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Storaro Gels: Use Only Them For Rest of My Career?

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Would limiting myself to using only the 9 or 10 Storaro gels from Rosco be a reasonable creative strategy for maximizing visual impact while streamlining the decision process?

(With the exception of CTB, CTO, and CTS, of course). 

Are his colors versatile enough to tell every kind of story, convey every emotion? 

Why?  I’m exhausted. Between Lee, Rosco, Apollo, and GAM there are thousands of gel colors available. But I’m old as old can be and don’t have time to learn the nuances of so many options before I’m dead. 

Plus, Vittorio is a much greater genius than most of us...

 

StoraroColors.jpg.JPEG.4b74f8c49bc101abf4eb169cf6d7d4ae.JPEG

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Marcos Cooper said:

Would limiting myself to using only the 9 or 10 Storaro gels from Rosco be a reasonable creative strategy for maximizing visual impact while streamlining the decision process?

(With the exception of CTB, CTO, and CTS, of course). 

Are his colors versatile enough to tell every kind of story, convey every emotion? 

Why?  I’m exhausted. Between Lee, Rosco, Apollo, and GAM there are thousands of gel colors available. But I’m old as old can be and don’t have time to learn the nuances of so many options before I’m dead. 

Plus, Vittorio is a much greater genius than most of us...

 

StoraroColors.jpg.JPEG.4b74f8c49bc101abf4eb169cf6d7d4ae.JPEG

 

Im willing to bet my ,68 Ferrari Dino... you will soon get an answer from a student cinematographer ,or 19 year old director from Boise .. telling you that Vittorio S  was a crap DoP.. who had no idea what he was doing with no understanding of color.. and just got lucky..and you should buy some LUT,s they have created on Play Station  ..that are much better..  and more cinematic on a DJI Osmo.. with which they have just shot their first feature film for their school marching band 

 

 

 

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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I sit partway between these points of view. On one hand, the techniques of people whose work we like are of course useful. On the other hand, these are just people, and to some extent their popularity can be put down to a learned response: we like what they do because we have been told that what they do is desirable, not because of any particular absolute characteristic of it.

In any case, I'm very suspicious of the idea that a set of colours somehow encapsulated some sort of genius. Humans are terribly bad at remembering exactly what colour something was. A study was published recently in which people were shown a coloured patch on a computer screen; the swatch was then removed, and after a delay the system showed a selection of several new patches of similar but not identical colours, including one which matched the first. The challenge was to identify which of the new patches precisely matched the old one.

How long was it before most people became completely unable to do this reliably?

Four seconds.

So, you could take Storaro Orange and replace it with something similar, and four seconds later, almost nobody, including Vittorio, would probably have any idea. Going by my monitor, I suspect you could swap "Storaro Blue" and "Storaro Azure" without anyone noticing.

P

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Yes I agree this genius thing is BS.. maybe Im getting old.. but there should also be some respect for people who have achieved a certain level in their field.. Ive just noticed on this forum in the last few years.. you have  younger people with next to no experience or see able talent  .. dissing world renowned DoP,s and directors ..   its just something that my generation would not do, amongst peers in the same industry .. you would be seen to be a total idiot .. and laughed out off the room.. even if you were really drunk it would be a really embarrassing thing to do..  you may not like there style but you would appreciate their knowledge and that they had the balls to get out and become a feature film DoP of some renown..  when you are still a clapper loader.... now we have folk on this forum who have barely directed traffic , or shot their school play on a 5D.. dissing all sorts of well known people in our industry .. I find it very annoying ..

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You're absolutely right, of course.

I think it's worth getting into why this happens.

Personally, what I find impressive is not the ability to light a single of someone sitting at a table having a conversation. Anyone can do that. What's tricky is consistency, holding that look over a huge area as a number of people move around. This was discussed not so long ago on this forum where Bridge of Spies was cited. 

