Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Shooting HD (Varicam) To Intercut 16mm

I've got to shoot some pick ups for a period documentary shot on 16mm and I'll be using a Varicam.

Any thoughts on matching the 50 and 100 ASA Kodak stock. I'll be shooting EXT's including sunsets, etc. and INT's with simulated candle, fire, and lantern light. I do have access to the external control box.


Brandy Spear/AllSmiles Film and Video.

>“ thoughts on matching the 50 and 100 ASA Kodak stock... EXT's >including sunsets, etc. and INT's with simulated candle, fire, and lantern >light.”

Brandy, depending upon how much you want to delve into engineering menus, there are a couple of different broad paths to take.

First, if you’re more of a DP than an HD techie or engineer, then I’d suggest keeping it simple. If you have access to a memory card, there’s a fairly standard “warm... color” setup that’s floated around for quite a while now. I can give you mine, but I’ve made some individual modifications to the original settings, but anyway, this particular setup is very saturated, warm, and fairly contrasty. For my money, it’s the closest look to Kodak’s 7245 that I’ve seen (at least “right out of the box”). Whoever you’re renting the Varicam from should be able to provide you with this setup, as well as a few others to try.

Now, if you want to manipulate the engineering set-ups manually (or have an HD tech you trust to do so), obviously you have much more control. Specifically, black setup and stretch, gamma correction, and knee (point and slope) controls will be some of the first handles you’ll probably want to tweak. If these basic handles sound Greek to you, then I would suggest retreating to the earlier technique. If you want to experiment, a Panasonic engineer I trust suggests a knee point around 68 and a slope at 300% as a good general starting point. You can play with it from there, remembering that the higher the gamma number, the more the contrast. I’d also consider using the “high color” setting, as it adds a 5% color boost across the board.

Finally, how much time do you have to play? Is there any time allotted for camera setup? These are all questions you’ll have to answer. As we all know, only too well, each job dictates a different approach.

Good luck.

Everett Gorel
South Coast Film and Video
Houston, TX 77081

>Any thoughts on matching the 50 and 100 ASA Kodak stock.


If your post has a plug-in set called "anvil" from the foundry, it has many film stock matching filters, you might try some tests?

It is only avb for DS/Nitris, Inferno, Fire, Flame, & Smoke tho, no low end box's unfortunately

look under Discreet or DS.......

I have had good results matching reversal with HDCam derived footage, added some weave as well.

There is some good tools from Speed Six, and they are avb for Digital Fusion, as well as the usual suspects; DS & Discreet, so it may be possible to find those on a system that does not cost the equivalent of a new Mercedes SL600 and there is a raft of also rans - mostly too heavy-handed, (somewhat lacking in subtlety) that plug-in to FCP, Avid, & AE/Combustion, but none are ready for prime time really - at least last time I looked - that market moves very quickly.. and it is not my main focus - so there might be something new there.

But tests with your post house is highly recommended, these tools do react quite differently varying upon the source footage feed into them

You may find your look by exposing it with the widest range possible, detail off, and gamma flat - I know that will look like shit on set, but it does give post the most room to move , if you can avoid producer's freak-outs that is.....

As always, it's only my 2cents, your mileage may vary

Good luck


Dermot Shane

At the risk of sounding stupid : why not just shoot it on 16mm? If the rest of the documentary was shot on 16mm there must already be a lab on board so that cost shouldn't be too much extra and the cameras are a lot cheaper (in my experience). You wouldn't have the matching problems at all.

This probably didn't help, but I was just wondering.

Roger Simonsz

Matching to 5277 and 5274??? I'm shooting green screen Fg to match with BG plates I shot on 35mmm. Fg Varicam.

Nick Hoffman

Nicholas Hoffman wrote:

>Matching to 5277 and 5274???? I'm shooting green screen Fg to match >with BG plates I shot on 35mmm. Fg Varicam

Well this is alot different than matching 16mm....but the basic concept would be the same...

The tools to match the grain structure for both those stocks exists, as do tools that match to grain to specific shots. part and parcel of high end compositors, but this is worth discussing with your Vfx sup

It is easier to color time and match grain to a clean shot than one than has it range reduced, and detail can cause issues when pulling keys - not always, but not worth taking the chance when it is also fairly straight forward to match the backplates in compositing? a bit flat is good as we can easily ramp the blacks and top end to suit if the information exists, but cannot ever retrieve what is not there.

And as always get your Vfx sup in the loop early

My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...I am not comp'n these shots...


Dermot Shane

If your using the supplied HD to video or HD to Film settings for capture, some alternative tools to consider along the lines of suggested Anvil approach you could try using SA colorfinesse and Graintools or similar.

Colorfinesse has film stock templates and Grainsurgery allows grain matching. Both are plugins to After effects and I believe Combustion, they are high quality low cost. Grainsurgery will work with FCP, I don’t believe Colorfinesse will as yet but depending on the look your after the FCP grading tools may offer suitable correction required.

Dave Blackham
UK Consultant

Thanks for the input. I do have some time to experiment and will try your suggestions.


Brandy Spear
AllSmiles Film and Video.

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