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class="style1">Basic vs Shooting Stop

>Published : 7th March 2007

>Ladies and Gentlemen:

>I am working as the AC on a series of commercials right now where the DP gives me a “basic” stop and I figure out the compensation (camera speed, filter factor, shutter angle, etc...) to arrive at the “shooting” stop.

Very early in my career it was drilled into me by a number of DP's what the difference was between a "basic" stop and a "shooting" stop. They were adamant that a "basic" stop was arrived at by first choosing the ASA they wanted to rate the film. If a colour correction filter was needed and used, they would also subtract that factor before arriving at their “basic” stop. So, if you were shooting ASA 50D exterior, the DP and Gaffer would set their meters at 50 ASA. If you were shooting ASA 500T indoors, but had a lot of windows and HMI's, and used an 85 filter, the "basic" rating would be based on 320 ASA.

The DP I'm now working with uses a different method to arrive at his “basic” stop. He says the correct "basic" stop is set according to the ASA the DP chooses for the stock, regardless and not including the colour correction filter. So in the above scenario the "basic" stop for the windows and HMI scene would be calculated from 500 ASA and the AC would begin his/her “shooting” stop calculations by starting with the colour correction filter.

Have I been working with an incorrect definition of a "basic stop" for the last 25 years or is it just another example of different definitions of the same subject for different regions of the country and/or world? Thanks in advance for your opinions.

>Sincerely,

>John Sheeren
DP/Op/AC
Houston, Texas


>You can either apply a correction factor after calculating the stop with the meter, or you can rate the film differently to apply that correction factor effectively. Either one produces the same number, so use whichever method the man in charge is most familiar with.

>When you shoot B&W, filters stop being colour compensating devices and they turn into tonal changing devices, and you have to start looking at them in different ways. If you shoot a scene with red and green parts using a #25 red filter, the red parts won't change in exposure a lot, the green parts will get much darker, and the grey parts will change somewhat but not as much (namely the 'correction factor on the filter data sheet'). So the way you think about filters in B&W is totally different.

>But in colour, if you're doing the usual incident metering and not worrying about subject reflectivity for the most part, your exposure has to do with the light value, the filter, and the ASA rating of the filmstock. If you are doing reflected metering, it has to do with these PLUS the reflectivity of the subject. You can add the filter factor into the ASA rating or you can add it after calculating what the stop would be without it, either way.

>Scott Dorsey
Kludge Audio
Williamsburg, VA.


>John Sheeren writes :

class="style2">>>Have I been working with an incorrect definition of a "basic stop" for >>the last 25 years or is it just another example of different definitions of >>the same subject for different regions of the country and/or world? >>Thanks in advance for your opinions.

>A perfect example of "everyone does it differently."
Don't assume any "carved in granite" definition of anything.
Most of these are "carved in Jello."
Always discuss with the DP exactly what he means when he uses terms like that.
Never "assume."

Doug Hart
1AC, NYC


>Not all DP's have the same method of communicating their shooting stop. Some DP's will give me a 'base' stop (if colour correction is involved they dial that into their meters) & I work out the rest, ND's, shutter angle & camera speed etc. Some DP's will give you a shooting stop, they account for everything that will affect their exposure.

>In essence, the DP is my boss & they will dictate the way they want to work!

>As an assistant I need to work with the system they are comfortable with & can communicate most effectively for their way of working. The system MUST be sorted out at the start of the day or the start of the job or else you can get into trouble & rushes may be disappointing!

>There have been 1 or 2 DP's I've worked with over the years that have not stuck to the plan & we have ended up shooting more takes because of confusion over whether the stop was 'base' or 'on the lens' stop! They have changed their minds about the way they set the system half way thru the job for one reason or other ... very frustrating indeed!

>We've all been there, frantic shots on a tracking vehicle (or wherever) where the light is dying & every take has a different stop or the DP or Director make a change. When the DP calls exposure, I ALWAYS confirm the stop by repeating the number relayed to me directly after they have called it. If the stop changes either on roll camera or during the take, I will always acknowledge by repeating what they have said. If the system the DP has means I am being told a 'base' stop, I will acknowledge the exposure by saying the number & 'base' or the number & 'on the lens'. You need to be alert at all times & they will not be any nasty surprises at rushes (dailies).

>On reflection, I have found I tune into the sound of the DP's voice. So if I'm telling my loader something I will always hear the DP call the stop or tell me something

>I have found many of the older DP's I've worked with from various parts of the world work the 'base' stop method, which I personally enjoy & find it a bullet-proof system.

