ND filters with Electronic cameras

So you’re new camera has a native ISO/EI of 2000. That’s great when you’re shooting in midday sun. At ƒ22 with a 1/500 shutter speed and you’re still over exposed. Well first you should get back to your shooting stop and preferred shutter speed. If you are shooting at 1/500 for a reason, great. If not, you should be at twice your FPS.

So with motion picture films you can add a Neutral Density filter to cut the quantity of light and not change the color balance of the film. An ND 3 would cut 1 stop, ND 6 would cut 2 stops and so on. Film is not as sensitive to the red and infrared spectrum of light so we could take film to an ND 12 or 18 to reach a desired ƒ-stop without any degradation to the image.

Digital sensors are sensitive to the visible and IR spectrum so if you were to use anything beyond an ND 6 or ND 9 the image recorded will be contaminated with Infra Red. This causes exposures in the blacks to have a more reddish-brown color. Overall, not the desired effect you want in an ND or neutral density filter. Most filter manufacturers make an IR mirror to cut the IR spectrum or combination filters with an IRND in the same filter. To be safe above ND 6, you should consider an IR filter essential.

4K chatter

Another article posted today about 4K and the arguments for and against, or rather digging into the hype. It is from the perspective of the team working on the Digital Bolex project. Joe makes some really good points about bit depth and comparing it to audio is a great way to understand it. It also reminded me of the Alexa demonstration where the guys from Arri were explaining why the Alexa’s 3.5K sensor was the right choice for digital cinema. Beyond the numbers and specs they were after a pleasing image which includes sharpness, color, clarity, definition, dynamic range, resolution and any other word one may want to use when trying to achieve an image as good as or better than motion picture film. Give the article a read and dig deeper into any new tool before touting it as the next big thing.

digital cameras and film stocks

Alright, I’m the film guy. I just had a thought about how new film stocks would come out every couple of years. The manufacturer would tout how amazing and improved the stock is and how it was simply better in every way than the previous 200T or whatever. Then every article in American Cinematographer would talk about shooting the older stock, because the cinematographer knew how it would look through post, because they need time to acquaint themselves with the new stock. Even years after a stock had been discontinued you might hear someone say, wow I really miss ’93, the color palette was amazing. So my point in this post is that digital cameras are flying at us with unprecedented speed and we see even more tests on vimeo or forums but I don’t see that we are comfortable with what is right now like we were with film. This post will be out of date in a month. Whatever camera I mention will have a new update, new model or be completely antiquated in a month.

Right now I’m using a Canon 5DmkIII. I also use a RED ONE MX and RED Scarlet from school. And I have a Panasonic HVX in the closet that comes out to play on long format productions. These are good for now, but there is something better. Dragon, Alexa, Black Magic, Sony. They all have cameras that are better, smaller, faster out right now. The point I’m trying to make is will my 5D or Scarlet be the films stock that is no longer manufactured? Or is the new Dragon sensor really a better film stock than that old 93 ever was and I just need to move on? Will it be good enough to not compare to film at all?

Here’s another clip from Epic Dragon tests.

I want this handle

Every once in a while you see a product or tool that makes you think, wow, that would be great. Aaton had a handgrip like this, and I’ve seen ones like this over the years in personal D.P. kits. The reason I decided to post a link to this one is that the guy seems really passionate about shooting hand-held and I can appreciate that. I’m not sure if I can pull out my credit card to spend a grand on a handgrip…

Long production days

Yesterday I finished up a thirteen hour day on set. It wasn’t that grueling shooting products in a comfortable studio environment and working with an excellent crew. Still, after the twelve hours I just feel like I am not capable of giving my full to the project. Maybe I make a mistake? Could be a camera setting, or it could be something more dangerous. We finished up without issue and thankfully I didn’t have another booking the next day. I came home and found this post reposted by some other colleagues in the business. Give it a read and take care of yourself.

Rokinon 35mm lens

I’ve been shooting with the Rokinon 35mm Cine prime for a few weeks now. I have it on a 5D mkIII and it works great for the hand-held walking around stuff I shoot. Low light inside is easy with the fast T1.5. I love the look shooting near wide open. The field of view on the full frame is nice and wide, but not too wide. I also have the 85mm Cine but have used it less. That one I pull out for sit down interviews for a portrait style look.

Here’s was Mathew Duclos has to say about the quality of the Rokinon lenses. link