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Seppe Van Grieken SBC

Scene in the Darkroom - Practical or DI?

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Hi all,

I was wondering what your takes are on shooting in a red light-only environment; ei. a darkroom. I hear that in the digital world it is wise to keep all 3 channels healthy and create the look in the grade. It goes a bit against my instincts - preferring to have the set and the monitored image to be as close to the final look as possible.

Anyone here have experience with this? What are the pitfalls of doing it practical? Any examples of either process?

Much appreciated!

Seppe

vlcsnap-2019-05-05-13h27m32s814.jpg

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waw! Intense stuff man! 

Just to clarify, that image is from the 2014 movie Boyhood. I  would say it is done practically with light, but I am not sure. Other example could be this frame from the 2005 film Constantine. I feel this might also be practical but would love to hear anyone that knows more about it. 

vlcsnap-2019-03-18-17h40m54s456.jpg

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There are a few problems with doing it practically, but I'd still do it practically.

Problems include:

Lens focus marks will be slightly off. Technically speaking, different wavelengths of light refract at slightly different angles (which is how a prism works.) This means that a focus mark on a lens will only be correct for a specific wavelength, but practically speaking the calibration is done with white light and the result is a sort of average, meaning somewhere in the green, which is in the middle of the visual spectrum. Lenses are ideally corrected for chromatic aberration but this may still show up.

Bayer cameras have poorer resolution in red and blue than in green.

All cameras (at least, all cameras with sensors based on the silicon photovoltaic effect, which is all digital cameras) have poorer sensitivity in red than green, though blue tends to be even worse.

Many recording formats use component (often called YUV) recording which has poorer resolution in red and blue than in desaturated colours or green.

All of these things conspire to make red-lit scenes appear soft, mushy, noisy and underexposed. To combat this:

- Use at least some hard light, to create contrast that reveals sharpness.

- Avoid the use of smoke, atmos, haze etc.

- Consider removing any contrast-reduction or softening filters you might otherwise use

- Use sharp lenses

- Light sufficiently to use your lenses in the middle of the stop range, to improve their performance and make focus less critical.

- Select the lowest camera sensitivity consistent with reasonable dynamic range.

- Do not underexpose with the intent of grading up. Expose fully.

- Use a recording format described as 4:4:4, or consider shooting raw, or shoot 4K for an HD finish.

Did I miss anything?

P

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There’s an old article by Mark Woods suggesting to shoot under magenta light instead of red and then time it later to red to get better sharpness.

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Posted (edited)

OP...dunno. 

This was the redlight in Amsterdam. (Candid)

Photo is sharper, but had to reduce it for forum.

You should be able to adjust it some to fine tune your likes. I pushed this about 1-1/2 stops, but this red is what it looked like with little manipulation for color.  You could always try a mix of lights or gels. Do a series of lightning tests and post the results. Would be interesting to see.

 

 

de-wallen-artists-book-daniel-d-teoli-jr-mr 41.jpg

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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On 5/5/2019 at 9:24 PM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

OP...dunno. 

This was the redlight in Amsterdam. (Candid)

Photo is sharper, but had to reduce it for forum.

You should be able to adjust it some to fine tune your likes. I pushed this about 1-1/2 stops, but this red is what it looked like with little manipulation for color.  You could always try a mix of lights or gels. Do a series of lightning tests and post the results. Would be interesting to see.

 

 

de-wallen-artists-book-daniel-d-teoli-jr-mr 41.jpg

She seems nice.

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If you are shooting digitally... consider lighting the scene red and focusing by eye to get the image in the best focus.  Since this is how most focus pullers seem to work these days, it shouldn't be an issue.  To reduce noise (due to not really exposing the green and blue channels), shoot at a lower ISO setting also.

If you shoot in normal lighting for correction to red in post, you may find that the focus in the red channel is off.  Of course, one could convert to b&w and then color the scene red to compensate for this effect.  But this method won't have quite the same reflective qualities that shooting with red light would have...

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