>I suppose it comes down to trust between the DP & the assistant.

>Angelo Sartore
1st. AC
Melbourne
AUSTRALIA


>I can't imagine ever giving anything other than the shooting stop.

>It's not that I don't trust my AC's but, well I kinda figure it's my job to give the stop and that means the stop that we're going to shoot at.

>Only variation on that is if we have quick extra takes at say 32 rather than 25 then I expect the AC to compensate.

>Cheers

>Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


class="style2">>>I can't imagine ever giving anything other than the shooting stop.

>Absolutely, any other way would surely cause the utmost confusion. I would expect my AC's to remind me of any filters I may have left (or forgotten) in front of the lens every so often, just in case. A good AC should be on the ball and be able to check for sleeploss induced mistakes but ultimately the responsibility of exposure is the DP´s.

>Regards

>Chris Maris
Director of Photography
0044 7956 251061/0046 7340 76003
www.chrismaris.com

>'Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in a long-shot'
.. Charles Chaplin


>Surely it's a case of the DoP and 1st AC knowing and trusting each other. Once you do this, you decide a 'system'. for example, one DoP I regularly worked with would simply give me a working stop of T5.6 (or thereabouts) and would leave to me to select suitable ND’s (and the amount of diffusion depending on the shot). Other DoP's would give me the stop and filter.

But a good AC will in any case have a pretty good idea of the light. I was once given a stop of T4.5 in bright sunlight (it was after a liquid lunch). Well. that's what the meter said. I gently questioned the stop and after realising the meter was bust, the DoP offered me a very large scotch that evening!

At Board interviews at the BBC Film Dept, one question asked of Assistants was very similar to the above, the Cameraman give you a stop of 5.6, when the exposure should have been 16 - what do you do?

There were two answers to this.

>Answer 1 : (if you wanted to be a good Assistant, 'Check the stop with the cameraman, pointing out with typical British courtesy, that it may be even so slightly over exposed.

>Answer 2 : (if you had ambitions to be a Cameraman) do exactly as you are told and make a note of the instructions on the Camera Report Sheets.

Cheers

Brian Rose
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8868 1729
Mobile: +44 (0)7768 635 788


>John Sheeren wrote :

class="style2">>>Have I been working with an incorrect definition of a "basic stop" for >>the last 25 years or is it just another example of different definitions of >>the same subject for different regions of the country and/or world?

>I always give base stop. If its complicated I will also confirm the shooting stop verifying the process saying something like :

>"base 16, with the ND that’s 8, 90 shutter 5.6 and 50fps 4 so it's 4"

>That way we have a double check

>The reason I give base? Well I think that’s the most usual way, and the 1st AC should have all the variations stuck on the side of the camera making the calculation easy and as a reminder of all the factors. To me that’s what all those stickers saying 'ND.9' and '50fps' on the side of the camera are for. Also If I am working with an operator I trust, I will ask them sometimes to ND according to what they see down the finder.

>I also use a decimal T stop scale as on my meter rather than thirds. So I would say perhaps "base 5.6 point 5" meaning half way between 5.6 and 8

>James Welland
UK DoP


>Yes, I agree too -- I give the AC the shooting stop and the AC reminds me of the filters, camera speed, whatever in case something was missed by him or me. I might say "the stop is T/2.8 and a third..." and he might echo "that's with the 85N6" or "with the Pola", whatever. Especially important if you are using gels behind the lens in a Panaflex to make sure the camera is properly labelled as to the filtration.

>I've also learned to tell the AC if I've ever adjusted or set the f-stop on the lens myself ("by the way, the stop is a 4 and I've already set it on the lens..." or "I opened up another third of a stop...")

>I usually call out a stop in thirds or halves, not in decimal points. When I first started out, and very nervous about exposing correctly, I'd be fussing over whether to shoot at F/4.1 or F/4.2.. until my AC pointed at the lens and said "show me a 1/10th of a stop adjustment on that lens..." (these were the older smaller Zeiss Super-Speeds at the time).

>I realized that for colour negative, giving the stop in thirds or halves (i.e. f/4, f/4 and a third, f/4 and a half, f/4 and 2/3's, f/5.6...) was close enough.

>I realize that not everyone works this way.

