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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:44 AM   #1
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Video in a darkroom

Hi all,
I've been asked to shoot of video of the process of printing black and white photos in a darkroom. The video should show the images developing in the developer tray. Unfortunately, I cannot add any lights, not even additional red lights, as the darkroom where I need to shoot will be shared by other people.

Has anyone here ever attempted something like this? Is this even possible?
I have a canon 60D. My fastest lens is the plastic fantastic (50 1.8).
Should I rent a faster lens? Will an infrared modified body help out in any way?

Any help and suggestion greatly appreciated, thanks.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #2
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Re: Video in a darkroom

I've seen footage like this, but I don't know how it was done. A couple of things occurred to me:

When I used to do B&W 35mm D&P the safelights for printing were more yellow than red;
you would have to be careful that any LEDs and the LCD on your camera didn't leak non-safe light.

Can you get a chance to try out filming in the darkroom with just the safelight without anyone else there?
At least you would find out if you can capture any images at all.
Oh, and focussing will likely be a real b*gg*r. :-)
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Old May 28th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Thanks Colin.
Yes you right, safelights for B&W are apparently amber not red, as it seems from doing a bit more research.
Never done any darkroom work in my life, unfortunately ;)
Also good point about blocking stray light from the video camera itself.

I'm trying to find out from the darkroom operators if it's at all possible to add additional safelights to the darkroom. If not, I will make a test with the fastest lens I can get and high iso, and see if the results are acceptable.

However, since each darkroom session costs money (of course), and since deadline for completion of this project is close, I was hoping maybe someone has an ingenious idea about shooting video in darkroom before I make my first test at the end of this week...

cheers
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Old May 28th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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Re: Video in a darkroom

The only time I've done a darkroom sequence, we faked it. It was shot on film, so it was a while ago.

Having other people using the darkroom is rather inconvenient.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Yes fake it and have the narrator explain why.

You could inject some humour into it .. start then turn all the lights out to emphasis why they call it a 'darkroom.'

Cheers.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Yes, fake it!

As I recall, the image comes up from white to b&w over a 2-minute period or so.

I would find a way to do the establishing shots with good light in the darkroom - will they give you a reduced rate for exclusive use at midnight-4am? Then, a 10-second dissolve from white to b&w on a locked-off shot, with a legend that says "elapsed time = 2 minutes" or some such.

Shooting something like this in a shared working environment where other people reasonably expect to be productive is crazy talk, in my opinion. It's just going to hurt relationships with fellow photogs, and the facility.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Guys, thanks. Unfortunately, faking it is not an option in this case. This is not a narrative/documentary, the black and white image appearing on the white paper is exactly what the artist doing this project is interested in capturing, not the darkroom surroundings or happenings. If we cannot manage to get decent footage of this process, we'll probably scrap the project entirely.

We will not be doing anything without the darkroom operators' permission, but your point is a valid one, Seth. We're doing our best to find a time slot to have the darkroom for ourselves, or at the very least a secluded part of it so that we don't disturb/get disturbed by other users.

What I'm still trying to figure out is if there is any specialized camera I can rent that would be better suited for the task than my 60D.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #8
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Would a small handicam (or I think also a canon xf100 has it) with that night vision gimmick don't do the trick? But I guess it will transmit unsafe light as well to see in the dark.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:43 AM   #9
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Re: Video in a darkroom

I had an old Sony Hi8 camcorder with that gimmick. Don't remember how it works, if it emits any light.
Not really the look we're going for, but if nothing else works I may give it a try if it doesn't emit any light.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:54 AM   #10
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Re: Video in a darkroom

You can always replace that green colour with any other in post or just turn it to black and white, I just remembered that my sony xr520 has night vision so I checked, I can't see that it's transmitting any light but on the front of the camera you can see a faint red dot.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:56 AM   #11
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Thanks Noa, that's helpful to know.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 11:07 AM   #12
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Re: Video in a darkroom

On the Canon C300 forum there's a posting

C300 Shooting in a Darkroom ... a very Darkroom !

May be useful.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 02:51 PM   #13
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Useful indeed. Impressive results. Not a cheap camera to rent, but definitely looks like an option.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 02:55 PM   #14
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dalton View Post
On the Canon C300 forum there's a posting

C300 Shooting in a Darkroom ... a very Darkroom !

May be useful.
How does the c300 film under these circumstances, with very high gain? If that would be the case a Sony FS100 would be a cheaper option to rent as it can record at very (maybe equally?) high gain values as well.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #15
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Re: Video in a darkroom

Well the video in Mark Moreve's post says iso 20,000 and lens at f2.8, so with a faster lens it could be even more sensitive. There surely a few cameras that would be cheaper to rent than the C300 but still improve on my 60D's low light sensitivity. FS100, maybe the D800, 5DIII, probably even the 5DII should be an improvement?
In any case, I'll probably do the first test with my 60D and a fast lens. With ML I can go as high as iso 12800. We'll test the results and then we'll have a think about if and what camera to rent.

I'll also try to see if Mark has any advice
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