Thursday, October 16, 2014

Latitude ! How Much Do You Really Need ?

Ok, real shot, minor grading, taken a couple days ago on real paying job for client. Looks tasty, yes ? Here is the truth. Its only about 8-9 stops of light here ! My C100 with Ninja Blade ate this for breakfast wanting more. I had to pull blacks down, whites up. That's using my own custom tweaked Wide DR setting pulling the black levels down a bit ( and some other secret stuff ). Its full extreme light but the camera is sucking it all up and asking for more ! Sorry no HMI's rigged on chase car, no LED's or other light modifiers here. Just Natural light and a good camera. 14mm Rokinon Cine in case you wanted to know. I also used a Vivitar 28 F1.9 on some other chase shots... all good with very nice lens flare when it happened. 

I did some studio shots the next day. Completely controlled lighting and the blacks floated while the whites where not even close to white. Ok, idiot proof ! I could of easily of messed up exposure 2  stops either way w/o worry... just like..almost like.... film !

Above - Studio setup with product on green screen doing suspend from behind gag 

In editing I had to pull the image down quite a bit. That nice since it made some minor evils go away without any paint and tracking work. All Good ! 

This came back to cold hard reality - how many stops of dynamic range do you really need.... vs fantasize about ? 14 ? 16 ?  How many stops in reality with a few lights or none vs. being sold on latitude you might not ever even encounter in the real world....and I haven't even gotten into how new vs not so new vs vintage glass can change contrast range. Hint - older low contrast glass can easily give you another 2 stops of dynamic range over new and too contrasty modern glass. Ya I know I just exploded a few minds with that, may earn a few hate mails with it.... but that is for real. Low contrast glass like the Tiffen Low Con filters may help expand your DR  by an easy lazy stop or more like 2. All tested out in the film world years ago by world famous you've seen them DP's. So there you go, not me talking jive to sound good. 

So Stop. Here is a camera with an honest 12 stop range in what would generally be considered a high contrast situation making a great basic image with lots of room to spare. In fact I had to pull the image in both directions to get real  black / white levels. 

What does it mean ? well after about 10 stops of DN ( 7D / 60D et al. ) what do you really need ? Maybe some boost light, or more likely some negative fill from a black solid or flag.  Since when did sucking up and removing light become a major factor ? well since moden film stocks at ISO 500/800 and new modern cameras at ISO 800-2000 ! Yes its more or less see in the near dark. Havning shot at ISO 5000 - 8000 on the C100 I know what you can and can't get away with and be happy when you see it in post. 

Oh, BTW if you really look at the piick above there isn;t onw tungesten light in use. 100% all LED ! I pulled maybe 800W total power which was a pain since it didn't warm the studio up much at all. On any other day I would of burned several Kw of tungsten for this little setup. Happy to not waste the planet's resources for this !