>By the way, has anyone noticed that it's harder to get away with stop pulls in HD compared to film? Due to the lesser exposure range or something, a little pull creates a more obvious exposure change in HD, so I have to be more subtle when I do it. Doesn't help if you have an ENG lens where the rotation is so short that just wiggling the f-stop ring is enough to create a visible exposure shift.

>David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


>Hi,

>I found it varies from DoP to DoP and the type of shoot. When I am informed the feature, or TV film is going to be shot at a set T-Stop, I usually will get a Base and it is left up to me to reach that Shooting Stop. On commercials video clips type of films, it is most of the time different mainly because of constant Shutter and Speed change. Then some DoP's prefer to give the Shooting Stop. Procedures are given (should be given) by the DoP at the beginning of the job and followed accordingly. There is a lot to talk about before the job starts. Also valid for the use of filters. However it is always good to double check constantly during the shoot and repeat not only the T-Stop but Shutter and Speed as well as filters. This becomes more obvious on multiple camera set ups or "stressy" jobs. Light meter settings checked regularly for proper ASA, Speed as well as the camera settings themselves (Shutter, Speed, Stop).

>Mentally I always check if the stop makes sense. Not that I don't trust the DoP but I have been on some jobs where when switching to another emulsion; it was not done so on the lightmeter. Worse some lightmeters setups change accidentally because of poor dialling locking facility. If you are told a certain Stop, if you follow, you should know why. When changing lenses or setups it is good to check about the filters as well. Moving in, framing tighter or the opposite may have an influence on the filtration. I found it is my duty to check with my DoP.

>Nowadays they have so much more to do and so little time. Even the Polaroid or DSLR should be checked for the settings. However I admit that sometimes things get tight, but I am glad there is an "agreed" system. Also when possible I ask the second to check on me. Another thing I learned from some excellent assistants, keep checking discreet. The last thing you want to do is to openly show there is a difference. I rather consider myself as an assistant cameraman rather than a camera assistant, a left over of my days as an assistant photographer.

>My two eurocents,

>Regards

>Emmanuel, Munich

Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Mobil# Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443

( P lease use German number )
cml-listmum


>David Mullen wrote :

>>I usually call out a stop in thirds or halves, not in decimal points.
>
>>I realize that not everyone works this way.

Excellent remark, this gets even more important when working with different nationalities. Minus 4, Plus 4 ,Soft 4, Hard 4, Tight 4, Joanne Collins all have their specific meanings but not always clear to others.

>Regards

>Emmanuel, Munich

Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Mobil# Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443

( Please use German number)
cml-listmum


class="style2">>>I can't imagine ever giving anything other than the shooting stop.

>I always do just the opposite. I call out the basic stop and let the AC make the adjustment for shooting stop. Then I confirm what I think it may be so that we are on the same page and also if I want to adjust the shooting stop for depth of field. I want the AC to do the compensation so that I don't have to be distracted by the calculation. That may be simply because I am so miserable at math...but I trust the AC and take ultimate responsibility for the process I prefer to use.

>Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


class="style2">>>They were adamant that a "basic" stop was arrived at by first choosing >>the ASA they wanted to rate the film.

>I want to be a bit picky here...

>The ASA or DIN of a stock is set by the manufacturer according to standards observed by "The American Standards Association" or by "Deutsch Industrial Norm". I do not know the exact process, but that does not interfere with my point here... The ASA/DIN is what is written on the can. Period.

>What the DP chooses to rate the film at is the Exposure Index. EI.
Period.

>You can include colour correction in that if you like. They do so on the can. It comes down to working method. Communication methods are going to vary crew to crew, city to city, and country to country.

>When I call for, "T5.6 BASIC", it's usually within earshot of several cameras using different degrees of ND, shooting at varying shutter angles, or frame rates. And I expect assistants to establish the required stop for their camera - or come to me if things are not crystal clear. And I always explain how I will communicate this sort of thing in the truck before we get to set.

>If there's time I like to get to each camera position and confirm the filtration, shutter angle, frame rate and chosen stop. Sometimes I will further adjust after looking through the lens. Sometimes there just isn't time. Or it's physically not possible.

>Similarly, I think it's good working practice to tell assistants if two cameras have different stops chosen. You don't want someone to change stops at the last second because they overheard another assistant say, "He told me 2.8".

>David Perrault, CSC


>Hear, hear, to Geoff Boyle. I agree everyone is different but I consider it very 'old school' & arrogant to give a basic stop. Hurrah I've made it to DP - now I'll give my AC's the same crap I had to deal with, eh? If it goes wrong you can't sit in the viewing theatre saying, "it's my AC's fault".

