[Tig] What do colorists prefer? (was: Telecine 101)

Marc Wielage mfw
Thu Mar 6 09:05:35 GMT 2003

On 3/5/03 4:46 PM, "C.J. Scheppers" <cjs at sound.net> asked a lotta questions
on the TIG, including:

> If the
> director is going for contrast, wouldn't a more contrasty film help get the
> desired look and reduce the amount of work necessary to make such
> high-contrast lighting schemes while on location?

I'll give my two cents' on this one.  If I can get any input on how the show
is going to be shot, I'll always ask that if it's 35 or 16 negative for a
video (or data) finish, then I suggest the crew overexposes 1/3 to 1/2 of a
stop, and then let us add the contrast back in the transfer.  That's
assuming all the color-correction is being done electronically -- whether
for film or video output.

To me, if they deliberately add contrast with the stock or exposure, it only
exacerbates grain and noise.  It's easy to demonstrate this, if you have the
time to do tests with a DP prior to a shoot, so you can show them how much
cleaner negative can look when the contrast is added electronically.  There
are limits, but realistically, I think this technique (pardon my use of that
word) works at least 99% of the time.  This requires that the DP *trusts* us
to keep the image as dark as they wanted it to be.

Not much makes me sadder than having to deal with underexposed film, where
the DP chose to keep the exposure down for fear of revealing too much.  I
feel that as long as the scene is properly lit, we can always add that
contrast electronically.  I've never encountered a situation where we
couldn't make the scene dark enough to satisfy a client, but the OPPOSITE
problem is much harder to solve -- making an ultra-dark scene brighter.

--Marc Wielage/Cinesite Digital Imaging
  Hollywood, USA

[Note: the opinions expressed expressed above are strictly my own, and not
necessarily that of my employers.]

More information about the Tig mailing list