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Filippo Giani

Nighttime Ambience + Kit Concern + Battery-powered Fluorescent?

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Dear all,

I once again need your advice on how to approach several night scenes that I'll be shooting in a week's time.

The idea is to successfully construct a solid, uniform and believable nighttime ambience for the backgrounds (underexposed deep blue tones) and have dark silhouettes (or partially rimmed subjects) moving against them.

In terms of providing a realistic, feasible reference, I guess I should mention the interior night scenes in Amour.

The ideal result, however, would be something closer to the Skyfall fight scene in concept, but adjusted to the reality of the circumstances in which my story is going to take place (a family home without any big practical screens as backdrops).

In terms of lighting, I was considering using daylight Kinos to construct the soft ambience, as mainly seen in the Amour stills.

However, one possible issue that I might be having has to do with the camera + lens set-up. The MX sensor is notoriously underperforming in low light, and the only way to keep the shadows deep and noise-free is to shoot at ISO 320.

Not only that, but being the space extremely tight we'll have to use a rectilinear 14mm lens at basically all times. Now, the only option I was given is a first generation 14mm Canon USM F2.8. I had a look at some tests, and optimal sharpness is achieved at around f8.

How much light do you reckon I'll need? Are x2 Kinos for ambience + x1 575 HMI + occasional tungsten practicals going to be enough to light the interiors?

Also, on a related note, are any of you guys aware of any way I could potentially battery-power fluorescent light tubes? In my head, it would make sense if a battery unit connectable to this mount existed. However, I can't seem to find anything of sorts on the internet.

Let me know your thoughts, and as always, thank you very much for your time.

 

Best,

 

Filippo

 

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Hi Filippo! At ISO 320 and f8 you're looking for 240 foot candles for middle grey exposure. Even if you're comfortable under exposing for an inherent dark look vs doing it with a LUT while on set, then kinos and pocket pars still aren't going to cut it. I'd recommend a few Litemat 4 Plus's, as they are CT switchable and dimmable. You might also look at the Aladin 4x1, which is even brighter than the Litemat. These are inherently soft, lightweight, and imo easier to work with than Kinos.

 

Here are the photometrics on the LM4+

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f/8 at 320 is a lot of light... it helps you want things so underexposed but you may have to give up on the f/8 idea or the 320 ISO idea (I'd start by getting a better lens or living with it being used at f/4, for example). Something has to give, it's a ridiculous creative restriction. It would be a different thing if you wanted f/8 for a "Citizen Kane" like depth of field but it sounds like you're just using f/8 because the lens isn't very good and 320 ISO because the camera isn't very fast.

 

A 575w HMI is pretty bright though so whether it is enough depends on the distance / size of the shot, whether you need to diffuse it, etc.

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Hi Filippo! At ISO 320 and f8 you're looking for 240 foot candles for middle grey exposure. Even if you're comfortable under exposing for an inherent dark look vs doing it with a LUT while on set, then kinos and pocket pars still aren't going to cut it. I'd recommend a few Litemat 4 Plus's, as they are CT switchable and dimmable. You might also look at the Aladin 4x1, which is even brighter than the Litemat. These are inherently soft, lightweight, and imo easier to work with than Kinos.

 

Here are the photometrics on the LM4+

Hi Sean, thank you very much for your reply.

I evaluated the option of changing lights vs. getting a faster lens. I wasn't able to get a hold of any of the panels you suggested, so I eventually settled for a faster lens. Would you please enlighten me on how to calculate my middle grey the way you did?

Also, I managed to get a hold of a Dragon, which performs much better in low light compared to the MX.

I reckon that, with a low-light OLPF, I'll potentially be able to get a fairly clean image at ISO 800.

Thank you very much for the advice, I will get back in touch in case something else came up.

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f/8 at 320 is a lot of light... it helps you want things so underexposed but you may have to give up on the f/8 idea or the 320 ISO idea (I'd start by getting a better lens or living with it being used at f/4, for example). Something has to give, it's a ridiculous creative restriction. It would be a different thing if you wanted f/8 for a "Citizen Kane" like depth of field but it sounds like you're just using f/8 because the lens isn't very good and 320 ISO because the camera isn't very fast.

 

A 575w HMI is pretty bright though so whether it is enough depends on the distance / size of the shot, whether you need to diffuse it, etc.

Hi David,

I already replied to you on the Deakins blog about this.

I managed to get a hold of both a better lens and a faster camera.

I think now I should be in a better place, at least slightly, but will get back in touch in case anything else came up.

Thank you very much again for your advice.

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