>I work together with my AC's to get the image I want & yes, there are times when the AC is expected make adjustments - but ultimately it's the DP's responsibility to make sure the image is perfect in EVERY way. Any DP working one of my 2nd units will get stamped on if they try "I just give a basic stop"!

>In answer to the original question though ... basic stop in my experience is, as it's name suggests, basic stop. All other factors - filters, shutter, etc - have to be compensated for by the AC. This unfortunately includes uncommunicated factors too!

>Stuart Galloway, DoP, Pixel (UK)


class="style2">>>I always explain how I will communicate this sort of thing in the truck >>before we get to set.

>I think this pretty much sums it up. Tell people in your department your method clearly and simply, and stick to it. The method itself is not so relevant, only that people understand it.

>Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC


>Normally I will tell the AC's that I'm already compensating for the ND’s on my meters. And depending on the situation I'll also take the fps/shutter on the meter as well. that way I don't have to do the math each time, and nor do they. I'll do my own math for differences in filters for up to 3 cameras perhaps.

>The best AC's know when the stop doesn't seem right, and might say "are you sure its a 4 with all that ND in there and 120 fps ?" And you can doublecheck yourself.

>I'll also say "4 and a half on the lens" to make it clear I've already made the calculations. Or say "Its a 2.8 and a half at 96 fps" to make it clear I've taken fps into account as well.

>Just sort of 'over communicating' and most AC's tend to do the same.

>I have on occasion when there's a big stunt with a bunch of cameras, told the whole team I'll simply work with a "base stop" and they're to take out the ND/fps/shutter on their own. And then I'll say "8/11 base stop" and they can do the math. It beats calculating the stop for 5-6 cameras constantly as the clouds go in and out and the fps are being tweaked each take.

And when you're in a hurry this makes a lot of sense - otherwise I'd risk eventually goofing the stop on a camera as things constantly change...and beware of saying "go 2.8" with a heavy Hungarian accent ("go to 8")


Mark Doering-Powell
LA based DP


class="style4">>>and beware of saying "go 2.8" with a heavy Hungarian accent ("go to >>8")

>Oh, wow! So that's what my mother meant....

>Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC


>David Perrault, CSC wrote :

class="style4">>>I want to be a bit picky here...

class="style4">>>The ASA or DIN of a stock is set by the manufacturer according to >>standards observed by "The American Standards Association" or by >>"Deutsch Industrial Norm".

>If we want to be picky, mp film is not given an ASA (now ISO) rating because the requirements for best results in mp are not consistent with the basis on which the ASA/ISO system was designed (still photography.)

>So the manufacturer lists an EI that he considers best. Any adjustment we make to that is just another EI.

>Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614


class="style4">>>So the manufacturer lists an EI that he considers best. Any adjustment >>we make to that is just another EI.

>I shoot a wedge test and that tells me what I need to know about any film stock. Same goes for tape for that matter.

>Joe McDonnell III
Cinematography/ High Definition
IATSE 600
New Orleans, La
Los Angeles, Ca


class="style4">>>I have on occasion when there's a big stunt with a bunch of cameras, >>told the whole team I'll simply work with a "base stop" and they're to >>take out the ND/fps/shutter on their own.

>Yes, that's the one circumstance where I'll tell an AC manning a B or C camera with a different ND or camera speed or shutter angle that whatever I call out as the stop for the other cameras, they will have to figure out the compensation, otherwise it gets too confusing to call out multiple f-stops over a walkie, let's say. So if one camera is running at 48 fps, they will compensate for that from the stop I call out to the main cameras running at 24 fps.

>David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


>Stuart Galloway wrote :

class="style4">>>I agree everyone is different but I consider it very 'old school' & >>arrogant to give a basic stop. Hurrah I've made it to DP - now I'll give >>my AC's the same crap I had to deal with, eh?

>Sorry but I have been unfortunate to be twice under this type of working relationship and the method was the shooting stop. Fortunately the job was of a very short duration, it is the advantage of being freelance.

>I don't think the shooting stop method was to be blamed, nor would have been the basic stop.

>It is not the method but the certain behaviour of a person that is "old school" or "arrogant". Also in my opinion an AC who sticks to a DoP under those circumstances is as "old school". (By this I mean one should stick to the end of the job, but I don't understand people who do it over and over again with the same DoP, especially with all the information on working practices at our disposal nowadays) But that is a different thread.

