Cinematography Mailing List - CML

High Definition Cinematography


>Behalf Of John Chater
>I have a Leader LV-5750. Does the new firmware work with this model? >There is no mention of software updates on the website. How do you >find out about the upgrades other than calling Leader?

I do not know for a fact but I would have to assume that they have given the 5750 the same capability...

You have to call Leader to get the update and it is either free or minimal cost, depending on how persuasive you are and when you bought the instrument. And yes, I find the embedded audio monitoring to be invaluable as well. A note on this last item : If you are not using the new Evertz Progressive Frame Transformer, it strips out the imbedded audio...

Tom Tcimpidis

I hate to bring up the subject of what this list is supposed to be about - which is cinematography. Which this list seems to studiously avoid!

But now that HD has been around for a few years...I was wondering if people out there in the field - those of who really shoot HD - have found yourselves lighting your sets and subjects any differently now than a few years back?

Would one light reversal differently than negative?

Or what kind of interesting looks you might have stumbled on (or purposely designed)?

Have the rules changed at all in the past few years?

Dale Launer
Santa Monica

Or what kind of interesting looks you might have stumbled on (or purposely designed)?


Its easier to describe how to tune your guitar via Email

Its not impossible but its very hard to express accurately

Since the Advent of the New HD Scopes that will do Frame capture and VScope and WFM Capture it would be wildly helpful to be able to put small JPEG's attached to these emails (I don't think that's possible on this list)

This way we have a very relevant look at lets say a DSC Labs Chart In Parade RGB 100% scale

That way we could look at every aspect one piece at a time.

I know that most of Us don't have such a device except Dave Canning But he left when this list got Childish and Hateful as did many Others. That's likely why there is little discussion that fosters promotes or educates good discussion regarding the subjects you express interest in.

The only other thing would be to do as Someone here regularly suggests Test it yourself and share what you have learned with the List.

That being said we will still fall back into this list being a place where the Vast Majority will be very content to Take form the knowledge being provided here and not in any way contribute anything but throwing Rocks and negative criticism.

Those that Do contribute and share with others the most intricate details of your long hard experience designing and building the creativity based on your understanding and knowledge of the Tools that you work with, I applaud you. But for some I must do it Off list because they will not receive this message here.

Nothing is more beneficial than a Community that takes care of one another and helps each other become better by training and encouragement and support.

Help received from those that have been down that road already and are interested in keeping others from the Landmines ahead was one of the main reasons this list thrived and grew.

We had that here once.

Become for others what you want others to become for you.
Share with others what you want others to share with you.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

B. Sean Fairburn SOC
Digital Cinematographer
Castaic Ca

Lighting rules don't really change, just style and public taste over time (actually, what are the rules anyway?) You could say that people have got more used to the hyper-clean "digital look" over time so there is less talk about how HD needs diffusion, for example, to look more like film, and artefacts like noise in low-light scenes have become associated with a documentary look just like heavy grain in film has that association. I think we're reaching, with finer-grained films and DI's, and better HD formats, a sort of convergence point where digital-to-film, film-to-digital, and film-to-digital-to-film again, etc. are all starting to have certain similar visual artefacts or characteristics in similar situations.

Also, the cynic would say that audiences have lowered their expectations enough to accept digital origination; the optimist would say that audiences are embracing a wider range of visual styles.

Personally, my HD features still tend to fall into two stylistic approaches, with some mixing in the same feature :

(1) HD is DV only much better, i.e. we're trying to use the camera for what it does well without worrying about whether it always has a "film look". Basically we're approaching it like a low-budget DV production but with better picture quality by using HD. If it has a video-film hybrid look, that's fine. Generally the subject matter calls for a somewhat rough, semi-documentary approach with limited use of artificial lighting, a lot of handheld, etc. Boosting the gain to film in lower light levels is justified, turning off the shutter if necessary, whatever it takes.

(2) We want people to think we shot this in 35mm; lighting is carefully controlled, video artefacts are avoided if possible, etc. Generally the approach is "slick", glossy, in the somewhat traditional Hollywood narrative style. Gain boosting is avoided, shutter is kept near 1/48th, etc.

But like I said, you find yourself mixing the two approaches now and then just to get the movie made. Or because some directors don't really care about visual consistency!

