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Photon Management
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 12:38 AM   #16
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Awful!? I haven't seen any evidence of that, Matthew! Quite the contrary.

I was just splitting hairs since that's what you seemed to be doing. But really, Wayne's got the right idea. Just shoot! Better to have a dozen films under you belt than to have tested for one a dozen times.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 12:40 AM   #17
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Photoshop affects the way the image appears on your screen. When you make a new image, you can choose from different color profiles. You can choose the SMPTE C profile, which is supposed to be like what a NTSC monitor will show you. (I wouldn't trust your computer monitor anyways though.)

2- Maybe make the background cooler? If you want a candlelight scene, then the background will probably be moonlit (high contrast, cooler color temperature, dark) with the foreground elements lit differently (warmer color temperature, a few hard light sources casting shadows). If you do things this way, it'll also increase the foreground/background separation because of the color difference.

You can see what a mock-up of what it could look like at
(That image shows lots of color correction too, so you probably shouldn't expect your final product to look like that. One thing in there is that I added a fake light onto the actor's face (it's cooler color temperature too) to brighten it up, as well as bumping up overall exposure and contrast and shifting things a little warmer.

3- You could add a light slash onto the actor's face?

4- If you plan on lowering brightness/gamma in post, you can get more shadow detail by getting a higher exposure in camera. Right now there's not much detail in the background and in the tuxedo.

5- White balance less towards the warm side?
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 10:32 AM   #18
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Yipes. I hate those last three pix, Matthew. Way too dark. Are you using a PC or a Mac? On my Mac the prior three pix look great, especially the one with you in it. Mac's seem to give better rendition of what a pic actually looks like, without going through endless tweaks. Anyway.

I think you are trying too hard to shoot the final version, when the shoot should just represent the direction you want to go, and leave the final tweaking to post. Go to your video store and see if you can find two copies of "The Anniversary Party." One on VHS and one on DVD. Watch the VHS version first, if you can, cause it looks gawdawful. This was what was originally shot by a very excellent DP, John Bailey. It was shot with two high-end dv cams, the DSR500W, in PAL, I think. What Bailey was doing was delivering what is sometimes refered to as a "fat negative," in film parlance. He made sure that all the information was in the image, knowing that in post and the transfer process, it would be manipulated to reveal what he really had in mind, which you will see when you look at the DVD, which was made from the film transfer. I am certain he never wanted the video version released, but it makes for a great learning tool for the rest of us.

Point being, if you give yourself some wiggle room when you shoot, you will have more room to manipulate the final image in post. For instance, even in the pix I liked, the blacks are crushed. If this was the way you shot it, you will never be able to retrieve any detail from your shadow areas, such as your tux jacket. All that looks like is a black blob. I'm getting very critical here, but seems to be what you want. If you look at your image in PS, note that it is very heavily weighted toward the shadow area, with virtually no highlights, save for the candles. I think this is fine for the finished look, but a bit dark for the shoot. There really does need to be some detail in the jacket, since it too is under the influence of the "candle light."

BTW, I hope you will check out some of those references I mentioned earlier. I looked at your short film, and you are a very talented fellow. But lighten up a bit, literally and figuratively. If every DP shot every scene exactly as he wanted it to appear on the screen, no movie would ever get finished.

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Old February 22nd, 2005, 12:52 PM   #19
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Wayne, thank you again. Yes, I've been checking out everything you mention as quickly as I can. John's web references were a help. I will definitely rent that movie on both tape and dvd assuming I can find both copies, otherwise I'll order them from Amazon.

I'll try to lighten up, It's just that I'm excited and want to do good work that's all. Thank you for all your feedback. I do have one more question. I often hear about "crushing your blacks in post" but haven't done it other than to play with say the gamma control. Could you en-lighten me a bit (pun intended)?

Thank you again.

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Old February 22nd, 2005, 01:36 PM   #20
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I have another question. Do you notice that even in the brighter footage there is what appears to be "noise" (for lack of a better term) in the image (by the wall)? It doesn't look clean. I get this even if I don't use the filter (I'm shooting with a black promist 1/2). Am I doing something wrong or is that just how DV looks?

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