>What is important is that the DoP is assisted properly, whatever the method, and that the method a DoP chooses and decides upon is the one that works for him best and he is the most comfortable with. The method is to be clear and made safe of possible errors. And that is not only valid for the exposure procedure but for some other procedures as well. On some jobs, for whatever good excuse, one does not always take the necessary time to check procedures prior to shooting , that is in my opinion the biggest reason for messing up.

>My two eurocents,

Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Mobil# Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443

( Please use German number)
cml-listmum


>Geoff Boyle wrote :

class="style4">>>Only variation on that is if we have quick extra takes at say 32 rather >>than 25 then I expect the AC to compensate.

>Yup. I'd consider a speed change to be the 1st AC’s duty to compensate for.

>It all gets confusing if one hasn't laid out the ground rules at the beginning of the day. If I'm working for the first time with a focus puller I always make sure I'm quite explicit about what the stop I'm giving them represents and what they should compensate for - which is ONLY neutral density filters AND/OR deviations from 24/25fps.

>My personal preference is to dial any lab push/pull, deliberate +/- exposure, 85 filters and any other additional coloured filters into the ASA rating on my meter. That stops ME from getting confused :-0

>Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.


>Stop working that way... one slip and you are gone! it is the DP and Gaffers responsibility to give you the SHOOTING Stop. You have enough to worry about. You are setting yourself up for a disaster! And when that disaster happens your name will be ruined as no doubt the reason for the error will not accurately be explained down the line. It will just be don't hire Mr. X.. he ruined a shoot I heard about! The DP should tell you what Film Stock, Lens, Fiitler(s) and STOP... period!

>That way when something is array the Producer knows who to talk with. The way you are working with this lazy DP is a big grey zone allowing plenty of finger pointing when a shot comes back three stops under.

>David Rakoczy
DP/ Dir/ Prod
LA/ Florida
www.EmeraldCoastFilmworks.com


>My reaction to this thread has been why would any DP would be so uninterested in shooting stop and therefore DOF? I can see giving the 1st AC both the basic and calculated shooting stop and asking them to confirm shooting stop, but not the AC determining shooting stop.

>Hal Smith
Edmond, OK


>Great point Hal.. the DP MUST know the Shooting Stop so he/ she will know the DOF... negligence in this area is paramount to malpractice.

>David Rakoczy
DP/ Dir/ Prod
LA/ Florida
www.EmeraldCoastFilmworks.com


class="style4">>>...Just sort of 'over communicating' and most AC's tend to do the >>same...

>Exactly. It's all about communication. Not blamestorming.

>I agree that it would be ideal if the DP could get to each camera and go over all the details for each take.

However, I have found that multiple camera action sequences call for abbreviated working methods due to on-set pace. You have to work with it!


Not against it.

>And in this type of situation I depend on the first's to have enough game to know what to do. If I ask six operators to do the next take at 60fps, I don't expect to have to walk around and confirm the stop with each one. I will if I can - but sometimes it's just a fantasy to expect to do that.

>Every situation is a bit different. Some are more easily managed than others. Some are not easily managed. Sometimes shorthand is required.

>David Perrault, CSC


>Bravo -

>That's what we AC’s like to hear.

I don't mind reminding the DP what filters are on, or what stock is up, or where the shutter is, but the final choice of the stop is why he gets the big bucks.

If there is a mistake, using the "basic stop" system, guess whose fault it will be.

>Except for the frame rate exception above, I make the exception for multiple cameras - it's OK for DP´s to give the "Basic" stop to several cameras, for the 1ACs to do the compensation for their individual cameras, which may have different filters or frame rates.

Doug Hart
1AC, NYC


>And a double BRAVO to you... Agreed and well put!

>David Rakoczy
DP/Dir


>Excellent point.

>One DP I work with, when we have multiple cameras with different stops, frame rates or filters, the DP not only gives us our stops, but points to me and says, "Doug gets a 4," then points to the other guy and says, "John gets a 4 and a 1/4," loud enough so we all hear, and we both repeat back the stop we were given.

>Anything you can do to prevent errors and mistakes.

Doug Hart
1AC, NYC


>Mark Doering-Powell writes :

class="style4">>>and beware of saying "go 2.8" with a heavy Hungarian accent ("go to >>8")

>My first day with an Italian DP with a heavy accent, I could have sworn he said "Sixteen" for the stop.