David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles

For those of us that do (I have a 5700A), and who may not know, Version 5 of the firmware is out and has an added capability that I have been asking for sometime: It can now read the imbedded TC in HDSDI. Very handy for multicamera and other work...

Tom Tcimpidis

>Have the rules changed at all in the past few years?

Absolutely! Next IBC, just skip the show and go to the Rembrandt van Rijn Museum (you might even try the Getty). That guy loved to use a 10K out the window with a scrim. Now, with HD, you can get away with 5K, or even less, maybe even dump the window altogether. If you really crrrank the gain up, you can try for that splotchy impressionist look.

Sorry Dale, I'm binging on "light is everything". Had a little too much, you know what...Now that I've recovered, I do think it is difficult to transition from negative to reversal media. If you're shooting negative, you walk into the room and look for the shadows, if you're shooting reversal, you look for the highlights. I shot so much Kodachrome and Polaroid that the film/digital transition wasn't that so (unfortunately I'm not much better either), but most people shoot negative most of the time. Much of the HD I have seen reflects that.

Noel Sterrett
Admit One Pictures

Tom wrote :

>For those of us that do (I have a 5700A), and who may not know, >Version 5 of the firmware is out and has an added capability that I have >been asking for sometime : It can now read the imbedded TC in >HDSDI.


I have a Leader LV-5750. Does the new firmware work with this model? There is no mention of software updates on the website. How do you find out about the upgrades other than calling Leader?

It is a great tool. The capture and overlay feature makes the process of matching cameras and frames so much easier.

For the sound department ( which in this town is often the video engineering department as well !! ) the ability to monitor the audio from the HDSDI takes away any uncertainty about the sound levels being laid down on tape. It makes me wonder why nobody has made a cheaper stripped down version for the sound department.

John Chater
DP- San Francisco


Your question : do we light Hd differently now than a few years ago coupled with your other question: "Would one light reversal differently than negative?"

Forces the answer : I find I now light HD as if it is reversal - that is I try to get it spot on in terms of exposure...then pull it down at least half a stop at least every time.

If I dare expose it straight then it always comes out with highlights slightly burnt in post. If I pull it down on set people complain it's too dark yet always respond well at post stage.

This translates well at film burn stage too, using the neg as if it's a cross process with the HD/reversal. There are interesting possibilities here.

All year I've been heading towards a shoot which happens in a couple of weeks where I have to light a Jacobean play as if in Jacobean times - they only had tallow candles then - you can barely make out dim shapes when lit like this and this is a fabulous challenge as it heads towards becoming an asset for an HD DVD (not a windows job, but blue ray in the end) - the combination of the ancient and the modern... But there'll be no underexposing on that one.

Sometimes I'm disappointed by the remote box supplied with either Sony or Panasonic cameras - they hardly change the image as if they've been governed by engineers stopping too much adjustment - but I use these together with lighting to affect atmosphere as much as possible.

But Sean Fairburn’s mail was sad - I've been battered a few times for writing here - but hey, keep posting and pushing the issue of cinematography as the list gets a little bit boring if it's all about hardware. I don't know about you but I got into this game because of 'light'.

Terry Flaxton

>Would one light reversal differently than negative?
>Dale Launer

Yes and no, take a Day Int. for example shoot it with neg stock, wysiwyg, more or less...shoot it with Reversal, and you get deeper shadows, more saturated colors, and faster burning that may suit you just fine, after all, why use the stock if not to exploit it's strengths. If you want to read the fill side of the talents face you'll need a little more fill w/reversal and closer ratios...You will also get increased color and contrast and a plastic almost 3D image, which can be very cool and get you your next job...or it could be too much, and kill you for the next job.

No one will accuse you of being flat and boring (unless you light that way). How this relates to HD I don't know, although people seem to treat HD as though it's "reversal", it may be in terms of latitude, but certainly not in terms of image, color, depth, etc...

Nick Hoffman NYDP

Nicholas Hoffman wrote :

>How this relates to HD I don't know, although people seem to treat HD >as though it's "reversal", it may be in terms of latitude, but certainly not >in terms of image, color, depth, etc

Conventional wisdom has been that when shooting negative, you expose for the shadows and let the highlights go wherever they want, since you have tremendous latitude in that range. With reversal, as with HD, you tend to expose for the highlights and fill the shadows as necessary, because you have far less latitude in the highlights - and, in the case of HD, real problems when you send them into the clipping range.

Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles

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