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The Making of the CML NFA Tests 2020 - part 3


Adam Wilt
 

Several of the lights we used have color space settings, such as Rec.709, P3, and Rec.2020. These appear to shift the light’s white point, and possibly expand or contract the range of saturation controls when the light is used in RGB or HSV modes. Sadly we didn’t have time to explore these settings; we picked Rec.2020 when available and proceeded therefrom.

The Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 also has a “Camera LUT” setting; we used those LUTs when appropriate (Arri with Arri, Sony with Sony, DXL with RED, Varicam with Varicam) and the default setting otherwise.


We took C-800 readings for all those modes, but only measured the default setting with the other color meters.

When switching between 3200 K and 5600 K settings, we usually equalized brightness with a light’s dimming control. Some lights were brighter on 3200 K, others on 5600 K, and some were equally bright on both settings. We didn’t see a substantial change in color quality, CCT, or tint when dimmed, but we didn’t have to dim very far in any case. 

The ETC fos/4 has a built-in, electronically-controlled diffusion panel, and we used that to attenuate the light at its 3200 K setting:

ETC fos/4 with 0% diffusion

 
ETC fos/4 with 50% diffusion

 
ETC fos/4 with 100% diffusion

We also had a Fujifilm GFX100 camera in the mix. We didn’t initially have an SD card of sufficient speed for it, so we recorded its HDMI output on an Odyssey7Q. That limited us to an HD feed; combined with the crop needed to get an S35mm-sized image from its 44mm-wide sensor, we wound up with what were essentially half-HD resolution images. Furthermore in standby the camera outputs a lower quality, highly aliased image. The coarse standby picture is likely a power-saving feature of the GFX100, but it rendered our recordings unusable: while the color information is there, the poor resolution would be the first thing people would see, so Geoff decided not to include those images.

In addition we shot exposure ramps on the Canon C500 Mk II and the Sony FX9, starting from 7 stops over to 6 stops under in half-stop steps, using iris, shutter angle, and (on the Canon) an ND 0.6 filter.


We wrote the sequence of iris and shutter changes, along with the stops over/under, across the top of the whiteboard, so it would be harder for us to lose our place in the sequence. Mind you, we did this only after getting halfway through the first pass on one camera and discovering we were one stop off the correct exposure indication!

All told, over four and a half days we recorded 240 combinations of light and camera, two exposure ramps, and measured 30 different lighting setups with seven different color meters.

What we did right, and how to do it again

The foundation of the test was that Geoff had put months of pre-production work into it. Arranging the equipment alone is worse than herding cats, but with the exception of one light everything he tried to get eventually showed up. Of course pre-production isn’t sufficient; Geoff was busy every day of the test week chasing down missing kit even as we were shooting. We had lights showing up as late as Thursday morning, and we didn’t get a CFExpress card reader for offloading the C500 Mk II footage until Friday, but without Geoff’s constant behind-the-scenes work we would never have seen them.

Geoff’s detailed instructions were key, especially with Geoff unable to show up on-set. We did deviate from plan in a few particulars but none of our mistakes were serious enough to compromise the results (Geoff kept in constant touch via email, but even when he was informed of some screwup due to my ineptitude, he never wrote back saying “FFS, why on earth?”). Clear documentation meant we could simply show up and follow instructions and we’d get the results we wanted.

Our highly competent cinematographer and AC/DIT walked in and got to work with minimal fuss and bother. They were calm and focused and cheerful throughout the long week and made the whole thing run smoothly. Mick van Rossum and the NFA provided an excellent facility, logistical support, and film processing; Mick’s students made initial setup go quickly; models Roos and Ntianu sat patiently while we shined various bright and unpleasant lights in their eyes.

There are two things I’d do differently next time. First, I would RTFM — Read The Fine Manual — more closely and critically. That way I’d have caught the intended vertical orientation of the diffusion, and not overexposed the film a stop more than intended.

Second, I’d have taken half an hour on the first day to turn on every light we had and wave a light meter at it, to discover which one was weakest. I’d then use it to set up the first shot, so we’d build the set around the dimmest light, and set our working stop based on it. That way we wouldn’t have to rearrange anything when we changed lights; it’s easy to dim down a bright light but hard to make a dim light brighter. 

Painstaking prep work, and a professional crew. Isn’t that always the secret of success?


Adam Wilt
technical services
Vancouver WA USA (no, not that Vancouver, the other one)


Geoff Boyle
 

In this case a professional crew more than anything else.

 

Adam and Mick did a great job standing in for me, Mick is still dealing with the aftermath of returning kit, sorry.

 

Marina our Cinematographer and Erik our DIT made everything go smoothly.

 

Erik did a great job of organising the rushes into folders that made my work in Resolve easy and his notes are a joy 😝

 

I think that it was really useful to have the Netflix camera setup recommendations to help us standardise everything, like ACES it gave us a level playing field.

 

cheers
Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS
EU based cinematographer
+31 637155076

www.gboyle.nl

www.cinematography.net

 

 


Ken Parker
 

I am so very grateful to all of you for this invaluable, informative, educational data. Your generosity in doing this and sharing it with us is simply beyond measure. The data is important, but you and your team are a treasure to all of us on this board, and to the industry as a whole.
Thank you!!
Ken Parker
(415)279-4184 (mobile)


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [cml-lighting] The Making of the CML NFA Tests 2020 - part
3
From: "Geoff Boyle" <geoff@...>
Date: Thu, March 05, 2020 10:38 pm
To: <cml-lighting@...>

In this case a professional crew more than anything else.
 