>It was such a shock I asked him several times to repeat it - he must have thought I was deaf. It still sounded like "16" to me. Finally, in desperation, I took the slate marker and wrote "16?" on the back of the slate.

>He laughed and took the marker, crossed out "16" and wrote "6.3" We both laughed, but he thanked me for questioning him, and took me to dinner that night (in a very nice French restaurant).

>That night I got an English/Italian dictionary, and made myself a list of numbers with translations, which I kept near the camera. From then on, to the end of the shoot, he gave me the stops in English, and I repeated back the numbers in Italian.

>I learned a lot of Italian on that shoot.

>I did the same thing with a Polish DP a few years later.

Doug Hart
1AC, NYC


class="style4">>>Yup. I'd consider a speed change to be the 1st AC’s duty to >>compensate for. It all gets confusing if one hasn't laid out the ground >>rules at the beginning of the day.

>I direct/DP/operate sometimes, mostly for close portraiture type stuff where the talent is working right into a close camera, and in that situation, with talent in front and usually client behind, I'm too distracted to keep track of what's in front of the lens myself, or take the time to figure out compensation. Specific, measured DoF is really important in those situations, too, nose to ears with the near iris at focal point usually, so we'll figure out mechanically or by the book what the stop _should_ be, and the AC will figure out how big a dose of ND to give the camera to get there, or tell me when we need to wheel in a bigger photon generator to maintain. Once we've established the aim, he/she will keep it correct until conditions change.

class="style4">>>"The way you are working with this lazy DP is a big grey zone allowing >>plenty of finger pointing when a shot comes back three stops >>under."

>Without disagreeing, is it being lazy when one must stick to the "big picture" and the performance, and delegate the rest? DP is an artistic position, but it's also a department head. It can be tough to keep up with every little thing.

>Doug Hart writes :

class="style4">>>"I don't mind reminding the DP what filters are on, or what stock is up, >>or where the shutter is, but the final choice of the stop is why he gets >>the big bucks."

>Sure, but more often is just the decision to go soft or hard on a previously-agreed on stop just to stay even in changing light. I don't have a problem with that, and if there's a big change everything gets checked. BTW, first thing I do is walk-through with the AC and gaffer and see if our light meters are working in the same universe. Oftentimes they are not.

>Tim Sassoon
SFD vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA


class="style4">>>I can't imagine ever giving anything other than the shooting stop.

>Ditto. The camera assistant's job is to make sure the stop I call out is on the lens, and to periodically remind me of what the hell I told him to do to the camera that will affect the stop (by putting correct filter tags on the matte box along with prominent tags regarding shutter angle, as well as occasionally rattling all that off to me before a take). It's not the camera assistant's job to calculate an exposure, only to remind me of what I've told him to do so that I don't forget in the heat of the moment.

>I can't imagine calling out a base stop and having the camera assistant do the calculations because that means that I'm not even thinking about what the shooting stop is in regard to depth of field.
That's seems like a recipe for disaster.

class="style4">>>I also use a decimal T stop scale as on my meter rather than thirds. >>So I would say perhaps "base 5.6 point 5" meaning half way between >>5.6 and 8

>That gets tricky. I know an assistant who got yelled at because the DP told him "5.6-8" and he set the stop at T5.6 1/2, when the DP actually meant 5.6 and 8 tenths (but hadn't told the assistant he worked in tenths).

>The really reliable way is to use 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments: T6.5, for example. But when I was an assistant hardly any of us knew what those were. I remember working with Brian Murphy, who always called out stops that way. One day she called out "T9.5" (or rather spoke it in a normal tone of voice; it was up to you to hear her) and wondering where the hell that was. I watched the "A" first AC put a T8-11 split on his lens so I did the same to "B" camera.

>Afterwards I said, "I'm glad you knew where that was because I sure didn't." To which he responded, "I guessed."

>I prefer giving stops as whole stops plus a fraction, with the fraction always being an addition and never a subtraction (so 2.8 and a half, never 4 minus a half). That's easy, consistent, and once your assistant knows that's the way you work it's hard to screw that up.

>And it's always the shooting stop.

>Art Adams
Director of Photography
Film | HiDef | Video
www.artadams.net


class="style4">>>That gets tricky. I know an assistant who got yelled at because the DP >>told him "5.6-8" and he set the stop at T5.6 1/2, when the DP actually >>meant 5.6 and 8 tenths (but hadn't told the assistant he worked in >>tenths).

