubes. I've never had much trouble metering red light, you just want to make sure you underexpose from your meter reading, you don't want to expose a deep color like that at full exposure or else it will look washed out. A stop under your meter reading would be a starting point.


You could put a small spot of white light in the shot onto a face, balance it so that the red light looked the correct brightness in comparison to the white, and then meter the white light.


Of course, if everything is red and no other light comes on, you could just light it white and put a red filter on the camera...

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Good point on the red filter (would a rental house have these?)-- but won't I still be starving the blue channel?

Hopefully I can run a test with some still film.


How much minus green would I need to start really feeling the magenta cast if I gel the lights directly?


Thanks so much! Feel like an idiot for missing a red filter on camera.

Edited by Ike Oedel

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Just saying that there isn't much difference between gelling every light red versus using a red filter. Yes, the same issue applies, the image looks a little soft because there is little detail recorded on the other layers.


You'd want to use a fairly heavy magenta gel or else it may be too hard to time to red, at least if making a print using printer lights -- if this is being color-timed digitally, I would think a red color could be achieved. I haven't done it myself. There was an article on the topic years ago in ICG Magazine I believe by Mark Woods.

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