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Old June 2nd, 2008, 02:40 PM   #1
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Shooting historical documents with standard lens

Hi all

In a few days, I'll be helping a director friend of mine. Her documentary includes views of 17th-18th century historical documents: treaties, maps, books etc. The effect the director is looking for is panning up/down a document to move different areas of the map into focus as the narration goes. And to reveal the interesting paper grain, stains, pen scratches, ink blots etc. one finds on these old documents.

I've done a few tests all 2x500W halogen (1 key and 1 bounced off a silver-gold reflector), whitebalanced 2800K, 25p, 1/50, ND2, and a followfocus with the focus points marked for different parts of the map. I tried different settings: (stills attached):
- Versailles3 is "Warm" 60mm/1.4, and it's OK,
- Versailles5 is "Truecolor", 88mm/2.4 - the out-of-focus areas of the map are just plain disgusting,
- Versailles 9 is "Truecolor" , MACRO/2.8, it's the nicest and comparable to 60mm but with wider DOF.
I also used "Superwide" at 88/1.4 and 2 and it looked similar to Versailles 5

Also, we'd like to have a much better paper texture - maybe with different lighting arrangements ?

Ideas, experiences, anyone ?
Attached Thumbnails
Shooting historical documents with standard lens-versailles3.jpg   Shooting historical documents with standard lens-versailles5.jpg  

Shooting historical documents with standard lens-versailles9.jpg  
Claude Mangold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2008, 03:33 PM   #2
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I would just scan the images.. get better results and more control over pans etc.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 03:44 PM   #3
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Since you're shooting flat material you don't really need a fill light. I suggest a single light, low from the side. This will add drama and bring out the texture of your material. It will also allow a lower f-stop to give a shallow depth of field.
Good luck,
Ken
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 03:50 PM   #4
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P.S.
Also, you might want to use a soft "cookie" type of pattern over the key light to break it up and enhance the drama of your material.
Ken
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 04:26 PM   #5
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In the years since we first received transmission of your historical documents, we have studied every facet of your missions and strategies. Weeeee need your help. By Lothar's hammer! Never give up, never surrender!
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 05:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Browning View Post
In the years since we first received transmission of your historical documents, we have studied every facet of your missions and strategies. Weeeee need your help. By Lothar's hammer! Never give up, never surrender!
Damn I love that movie. Better than the Star Trek movies it mocks!
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