>One DP I work with, when he got his first decimal meter (tenths of stops) discussed this issue with me and he had a great solution - he always said the word "decimal" when he meant tenths: "4 decimal 6," for T4 and 6/10, "2.8 decimal 3," for T2.8 and 3/10, etc.

>No room for error here, and that is what it is all about.

Doug Hart
1AC, NYC


>Seems there is already some confusion on this thread.

>If at before the filming even starts the shooting stop is decided by the DoP, at say T4, surely one has to start working from the base stop. It is when that cannot be reached or for other reasons DoF needs to be increased that shooting stop takes the upper hand. There are various
ways of working depending on the type of project and scene. I even work with a DoP who always sets himself the aperture on the lens, the only time he can't is on multiple camera setups.

>Regards

>Emmanuel, Munich

Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Mobil# Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443

(Please use German number)
cml-listmum


>Art Adams wrote:

class="style4" >>That gets tricky. I know an assistant who got yelled at because the DP >>told him "5.6-8" and he set the stop at T5.6 1/2, when the DP actually >>meant 5.6 and 8 tenths (but hadn't told the assistant he worked in >>tenths).

As I work a lot with foreign DoP’s or abroad, when in doubt, as the situation above, I repeat it with different words (but meaning the same). When someone tells me call time is half three I will repeat it and make sure we agree on either fourteen thirty or fifteen thirty, cause half three it ain't the same everywhere.


I like the decimal trick for when working with tenths, good tip.

>Regards

>Emmanuel, Munich

Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Mobil# Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443

(Please use German number)
cml-listmum


class="style4">>>Without disagreeing, is it being lazy when one must stick to the "big >>picture" and the performance, and delegate the rest? DP is an artistic >>position, but it's also a department head. It can be tough to keep up >>with every little thing.

>it is lazy Image making and negligence.. how can a DP 'control' the Image if he does not know what the DOF is because he is unaware of the Shooting Stop because he/ she only gives the 'base' and leaves the rest to the poor sucker ac who is working under such a poor arrangement. Sure, under multi multi camera situations and opening to go 48fps can it be left to a 'trusted' ac who can cover you. But even then, I double check because that is my job as a DP.. to control the Image and certainly knowing exactly what the Stop is and DOF effect for each shot is our duty. Sure we are artist and creative but NUMBERS play a BIG part of that creative expression... unless you work under the Japanese system.

>There the DP tells that gaffer what he wants to see.. the gaffer lights the set (NO meters) and the poor 1st ac pulls out his meters and starts calling for doubles and singles... who is creating the Image... NO one and EVERY one. ALL are in on it and (in my mind as I have worked with them many times) the DP is not a DP. I much prefer to work for and as the captain at the helm and guide the Image and be responsible for that Image for better or for worse. Usually for the better :-)

>David (conscious of Hungarian accent) Rakoczy
DP/ Dir
LA/ Florida


>David wrote :

class="style4">>>it is lazy Image making and negligence...

>I must beg to differ. It is a simply a matter of the way one is comfortable working. Not laziness or negligence. I've seen many great DP's do it both ways. As Doug hart so succinctly stated earlier, it is "carved in jello", everyone has their own preference and style. I prefer to use the base stop because I'll screw it up more often than if I simply let the AC figure out the filter factors, shooting speed compensations, shutter angles, etc. But I stand by the image at the end of the day fully realizing it is solely my responsibility. I trust the AC and we communicate about the stop very carefully.

class="style4">>>how can a DP 'control' the Image if he does not know what the DOF is >>because he is unaware of the Shooting Stop

>Somehow the discussion has turned into this assumption. Maybe I missed a post where a DP was unaware of the shooting stop? I gaffed for 15 years before shooting and never have I seen a DP be unaware of the shooting stop. But let's look at it from a different perspective...how do you communicate to the gaffer with regards to the ASA or IE. Do you prefer to constantly change it when the camera makes an adjustment? Or do you use the base stop?

>I always preferred the base stop when gaffing and still do it now when shooting. Maybe that's why I let the AC figure out the compensations.

>While I prefer to let the AC figure out the compensations for the stop, it is always well communicated, confirmed and understood by me. Of course, I am aware of the shooting stop to control DOF and will make the necessary adjustments to control it.

>Jim Sofranko
NY/DP