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class="style16"> The Magic Of The Red

Published : 27th September 2009


Ok, all you Red wizards. Let's say I'm shooting daytime in a refuge on a glacier high in the Alps.


The scene is in the dining room with windows all around. Outside it's maybe 6200K with a stop off the charts. Will I be able to control the highlights within the Red menus settings enough with to actually see something outside.


Time and money - it's better if we don't have to ND the glass. Fill inside will be minimal.
I'll have a few small units, kinos and such, and I'll try to sneak in some reflected light from outside, but we're still talking a 7 stop differential min.


Any other tips for shoot outside in bright, cold conditions with the Red?


Thank you in advance, sorcerers of light ...


Benjamin Minot
Director/DP
One More
Via Della Luce, 3
00153 Rome
Mobile: (+39) 3331632050 ITALY
Mobile: (+84) (0) 902163288 VIETNAM



>>Will I be able to control the highlights within the Red menus settings enough with to actually see >>something outside.


The RED menus don't affect the RAW image that's recorded... just tag it with metadata so when the clip comes up in post it looks similar to what you had on set.


You could try a similar approach to Canon's 'Highlight Tone Priority'. Basically underexposes a stop and pushes the gain a stop. In essence, exposing for the highlights and bringing the shadows up in post. Your image will get noisy, of course. Similar to changing RED's ASA to 640 instead of 320 -- you're just underexposing the RAW image and bringing it back up in post.


The RED is not a magical wizard that's going to make every situation easy to shoot. In fact, it has less Dynamic Range than many other more expensive cameras out there. Also, there is no 'Knee Circuit' or 'Dynamic Range Stretch' option on the RED.


That said, if the room has lots of windows like you mentioned and you can reflect light in from outside, then you might be able to get your dynamic range within the abilities of the camera. More dramatic contrast in the wide shots and bring in the Kinos for the close-ups.


Using ND on the lens when shooting outside is pretty much a necessity if rating at 320. Lenses won't quite stop down enough to work in full sun.


Best,


Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
www.GFuterfas.com



Oh, and maybe some UltraCons or Low Con filters can help.


Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA



Also, make sure you have a MacPro Laptop loaded with REDALERT! [free from the RED website]. Shoot a few seconds of your scene, maybe bracket the exposure up & down on separate clips [takes]. Import this into REDALERT! and play with the contrast & highlights...find what works best for your needs.


Remember, do not always trust the 720SDI output of the camera, this is a great looking image, but is a downconvert and should be used like a video assist.


I often find that certain colors [yellows & greens] seem to go a bit strange on the SDI output of the camera, but the quick & painless import into REDALERT! usually shows me what I originally wished the scene to look.


You can then export these color corrections as TIFF files & email smaller versions to the post house.


It is a great system...


Cheers,
Jeff Barklage, s.o.c.
www.barklage.com
agent: TDN ARTISTS www.tdnartists.com
USA based DP



At the risk of stating the obvious, if your lighting package is small and you can't ND the windows visible in the frame, perhaps you can convince the director to use a static camera for the wider shots, shoot alternate takes stopped down for proper outside exposure, and cut in the window in post. That may not be what you (or the director) prefers, but after all, there's only so much dynamic range with any camera. We all make compromises from time to time.


Everett Gorel
Director/ DP
South Coast Film and Video
Houston, Texas
www.scfilmvideo.com



You could expose at 1000ASA (underexpose) and apply noise reduction in post to get another 1 2/3 stops of highlight squeezed in there.


Florian Stadler, D.P, L.A.
www.florianstadler.com



What about using a ND Grad Filter(s) on half the frame then have all the action take place on the non-ND side?


BTW Build 20 has about 1 more stop worth of underexposure. In addition the noise is now a little more textured to my eye then in the prior builds.


Good luck,


Dane Brehm
DIT : Data Tech
San Francisco
Phantom | Red | Weisscam



Graham Futerfas wrote :


>>t he RED is not a magical wizard that's going to make every situation easy to shoot. In fact, it has less >>Dynamic Range than many other more expensive cameras out there. Also, there is no 'Knee Circuit' or >>'Dynamic Range Stretch' option on the RED.


Definitely agree, no tool any artist/artisan uses is anything without the user's hand. Which camera's of greater dynamic range are you thinking of Graham?


Thanks so much.


Jason Cacioppo
Principal / Creative Director
SUBVOYANT



>>Which camera's of greater dynamic range are you thinking of Graham?


Panasonic 3000\3700, Genesis, F35, Viper, etc.


All cameras would probably struggle in this situation. On the Panasonic, for instance, you can have the option of adding Dynamic Range Stretch, which breaks the image into small blocks and adjusts the levels of the individual blocks. Good for a setup like this, watch out for shadow noise.


Best,


Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
www.GFuterfas.com



>>Let's say I'm shooting daytime in a refuge on a glacier high in the Alps.
>>The scene is in the dining room with windows all around. Outside it's maybe 6200K with a stop off the >>charts.


So it will be very bright outside.


>>Will I be able to control the highlights within the Red menus settings enough with to actually see >>something outside.