Screen-Shot-2016-03-16-at-1.42.jpg

You can light one of the guys sitting at that table with a Litepanel and a redhead and a bit of black tat. Getting that to look right over the twenty foot distance from the leftmost guy at the table all the way to Tom Hanks is where it gets difficult, or, if not difficult, at least demanding of gear and time and people, and probably of a set that has a flyaway wall. Setting things up so that Tom can walk in from the door and approach that desk in a single take and having it all look nice is very difficult.

Most people don't twig that until they've actually tried to light a scene that big and realised you can't do it with battery-powered lights. As a result it's about skill, but also about gear and time and people and opportunity. Most people would quickly realise that if they'd seen it done, which most of them haven't. It's the Dunning-Kruger effect, and I think what we're complaining about here is that people don't realise they are suffering from it.

It's one of those things that really doesn't look tricky until you try to do it. I've had a lot of conversations with people who laugh at the idea of multi-kilowatt HMIs because they have very sensitive DSLRs and battery-powered LEDs. 

I think there's a middle ground here. Could that shot have been done, to a cinematically viewable standard, on a Sony A7s DSLR, and would that have required a lot less power and expensive gear? Er, probably, yes.

But most of the people who talk about doing that have never tried to do so, and don't understand why their foot-square LED won't work there.

P

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8 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

You're absolutely right, of course.

I think it's worth getting into why this happens.

Personally, what I find impressive is not the ability to light a single of someone sitting at a table having a conversation. Anyone can do that. What's tricky is consistency, holding that look over a huge area as a number of people move around. This was discussed not so long ago on this forum where Bridge of Spies was cited. 

Screen-Shot-2016-03-16-at-1.42.jpg

You can light one of the guys sitting at that table with a Litepanel and a redhead and a bit of black tat. Getting that to look right over the twenty foot distance from the leftmost guy at the table all the way to Tom Hanks is where it gets difficult, or, if not difficult, at least demanding of gear and time and people, and probably of a set that has a flyaway wall. Setting things up so that Tom can walk in from the door and approach that desk in a single take and having it all look nice is very difficult.

Most people don't twig that until they've actually tried to light a scene that big and realised you can't do it with battery-powered lights. As a result it's about skill, but also about gear and time and people and opportunity. Most people would quickly realise that if they'd seen it done, which most of them haven't. It's the Dunning-Kruger effect, and I think what we're complaining about here is that people don't realise they are suffering from it.

It's one of those things that really doesn't look tricky until you try to do it. I've had a lot of conversations with people who laugh at the idea of multi-kilowatt HMIs because they have very sensitive DSLRs and battery-powered LEDs. 

I think there's a middle ground here. Could that shot have been done, to a cinematically viewable standard, on a Sony A7s DSLR, and would that have required a lot less power and expensive gear? Er, probably, yes.

But most of the people who talk about doing that have never tried to do so, and don't understand why their foot-square LED won't work there.

P

Hmmm.  This set looks pretty easy to light to get the effect shown in the still image... And it should be as a good set design is usually pretty easy to light.  It's usually the hard to control practical locations that require the most skill and experience 🙂

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Phil... you don't need lights anymore .. Im like Duh.. .. .. we got like 100,000 ISO on the Black magic now..  its awesomely sick bro.. 

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13 hours ago, Bruce Greene said:

Hmmm.  This set looks pretty easy to light to get the effect shown in the still image... And it should be as a good set design is usually pretty easy to light.  It's usually the hard to control practical locations that require the most skill and experience 🙂

I think that's sort of the point - most of the people who've never done this will be trying to mock that up in someone's bedroom.

Either way it would require quite a lot of quite big gear.

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6 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I think that's sort of the point - most of the people who've never done this will be trying to mock that up in someone's bedroom.

Either way it would require quite a lot of quite big gear.

I'm not sure about the "big gear" necessary for this scene.  Once all the desk lamps have been plugged in, I think I could light this scene with just a few LED panels, all on ordinary house power 🙂  

For example, I lit this scene with only 3 lamps.  2 small LED panels and one 2k bounce off the ceiling.  The table lamps did the rest, as well as the great location.  If the art department had not provided all the table lamps, it would have been a much more involved set up!

