In this filmmakers videos learn concept of “exposure latitude”, and how some film makers are changing the way movies look
by switching to digital.
Tags:concept of exposure latitude,difference of digital film,digital film making how to make digital films,filmmakers guide,Filmmaking Tips,how to make films,thesubstream,what is exposure latitude
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Hi! I’m Rajo from the Substream.com and I’m here in the Substream.com studio to make a video for you to watch on our website. This video is going to go in the Film Lab section of our website because if I do my job properly, it’s going to be full of really useful scientific information that directly relates to an important part of film production. As a segue way, here are some special effects. So, there’s a battle happening right now in film land over the seemingly inevitable switch from analog film to digital video technology. It’s a battle that’s pretty much already been won by digital technology. Although there are some directors out there who swear that they will never stop using film. Directors like Oliver Stone and Machiavelli. But there are more and more major films made by major film directors that have originated digitally and because Hollywood or the film industry rather, tends to be really traditional and high bound by and large, digital camera manufacturers have tried to win these directors and DOP’s over by creating cameras that look and operate very much like an old-fashioned movie cameras and produce results that are very much like film which is not a bad thing. Film is a great medium. We are to the point now that there are some films that you would never know as a casual viewer was shot digitally. And in some cases, digital has fully, seamlessly supplanted film but there are some films some directors and DOP’s that are willing to use digital video its unique properties relative to that of film, in order to change the way that movies look, none more so than perhaps, Michael Mann and his new film Public Enemies which was shot by Dante Spinotti and he used the special digital camera called the Viper Film Stream. This film doesn’t look like anything you’ve seen before. It looks really weird and one of the reasons it does look weird is because the people that made it were willing to use new tools in order to get a brand new look which we think is red as hell. Yes, but why does it look so weird? What makes it look so different? Well a couple of things, some of which we’ll get to in later videos but the main difference we think is the way in which the film makers have handled the exposure latitude of their digital medium. My definition of exposure latitude is basically in short hand, the range of luminousness and brightness or exposures that can be captured on frame of film or a frame of video with acceptable results. It’s basically how overexposed or underexposed parts of a frame can be and still look okay and have the detail not look totally ugly. So basically, in an image, must like in a real place that exists in a world, like in a room for instance, there exists a range of luminance or imprecisely brightness. Basically, the sky or a light is really bright. Shadow is really dark and something that reflects the sky and maybe has some highlights is somewhere in the middle. We’re basically talking about a range from dark to light, and the exposure latitude of a medium like former video is basically a range within that range where at the bottom of the exposure latitude, you can still make out some details in the darkness and at the top of the exposure latitude; you can still make out some details in the brightness. Anything above that range gets completely blown out, totally pure, white, blinding light. And anything below that completely black, unplumbable darkness, like a deep-well. Anything that’s not in that range, you just can’t see basically. For instance, this light has lines running around it, but you can’t tell because that camera that we’re shooting on has an exposure latitude such that this light goes beyond it. Hopefully this makes sense and people have always thought that if you create an image with a really super bright spot or a really dark patch, really bad or acceptable which is why film people work really hard to create film stock that had an enormous exposure latitude. So that you could expose per persons face and still see details in the sky or in their black pants that they are wearing, for example. You know without blowing out the highlights or losing the shadows and videos always had it tough because its exposure latitude is still way, way less than that of film. So like for instance, if you expose for my face, there’s still some sections of my face that are totally blown out. So our what video shooters have been doing is flattening the light of their images. Because the exposure latitude is so narrow, they’ve been lighting the shit out their scenes. So that the blackest blacks aren’t too far away from the brightest whites and the range of luminance is in the actual room that they’re shooting in, from the blackest blacks to the brightest whites might actually fit within the exposure latitude of the digital video they’re working with. Spinotian man has decided in some of their scenes in Public Enemies to just say, screw it. There are blow-outs all over the film. Enough so that old school cameramen will probably win some and bite their fingers in disgust. There’s a few scenes were our reporters are taking pictures of John Dillinger. They hold up their flares and you know clouds of smoke and light are blowing out all over the place which classically, technically is a mistake. But rules change and in this case, they’re changing right before our eyes. They’re trying to rewrite the book on how exposure latitude can affect the way in which you should see, which is totally cool. You know artistic, aesthetic progress and experimentation in a summer blockbuster, totally awesome. I’m going to walk away now.