Adam and Mick did a great job standing in for me, Mick is still dealing with the aftermath of returning kit, sorry.
 
Marina our Cinematographer and Erik our DIT made everything go smoothly.
 
Erik did a great job of organising the rushes into folders that made my work in Resolve easy and his notes are a joy 😝
 
I think that it was really useful to have the Netflix camera setup recommendations to help us standardise everything, like ACES it gave us a level playing field.
 
cheers
Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS
EU based cinematographer
+31 637155076
 
 


Tony Ngai
 

Dear Geoff and all:

Many thanks for the hard work and sharing!

Tony Ngai
Society of Motion Imaging Ltd
Hong Kong


Matthew Woolf
 

Thank you Adam, Geoff and Wilt! You guys are tireless and we all greatly appreciate it. 
Hope you’re feeling a bit better a Geoff!

Matthew Woolf
Director of Photography 
www.matthewwoolf.com
+1 917 399 9565
+ 61 0466 834 239
US Agent: DDATalent +1 310 474 4585
Commercial: Juanita Tiangco
Narrative: Dan Burnside
Australia: AusCrew +61 (02) 9427 4444

Confidentiality Note:  This e-mail is the property of Matthew Woolf. It is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected from disclosure. Distribution or copying of this e-mail, or the information contained herein, to anyone other than the intended recipient is prohibited.

On Mar 6, 2020, at 03:33, Tony Ngai <tonyngai@...> wrote:

Dear Geoff and all:

Many thanks for the hard work and sharing!

Tony Ngai
Society of Motion Imaging Ltd
Hong Kong


Donald Bryant
 

I want to thank Geoff, Adam and all involved for pulling of this very complicated test and sharing this invaluable wealth of information.

With the advent of all this new technology we have been in a constant learning curve and still comparing to the long standing film and tungsten standards we are accustomed to, fascinating times for our profession.

Having done tests since I started and teaching students on how to test I realize that it’s practically imposible to do everything to perfection and must improvise, but even with the mistakes we still learn and discover a hole new wealth of information.

Cheers.

Donald Bryant, AMC

Director of Photography




Michael Grippo
 

Thanks for all your hard work!!!


Michael Grippo, CSC
Cinematographer | DOP | Cameraman
416.823.8020 | grippoproductions.com grippo@...

US "E1" Visa, ATA Carnet Holder
      
 

On Mar 6, 2020, at 9:03 AM, Donald Bryant <donbryantamc@...> wrote:


I want to thank Geoff, Adam and all involved for pulling of this very complicated test and sharing this invaluable wealth of information.

With the advent of all this new technology we have been in a constant learning curve and still comparing to the long standing film and tungsten standards we are accustomed to, fascinating times for our profession.

Having done tests since I started and teaching students on how to test I realize that it’s practically imposible to do everything to perfection and must improvise, but even with the mistakes we still learn and discover a hole new wealth of information.

Cheers.

Donald Bryant, AMC

Director of Photography




Adam Wilt
 

CORRECTION:

I wrote that the ETC fos/4 "has a built-in, electronically-controlled diffusion panel”. This comes as a surprise to both ETC and to Rotolight, as it is the Rotolight Titan X2 that has a built-in, electronically-controlled diffusion panel, not the fos/4.

Management regrets the error, which was inexplicably introduced at the editing stage (my notes clearly state it was the Titan, and my color-meter charts correctly identify it as the light with the diffusion). The person responsible has been reprimanded, taken out back, shot, minced, and fed to badgers.

Sorry,
Adam Wilt
technical services
Vancouver WA USA (no, not that Vancouver, the other one)


John F. Babl
 

That's an incredible amount of work-Geoff, I hope you're feeling well and comforted to know that so many are appreciative for all you've done over the years and especially now.  And to all that took part in this testing marathon.  

My most recent shooting situation called for a Joker 1600 with Bug-A-Beam, nothing else would have done.  Client had to understand the cost and it was evident on set that there was a reason for requesting an expensive and versatile piece of equipment.  These days we often don't get to pick what we need or want, camera and lighting-and in the LED world there are so many new options but also a danger in working with some that are either not proven yet, or perhaps just not worth using.  

Thanks again

J.Babl
DP
Miami


Guy Mastrion
 

At the risk of piling on... thank you. This is a vast amount of work and the more I look at the results the more I learn.


I have to ask if the light meter comparisons will also be made available at some point? .... as if there are not already enough variables.

--
Guy Mastrion, DP, Creative Director, Professor


Geoff Boyle
 

The colour meter data is already available, there was no comparison made of ordinary light meters.

Just follow the already published link, you may need to refresh your browser cache.

It would appear that Android and Windows users get the updated pages fairly easily but Mac users have some issues.

Geoff Boyle NSC
Cinematographer
Netherlands




On Sun, Mar 8, 2020 at 1:19 AM +0100, "Guy Mastrion" <guy@...> wrote:

At the risk of piling on... thank you. This is a vast amount of work and the more I look at the results the more I learn.


I have to ask if the light meter comparisons will also be made available at some point? .... as if there are not already enough variables.

--
Guy Mastrion, DP, Creative Director, Professor


Guy Mastrion
 

Got it. Thank you Geoff
--
Guy Mastrion, DP, Creative Director, Professor 


daveblackham@...
 

This is such an important resource Im finding Im referring to it each day and learn more each time i read the results. Im very grateful for every one involved in making it available. Thank you so much for your hard work,

Geoff, I hope your recovering well.

Dave Blackham
Esprit Film and Television,
UK