Over the 25 plus years of lighting sets for motion picture one element has always been in the forefront of my approach – Can we have a film look! The inherent beauty and allure film resides in Color Negative’s (film) ability to record information that rivals the experience of the human eye. In the past putting film and video side-by-side the differences were immediate. Film has the ability to register over 200 “steps” of gray compared to video’s 25 to 30 and often times label of a “newsy” look.
With such a dynamic range available with film the Producer has the latitude of extracting information in shadows, mid-tones, diffused highlights, and spectral highlights that otherwise would be lost to the limited range of video’s 25 to 30 “steps” of gray between the poles of black and white.
For those that seek the elusive film look and it’s dynamic range, yet at costs closer to video, there is good news with the camera sensors available today. Much can be said for the advanced cameras equipped with CMOS and CCD sensors with improved color rendering, saturated colors that push well beyond the muteness and poor resolution of the past.
Traditionally, Wave Form Monitors and Vectorscopes are considered the backbone of Electronic Field Production in arriving at the look through careful calibration of Scopes & Monitors with that of the Camera. Such respected tools are now giving way to on camera histograms and off-camera metering sensitive enough to handle video’s ever increasing ability to render what is available to the naked eye.
In this sense, the calibrated tools of my past 25 years of painting with light- trusty analog Gossen meter and a contrast glass lassoed around one’s neck- have come full circle with calibrated metering of the Sekonic 758cine digital light meter and camera histograms.