Probably not. It sounds like this scenario would stretch the contrast ratio limits with some of the best film stocks. The Red isn't going to be able to match that.


So you pump up the fill level or reduce what is coming in through the windows, or be willing to give up one or the other.


Bruce Johnson
DP Los Angeles CA



Great stuff. Thanks for the input, I am aware I'll be capturing raw media.


I guess I should have asked if I can dial in a proxy to save my tail. I did put in for a macbook pro with Red Alert, low cons and rolls of ND12 for the windows so I'm feeling pretty chuffed.


It's nice to get some feedback on the dynamic range. DR wise what film stock would you compare Red to? The tests I've seen the high lights seem to clip pretty quick. (PS BTW Jeff I met with TDN a while back...good folk)


Benjamin Minot
Director/DP
One More
Via Della Luce, 3
00153 Rome
Mobile: (+39) 3331632050 ITALY
Mobile: (+84) (0) 902163288 VIETNAM



how about a double (or home run) net outside the windows and a longish lens if space allows.


Mark Eberle
Director of Photography
www.markeberle.com
www.Cineflight.com
818-448-5367 cell



>>…In addition the noise is now a little more textured to my eye then in the prior builds.,,,,, siq<g> Is that >>good ?!?


When grain is taking on a texture - I think pattern - it's not nice at all.
David Perrault, CSC



Geoff writes :


>>ND'ing the windows also reduces the amount of light coming in to the room. >>


Quite so. But if you don't have access to black nets or can't use them for other reasons it may be possible to reflect additional sunlight into the room through windows that are not in the scene.


Some of the techniques used with the Cine Reflect lighting system (see: http://cine-rls.com/?t=videos ) might be adapted to this kind of situation using ordinary reflectors and mirrors. Another useful material is Reflectix insulation (that's the US brand name), which is essentially multi-layer aluminized bubble wrap. It can be cut with scissors, and bent and molded to shape, and its textured surface evens out the beam nicely.


Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



Scott Billups wrote :


>> 3D rig with no divergence. One camera exposes for the int, one for ext...


Scott, it’s a cool idea. Use Clairmont's "over-under" rig.


Perhaps experiment with ND & polarizing only the exterior-camera that's behind the mirror, or just ND (keep f/stop equal on both cameras, probably W.O. for the camera that needs to expose for the dark interior). I can't imagine being more than 4-5 stops down from the interior-camera as the exposure curves wouldn't overlap well in a 2-exposure HDR, one camera's shoulder is on the others toe.
Sure you still pump in a little fill, but there's nothing like HDR to help balance ext snow/ice views in a case like this, if it doesn't flatten it out too much.


Wonder what some of the post approaches might be for this.
One snag... this just doubled camera budget and made it vastly more complex.

Mark Doering-Powell
LA based DP



Benjamin,


Actually, Scott Billups's suggestion of using a 3d rig with zero interocular set up and two different exposures on the cameras - mimicking digital still camera bracketing techniques - could prove to be very functional to what you are trying to achieve, although from what I read between the lines, you seem to be fairly satisfied that the burnt out white look will work for the story line of the specific production.


However, if you decide that you would like to employ a Swiss Rig with 2 Reds and prime lenses that are available from nearby Genoa, feel free to contact E-Motion there; it' could prove to be a less expensive option all round.


David Bush
Digital Film Supervisor
E-Motion
Genoa
Italy
+39 389 1646 352


class="style17"
>> "I need to do a $20K shot but the producers don't want to pay more than $2K to get it done"?

SO much worse than the old days, when it was "Prithee, Sir, I wouldst fain to execute a $200K shot but the blackguard producers shall not pay more than $20K to get it done"!


Cheers,


Adam Wilt / filmmaker, Meets The Eye LLC



I have no clue as to the meaning of the title of this thread. It appears to be about dynamic range and ways to increase it.


Back in the day -- when we were working on the Kinetta camera -- we had three approaches to this. The craziest involved two sensors and a beamsplitter -- it was a variable beamsplitter so you could alter the ratio of the split, to deal with extremely bright highlights. (We also had a design with dual sensors one could switch between -- color and monochrome -- the sensor board moved up and down, also giving in-camera Scheimpflug when desired.)


The second approach, which exists in some cameras today, is the dual-slope approach -- a regular exposure followed by a very short exposure that are combined to produce a single image. Not too good with extreme movement, though you can consider the long exposure + the short exposure to be the total exposure for the frame, so in most uses it can work.


The most successful approach, and one that I should consider offering as an aftermarket add-on for other cameras, is our OpenShadow system. This could greatly increase dynamic range, and could be adjusted scene-by-scene as needed. At NAB we showed it holding detail in the shadows of a dark-complected person and in clouds in Las Vegas in the afternoon on a sunny day.


Of course, there are newer sensors that have increasingly good dynamic range, and these, in the end, combined with recording at a high bit-depth to make post grading easier, will probably solve this problem.
A cheaper approach would be to add lights and maybe gel the windows.


Jeff "still building stuff" Kreines



Ben Jammin,
I would humbly suggest that you use....curtains...
Kim Haun
DP/Los Angeles