MYHS restaurant.jpg

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18 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

Phil... you don't need lights anymore .. Im like Duh.. .. .. we got like 100,000 ISO on the Black magic now..  its awesomely sick bro.. 

It does the blurry background, that means it's like a 4K movie camera

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1 hour ago, Bruce Greene said:

I'm not sure about the "big gear" necessary for this scene.  Once all the desk lamps have been plugged in, I think I could light this scene with just a few LED panels, all on ordinary house power 🙂  

For example, I lit this scene with only 3 lamps.  2 small LED panels and one 2k bounce off the ceiling.  The table lamps did the rest, as well as the great location.  If the art department had not provided all the table lamps, it would have been a much more involved set up!

MYHS restaurant.jpg

Very nice - but the question is can you have someone walk all the way through that scene and follow them around, and have them nicely exposed throughout? The whole point of the Wendy Light (which as far as I'm aware is the most powerful thing that could be described as "a light") was to have an extremely powerful light at a very long distance to keep overall exposure in the tail of the inverse square law, and therefore reasonably consistent over large areas.

I think the inexperienced people we've been discussing, in their pursuit of something "cinematic," constantly overlook blocking and framing, and I suspect they may do that because you can have someone nicely lit, or you can have someone walk across the room, but both at once requires significant gear.

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21 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I think the inexperienced people we've been discussing, in their pursuit of something "cinematic," constantly overlook blocking and framing

I feel like lighting is overlooked far more than framing. That's just what I see from the under 30 Youtube filmmaker crowd. Framing better doesn't cost as much as lighting better.

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5 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Very nice - but the question is can you have someone walk all the way through that scene and follow them around, and have them nicely exposed throughout? The whole point of the Wendy Light (which as far as I'm aware is the most powerful thing that could be described as "a light") was to have an extremely powerful light at a very long distance to keep overall exposure in the tail of the inverse square law, and therefore reasonably consistent over large areas.

I think the inexperienced people we've been discussing, in their pursuit of something "cinematic," constantly overlook blocking and framing, and I suspect they may do that because you can have someone nicely lit, or you can have someone walk across the room, but both at once requires significant gear.

Yes, if someone walked through this room, we would need a couple more lights, but nothing big 🙂  Maybe just a few little LEDs hidden on the tables...

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I think the more accurate millennial answer would be "Why aren't you using RGB LEDs with wireless control to you phone and painting via monitor on the day?"  Also the 10 gel question color repreduction is kinda dependent on LUTs, are you doing an approximate rec709 transform or are you adding contrast and saturation to a wide gamut space, most of those gels will look like different colors depending on your post processing of the log. Storaro Green might start looking like Cyan depending on the image pipeline.  

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In an ideal world that wouldn't happen, but it's an interesting question. It's not all that straightforward to go from a gel colour to a CIE diagram on which it'd be possible to figure out whether any particular colours are out of a target gamut or how they'd clip. Different cameras would clip them differently.

I would suspect that the indigo and violet, and possibly the green and cyan, would tax 709, but that's based on their appearance on my computer monitor which has the same primaries as 709, so they'll all intrinsically look like they'd fit inside 709.

P

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That question certainly touched a nerve. But to circle back around; I'm building a second career but I'm old, even older than David Mullen and I need to streamline my working process.

So...sticking with Vittorio's colors—using them as a way to limit the number of gels I have to order and keep track of in my head—is it a viable idea? Or would I be dooming myself to constant failure?

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I don't think so. Those are all pretty saturated colours. Give or take colour temperature correction stuff, it's sometimes necessary to do things that simulate, say, a sunset, or a deliberately poor-quality industrial light. Then there's issues of matching other stuff.

So, er, no. Your only salvation might be the fact that full colour mixing is becoming increasingly normal. Rosco have apparently seen the writing on the wall, which is presumably why they bought DMG.

P

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