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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old May 30th, 2004, 04:05 AM   #16
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Warren,
Lots of great suggestions here...but you may try this (very cheap)....

Put camera on tripod and get as far away from focus subject as possible and ZOOM in on subject. Try to keep the camera at f4-f5....this should get you what you wanted with camera only.

There are addtional post production techniques you can further accomplish to put the background out of focus if needed....
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Old May 30th, 2004, 11:42 AM   #17
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I think that was suggested in the third post in this thread? Either way, that's the general rule of thumb and yes, as Mark points out, it's free!

Christopher, no worries, and no offense taken. I was just clarifying for the sake of our gentle readers. As far as the money issue--I've used the Mini35 four times and never had to dip into my own pockets, bulging or not; I recommended that it be rented for certain jobs (and they weren't necessarily high budget, I had to fight for it sometimes).

For my own filmmaking efforts, I make do with the 14x manual lens and work with the extensive DOF, which actually is quite liberating in certain ways. I did a shot on a short film last weekend that required the actors to be 2 feet and 15 feet away respectively, and it was great to be able to hold both of them in focus without any additional hardware. Much of the rest of it comes down to lighting, creating layers of light and dark for separation rather than relying on shallow focus.

Sure, I'd rather use the Mini35, but my belief is that folks get a little too hung up on the DOF issue when they should be concentrating on improving their compositions and lighting.

Geez, I'm starting to sound like a crusty old codger, wagging a finger!
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Old May 30th, 2004, 12:16 PM   #18
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Charles: when you are shooting on 35mm do you have the
ability to increase the DOF we so readily have with DV? Can you
put a different lens infront of it for example? As you know, my
film knowledge isn't that great (yet).
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Old May 30th, 2004, 06:36 PM   #19
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Not as readily, no. You have to increase the exposure so that you can shoot with a fatter stop, which may or may not be feasible. For a night exterior, that can be formidable, since each stop means a doubling of the amount of light. The equivalent of boosting gain on a DV camera is to use a higher-speed film stock, which obviously takes some planning in advance.

If a scene is scheduled that requires a specific amount of depth-of-field and is either an interior or a night interior, that will be planned for in advance when the film stock is ordered and the lighting plan created. Likewise with high-speed shooting (for slow-motion effects) which requires more stop.

For the film "Mr. 3000" (due out this fall), we shot for 5 weeks in Brewer Stadium, both day and night. Since we had quite a bit of high-speed shooting to do as well as long lenses and other situations that required a decent stop, the DP decided on a 500 ASA stock (Kodak 5277) and a massive amount of lighting firepower. The top row of the stadium was decked out with some 36 18K's with electricians permanently stationed up there to pan units or switch them on or off as needed. This resulted in a useable stop of T2.8/4, which meant that we could shoot our Primos wide open at T1.4 and shoot 150 fps, or gain enough stop to hold a bit of depth on our longer lenses.

As for other effects such as the type of shot I mentioned in the previous thread, we'd have to use a split diopter or a slant focus lens to hold both characters, as well as light the room up to a high stop (as was done in Citizen Kane).
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Old May 31st, 2004, 05:40 AM   #20
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Thanks very much for the explenation. I forgot about the speed
of film stock. Makes sense!

So to add another question into the mix. I understand why you
are choosing different film stocks for different light-levels. But
even if you want a certain ASA stock you can still choose from
a variety of stocks, right? So which one do you pick? Or is it just
a learning experience and if you don't know there is certain "safe"
one to go with?
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Old May 31st, 2004, 11:49 AM   #21
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Kodak now has something like 4 different 500 ASA stocks (used to only be one!), so the choices are getting more complicated. They have gotten very good, so you don't have to worry as much about grain and milkiness as was once the case. Now the choices revolve around contrast and shadow handling. The 5277, for instance, has a particularly gradual curve in the toe (shadows). See here for more info.

Generally we shoot tests before a big job to select the best stock for the job at hand.

Another interesting factor is that film responds differently depending on how you expose it, develop it and print it. Overexposure doesn't mean you lose the highlights like you do in video, but it does mean that when printed back down, the contrast will be a bit different (most choose to overexpose Eastman stock a little bit, 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop). Then there's push and pull processing, silver retention, ENR, a plethora of processing methods; and the choice of print stock as well. Plus now there is digital intermediate, allowing subtle tweaking like we are used to in the video world.

So there's lots of choices to make, hence the need to test!
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